June 2020: Call to Leadership


As leaders of the Deaton Institute, we are writing to express how deeply saddened we are by the tragic events that have unfolded in our country in recent weeks. We mourn the lost lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the many others throughout history whose lives have been cut tragically short. Racial injustice, prejudice, discrimination, and inequity are sadly not new issues in our country. We stand with those unwilling to tolerate such abuse and are fortunate to be in a university community that can make a difference in these conditions by working together at home and abroad using enlightened educational processes.

In our work to alleviate poverty and inequality, we see the consequences of racism and other forms of oppression and discrimination. Our focus in the Deaton Scholars Program (DSP) has always been to seek innovative ways to alleviate the scourges of extreme poverty and hunger and their damaging effects on human health and malnutrition, and the dignity of life that should be an inalienable foundation for fulfillment of human potential.

The testimony of our students reflects their understanding of personal accountability, living MU’s values of Respect, Responsibility, Discovery, and Excellence to be “the change” we want to see in the world.  We are convinced that this is the path to preparing a new generation of students and leaders who will find breakthrough approaches to eliminating hunger and extreme poverty. Our belief that we all – in higher education and beyond – play a role in creating change, leads us to support the leadership in communities across the nation that call for constructive and immediate change.

We are confident that those of you who have been or still are participants in our program join in our commitment to use this time of personal and national concern and grief to examine the knowledge and to build the emotional strength to work for a better society, and to help ensure that others in need benefit from our dedication to these core principles. We also invite you to reflect on President Choi’s call to leadership:

“…I call upon each one of us to take the stand to confront discrimination when it happens and to provide care and compassion to those who have suffered from it. …Mizzou continues to be committed to creating an inclusive community where everyone can live, learn and work in an environment that supports and celebrates each individual. I am grateful to our many students, faculty and staff who have worked tirelessly for change at Mizzou. I assure you that we will not stop pressing, and we will strive to spread the responsibility from those who have shouldered the brunt of the work to the larger community. Over the last several years we have done a lot of planning and created some progress and action. We all must do more.” – UM System President and interim Chancellor Mun Y. Choi, June 4, 2020.


Dr. Brady Deaton, Chancellor Emeritus

Dr. Anne Deaton