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More than 5,500 graduates to receive degrees from Mizzou

University officials will award honorary degrees to legal trailblazer Ann Covington, business ethicist Richard Orin

May 7th, 2018

Story Contact: Liz McCune, 573-882-6212,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – During the weekend of May 11-13, approximately 5,510 students will receive degrees during spring commencement ceremonies at the University of Missouri. University officials also will honor Ann Covington, a Mizzou alumna and the first woman to serve as chief justice of the Supreme Court of Missouri; and MU alumnus Richard Orin, an expert in tax law dedicated to professional responsibility and ethics.

“Commencement weekend is a time to celebrate the hard work and achievements of all our graduates,” Chancellor Alexander Cartwright said. “The University of Missouri is proud of their achievements and confident that they will continue to be successful after graduation as members of the Mizzou Alumni Association.”

The career outlook for Mizzou graduates is bright. A recent survey shows that more than 90 percent of MU graduates have found successful career outcomes, including whether they are involved in public service, in the military or are continuing their education. MU’s career outcomes rate ranks well above the average of Mizzou’s peer groups.

“The results of this survey indicate that Mizzou graduates are prepared to be successful in a very competitive job market,” Interim Provost Jim Spain said. “They are prepared and eager to embark on the next stage of their lives, whether that be starting their career, pursuing additional schooling, volunteering with a service organization or joining the military.”

During commencement weekend, MU will award 6,105 degrees, including 4,564 bachelor’s degrees, 911 master’s degrees, 315 doctorates, 90 law degrees, 111 veterinary medicine degrees, 98 medicine degrees and 16 education specialist degrees. Some students will receive more than one degree. More than 540 online students, who come from 39 states and seven countries, also will graduate.

Each school and college at MU holds separate ceremonies for commencement, and many invite notable speakers to address the graduates. Speakers at this year’s commencement ceremonies include:

  • Anne Deaton, co-founder of the Brady and Anne Deaton Institute for University Leadership in International Development and former first lady of MU, will speak at the College of Human Environmental Sciences/School of Social Work ceremony on May 13.
  • Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops, will speak at the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources/School of Natural Resources ceremony on May 11.
  • Bob Priddy, former news director of MissouriNet and current president of the State Historical Society of Missouri Board of Trustees, will speak at the College of Arts and Science ceremony on May 12.
  • Yashika Nicole Tippett-Eggleson, retired captain in the U.S. Army Reserve and founding principal of Air Force Academy High School, will speak at the College of Education ceremony on May 11.

Note: A detailed schedule of events and biographical information of the honorary degree recipients Ann Covington and Richard Orin are attached.

For more information on the commencement ceremonies and Columbia accommodations, please visit:

Parking note: This year, spring commencement ceremonies will coincide with the SEC Softball tournament, bringing an influx of visitors to the campus area and creating traffic/parking congestion.

Commencement guests should arrive no earlier than 30 minutes before the commencement ceremony begins as several ceremonies are being held at the same locations throughout the weekend. Officials will need some time to help guests leave the parking area before spots will be available for the next ceremony. Graduates should be at the location of their respective ceremonies 60 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony.

Public parking is available in lots J, K, O, M and P, with accessible parking available in lots K, O and the north M lot. More information, including a parking map, is posted online:

MU Spring Commencement 2018
Schedule of Events

Note: Students in the School of Social Work will participate in the College of Human Environmental Sciences ceremony.

Friday, May 11

College of Education
1 p.m.
Hearnes Center
Yashika Nicole Tippett-Eggleson, retired captain in the U.S. Army Reserve and founding principal of Air Force Academy High School.

College of Veterinary Medicine
2 p.m.
Jesse Auditorium, Jesse Hall
Speaker: Michael Lairmore, dean of the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine

College of Engineering
4:30 p.m.
Mizzou Arena
Speaker: Dave Haffner, retired CEO and board chair of Leggett & Platt

College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources/School of Natural Resources
8 p.m.
Hearnes Center
Speaker: Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops

Saturday, May 12

Honors Convocation
8:30 a.m.
Mizzou Arena
Speaker: Honorary degree recipients, Ann Covington, former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Missouri; and Richard Orin, founding member and later president of the American Association of Attorney CPAs.

School of Medicine
11:30 a.m.
Jesse Auditorium, Jesse Hall
Speaker: Debra Howenstine, associate professor of clinical family and community medicine

Trulaske College of Business
12:30 p.m.
Hearnes Center
Speaker: Denise Mills, co-founder and Chief Mindset Office for the LeaderFuel Center, a leadership development consultant firm

Sinclair School of Nursing
3 p.m.
Jesse Auditorium, Jesse Hall
Speaker: Select professor and students from the Sinclair School of Nursing

College of Arts and Science
4:30 p.m.
Mizzou Arena
Speaker: Bob Priddy, former news director of MissouriNet and current president of the State Historical Society of Missouri Board of Trustees

Sunday, May 13

College of Human Environmental Sciences/School of Social Work
9 a.m.
Mizzou Arena
Speaker: Anne Deaton, co-founder of the Brady and Anne Deaton Institute for University Leadership in International Development and former first lady of MU

School of Health Professions
11 a.m.
Hearnes Center
Speaker: Mike Carr, CEO of PURAIR, a medical oxygen supplier serving Kansas City

School of Law
12:30 p.m.
Jesse Auditorium, Jesse Hall
Speaker: Paul C. Wilson, justice of the Supreme Court of Missouri

Office of Graduate Studies (master’s and education specialists)
2:30 p.m.
Mizzou Arena

School of Journalism
5:30 p.m.
Hearnes Center
Speaker: Jon Cook, global CEO of VML, a marketing and advertising agency

Office of Graduate Studies (hooding ceremony for doctoral candidates)
2:30 p.m.
Mizzou Arena

Ann Covington Biography

Ann Kettering Covington is a trailblazer. She was the first woman to serve on the Missouri Court of Appeals and the Missouri Supreme Court, later being tapped as chief justice.

