Inventor-of-the-year honors. Student research on racial disparities in drug arrests. A much-anticipated facility taking shape on campus. One grad’s efforts to create a hospital in Uganda. A performance of artistic compositions from the Holocaust.

Looking back at the wide range of University of Missouri–St. Louis news and accomplishments covered by UMSL Daily over the past year, several patterns emerge – including the themes and top stories identified below. (All photos are by August Jennewein unless otherwise noted.)

Fresh perspectives

New voices and fresh perspectives made an impact on the UMSL campus in 2014. A visit by Laverne Cox in October drew an enthusiastic crowd of about 600 people and more than 25 questions from students following Cox’s talk. (Photo by Rebecca Barr)

Going places

Near and far, UMSL alumni are going places and giving back, including alumnus Mark Heisohn, who returned to school in his 50s to launch a second career as a nurse.

Student research

Students across disciplines plunged deep into hands-on research, balancing their classes and studies with in-depth scholarship on topics ranging from national voting trends to butterflies in Guyana, in UMSL biology student Hannah Stowe’s case (pictured above, at right). (Photo courtesy of Hannah Stowe)

Ferguson response

Events in Ferguson, Mo., the St. Louis region and across the nation in the latter part of 2014 challenged the UMSL community to reflect, respond and act toward progress and understanding in new ways. Students, faculty, staff and alumni continue to engage in the hard work of conversation, service, public dialogue and change. (Photo by Bob Samples)

Faculty and staff achievements

Chemistry professor Zhi Xu, named a 2014 “Inventor of the Year” for creating an inexpensive, noninvasive blood glucose monitor, was one of many UMSL faculty and staff members honored for noteworthy achievements.

Record giving and pledges

UMSL set a record for gifts and pledges during the fiscal year that ended in June. Among the areas in which the university saw a significant uptick in commitments was scholarship support, which makes a dramatic difference for countless students, including those enrolled in the Opportunity Scholars Program.

Student opportunities

Time and again, UMSL Daily stories in 2014 showcased the unique opportunities UMSL offers students in all sorts of fields and at many different stages. The growing Advanced Credit Program for high school students gave Alexis Ramos (pictured above), now a full-time student at the university, an early look at college-level coursework and expectations.

Breaking ground and new construction

Breaking ground proved an especially visible theme of the year, with a handful of construction projects and new facilities taking shape conceptually and physically across campus, including the Recreation and Wellness Center slated to open in time for the fall 2015 semester.


UMSL’s schools and programs logged another strong year in rankings and awards, garnering high marks in U.S. News & World Report, statewide honors for best undergraduate online experience and many more.


The final theme of UMSL Daily in the last year might best be described in three simple words: our students rock! In the classroom, across the globe, engaged in the local community, in front of a laptop and in the athletic arena, UMSL Tritons made an impact each and every day of 2014.

The UMSL Experience

Evie Hemphill

Evie Hemphill