UMSL Commencement

(Photo by August Jennewein)

Young people in Ferguson, Mo., and surrounding communities will benefit from a new partnership between Emerson, a global manufacturing and technology company, and the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

On Sept. 18, Emerson Chairman and Chief Executive Officer David Farr announced a five-year commitment of $1.5 million to provide scholarships to UMSL students from the Ferguson-Florissant, Normandy, Jennings, Hazelwood, Riverview Gardens and Ritenour school districts.

Beginning next fall, graduates of these local high schools will be eligible to apply for one of up to 60 annual UMSL scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 each. Preference will be given to those studying business, science, math, engineering and technology-related (STEM) disciplines, but students in all disciplines will be considered. The pledge is part of a broad community effort on the part of Emerson, which has been headquartered in Ferguson for decades.

“The ‘Ferguson Forward’ plan reflects Emerson’s longstanding commitment to our neighbors by investing in early childhood education, job training and funding for higher education,” Farr said. “UMSL is a crucial partner as we work toward ensuring a strong future for our region.”

More than 1,000 current UMSL students are residents in Ferguson or neighboring north St. Louis County communities, and the impact of the new “Emerson Community Scholarship Program” will be significant, said UMSL Chancellor Tom George.

“We are proud to partner with Emerson in this important effort supporting Ferguson and surrounding areas – home to many of our students, faculty and staff,” George said. “This is an investment toward a better St. Louis and positive change in our community and the entire region.”

In addition to the scholarship funds, the partnership will provide support services to maximize the success of the recipients, with UMSL making peer mentors, tutors and other retention services freely available to the students.

Emerson’s pledge also builds on an existing partnership between the company and the university – the Opportunity Scholarship Program. Begun in 2011 with a $1.5 million contribution from Emerson, the program recruits top St. Louis-area high school students who are underrepresented or first-generation college students. It enhances the quality and diversity of the region’s future leaders in science, technology, engineering, math and related fields, providing participants with a full scholarship as well as internship opportunities.

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Evie Hemphill

Evie Hemphill