Joseph Salamon, News Editor

There is a new smiling face behind the manager’s desk at the University of Missouri-St. Louis’ Welcome Center. Lisa Baker has assumed the role of manager of tours and special events for the Welcome Center.

Earlier this month, Baker took on her new role at UMSL, a position long held by her predecessor, Yolanda Weathersby. A St. Louis native and UMSL graduate herself, Baker is enthusiastic about her new title and the responsibilities it entails.

Baker, who moved across the river from Illinois to North County in third grade, has spent much of her life familiarizing herself with UMSL and the community surrounding the university.

Baker came to UMSL as an undergraduate student in 2003 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She then remained at UMSL to begin her graduate studies in higher education immediately thereafter.

Though she is just beginning to get used to her new role at the Welcome Center, Baker started her professional career at UMSL as a retention specialist for the College of Education. Upon graduation, Baker then transitioned into an academic advising role with the College of Arts and Sciences.

After spending some time away from her alma mater working with her husband at his exterior modeling company, Baker is back at UMSL, full of fresh ideas and exuberant as ever.

Filled with a desire to make an immediate and lasting impact in her new role, Baker looks to two important upcoming events and projects for the Welcome Center—the first of which being UMSL Day.

UMSL Day is an event held once a semester at which prospective students visit campus to get a feel for what life is like if they were to choose to go to school here. Baker views the event as a springboard for the Welcome Center’s increased role in campus life.

“This first UMSL Day is going to be a bit of a learning experience for me, but I think what we’ll do is look at how it goes and then see how [the Welcome Center] can be more involved with other campus-wide events,” Baker stated.

With a staff of twelve undergraduate and one graduate student tour guides, the Welcome Center is often the first impression that prospective students have of what life at UMSL is like. As a former UMSL student, Baker is well aware of this and hopes to use UMSL Day as an opportunity to show off the school that she came to know and love.

“We all know it’s a great place so we want to show other people how great we are. It’s just a really neat way for students to get a feel for what UMSL is.”

Baker is also excited about repurposing the former Whole U space across the second floor MSC hallway as an extension of the Welcome Center office.

Thinking of adding more tour guides to accommodate the influx of incoming students, Baker views an expansion from the already tight Welcome Center space as almost a necessity.

“We need…to make it nice and clean, because right now it’s really visible for people walking by. We just want it to look more polished, more professional, really warm for people to come in and get a good sense for what UMSL is,” she said. Thanks

Not without a sense of humor, Baker jokes that the renaming of the old student lounge area would be her first “major task” as new Welcome Center manager.

Amidst all the changes and new tasks that come along with taking on a new position with unfamiliar responsibilities, Baker is focused on actively making an impact in the Welcome Center and at UMSL, wanting to make UMSL’s tour program a “premier tour program in the country.”

For more information on the upcoming UMSL Day, visit UMSL’s website.