Nine recipients of the Eugene J. Meehan Scholarship gather Sept. 16 for the dedication of the Academic Center for Mathematics and Writing in the Social Sciences & Business Building. The recipients include (from left, front row) Ashley George, Ena Selimovic, Aimee Walsh, Jessica Young and Samantha Williams, and (from left, back row) Kyle Ellrich, Jericah Selby, Dean Obermark, Margaret Evans, and Pronoti Kundu.

Provost Glen Cope cut the ribbon for the new Mathematics and Writing Academic Center in the Social Sciences & Business Building Sept. 16 at the University of Missouri–St. Louis . Cope and Ron Yasbin, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences also took the opportunity to honor 20 recipients of the Eugene J. Meehan scholarships this year. Nine of the students attended the event.

Meehan taught political science at UMSL for more than 20 years. He died in 2002 and his wife, Alice, died in 2010. Their estate funds the Meehan scholarships awarded to juniors and seniors studying in the College of Arts and Sciences. It is one of the largest private scholarships on the campus.

For Kyle Ellrich, a senior with a double major in mathematics and secondary education, the $5,000 scholarship means he doesn’t have to work next semester.

“I’ll be doing my student teaching next semester,” he said. “If I had to work after a day of teaching it would be difficult to get my studies done too,” he said.

Ena Selimovic came to the U.S. from Bosnia in 1998. “Everybody needs a self esteem boost,” she said. “That’s what the scholarship means to me.” She is a senior English major who wants to teach middle school.

Dean Obermark, a senior philosophy major, is looking at graduate schools. “I’m interested in economics too so I’m keeping my options open,” he said. “It’s nice to have your hard work acknowledged with a scholarship like this.”

The new academic center is located in room 222 in the Social Sciences & Business Building. Math mentors and writing consultants will be available to help students. Formerly two small classrooms, the space was designed with plenty of student input. Yasbin said the college’s student council vetoed the original, more traditional design.

“They wanted to bring their own laptops and be able to eat and drink in the space,” said Yasbin. “Everything in the center is mobile. Students can work alone, in groups, and the tables and chairs move with them.” Even the big upholstered chairs have wheels and handles on the back for easy moving.

Ken Voss, director of computing services, worked on the new center. He said the new center reflects a trend in campus facilities.

“Computer labs are going away,” said Voss. “Technology is mobile now. Kids can access the internet on their phones, write reports on their ipads and laptops. Most students come into the labs just to print.”

The Mathematics and Writing Academic Center is open from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday; and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Maureen Zegel

Maureen Zegel