The University of Missouri–St. Louis officially opened its doors in 1963. Today, faculty, staff students, retirees, alumni and community are engaged in planning and organizing a year of celebrations for 2013.

Dancing and fireworks. Virtual murals. Scholarships. Concerts. Community health fairs. A 50-year retrospective on civil rights.

For the last several months, dozens of people at the University of Missouri–St. Louis have been meeting and planning a year’s worth of ideas to celebrate UMSL’s founding in 1963.

“The Jubilee movement has been gaining momentum,” said Ron Gossen, senior associate vice chancellor and the Jubilee co-chair charged with coordinating and planning. “Our Jubilee calendar is taking form with a wide variety of activities being booked. Likewise, more and more UMSL faculty, staff, students, retirees, alumni and community friends are becoming engaged in planning and organizing.

“It’s going to be a busy, stimulating and worthy anniversary event for UMSL. I know that all those involved are becoming more and more ‘jubilant’ over the progress and the approaching Jubilee.”

Early celebrations

The first official UMSL Jubilee event will occur Jan. 21 with the Martin Luther King Holiday Observance at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center. This annual event will look at civil rights in St. Louis over the last 50 years and how UMSL responded.

“Minorities, women and individuals from diverse backgrounds have been part of our culture from our inception,” said Deborah Burris, director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity. “Equality and the opportunity, the very ideals Dr. King fought for, have been part of our history.”

On the same day, two hundred or more UMSL students, staff and faculty will also participate in the “MLK Day of Service” volunteering for nonprofit organizations at sites throughout the local community.

Gossen urges everyone to save the evening of Feb. 1 for the Jubilee kickoff event at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center. It will feature a look into the campus’ first half-century, recognition of all those who have contributed to making UMSL what it is today, and an inspiring address by Shep Hyken, an internationally renowned speaker and UMSL alumnus. The evening will be capped off with music and dancing to St. Louis’ own Motown Revue followed by a spectacular fireworks display over campus to end the evening.

Jubilee 50/50 Project

Patricia Zahn, chair of the Jubilee Program Committee, said her group is whittling down a list of proposals submitted to the Jubilee 50/50 Project that requested financial assistance. The university set aside $50,000 to help support 50 events sponsored and hosted by units, departments and organizations across campus. Zahn said organizers believed financial incentive would stimulate early interest and initiate action. They were right. When the proposal deadline ended, they had received 47 proposals.

“We are very excited about the interest that people across campus have taken already in Jubilee program planning, Zahn said. “We were pleasantly surprised by the number of project proposals that we received by early May and that they came from a range of campus units. The Jubilee anniversary is such a wonderful opportunity for the entire university to come together to recognize, remember and celebrate who we are as a campus community and the difference we are making through our teaching, research and community engagement and service. We really hope everyone will be involved in some way.”

Recipients of the 50/50 Jubilee awards will be announced June 15. A portion of the funding was reserved to support projects sponsored by student organizations. Requests for those proposals will begin in August when students return to campus.

To help you get started!

It’s not too late for you to organize a Jubilee project. Several Jubilee committees can provide guidance with your Jubilee ideas. The Jubilee Program Committee has posted some activities and ideas.

After you’ve come up with an idea, complete and submit the Jubilee program proposal form. The committee will help finalize details and make sure your project is included in the Jubilee list of events. Once the program is on the list, Jubilee Marketing and Communications can help you get the word out.

Maureen Zegel

Maureen Zegel

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