Michael Sykuta

I did not originally aspire to be a college professor--or an economist. I headed off to a small liberal arts college with expectations of going to law school. By the end of my freshman year I decided to major in East Asian history. By the beginning of my sophomore year, I decided that small liberal arts college in a small town wasn't where I wanted to be and I transferred to UM-St. Louis. My restlessness with school didn't end there--I ended up withdrawing before the end of that fall semester. Yep, the professor is a college drop-out. Obviously I returned to school, after taking the spring semester off. It was in my second sophomore year that I became enamored with economics. It just made sense to me. My professor was a young guy who soon became my adviser--and he continues to be a mentor in some respects even today. I spent many hours just visiting with him, discussing economics, politics and life in general. It was because of that relationship that I decided to pursue a career in academia. Dave Rose, thank you. The rest, as they say, is history. But my college experience is a reflection of my life and faith more generally; filled with fits and starts, detours and doubts, and (with hope) a successful finish. The journey continues and it is still filled with fits and starts of all sorts. But I do hold on to the hope of a successful conclusion. Accepting Jesus Christ as my life leader has not solved my life's problems--and in fact, in some ways it adds challenges. But as one of Jesus' early followers, Paul, explained, it is "[n]ot that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:12-14). I have not been made perfect (just ask my wife...or my students!), but I do seek to go on toward perfection. I run the race, even though I stumble as often as not. However, one of the great things about my faith is understanding that my stumbles are forgiven and I don't need to constantly dwell on them. I can forget what is behind and keep moving forward. That, my friend, is both humbling and liberating. If you're interested in more about my professional activities, see my faculty webpage at http://web.missouri.edu/~sykutam or feel free to look me up on Facebook.

My Life

Favorite Quote

Failure is succeeding at something that doesn't matter.

My hobbies

my children (and their activities), running, reading, Boy Scouts of America

Fantasy dinner guests

Jesus Christ, Abraham Lincoln, John Wesley, Adam Smith, C.S. Lewis

My undergrad alma mater

University of Missouri-St. Louis

My worst subject in school

Accounting! No offense, but...BORING!

In college I drove

1985 Chevy Spectrum

Favorite books

Lord of the Rings, Seeing Grey in a World of Black and White, Seizing Your Divine Moment, Love Your God With All Your Mind

Favorite movies

Lord of the Rings, The Passion of the Christ

Favorite city

Chicago (it's like a second hometown for me)

Favorite coffee

Jamaican Me Crazy (at Rendezvous)

Nobody knows I

Dropped out of college my sophomore year.

My latest accomplishment

Conquered the roller coasters at Six Flags--Great America