January 2024 Newsletter

Welcome back and Happy New Year.  This is my last newsletter to you fellow Tigers.  As you know, I have accepted the role of Chancellor at Indiana University in Indianapolis starting Feb 12, 2024.  That will mark almost exactly five years and six months since my start at Mizzou on August 15, 2018. I write this last message to tell you that there is so much I am grateful for, and so much that I will miss as I say goodbye.  From the beauty of the botanic gardens that is called Mizzou to “Tiger Run,” tiger stripe ice cream, Welcome Back faculty events, Faculty Excellence weeks, the shows in Jesse Hall, homecoming (a Mizzou-born tradition), football, basketball and all the athletics, commencements, and alumni events that made Mizzou feel like a family to me and my husband – I will miss everything that shines black and gold. 

And every week, and day, I will miss more – I will miss the students sitting at the welcome desk in Jesse Hall who welcomed me every morning.  I will miss the chimes of our alma mater every Friday that always uplifted my spirits at the end of the week. I will miss our Monday morning check-ins with Associate and Vice Provosts, the Friday afternoon Think Tanks with members of the Office of the Provost. During these conversations we applauded and commiserated, we shared challenges and welcomed input. I will miss my meetings, and of course our no-holds-barred dinners with deans where I learned about so many things (some shareable and others not!), meetings with department chairs, office hours with the chairs who always showed up (I cannot be more grateful for those conversations to those chairs who always showed up), meetings inside my office, and the walking meetings around the quad, come heat or cold. 

I will miss the coffee at Memorial Union, with the chair and vice chair of Faculty Council, and I will cherish the monthly meetings with our AAUP team, which I thought should have been titled, “Educating A Provost.”  Each one of these was a learning moment, or hour. Faculty colleagues, thanks to you, I was uniquely privileged to benefit from the depth of expertise across a breadth of disciplines. You reminded me that at universities we are fortunate if we allow ourselves to hear and celebrate diversity of all types.  You taught me to appreciate William Rainey Harper, the first president of the University of Chicago’s description of a university as “an institution born of the democratic spirit.” In all this, through ups and downs, with grace you appreciated the seeming dissonance between academic freedom and administrative responsibility, and you inspired me to think of ways to rise above this dissonance.  

This is the treasure that I take with me – the expertise you shared and the curiosity you sparked.   

To all my colleagues in Jesse Hall – each one of you is a role model in more ways than you know.  I hope our relationships go beyond administrative titles and we continue to connect no matter where we are.  And perhaps most importantly, Mizzou to me will always be the place that reinforced the belief that no matter how ambitious our research goals are, student success should, and can, always be our north star.

Thank you dear old varsity.

Latha Ramchand, PhD

Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs