Tribute Tree demonstrates colleagues’ appreciation as Mark McIntosh retires

Dr. Mark McIntosh, retired MU vice chancellor for research and economic

Dr. Mark McIntosh, retired MU vice chancellor for research and economic

When Mark McIntosh, MU vice chancellor for research and economic development, announced he would retire at the beginning of 2021 a plan was hatched to honor him with a living legacy on the campus where he worked and distinguished himself for 40 years.


Jeff Sossamon, assistant director of strategic communications in the Office of Research and Economic Development, initiated an effort to raise funds from the nearly 800 people in the division and from the School of Medicine to commemorate a Mizzou Botanic Garden Tribute Tree in McIntosh’s honor.


“It’s a really nice way to honor folks,” Sossamon said. “Pete Millier [MUBG Director] gave us a choice of trees and we chose a dogwood, a little selfish on my part since it’s the state flower of North Carolina [Sossaman’s home state]. But it’s also the state tree of Missouri.


“You can see it from his (former) office window.”

the plaque that sits at the base of the tree.

The dogwood Tribute Tree dedicated to Mark McIntosh upon his retirement and the plaque that sits at the base of the tree.

McIntosh, a nationally recognized scientist in bacterial genomics, chaired MU’s Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology for 15 years before becoming the university’s administrator of research. Upon his retirement, MU President Mun Choi congratulated McIntosh for his outstanding contributions, highlighting efforts over the past four years that resulted in 16 MU licensed technology startup companies as well as 200 license and option agreements that generated “profound impacts on local and state economies.”


A virtual retirement party was held for McIntosh by his staff. President Choi initiated the virtual celebration that included emotional reminiscences by research partner and colleague Dr. David Pintel; well-known Mizzou supporter Dudley McCarter — a friend and football teammate from McIntosh’s college days at Knox College in Illinois; his son Tim, a UM System executive recruiter; as well as a heartfelt response from McIntosh.


Tom Spencer, interim vice chancellor for research and economic development, also announced that McIntosh’s colleagues and family collectively had funded an MUBG Tribute Tree in his honor and shared photos of the tree and dedication plaque.


“Mark has worked — and continues to work — tirelessly to ensure that our research mission rises to the level of excellence expected of Missouri’s flagship, land-grant, AAU institution,” Choi said. “So much of this work happens behind the scenes, and I’m grateful that this tree can be a small but visible symbol of our gratitude for his immense contributions.”