Following a tradition started in 1874 with the first graduating class of the University of Missouri College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts, the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources celebrated its 137th graduation ceremony this May.
More than 400 students received their diplomas and headed out to all parts of the globe to pursue careers in diverse fields as economics, biochemistry, journalism, plant science, food science, meteorology, hotel and restaurant management, and forestry.
MU held its first graduation ceremony in 1843 with two graduates, Robert B. and Robert L. Todd, cousins of Mary Todd, Abraham Lincoln’s wife. MU’s colleges and professional schools in 2011 will confer degrees to 5,319 students on graduation weekend, May 13-15.
SNR’s commencement speaker was Laura Furgione, a 1993 MU graduate in atmospheric sciences and Deputy Assistant Director for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences’ Weather Services and Deputy Director of the National Weather Service. As an undergraduate MU student, she worked as an usher for MU Athletics, performed clerical duties in the CAFNR Dean’s Office and volunteered at the National Weather Service Office at the Columbia Regional Airport.
CAFNR’s commencement speaker was U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill. She was born in Rolla and raised in Lebanon and Columbia, McCaskill lived in Houston, Mo., where her father William worked at the McCaskill Feed Mill. She graduated from the MU Law School. She then clerked for the Missouri Court of Appeals in Kansas City, and then got a job as an assistant prosecutor in Kansas City, where she was a felony trial prosecutor handling sex crimes, homicides and specializing in arson cases. In Nov. 2006, she became the first woman elected to the US Senate from Missouri.
Earning this year’s CAFNR Senior of the Year honors was Samantha Wilkerson, a native of Paris, Mo. who graduated with a degree in Agribusiness Management. She was nominated by her class and selected by the CAFNR Student Council.
SNR saw 76 people graduating — 18 with fish and wildlife degrees, seven with fish and wildlife and forestry degrees, six with forestry degrees, 22 with parks and recreation degrees, and 22 with soils, environmental and atmospheric sciences degrees.
Three hundred twenty six people were conferred with CAFNR degrees — 58 in agricultural economics and agricultural business, 18 in agricultural education, seven in agricultural journalism, 17 in agriculture, 17 in agricultural systems management, 57 in animal science, 51 in biochemistry, 12 in food science, 82 in hotel and restaurant management, and 15 in plant science.