21st Century Corps of Discovery Lecture

The 21st Century Corps of Discovery lecture is held annually on the MU campus and commemorates the contributions of Lewis and Clark by featuring an outstanding MU professor and discoverer who will inspire and bring together the university community at the beginning of each academic year. Reinforcing “discovery,” one of the university’s core values, the lecture represents MU’s diverse academics in science, art, humanities, law, medicine, engineering, education, journalism and business.


Just as the Lewis & Clark Expedition findings of 200 years ago became known as the “Corps of Discovery,” so too have the University of Missouri professors’ scholarly and creative findings become discoveries of the 21st century.

The 21st Century Corps of Discovery annual lecture by one of the most distinguished MU faculty celebrates such discoveries and keeps alive Thomas Jefferson’s dream of education as a cornerstone of American democracy. This well-publicized lecture, selected each year from a variety of disciplines, shares current discoveries both inside and outside the academic community as part of a land-grant university mission wherein “discovery” is one of its stated values.

This annual lecture, which began in September 2004, commemorates the Lewis & Clark Expedition’s exploration of uncharted territory, detailed preservation of data and invaluable contribution to policy and scholarship of the 19th century. The MU campus offers a rich historical context for such a lecture as the nation’s first public university west of the Mississippi River.

Just as the original Corps was a diverse group, so too will be this 21st century corps. In fact, over a period of time, the new corps will broadly represent the university’s scholarship and creativity in the humanities, arts, behavioral and social sciences, sciences and professional schools.


  1. To highlight outstanding scholarly and/or creative work at Missouri’s premier public research university
  2. To publicly honor distinguished faculty through a general lecture accessible to the entire campus and the wider regional community
  3. To signal the beginning of the academic year with a broadly shared campus activity focused on scholarship and creative endeavors

Past Recipients

  • 2016 Ian Worthington, History
  • 2015 William Folk, Biochemistry
  • 2014 Jeffrey Milyo, Economics
  • 2013 Jerry Taylor, Animal Sciences
  • 2012 Frank O. Bowman III, Law
  • 2011 Carol Ward, Pathology, Anatomical Sciences
  • 2010 Kennon Sheldon, Psychological Sciences
  • 2009 A. Mark Smith, History
  • 2008 Marsha Richins, Marketing
  • 2007 Randall Prather, Animal Sciences
  • 2006 Glen Cameron, Journalism
  • 2005 Allen Bluedorn, Management
  • 2004 John Foley, English (D)