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Columbia September 9, 2008 - University of Missouri Journalism School 100th Anniversary

3 Quadrangle

By Bob Van Leer

  (Columbia, MO, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2008) - The University of Missouri Journalism School was founded in 1908, the first journalism school in the United States and this year had a celebration to mark the 100th anniversary.

  I graduated from the school in 1951, and my late wife, Betty, also graduated from the school but in 1952. I decided since I have been associated with the school for more than half of those 100 years to go back to the celebration. Betty and I visited the school several times over those years and always visited with Dr. Earl English, who took over as dean of the school when we were students there. We also took classes under him and it was the start of a life-long friendship.

English visited us in Gold Beach once. He was in his 90s when he died a couple of years ago.

7 Instruments

  This was the first time in years I was on I-70 to Columbia and things have changed. St. Charles was a sleepy river town on the Missouri River 30 miles from St. Louis. It is now part of the St. Louis metro area complete with fast food restaurants, service stations and motels.

  The shuttle took me directly to the home of my nephew, Dr. Steve Pallardy, professor of forestry, with whom I will be staying. We visited until past midnight catching up with family news.


  Steve spends much of his time on research as well as teaching. He has underway an experiment, part of a world-wide net tracking the uptake and release of carbon dioxide in a forest.

  He said we have a good handle on man-made sources of CO2 and also its release from the oceans. Steve said there is less CO2 in the atmosphere than expected and they think it is being taken care of by forests, a "hidden sink". Growing forests take up CO2 and there has been a lot of harvesting so the hypothesis is that young forests are taking up the missing CO2. But first you have to know this is actually happening and this is what the experiment is about. He thinks he needs 10 years for the study and is in the sixth year. He is funded through September, 2009. The results will be contributions to basic science and can be used for decision making. For instance, some trees store more CO2 than others. If low-performing trees are discovered, these can be cut and, if used for fuel to replace oil, cause no net CO2 increase. They can then be replaced with trees that store more CO2.

  The key of the experiment is a 100 ft tower with sensors at varying altitudes that measure CO2, water vapor, temperature and wind (in three directions). Instruments on the forest floor measure how much CO2 is emitted by decaying vegetation. The experiment covers a one-kilometer (.6 miles) distance from the tower.

1 Tower Steve said he has to climb the 100 ft. tower and it is alright until he gets above the treetops and then he confesses to being a little apprehensive. The site is on state owned land a little south of Columbia.


  In the evening I went to the first real event of the celebration, a barbecue at the university's basketball stadium. Food service was in a wide corridor around the inside of the stadium and the formal opening ceremony was on the basketball floor, now covered with chairs.

  The barbecue was a sellout with over 800 there. I met a few people I knew from newspapering around the country, but I only met one of my old classmates. (Our class was about 100.) We both agreed we didn't know one another. There were very few my age there but I suppose that is understandable since I'm 81. I had checked with the admissions desk and was told there were about 2400 registered. Of these, about 1200 were not current students.

  The opening address was given by Dean Mills and addressing him is somewhat cumbersome to me. He is long-time dean of the journalism school and his name is also Dean. So how would you address him, "Dean Dean Mills"? This must have been worked out but I didn't ask anyone.

  Tomorrow the work sessions start.

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