Chancellor Tom George named honorary co-chair for EncounterPoint in Ferguson

UMSL Chancellor Tom George

UMSL Chancellor Tom George lent his support to Our Lady of Guadalupe’s Ferguson-based EncounterPoint event on Dec. 13. (Photo by August Jennewein)

“It’s an honor and a privilege to represent UMSL as we foster these types of community connections and conversations – in Ferguson [Mo.] and throughout all of St. Louis,” Tom George said on Dec. 13.

The University of Missouri–St. Louis chancellor had just attended Our Lady of Guadalupe’s EncounterPoint – an event at which he served as an honorary co-chair alongside other leaders from Emerson, Express Scripts, the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Saint Louis University and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

The Ferguson parish hosted the gathering of civic and business giants, charitable organizations, community members and other individuals in order to celebrate, enhance and encourage the many social justice-focused efforts and partnerships which have had a positive effect on the city in recent years.

Our Lady of Guadalupe breakfast

The breakfast gathering allowed participants to hear from individuals who have been positively impacted by social justice efforts within the community. (Photo by Becky Biedenstein)

EncounterPoint also gave attendees a chance to get to know Our Lady of Guadalupe’s diverse and active school, which serves over 175 pre-k through eighth-grade students from 21 different ZIP codes.

The school’s mission of positive change within the community is one Chancellor George believes UMSL shares. The two institutions enjoy a rich history of partnership and service.

“UMSL is fortunate to have a great relationship with Our Lady of Guadalupe,” George said. “It’s wonderful, for example, to see the impact that our optometry and counseling programs are having by working with their students.”

Graduate students from UMSL’s College of Optometry most recently provided vision screenings to the children at Our Lady of Guadalupe this past August through the use of the college’s Mobile Eye Center.

Brian Hutchison, associate professor and coordinator of the school counseling program within UMSL’s College of Education, said that UMSL and Our Lady of Guadalupe have been working together for more than 10 years in ways that benefit students from both schools.

“The UMSL school counseling program has a deep commitment to educational equity, cultural competence and social justice, and therefore we are committed to training our graduate students in settings with diverse populations,” Hutchison explained. “Our Lady of Guadalupe provides this, plus the opportunity to let our students know they are doing real, needed work.”

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