Covington earned a bachelor of arts degree from Duke University in 1963 and a juris doctor from the University of Missouri in 1977.

As a new lawyer, she served as Missouri assistant attorney general and later entered private practice in Columbia. In 1987, Covington was appointed to the Missouri Court of Appeals and, two years later, she was the appointed to the Missouri Supreme Court. She became chief justice in 1993.

While on the Supreme Court, Covington and her colleagues were instrumental in a number of significant programs focused on improving the administration of justice in Missouri, particularly in advancing modernization of the processes of the judicial branch and instituting statewide citizen education programs. Her involvement led her to chair a committee to plan a national town hall meeting on improving court and community collaboration.

After retiring from the Supreme Court, Covington joined the international law firm of Bryan Cave LLP as a partner, specializing in appellate advocacy. While at Bryan Cave, Covington served for 12 years as a member of the board of directors of The Shelter Insurance Companies.

Covington has been a board member of the National Center for State Courts and the Advisory Committee on Evidence Rules of the Judicial Conference of the United States. She also served as a vice president of the Conference of Chief Justices and was a member of the American Law Institute.

As a result of her work in the judicial system, Covington was honored by the American Bar Association in 2009. The ABA recognized her as one of the Women Trailblazers in the Law, and she was the subject of an oral history project, which is now proudly housed in the Library of Congress.

Covington also is passionate about higher education. She is a curator emerita of the University of Missouri Board of Curators and is a member of both the university’s Truman Scholarship nomination panel as well as the Mark Twain Fellowship selection committee. Covington mentors students in the University of Missouri School of Law and engages with both undergraduate and graduate students throughout the University of Missouri System.

While the law and Mizzou will always be an important part of her life, it will never take priority over spending time with her family. She is the mother of two, Elizabeth and Paul, and currently is enjoying watching her family grow with the additions of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She also is active in the Missouri United Methodist Church and serves in a number of other voluntary capacities.

She belongs to MU’s Jefferson Club and has received the University’s Faculty Alumni Award, the Jefferson Club Golden Quill Alumni Excellence Award and the Griffiths Leadership Society for Women Spirit of Martha Award. She is a 2017 inductee into the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame.

Richard Orin Biography

 For Richard Orin, education is a lifelong pursuit. Born and raised in New York, he began his collegiate academic career at Cornell University in 1943, but World War II prompted him to enlist in the U.S. Navy.

Soon after he returned to the U.S., Orin found his way to Mizzou. Determined to be independent, Orin worked three jobs rather than accept money from his parents. He caught the attention of DR Scott, a pillar of the then MU School of Business and Public Administration. Scott, a World War I veteran with a doctorate from Harvard University and great confidence in his opinions, was a perfect mentor for Orin. The two discussed academics, current events and everything else under the sun. Those meetings were very precious to Orin. He still remembers them clearly.

Orin earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration (with a major in accountancy) from Mizzou in 1949, and the experience left an indelible mark on him. Among his accomplishments at MU, he was elected into Beta Gamma Sigma business honor fraternity and Alpha Pi Zeta. Orin also was a member of Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity.

After graduation, Orin returned home to New York and worked as a junior account executive while attending New York University’s law school at night. However, when the Korean War started, Orin’s plans were interrupted once more. He was drafted in the U.S. Army, eventually serving as an engineer in a rebuilt division in Germany. He was given a letter of commendation for his service in addition to receiving the Meritorious Service Award.

Orin returned in 1953 and completed his education at NYU, earning a juris doctor degree in 1955 and a master’s degree in taxation law in 1957. He has spent the past 60 years practicing tax law as an attorney and a certified public accountant.

Orin is a founding member and former president of the American Association of Attorney-Certified Public Accountants. Based on his leadership of the organization, he received the first Louis S. Goldberg Memorial Award. He is the author of “Professional Ethics,” published by the Foundation of Accounting Education. He also belongs to the Trulaske College of Business’ Herbert J. Davenport Society.

Over the years, Orin has had many celebrity clients, including filmmaker and comedian Mel Brooks and travel guide author Arthur Frommer, who once gave him a personal tour of Amsterdam. He served the Broadway musical production The Fantasticks for 41 years.

For Orin, the true essence of public accounting is professional responsibility and ethics. It’s a value that Scott instilled in him, and one that Orin has long sought to instill in others. He is the sponsor of the Richard M. Orin Ethics Symposium at the School of Accountancy in the Trulaske College of Business. The lecture series, established in 1997, focuses on the intersection of ethics and accounting and attracts more than 400 attendees annually. In recognition of his contributions, he received the Lifetime Contribution to Ethics Education Award from the School of Accountancy and the Alumni Citation of Merit Award from the Trulaske College of Business.

Throughout his personal and professional advancement, Orin has kept Mizzou close to his heart and has become one of our most influential alumni, earning the affectionate moniker of “our oldest and most active living alumnus.”