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Mun Choi

Mun Choi

President | U of Missouri system | Class of 1987

Among the five former Illini now running Southeastern Conference schools: Mun Choi, a 1987 general engineering grad who was named president of the University of Missouri system in March 2017.

For the South Korean immigrant — his family moved to Chicago when he was 9 — the most campus memorable spot is nowhere to be found on any official UI tour map. 

It’s a “nondescript conference room on the first floor of the old Metallurgy and Mining Building on Green Street,” Choi says. “In the evening, the building was nearly deserted and offered a quiet space to study. 

“My study buddy, Tony Schaff — who’s now a senior director of Eli Lilly — and I would meet up after dinner to study for Professor James Carnahan’s controls course as well as Professor Richard Shields’ materials course. After each intense session of study, Tony and I would end the evening by playing a little paper basketball and paper football.

“The engineering curriculum at Illinois was known to be intense and so having a comfortable place to study was very much appreciated.”