More than 350 students to participate in Aug. 8 commencement
The University of Missouri–St. Louis will confer hundreds of academic degrees and welcome new graduates into the ranks of 92,000 fellow UMSL alumni during commencement exercises this weekend.
A 10 a.m. ceremony on Aug. 8 will honor graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education, College of Fine Arts and Communication, the School of Social Work and the Master of Public Policy Administration program.
Later in the day, at a 2 p.m. ceremony, graduates of the College of Business Administration, College of Nursing and the UMSL/Washington University Joint Undergraduate Engineering Program will cross the stage. Both events take place in the Mark Twain Athletic & Fitness Center on UMSL’s North Campus.
Participants and well-wishers attending the morning event will hear remarks from former St. Louis mayor Vincent C. Schoemehl Jr. (BA history 1972). The UMSL alumnus was one of the youngest St. Louis mayors in the city’s history when he was first elected in 1981, after serving six years on the Board of Aldermen.
During his three terms at the city’s helm, Schoemehl was a leader on key redevelopment and historic preservation efforts throughout St. Louis. From the expansion of Lambert-St. Louis International Airport to the renovation of Union Station downtown and hundreds of other rehabilitation projects, he emphasized public-private partnerships and urban design.
Schoemehl ran for governor of Missouri in 1992, and in 2003, he returned to public office for a brief stint as a member of the St. Louis Public School Board. Fourteen years ago, Schoemehl stepped up as president and chief executive officer of Grand Center, Inc., an organization devoted to the reinvigoration of the historic Grand Center District in St. Louis.
UMSL will confer an honorary degree on Robert J. Baer, retired president and chief executive office of the Bi-State Development Agency (Metro Transit), at the morning ceremony. Baer’s impact on the metropolitan area has been felt in civic arenas ranging from public transportation to downtown renewal and more over the course of his career.
As executive director of the Bi-State Development Agency from 1974 to 1977, he helped secure funding to modernize the bus fleet and make needed improvements to various facilities. In various roles with the Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority, the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners and the Metropolitan Sewer District, Baer’s efforts helped pave the way for the Edward Jones Dome, new police stations and improved MSD management. This was in addition to his job as president and CEO of UniGroup, one of the region’s largest companies and ranked No. 1 in the moving business.
Baer stepped up again in 2007 as Metro Transit’s interim president and CEO, presiding over two tax initiatives, the development of Metro’s long-range plan and a successful campaign to provide secure funding for the transit system. A UMSL scholarship was established in Baer’s honor upon his retirement in 2010. The Robert J. Baer Endowed Fellowship in Public Policy Administration provides funding to high-achieving graduate students, a fitting tribute to Baer’s commitment to education, St. Louis and public service.
An honorary degree also will be conferred on long-time journalist and St. Louis Public Radio host Don Marsh during the 10 a.m. ceremony. Earning the trust of listeners, guests and the St. Louis community since he first moved to the region in 1971, he has covered many of the topics and events that have shaped the city and the world in that time.
Marsh got his start as a reporter and editor in New Jersey and then in Bonn, West Germany, where he was a correspondent and bureau chief from 1960 to 1966. He was news director for WJZ-TV in Baltimore, Md., for five years before becoming an anchorman in St. Louis.
In September 2005, Marsh joined St. Louis Public Radio, a public service of UMSL, as host of the daily talk show “St. Louis on the Air.” His 45 prior years of experience as a broadcast journalist have proved invaluable at the station as he conducts insightful interviews that help listeners sort through the issues of the day.
Ronald B. McMullen (BS psychology 1973), president of Christian Hospital, will address graduates at the 2 p.m. event. In addition to leading the 485-bed, acute-care hospital in north St. Louis County, the UMSL alumnus also oversees Northwest HealthCare, a facility located six miles west of the hospital.
Christian Hospital is noted for its excellence in heart services, cardiothoracic surgery, emergency medicine, cancer treatment, behavioral health programs, radiology, urology, pulmonology and radiation oncology. Northwest Healthcare offers the community convenient 24-hour emergency care, a variety of outpatient diagnostic and imaging services, and a breathing center and sleep lab.
McMullen served as president of Alton Memorial Hospital from 1986 to 2007. He originally joined Alton Memorial as an assistant administrator in 1983. Prior to that, he was vice president of St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla., and an administrative resident at Pontiac General Hospital in Pontiac, Mich.
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