A Word from the President

Many Degrees of Success

Aaron Podolefsky

One of my proudest moments as a university president comes at the end of the fall and spring semesters when I have the opportunity to give the commencement addresses in celebration of our new graduates' success. It's a wonderful feeling to look across the Multipurpose Building and see the joy on the faces of our graduates, as well as their parents and friends who supported them in their journey to earn degrees from the University of Central Missouri.

We know that each of our graduates has been given a great gift - the opportunity to attend a wonderful university that provides a world-class higher education. They will forever reap the benefits of an educational environment that helped them develop habits of mind and character. As you peruse this issue of Today, you will see examples of what a UCM education has meant for some of our past graduates - examples of how the demanding work that led to their college degrees helped prepare them for some highly successful professional careers. You'll also see examples of faculty and staff who contribute to making UCM an exceptional place to learn.

One of our alumni featured in this issue is Marie Nelson Masakayan. Find out what led this 1989 alumna to the Magic Kingdom, where she serves as vice president for global creative operations for Disney Consumer Products. Learn about Kerry Myers, a 1978 alumnus who led an FBI team in uncovering evidence to convict the person responsible for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Find out how former wrestling coach Roger Denker influenced the lives of UCM graduates who became successful coaches. You'll read about three graduates and a current student who feel so strongly about the value of their education that they became first-time donors to UCM.

We are proud of our students and alumni, and the many faculty and staff who have contributed to making UCM an outstanding place to pursue a university education. We look forward to sharing their stories through this issue.

Aaron Podolefsky, Ph.D.
President, University of Central Missouri