When Vicki Sauter was 18 years old, her father fell victim to an attempted armed robbery on the street outside her family’s Chicago-area home. He fought back but during the struggle was shot once in the head and later died from the injury. Neighbors witnessed the attack, but did nothing. At the funeral, one neighbor told Sauter she was sorry, and if she’d known it was Sauter’s father, she would’ve helped.
“That conversation set the stage for much of my life,” said Sauter, professor of information systems at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. “That’s why I get involved. I never want to give an apology to anyone for not helping out.”
In late April, Sauter, of Creve Coeur, Mo., learned she’s being honored by the four-campus University of Missouri System with the UM President’s Award for University Citizenship (Service). The award recognizes Sauter’s more than 30 years of leadership, mentoring and service to students, UMSL’s College of Business Administration and the field of information systems.
“Vicki has been a leader in community outreach in many directions,” Keith Womer, dean of the business college, wrote in a nomination letter for the award. “She inspires others to be involved, and the result is a web of outreach activities that captures students, business leaders and academics and has them working together for the betterment of all.”
Sauter joined UMSL’s College of Business Administration faculty in 1980 and became the first woman in the college to earn tenure. She has been a member of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences for more than 35 years, and she has held several elected positions and received numerous awards for her service to the institute.
In 2004, Sauter opened Grace’s Place, a museum named in honor of Grace Murray Hopper, a pioneer in the computing field. The museum is on the second floor of Express Scripts Hall and teaches visitors about the evolution of computing through the display of old computers and computing equipment.
In 2008, Sauter held the first Xtreme IT! Summer Academy, a precollegiate program that introduces information technology to a younger generation. The summer program enables high school students to live in the UMSL residence halls for a week while attending workshops and visiting St. Louis-area businesses to learn about information technology. At the end of the camp, students give presentations on the Web pages they developed using the knowledge and skills they gained during camp.
Sauter also started the Information Systems Advisory Board, which meets quarterly to advise the Department of Information Systems on curriculum and fundraising. She also serves as the chair for the UMSL Library Committee.
“Receiving the award is a great honor,” Sauter said. “Knowing that my passion for helping and getting involved is recognized means a lot, and I hope it inspires others to do the same.”
The Academic Affairs Office at the UM System administers a total of six UM President’s Awards. The annual, systemwide awards are open to faculty from UMSL, the University of Missouri–Columbia, the University of Missouri–Kansas City and Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla.
In addition to Sauter, four UMSL faculty members won a UM President’s Award this year: Rita Csapó-Sweet, associate professor of media studies, for cross-cultural engagement; Susann Farberman, associate teaching professor of nursing, for inter-campus collaboration; Dawn Garzon, teaching professor of nursing, for inter-campus collaboration; and Carl Hoagland, the Emerson Electric Endowed Professor of Teaching and Learning, for innovative teaching.
Sauter and her colleagues will receive their awards June 13 at a celebration in Columbia, Mo.