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University of Missouri

A Show-Me State of Mind

Meet the 2015 Homecoming directors.

No one knows for sure who invented Homecoming, but it’s clear that University of Missouri students, alumni, family and friends put on one of the nation’s largest and best celebrations. This year, a group of 34 dedicated students took to heart what U.S. Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver said in an 1899 speech: “I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.”

For the past six months, the Homecoming Steering Committee has been planning opportunities for the Mizzou family to show its pride, from step shows and talent shows to service events and spirit rallies. Meet the directors — Missouri natives, all three — who want Tigers to return to Columbia this October in a Show-Me state of mind.

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Kit Nelson portrait

Kit Nelson

St. Joseph, Missouri
Senior
Civil engineering

First thing I thought when I found out I was a director: First: Wahoo! Second: Wow, this is going to be hard.
What the Homecoming theme means to me: When we decided on “A Show-Me State of Mind,” we really wanted to focus on the alumni, family and friends coming home to Columbia. No matter how you celebrate, we’re happy you come back.
Favorite class at MU: Honestly, probably calculus. I really like math, so it was fun for me.
Favorite place to study on campus: The Grand Reading Room at Ellis Library
Favorite MU tradition: I attended the inaugural Columns Society gala in 2014. They completely transformed MizzouRec to honor outstanding alumni. It was inspiring, and it made me want to be that kind of alumna.
Favorite place to eat in CoMo: Café Berlin
Biggest weakness: Puppies. If there is a puppy in the room, I am not going to leave it alone.
Glad I did it but wouldn’t do it again: When I studied abroad in South Africa, I tried ostrich meat. It’s cool to say I’ve tried it, but, yeah, never again.
Superpower I’d like to have: Teleporting so I could travel the entire world
Have always wanted to: I’m thinking about having a structural emphasis with my civil engineering degree, and I would love to design roller coasters someday.
Would never: Root for the University of Kansas. No explanation needed.
Can’t live without: Music. There is always something out there for me to listen to and love no matter what my mood or the occasion.
Dream job: Performer on Broadway
Most people don’t know: I hate it when people touch my elbows or knees.
Guilty pleasure: I love to watch the Food Network.
Best way to relax: A day on the boat at the Lake of the Ozarks

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Tanner Bryant portrait

Tanner Bryant

Sikeston, Missouri
Senior
Parks, recreation and tourism

What Homecoming means to me: It’s a celebration of our wonderful Mizzou, which has made us who we are.
Favorite thing about Homecoming: The sense of family you feel the week leading up to the game. Fellow students, committee members, alumni, faculty — you just get the feeling that we all belong together.
Biggest surprise about college life: No one to dictate my diet
Favorite class at MU: English 2006: The Journey of the Hero. I loved this class for two reasons: The content of the class taught life lessons, and Associate Teaching Professor Raymond Ronci taught it so well with a lot of life experience.
Favorite place to study on campus: The cages in Ellis Library
Something I wish I knew as a freshman: How fast the years go by, even if you are here for five-plus
How my friends describe me: Loud
I am proudest of: My little sister, Harper, who has done so well her first year here at Mizzou
Glad I did it but wouldn’t do it again: High school
Superpower I’d like to have: Shapeshifting
Have always wanted to: Travel to Ireland to see where my family originated
Cannot live without: My morning coffee. If I did not have it, I would not be able to physically make it to class before noon.
Splurge: Anything at Bass Pro Shop
Dream job: Open a brewery
Perfect day: Wake up early, drink some coffee and fly-fish all day
Actor who would play me in a movie: Kevin Costner
Favorite game: The Legend of Zelda for Nintendo 64
Favorite quote: “Not all those who wander are lost.” — J.R.R. Tolkien

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Kelsey Denker portrait

Kelsey Denker

St. Charles, Missouri
Senior
Accounting

What the Homecoming theme means to me: “A Show-Me State of Mind” means that Missouri and Mizzou have a unique experience with Homecoming. Many universities have Homecoming, but only one impacts people the way Mizzou’s does.
What Homecoming means to me: It’s a time when you can really show how much the university means to you.
Biggest surprise about college life: Cooking isn’t for everyone. One time I made a cheese quesadilla, and it came out charcoal.
Favorite place to study on campus: A booth in the MU Student Center, but that never happens, so I resort to the stacks in Ellis Library.
Favorite place to eat in CoMo: B&B Bagel Co., hands down
I’m proudest of: Skydiving. Heights are not my thing.
Biggest weakness: Chocolate
Biggest fear: Wind. You never know what it’s going to do.
Superpower I’d like to have: To be able to look at a textbook and transfer all the knowledge to my brain
Have always wanted to: Own a monkey
Would never: Bungee jump. There’s no way I’m putting my life in the hands of an elastic band.
Can’t live without: My support system — also pizza.
Dream job: National Geographic photographer. You get paid to search for the most amazing scenes in the world.
Guilty pleasure: Scratch-offs
If I won the lottery: I’m going straight to Australia.
Ultimate dinner date: Jennifer Lawrence because she would be OK with just ordering pizza.
Favorite song lyric: “It’s funny how it’s the little things in life that mean the most, not where you live, what you drive or the price tag on your clothes.”
— “Chicken Fried” by Zac Brown Band