What started with a casual conversation between marketing and a dean resulted in a rousing success for the University of Missouri-St. Louis and its connection with many of the brightest high school students in the area, as UMSL Dean of Arts and Sciences Ron Yasbin tested a new idea in relationship building. He, along with about a dozen of his dean and associate dean colleagues, invited a group of high-achieving high school students to have breakfast on the morning of the March 5 UMSL Day.

The Pilot House at the Millennium Student Center was filled with 150 high school students and parents. The students, enrolled in UMSL’s Advanced Credit Program, along with their parents packed the room to standing-room-only capacity. The ACP allows qualifying high school students earn college credit and become familiar with the college experience while still in high school.

After a warm welcome and enlightening overview of UMSL, the students and the parents played several rounds of “stump the dean” by asking them a question, any question, about the university. Deans rotated from table to table every 10 minutes and generally had answers for most questions. Can my daughter continue her violin studies at UMSL? What about sports? Is it a safe campus? What’s the ratio of females to males? Tuition? Dorms? Scholarships?

Deans and faculty in attendance included: Yasbin; Robert Bliss, dean, Pierre Laclede Honors College; Ruth Bohan, interim associate dean, College of Fine Arts and Communication; Deborah Baldini, association dean, Continuing Education; Kathleen Haywood, interim dean, College of Education; Joseph O’Sullivan, dean of the UMSL/Washington University Joint Undergraduate Engineering Program; Keith Womer, dean, College of Business Administration; Adell Patton, associate professor of history; and Michael Elliott, associate dean of business.

“It was a wonderful event,” said Kathleen Burns, director of ACP. “I am not sure who was more impressed, the ACP students who got to meet the deans and faculty, or the deans and faculty who got to meet our outstanding ACP students.”

Maureen Zegel

Maureen Zegel