UMSL Chancellor Tom George

UMSL Chancellor Tom George discussed the university’s growth, challenges and Jubilee last week on “St. Louis on the Air,” a program on St. Louis Public Radio. (Photo by August Jennewein)

The University of Missouri–St. Louis will kick off its Jubilee, a yearlong celebration of UMSL’s 50th anniversary, with a spectacular evening of entertainment and fun on Feb. 1. UMSL Chancellor Tom George talked about the Jubilee, reflected on the university’s growth over a half century and discussed challenges in higher education last week on “St. Louis on the Air,” a program on St. Louis Public Radio | 90.7 KWMU.

UMSL’s ties to the St. Louis community were a common theme throughout the 50-minute conversation. And with good reason, according to George. He pointed out during the broadcast that UMSL is part of the land-grant University of Missouri System.

“Our mission includes reaching out to the community,” he said. “We are committed to driving the region in terms of economic, social and cultural well-being.”

George, who’s been UMSL’s chancellor for about 10 years, also discussed collaborations with other universities, decreases in state support, other funding challenges, the uptick in classes and programs offered online and the legacies of past chancellors. In addition, he fielded questions from callers.

Talk of the Jubilee during the interview led to discussion of UMSL’s beginning and how far the university has come.

Founded in 1963 on the grounds of the former Bellerive Country Club, UMSL’s first-year enrollment stood at 673 students. Since then, nationally ranked programs, award-winning faculty and UMSL’s rich history of community engagement have attracted students from the St. Louis region and around the world. With more than 17,000 students enrolled in 2013, UMSL has become the largest university in the St. Louis area.

“This university has been an integral part of the St. Louis community since its inception – it is who we are,” George said. “We welcome the entire community, especially our more than 84,000 UMSL alumni, to join us throughout the year for this very exciting celebration.”

Visit for a listing of Jubilee events, historic timeline with photos, news stories and feature where the community can share their own stories about UMSL.

Ryan Heinz

Ryan Heinz