University of Missouri-St. Louis Chancellor Tom George and his wife, Barbara Harbach, are making a commitment of $2 million to support the institution they have grown to regard so highly over the past six years.
George said a mutual love of music and the arts led him and his wife to direct their gift to support students and programs in UMSL’s College of Fine Arts and Communication. Harbach is a professor of music and George – whose academic training and research is in the physical sciences – is an accomplished jazz pianist who often performs on campus and at community fundraisers.
“I was delighted that we decided to direct our gift to the college,” Harbach said. “But most important to me was the decision to make this gift to UMSL at this time. Tom is leading the university through its largest fundraising campaign ever. We thought it was essential that he show other potential donors that we ourselves are making a significant personal commitment to the community and campus.”
John Hylton, dean of UMSL’s College of Fine Arts and Communication, said the gift is much needed and appreciated.
“This gift will support the college’s Women in the Arts initiative,” Hylton said. “Women in the Arts sponsors a variety of programs designed to heighten the awareness and understanding of the artistic achievements of women throughout history. It includes many campus and community organizations in its activities and mission.”
UMSL’s College of Fine Arts and Communication has nearly 1,000 students studying in art history, communication, media studies, music, music education, studio art and theater and dance. It has unique partnerships with numerous arts organizations throughout the St. Louis region. The college has drawn attention recently for its outstanding jazz camps and programs and the New York production this spring of “Booth!” which is an original musical created by UMSL faculty including Harbach.
The University of Missouri-St. Louis is a public metropolitan research university that enrolls over 15,000 students, and about 73 percent of the university’s alumni live and work in the St. Louis area. UMSL is home to 1,415 faculty members, and it has been listed as the fifth most productive small research university in the United States, according to the Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index by Academic Analytics.
The university boasts many impressive facilities and partnerships including the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center, which features the 1,625-seat Anheuser-
Busch Performance Hall and 300-seat E. Desmond and Mary Ann Lee Theater. The world headquarters of Express Scripts, the second largest company in Missouri, also is located at UMSL. The relationship between the university and Express Scripts is the largest university-business partnership of its kind in the United States.
And the university is home to the St. Louis Mercantile Library, which is the oldest library west of the Mississippi River.
George and Harbach were recruited to St. Louis and UMSL from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 2003. The couple also has held faculty and administrative positions at the University of Rochester in New York, State University of New York at Buffalo and Washington State University in Pullman.