Aubrey Byron, News Editor

The State of the University Address of the University of Missouri–St. Louis was held at 3 p.m. on Sept. 27. Chancellor Thomas George gave an address on the state of UMSL, highlighting several positive achievements and developments of the past year.

“I know we’ve had a lot of challenges, particularly at the University of Missouri system the last few years, but here at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, we’re alive and well,” he said.

Chancellor George speaking at the University Address event. Photo by Michael Plumb/The Current.

Among the notable achievements were awards from well-known publications around the country. Business Insider named the university “#1 for Affordability.” The Chancellor noted that the distinction is only classified among the top 220 colleges in the U.S. UMSL was also named “Best for Vets” by Military Times for the third consecutive year. It was named one of “America’s Best Colleges” by Forbes and ranked fifth nationally for adult learners according to Best College Value.

UMSL has enjoyed increased enrollment in its freshman class this year with an 11 percent increase. Freshman are coming in with higher ACT scores and GPA’s, beating the national average. Incoming transfer students have stayed consistent.

Total enrollment at UMSL is currently 16,600, with 7,662 undergraduate students, 2,756 graduate students, 172 doctoral students, and 6,000 Advanced Credit Program (ACP) students. ACP students are high school students attending certain college classes for dual credit.

Chancellor’s Excellence Awards for faculty and staff. Photo by Michael Plumb/The Current.

Individual programs have earned distinction at UMSL as well. The International Business department was ranked 24th nationally. It has been in the “Top 25” business schools for 15 consecutive years.

St. Louis Public Radio, an asset of UMSL, has expanded significantly over the past year. It assumed operational and programming duties of Missouri Science and Technology’s public radio station. This comes after the acquisition of Quincy’s public radio a few years ago. The chancellor called St. Louis Public Radio the “best balanced reporting.”

A recent climate survey on campus revealed a “comfortable, progressive environment to live and work.” The majority of survey participants reported feeling safe on campus, and 75 percent of participants reported being comfortable or very comfortable.

UMSL’s campus has grown significantly in 2017. The Anheuser-Busch Hall opened in fall and became home to the College of Business Administration, and SSM Health just opened a new outpatient center last week.

Front page of St. Louis Post-Dispatch 9/28.
Cartoon by Dan Martin of The St. Louis Post Dispatch.

An important measurement of UMSL’s success is not just the achievements of the university, but its contribution to the larger region. The Chancellor noted that UMSL has issued 11,000 degrees to 8,000 individuals, 70 percent of whom reside in St. Louis. The university spends $50 million on services and $150 million on new construction and renovations. It also is a founding partner of Cortex and recruited Express Scripts to the St. Louis campus.

UMSL is a primary partner along with Ameren and Capital Innovators in the first-ever accelerator to focus primarily on energy technologies. The Ameren Accelerator assesses, mentors, and invests in energy technology startup companies. The program was launched in the spring of 2017 to fund and mentor start-ups to spark innovation and create jobs in Missouri and is a 12-week program.

This is the fourth consecutive year that the campus has raised more than $26 million in gifts and pledges from donors for scholarships, facilities, and programs.

In November 2018, a team from the Higher Learning Commission will visit UMSL as part of the process of renewing accreditation. UMSL’s last reaccreditation was passed with “flying colors” according to the Chancellor and plans for it to be as successful this time around.

After the address, a series of awards were given out, honoring employees of the month in the 2016-2017 school year, the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in a variety of categories, the Gerald and Deanne Gitner Excellence in Teaching Award, and Service of Twenty-Five Years and Fifty Years. Bob L. Henson, professor of the department of physics and astronomy was awarded Service of Fifty Years and received a standing ovation from the audience.