Major Garrett

2015 Distinguished Alumni Awards

The Arts and Science Distinguished Alumni Awards, established in 1984, allow the college to recognize some of its many outstanding alumni whose professional contributions have enhanced their respective disciplines and the quality of life for humankind, and in doing so have reflected well on the College of Arts and Science.

Major Garrett
BA ’84 political science, BJ ’84

COLUMBIA, Mo. – In the social world, people constantly gather information through visual cues that are used to evaluate others and interact. A new study from researchers at the University of Missouri determined that babies can make sense of complex social situations, and that they expect people to behave appropriately.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The bestselling book, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” is being released as a major motion picture February 13th. The book and others in the trilogy depict the relationship between the naïve college graduate, Anastasia Steele and business magnate, Christian Grey. Melissa A.

WHAT: Science Café Columbia continues its mission to inspire informal, relaxed conversations about popular science topics.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Grasping an object involves a complex network of brain functions. First, visual cues are processed in specialized areas of the brain. Then, other areas of the brain use these signals to control the hands to reach for and manipulate the desired object.

A&S alumni are leaders all around the world, particularly in the state of Missouri and within the university community. Two of them have recently been appointed to the MU System Board of Curators by Governor Jay Nixon.

Professor Cheryl Black

Cheryl Black, professor of acting, theater history, and dramaturgy has always loved theater. She enjoys studying the history and theory of theater just as much as she relishes any opportunity to actively participate in a play. Her role as a leader in the field was recently affirmed when she was named a fellow of the Mid-America Theatre Conference (MATC).  

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Considerable attention has been paid to how boys’ educational achievements in science and math compare to girls’ accomplishments in those areas, often leading to the assumption that boys outperform girls in these areas.

Larry Dale Clark, dean emeritus of the College of Arts and Science and professor emeritus of theatre

Larry Dale Clark, dean emeritus of the College of Arts and Science and professor emeritus of theatre, passed away in December at age 82 in Columbia, Missouri.

Lacy Johnson

For her harrowing memoir, "The Other Side," Houston writer Lacy Johnson has been named a finalist for two prestigious national awards: a National Book Critics Circle Award for the best autobiography of 2014; and an

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The evaluation of public school teachers is a topic addressed regularly by voters and policymakers around the country. Researchers at the University of Missouri have identified a plan to evaluate teachers fairly using a “proportional” system.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Gold nanoparticles have been proven useful in a number of medical applications.  Scientists are developing nanoparticles to produce pharmaceuticals used in the imaging and diagnosis of diseases such as cancer, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and eye degeneration. However, problems occur in the development of these nanoparticles as toxic chemicals are sometimes released during the manufacturing process.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – When seeking clues about the future effects of possible climate change, sometimes scientists look to the past. Now, a paleobiologist from the University of Missouri has found indications of a greater risk of parasitic infection due to climate change in ancient mollusk fossils.


Christmas came early this year for the Museum of Anthropology.  An anonymous donor gave 700 stone tools from Africa and Europe to the museum.

James Birchler, Curators’ Professor of Biological Sciences

James Birchler, Curators’ Professor of Biological Sciences, was recently selected as a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) for his distinguished contributions to the field of cytogenetics, a branch of science that examines the structure and function of cells, especially chromosomes.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – A new study from University of Missouri and Virginia Tech researchers is challenging accepted ideas about how ancient soft-bodied organisms become part of the fossil record. Findings suggest that bacteria involved in the decay of those organisms play an active role in how fossils are formed—often in a matter of just a few tens to hundreds of years.

Pyritized Conotubus specimens  Photo credit: Yaoping Cai, Northwest University, Xi'an China

The mountains of the Ningqiang area, in the southern Shaanxi province of south China, are a paleontological gold mine. James Schiffbauer, assistant professor of geology, collected a variety of samples from a specific locality in this region, known as the Gaojiashan Lagerstätte, to aid in his ongoing paleobiology and taphonomy research.

Jerry Atwood, Curators’ Professor of Chemistry

Jerry Atwood, Hank Foley, and Silvia Jurisson have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Election as an AAAS fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. This year, 401 members were awarded the honor by AAAS as a result of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Cytogenetics is a branch of science that studies the structure and function of cells with a focus on the chromosomes found within the cell. Often, plant cell researchers can be limited in their experiments due to the lack of methods available to study these complex structures.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Nanomedicine is the medical application of nanotechnology, or the use of microscopic structures to diagnose, image, treat and prevent disease. Current problems in nanomedicine include understanding and anticipating the potentially toxic impact these nanostructures have on the body and the environment once they’re released.