Michael Finkes, president of the UMSL Alumni Association

Alumnus Michael Finkes, BS chemistry 1973 and MS chemistry 1978, is the UMSL Alumni Association president. (Photo by August Jennewein)

The University of Missouri–St. Louis’ Alumni Association is turning a new leaf with its new president Michael J. Finkes, BS chemistry 1973 and MS chemistry 1978. Finkes, a seasoned member of the association, assumed his position July 1. He recently retired from Monsanto, where he worked for more than 30 years, and is dedicating his time and energy to the university and community that helped him build a foundation for his successful career.

What is the vision for your term as president of the alumni association?
My hope is that the alumni association improves both logistically and operationally. I’d also like to see a governing board characterized by camaraderie and exemplary teamwork.

What excites you about this new position?
At Monsanto,where I worked in research for 35 years, I learned the value of teams. I now have the opportunity to promote a quality-oriented, team-based environment within the association.

What do you personally get out of engaging with the university?
I’m at a stage in my life where I have an almost visceral compulsion to give back. I decided about 10 years ago that UMSL would be the vehicle for me to fulfill this compulsion. For me, working with UMSL is both fulfilling and meaningful.

How do you plan to engage our alumni?
Part of the challenge with engaging alumni is that they are at different phases of their careers and lives. There’s the new graduate, a graduate in the middle of his or her career and the graduate, like myself, who is preparing for retirement. Alumni in each of those groups have a variety of needs and would respond to different engage-ment invitations. Together with Linda Carter, associate vice chancellor of alumni engagement, we will find ways to pool our resources to find the best possible means of engaging alumni.

Where do you see the alumni association in the next 5-10 years?
I envision an enthusiastic group of truly engaged alumni who have reconnected with UMSL in whatever way they choose to reconnect. They will engage by helping students adjust to college life, mentoring students and new graduates, community service and outreach, philanthropic opportunities, assisting faculty and networking with other alumni. Thats what I call a success.

This story was originally published in the fall 2013 issue of UMSL Magazine.

Marisol Ramirez

Marisol Ramirez