Jackson Park Golf Course was awash in a sea of black and gold as incoming students, current students and alums gathered to show their school spirit was as strong as ever during the Mizzou Alumni Association Great River Tigers Back to School Bash on Friday, July 28.

Jackson Park Golf Course was awash in a sea of black and gold as incoming students, current students and alums gathered to show their school spirit was as strong as ever during the Mizzou Alumni Association Great River Tigers Back to School Bash on Friday, July 28.

Thirty incoming and current University of Missouri (Mizzou) students joined past students, family members and well-wishers during a celebration that included the awarding of 12 scholarships to area students. Mizzou Athletics Director Jim Sterk talked with the crowd about how he came to Mizzou and revealed some of his plans for the future. And the smiling students agreed that a July article from the New York Times focused on negative aspects but did not touch upon positive events happening every day at Mizzou.

Senior Bazil Keller, who is majoring in Ag Systems Management with a minor in Ag Business, said “there’s a lot of Mizzou pride going on here,” and he enjoyed the chance to meet with Sterk, alumni members and other supporters of the school. As he enters his senior year, he looks forward to the chance for his fraternity Alpha Gamma Rho to win during homecoming. He joined fellow students in pointing out that students and faculty at Mizzou are making a positive impact everyday.

“Great things happen at Mizzou,” Keller said.

Kevin Bross, who is preparing to enter Mizzou’s School of Law, said it’s difficult to know what’s really happening without being a part of campus life.

“I think Mizzou is great, and I think people inside Mizzou have a much different opinion and perspective than those outside,” he said. “I think it’s really easy for people outside to misunderstand or misconstrue things, to not really know what’s going on inside. So I think it’s important to talk to people who are actually there and people who are involved — whether it’s students or alumni — to get a more clear picture of what’s happening in and around the campus.”

Bross said he looked forward to the chance to focus on the courses and education that he seeks for his career as the semester approaches.

State Rep. Craig Redmon (R-Canton) said he was eager to support what’s happening at Mizzou. He is a member of the Budget Committee, and he said he has a close understanding of fiscal aspects at the university.

“To see the community come out and support this, for me, that’s the key,” he said. “Because you know how everything looks on paper, but when you can see people getting behind something, you know that they’re dedicated to it. So that means a lot.”

Event chairman Al Kennett welcomed all of the students in front of the crowd so they could each introduce themselves. Throughout the evening, each student received a card so they could search for a fellow student with the matching card, spurring new friendships. Kennett announced the winners of a total of 12 scholarships, made possible by ticket sales from the event, donors, raffle sales and the Mizzou Alumni Association Great River Tigers Chapter.

Amy Jones, of Palmyra, received a $1,000 renewable scholarship, and she was joined by four incoming freshmen who received a one-time $1,000 scholarship: Andrew Goerlich, of Quincy, Ill.; Abigail Laws, of Hannibal; Josh Underhill, of Monroe City; and Rachel Conrad, of Palmyra. Current students Megan Duesterhaus, of Quincy; and Brant Francis, of Paris also received $1,000 scholarships.

Five students each received a $500 scholarship during the evening’s drawing, with one scholarship sponsored by County Market and the remaining awards coming from the Great River Tigers Chapter. The recipients were: Jonathan Schaefer, of Palmyra; Tanner Nix, of Palmyra; Kason Rademan, of Hannibal; Jene Shade of Palmyra; and Cooper Sutter of Taylor.

Rosemary Munger, who will major in Diagnostic Medical Ultrasound this fall, said she enjoyed her first visit to the event.

“I think it’s really cool that Mizzou does this too, because I haven’t heard of any other school doing something like this,” Munger said.

The outpouring of support and visible Tiger spirit also impacted Lincoln University Senior Madison Ragar, who attended her second event to support friends at Mizzou.

“It’s really awesome to see how everyone is so into their school,” she said. “I love to see all the school spirit, and everybody just gets along so well. It makes me in the mood for it.”

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com