Culture of Caring

Our success — our collective success as a university, as a country, as a people — is measured by the impact of our words, the warmth of our hugs, and the gratitude of our hearts.

Landon Jones portrait

Post by Landon Jones
Photo by Ryan Gavin

“Over the course of my life many things have come to an end, and before today my endings had always been accompanied by sadness and regret. Usually because I know I didn’t do enough. I didn’t grow enough. I didn’t love enough. At MU that is not the case; it was never the case. On this campus there is a culture of caring.

That culture is curated by our students. Our students who are here to not only get a traditional public education, but to invest in each other and their community. These are the students who correct a professor who misgenders me. The students who interrupt violence on the street instead of walking with their heads down. The students, midwestern or otherwise, who smile at strangers on the sidewalk or refuse to go first at a stop sign at which they have the right-of-way. I’m not afraid for the future of this university because you all are here. You will teach the next wave of incoming students to invest in each other, to value communal love, to make this place the home so many of us have never had.

As I sit outside Memorial Union, it’s almost impossible to forget the many students who came before me. The students who modeled this type of selflessness. The students who knew giving was so much more than money but consists of time and attention and presence of mind. The students who sacrificed their studies to petition and protest with the singular goal of improving our lives. These were the students who were my role models, and I pray you saw some of that legacy in me.

Whether you have four more years or, like me, are about to embark on your next adventure, remember this: your success is not marked by your achievements. Our success — our collective success as a university, as a country, as a people — is measured by the impact of our words, the warmth of our hugs, and the gratitude of our hearts.

From one tiger to another, thank you. ?

Landon Jones
Home: Poplar Bluff, Mo.
Major: Radio/TV Producing — Missouri School of Journalism & Creative Writing — University of Missouri English Department
Involvement: Diversity Peer Educators, Mizzou Alternative Breaks, Mizzou Summer Welcome, Mizzou Speakers Series, KBIA 91.3 FM, Newsy