Published on Dec. 12, 2022
The Stotler Lounge inside of Memorial Union was transformed into a winter wonderland last Thursday, hosting Salute to Excellence from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The farewell is a bi-annual dinner celebrating our outstanding Fall 2022 CASE and TRiO graduating scholars as they prepare for the next part of their journeys.
TRiO Student Support Services is a federal program that focuses on helping students from underrepresented groups meet the academic, financial and social demands of a college education. Just like CASE, they work with one another to be more accessible to their students and have a larger impact on the scholars.
Salute to Excellence is a reoccurring special time where CASE faculty take the time to recognize our outstanding scholars for their time here at MU. With a total of 260 graduating scholars this fall semester, there was much success to be acknowledged.
“We are extremely proud of them as they move forward to the next chapter of their lives/careers.” CASE Director Dr. Andre Thorn said. “I think this is a tradition that we’ll continue to allow our scholars to maintain a sense of gratitude and thankfulness of all of those stakeholders who support these students and their success at MU.”
Ana-Maria Fernandez, Student Service Coordinator for the Center of Academic Success & Excellence, opened the floor for Thorn. He began by asking the graduates to send a thank you message to their loved ones who have supported their Mizzou journeys. He then talked about the rich history of Kente Stoles with the audience. It holds beauty as it signifies students’ success through higher education; symbolizing pride, displaying accomplishments and serving as a valuable reminder forever.
Following Thorn was Dr. Jim Spain, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies, who took to the stage to share heartwarming words with the scholars. Specifically, he touched on their perseverance through many difficult times in their Mizzou journey.
He mentioned how they were the “even if” generation of students because of how they have persisted through difficult times. This group of scholars is seen as “extremely resilient and committed to their degree completion despite these challenges.” Thorn said.
After the initial remarks, scholars were released for dinner by CASE Student Service Coordinator Leo Medal. After eating, they discussed their plans after graduation as Fernandez bestowed their stoles.
To end the event, Legion of Black Collegians Gospel Choir sang joyous renditions of “Let Praises Rise” by Myron Butler & Levi and “It’s Working” by William Murphy.
It was a time of thanks, recognition and new beginnings for the Fall 2022 CASE and Trio scholars. Here are some scholars who attended the event and what they shared about their time at MU.
Name: DuVonte’ Beard
CASE Marketing Intern
Major: Sports Journalism
Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri
Plans after graduation: “I’m hoping to be able to use my voice for sports media one way or another, whether it be podcasting, radio or sitting having roundtable talk giving my opinion on sports.”
“CASE has given me an opportunity to meet a lot of individuals I would have never crossed paths with if I had not been an intern. I was able to meet a lot of individuals who could really help elevate my thought process.”– DuVonte’ Beard
Name: Amari Foster
Major: Journalism (Emphasis in Strategic Communication) and a minor in business
Hometown: Bartlett, Illinois
Plans after graduation: “I’m currently in the accelerated master’s program at the Missouri School of Journalism. I will be a full-time grad student, and I will be graduating with a Master of Arts next year.”
“You know, it’s hard to navigate Mizzou, especially in the J-school, being one of the only black journalists in the classroom. With CASE, they made it very universal so that no matter what school or profession you go into you will succeed. CASE has the resources that a lot of students need in order to succeed at this University.”– Amari Foster
Name: Tylarrah Cunningham
Major: Health Science (Emphasis in Health and Wellness) and two minors in psychology and public health
Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri
Plans after graduation: “I have applied to a direct entry Master of Science nursing program at Saint Louis University and Vanderbilt — I’m still choosing between the two. And I also applied here at Mizzou for their Accelerated Bachelor of Science and Arts.”
“With the whole department, they were able to connect me to staff resources and they were able to prepare me for a lot of things. Just the way that they prepared me to come in and be a freshman and get to know the school [has impacted me].”– Tylarrah Cunningham