Alumnus finds it’s never too late to pursue dream career

Jim Tuxbury, a speech communication alumnus and electrical engineering student at UMSL, created a documentary about the making of the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge. It will air March 20 on KSDK (Channel 5). (Photo by Doug Howell/KSDK)

Upon turning 40 a few years back, Jim Tuxbury started re-evaluating his life.

“I started thinking about whether or not I was leaving the kind of mark I wanted to leave,” said Tuxbury, BA speech communication 1988. “In my case it led me back to school.”

Tuxbury has been a successful photojournalist at KSDK (Channel 5) since 1990, but the introspection made him realize he wanted to return to school and study engineering.

“I have always thought the first degree I earned at UMSL served me very well,” he said. “The engineering program has always been in the back of my mind as something that I wanted to pursue, but my kids were young and I had all sorts of family obligations. I was eyeballing the program in my 30s but felt I couldn’t go back. When I turned 40, I made it my goal to work towards the program.”

Jim Tuxbury sits atop a bridge tower just before it is capped on Oct. 20.

Tuxbury is currently a senior majoring in electrical engineering in the UMSL/WUSTL Joint Undergraduate Engineering Program. And for the past several years, his work life and school life have merged in an amazing way, and the fruit of that effort will air March 20 on KSDK.

For the past four years he’s been working on a documentary about the making of the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge, which opened to the public Feb. 9.  He’s followed the project from construction through completion.

“I’ve stood on the floor of the Mississippi River back when they had it dammed off and I’ve been on the top of the 400 foot towers that make up that span and everywhere in between. It’s been an amazing experience.”

Tuxbury’s documentary on the bridge will air at 8 p.m. March 20 on KSDK.

He called the documentary, “Landmark of  Legends,” the crowning achievement of his career.

“Only once in every generation do they build one of these bridges,” said Tuxbury. “It’s a beautiful structure, and to be able to document that really has been has been nothing short of a privilege.”

The documentary will also include a visit in 2012 by a group of joint engineering students, who had the opportunity to tour the construction site.

Visit the KSDK website to view the full documentary.

The UMSL Experience


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