‘True, loyal friend’ receives UMSL’s Chancellor’s Medallion
Anna Mayer Beck’s love of all things German was nurtured by her immigrant father. And for most of her life she has honored his memory by sharing that rich culture with thousands of St. Louisans.
Beck was honored at commencement ceremonies Dec. 14 by the University of Missouri–St. Louis for her role in the establishment and success of the German Culture Center on its campus. Chancellor Tom George presented Beck with the university’s highest honor, the Chancellor’s Medallion, for her distinguished contributions to the growth and development of the university, the St. Louis community and the greater global community.
Born in Chicago, Beck earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in library science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She worked as a high school librarian in Illinois, then moved to St. Louis with her husband Wallace, an engineer for McDonnell Douglas Corp. Beck earned a law degree at St. Louis University in 1979 and was an attorney with Riethmann and Soebbing law firm in St. Louis.
When the Goethe Institute of St. Louis announced it was leaving town in 1997, Joel Glassman, associate provost and academic director of International Studies and Programs at UMSL and professor Inge Goessl saw an opportunity to preserve the institute’s services within the university’s new German Studies Program.
At the same time, Beck had helped organize a group called Friends of the German Culture. Working closely with Glassman and Goessl, Beck and her group helped save the extensive collection of books, videos and other Goethe Institute resources. Beck was a driving force in the creation of the German Culture Center at UMSL, which opened in 1999.
Fittingly, Beck was the founding president of the Friends of the German Culture Center and has remained dedicated to its mission.
“Anna and Wallace were very generous in their financial support throughout the years,” said Larry Marsh, longtime director of the center. “Anna has always been our true and loyal friend, attending virtually every event, helping us secure additional funding from other German-American groups, promoting our efforts at every opportunity.”
Beck also helped promote German-U.S. relations serving as honorary consul of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1988 to 2004 and was president of the St. Louis Consular Corps in 1993 and 1998. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, American Council on Germany and the Chancellor’s Council on International Affairs at UMSL and has served on numerous boards.
She also is the recipient of numerous awards including the Order of Merit in 1997 and the Order of Merit, First Class, of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2004. She also received the Distinguished Service Award from UMSL in 2000.
Read more about Beck receiving the award at the German Missions in the United States website.
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