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University of Missouri

Brady and Anne

The community honors both Deatons at farewell reception.

The Deaton family

The Deaton family poses for a photo at Brady’s parents’ home in London, Ky., in 1970, close to the time Anne wrote the song “You and I.” Brady holds 2-year-old Anthony “Tony” Arnold, BA ’91, MA ’96, and Anne holds 1-year-old Brady James, BA ’91. Photo courtesy of the Deatons.

It’s been said that behind every great man there is a great woman. However, in the case of Chancellor Brady J. Deaton, his wife, Anne, was never behind him but always beside him.

The community gathered Nov. 4 for the chancellor’s retirement reception to honor both Deatons’ years of service to MU. Administrators, faculty, a student and two Missouri politicians spoke of Deaton’s leadership and integrity, and many observers credited Anne as an important factor in his success at MU.

Nick Droege, senior biology major and Missouri Students Association president, represented the MU student body at the reception. Droege forged a relationship with Anne through Tiger Pantry, a food pantry for low-income students and employees he founded in fall 2012. Anne, who along with Brady is committed to food security at home and abroad, serves as adviser for the project.

Droege recounted the weekly breakfast meetings he and Anne had at the Residence on Francis Quadrangle where Anne would always send him to his Organic Chemistry lecture with a to-go bag of leftover pastries.

“One day I walked into my lecture late with this Ziploc of muffins and pastries and sat down right as my professor was asking what I thought to be a rhetorical question to all of the students,” Droege recalled. “It quickly changed from rhetorical to a very sharp, ‘Hey, Pastry Boy, what do you think?’ ”

Droege said that although he continued weekly meetings with Anne, he never again carried pastries into class.

The Deatons’ daughter Christina Deaton DeMarea, BA ’93, of Chicago also spoke at the farewell reception.

“I, too, have lived under the leadership of Anne and Brady Deaton,” she quipped.

DeMarea recounted her father’s upbringing in rural Kentucky, her parents’ work in a food pantry in Knoxville and the dinner table discussion filled with debate, among other things.

“My father always argued the opposite side of almost anything we said just to make sure that we could justify our conclusions — to teach us that there are always multiple sides to any issue and to teach us to get the facts straight so that we could articulate why we believed what we believed,” DeMarea said.

Christina Deaton DeMarea, Brady and Anne Deaton

Brady and Anne Deaton hug their daughter Christina Deaton DeMarea after she spoke at the farewell reception. Photo by Rob Hill.

DeMarea closed her remarks by sharing a song Anne wrote for Brady early in their marriage.

“You and I”

You and I are rich paupers
You and I are worth a million — pennies
You and I will reach the sky in a balloon
’Cause we’re love’s gal and guy
You and I

For we’ve the courage to dream
And make all our dreams come true
For we’re not afraid to sing
To let all the bells of hope ring

You and I are fun and frolic
You and I are one, despite all the odds
You and I will reach the sky in a balloon
’Cause we’re love’s gal and guy
You and I

Anne explained in a follow-up email to MIZZOU magazine: “I wrote this song for Brady during a period when the weight of being financially strapped graduate students was weighing heavily upon him. We had two small children and were living in married student housing — the classic story. But we were determined that he would reach his goals.”

“The line ‘You and I are one, despite all the odds’ makes reference to the improbability of an Italian girl from Brooklyn and a boy from the hills of Appalachia finding themselves to be soul mates,” Anne says. “I think it goes back to what Brady always stresses: values. We both, above all things, valued family and the values of our working-class families, so different in their origins but so similar in their beliefs.”

When the chancellor steps down Nov. 15, he and Anne will transition to leading the Brady and Anne Deaton Institute for University Leadership in International Development, a think tank dedicated to strengthening the role of higher education institutions in international development, research, education and outreach. They will tackle, among other issues, global food insecurity.