By Kat Riddler, Managing Editor

The University of Missouri-St. Louis celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first graduating class and the founding of the Alumni Association on May 12 and 13.

Guests were greeted with a blast from the past clothing display in front of the check-in for the evening. Kat Riddler/The Current.

The UMSL Alumni Association was born when the class of 1967 graduated on June 9, 1967. Lois Brockmeier Schoemehl, a member of the class, was asked to become the first Alumni Director at UMSL; and Jack Sieber was asked to be the first Alumni Association president.

Jennifer Jezek-Taussig, associate vice chancellor for alumni engagement, introduced the banquet program. President of the Alumni Association Kirk Richter, BSBA 1968, spoke at the reception about the association’s latest efforts. Richter announced that since 2015, the alumni association adopted an all inclusive model of membership. That means that there are no dues for members and that all students from UMSL are immediately part of the association after graduation.

Jezek-Taussig and Richter announced the Alumni Association raised $1 million dollars for the Alumni Association endowment that was started in 2015. Jezek-Taussig explained the fund was created to offset the non-dues set up. Jezek-Taussig said, “The thought behind the endowment is that the Association still needs revenue for programming, but will no longer ask for dues from alumni. A group of committed alumni did research on other Alumni Associations in the U.S. and determined that $5 million is the ultimate goal.”

Jezek-Taussig said, “It was serendipitous that we were able to celebrate the first 50th reunion class and the 50th anniversary of the Alumni Association and the $1 million milestone.”

There was a pinning ceremony for the first graduating class to enter the Golden Circle and become Golden Alumni. This is a special society established to honor alumni who have graduated 50 years or more ago. At the 50th anniversary of each succeeding class, from now on, the class members are automatically admitted into this society.

The first graduating class wore golden robes and had commemorative stoles as they joined the first graduation ceremony on Saturday. Jezek-Taussig remembered Irwin Loiterstein who, upon processing into Commencement, looked left and saw the graduating students seated there. “I saw myself fifty years ago,” he said. Jezek Taussig said, “I hope that the students looked back at Irwin and the others and perhaps saw a glimpse of themselves in 50 years. That’s what we wanted to achieve in that moment.”


Lois Brockmeier Schoemehl, Co-Chair
Brian Bass
Susan Wehmer Kagy
Jack Sieber, Co-Chair
Ed Bellamy
Nancy Weighle Knarr
Dave Ganz, Faculty Advisor
Hon. Richard Bresnahan
Irwin Loiterstein
Lol Barton, Faculty Advisor
Dineen Kehm Ebert
Suzie Salsman Shoub
Sandra Logan Fussner
Mary Killenberg Riley

Full list of activities for the weekend is below:

Friday, May 12
2 p.m. – CHECK-IN
and mingle with classmates and old friends at the REUNION HOSPITALITY SUITE in Gallery 210 (aka the Blue Metal Building. Light refreshments will be available.

3 – 4 p.m. – CAMPUS HERITAGE TOUR narrated by David Ganz, Emeritus Associate Dean, College of Business Administration. Shuttle bus departs from Gallery 210. See how the UMSL campus has grown since its opening in 1963. Highlights on this tour will include the Old Club House grounds, Benton Hall, South Campus, and downtown Ferguson, MO.

 Presented by special guest Chancellor Emerita, Dr. Blanche M. Touhill. Topic: “UMSL: The Early Years.”

6 – 8 p.m. – GOLDEN ALUMNI RECEPTION  Join Chancellor George, the UMSL Alumni Association and the campus community for a special champagne toast to members from the class of 1967.  Experience an informal evening of conversation with old friends while enjoying cocktails, heavy appetizers, campus memorabilia and festive music of from the 60s.
Attending members from the class of 1967 will be inducted into the Golden Circle. This special society was established to honor UMSL alumni who have graduated from the university 50 years or more ago. At the 50th anniversary of each succeeding class, the class members are automatically admitted into the Golden Circle.

The first graduating class walking across the stage at the banquet to get their 50th anniversary pin. Kat Riddler/The Current.

Saturday, May 13
8 a.m. – Class members arrive at the Arts Administration Building (AAB) for CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST and  academic attire ROBING

9:15 a.m. – Formal CLASS PHOTO.

9:30 a.m. – Shuttles depart for Mark Twain pre-staging area and line-up for processional.

10 a.m. – Class of 1967 leads PROCESSIONAL with Lois Schoemehl and Jack Sieber as class marshals.

11:20 p.m. – Ceremony ends. 50th Class recesses following the platform party and re-boards shuttle to return to Arts Administration Building to disrobe and pick-up personal items. Group proceeds to the Lee Theatre in the Touhill Performing Arts Center for the CHANCELLOR’S FAREWELL LUNCHEON

1:30 p.m. – Luncheon ends. REUNION CONCLUDES.

3 – 5 p.m. – CHEMISTRY DEPARTMENT REUNION. Join fellow Chemistry graduates for a special reception honoring classmates who graduated from 1967-1970. Hosted by Professor Emeritus Lol Barton and the UMSL Department of Chemistry.

Pictures from the first graduating class’ time on campus and what campus was like can be found here.