What makes America great? UMSL chancellor offers his take in CUMU column

Chancellor Tom George speaking

It’s “the rich mosaic of people” that institutions like UMSL help educate, Chancellor Tom George writes. The piece is his first column as president of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities. (Photo by August Jennewein)

“Read this, Tom. He’s talking about UMSL.”

As University of Missouri–St. Louis Chancellor Tom George read the New York Times story his friend had passed along, he had to agree: Although the article on “America’s Great Working-Class Colleges” didn’t mention UMSL by name, it very well could have – and its focus resonated with him.

“The author lamented how too many universities and colleges were increasingly catering to upper-class students to the detriment of poor and working-class students,” George explains in a column just published by the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities.

“This brought to mind our situation in St. Louis, where UMSL students tend to be older, more diverse and poorer than national averages,” he adds.

Just recently beginning a two-year term as president of CUMU, George’s column is the first he’s written as part of his new role. As he notes in the piece, he “decided to start with something that connects us all at the core – educating people who leave our institutions prepared for different and better lives.”

The column goes on to zero in on just one of thousands of UMSL success stories: that of alumnus George Paz, BSBA 1982, who credits his UMSL education as a turning point in a path from poverty to becoming the leader of a top 20 company in the Fortune 500 ranking.

“Collectively, CUMU institutions enroll 1.5 million students – hailing from all walks of life and places near and far,” the chancellor writes. “We must speak for – fight for – this rich mosaic of people who seek different and better lives.

“We must detail how budget cuts and federal policies can limit the talent pool and rob this country of energy and innovation and hope. America cannot be great if we do not invest in the potential of all of our citizens and those individuals who are drawn here to realize their American Dream.”

To read the full column on CUMU’s site, click here.

The UMSL Experience

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