MU Chancellor Deaton Reflects on SEC Move and More

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COLUMBIA - Friday marks the end of Brady Deaton's nine years as Chancellor of the University of Missouri and 24 total years at the university.

In his last media engagement before retiring, Deaton spoke about his greatest achievements at the school.

"I began working here in central administration when our six-year graduation rate was 56 or 57 percent," Deaton said. "Check the record on that. Now it's over 70 percent. That's been a phenomenal improvement that speaks to the quality and commitment of the various colleges here on campus and the faculty and commitment of the various colleges here on campus, the deans, and the faculty who have worked hard to make it easy for students to transfer from one curriculum to another and stay here at the university."

Deaton also addressed the move to the Southeastern Conference (SEC) in athletics during the interview. He said fair or unfair it's something he's going to be remembered for and he looked back on how the whole thing came together and why the school made the switch.

"I was chair of the Big 12 board, as you know, at that time, and we were working night and day to keep the Big 12 together and strong," Deaton said. "And then, after one of our board meetings in which everyone pledged commitment, the next day we saw the announcement that five or so of the universities were thinking about joining the Pac-12. At that point the coalition commitment fell apart."

He continued, "The potential gain there is phenomenal in every aspect and it's also very stable. They also revere the University of Missouri for the right reasons. The quality of what we bring academically as well as competitively are very important components of athletic conferences in the country."

Deaton also looked toward the future and outlined a couple of the university's possible future issues and problems to watch for.

"The change in the amount of support that the university gets or proportional support from the state versus tuition versus private sector giving - those are all important factors," Deaton said. "In and out of state enrollments and the revenue stream associated with that. There's no question that classrooms are a little tighter. We're using electronic tools and information technology very heavily to make that more reasonable and balanced. That has to continue and I have no doubt that it will."

Deaton said more than anything, he's just ready to spend time with his family.

"I intend to visit one or more of our children and grandchildren. We have big plans to get the family or most of the family back together for Christmas, so I'm very much looking forward to a break," Deaton said.

The chancellor will move on from the university after being appointed by President Obama to chair the board on international food and agricultural development, what Deaton called his true passion.