Student Curator Brings New Perspective to Board

Patrick Graham Opera picture
Jordan Yount
Patrick Graham as Figaro in "The Marriage of Figaro"
Show-Me Opera, March 2016 Missouri Theatre
photo by Dale H. Lloyd

Patrick Graham’s nomination to the University of Missouri Board of Curators will not become official until the Missouri Senate approves the appointment, but the MU junior is not sitting around waiting for lawmakers to act. Since Governor Nixon nominated Graham as the next student representative on the Board of Curators in March, Graham has attended public forums of the presidential search committee and went to listening sessions with students at UMKC and at MU. He also has talked with his predecessor, Tracy Mulderig at UMSL, about how she communicates with students on the four campuses of the University of Missouri System.

“The biggest thing she recommended I try to do is to reach out to the student body presidents of the four campuses to establish good lines of communication,” Graham says.

Graham is a vocal music education student who says he can bring a new perspective to the board.

“I wasn’t inspired to apply for it for political reasons, because it can be a political stepping stone since you make a lot of connections,” Graham says. “I thought I would apply because I’m passionate about education, I’m passionate about higher education, and I think it’s important that there’s a voice on the board who comes from outside of that political sphere. I don’t think they’ve had a ton of music majors apply to the board.”

Graham says the biggest issue the board likely will face during the first year of his two-year term will be selecting a new president for the UM System. He also wants to encourage the board to be more supportive of the campuses in Rolla, Kansas City, and St. Louis, saying the flagship campus in Columbia tends to get most of the board’s time and attention.   

Graham says he heard about the student curator position from former MSA President Peyton Head, whom he serves with on the Alumni Association Student Board, but it was the student activism on the Columbia campus last fall that motivated him to apply.

“I think it’s important that Mizzou and the whole university system is successful because of how it impacts the entire state, and I think sometimes people forget that,” Graham says. “Since I want to work in higher education someday, I thought it was important to step up and attempt to make my voice heard. I care a lot about higher education, and I love Mizzou.”