UMSL sets record – for degrees awarded

by | Jul 26, 2016

With an all-time high of 3,199 students earning degrees from the university over the past fiscal year, the total number of UMSL alumni has now surpassed 95,000.
UMSL commencement handshake

With an all-time high of 3,199 students earning degrees from the university over the past fiscal year, the total number of UMSL alumni has now surpassed 95,000. (File photo by August Jennewein)

The University of Missouri–St. Louis ended its fiscal year June 30 with its third highest fundraising total ever, but what has Chancellor Tom George really excited is the number of hands he’s been shaking at commencement.

During fiscal year 2016, UMSL students earned 3,199 degrees – an all-time high.

“Increasing the number of degrees awarded to students is a strategic goal,” George said. “A lot of effort from faculty and staff went into this achievement, but of course the most recognition goes to the students themselves.

“UMSL serves a very diverse student body – most of whom are first-generation, working students,” he said. “Some graduate in four years. Some are on the 10-year plan. But each I’ve found to be hard-working and dedicated to succeed – here and in their careers afterwards.”

UMSL issued 2,254 undergraduate degrees and 900 graduate degrees – plus 45 doctoral degrees in optometry. Among the students receiving degrees were 632 underrepresented minority students – again a record for UMSL.

The university’s announcement fits nicely into strategic goals of the state Department of Higher Education and the St. Louis Regional Chamber of Commerce, both of which are striving to increase the number of Missourians with college degrees.

“The achievements at UMSL are striking,” said Greg Laposa, vice president of education strategies of the St. Louis Regional Chamber. “We know that the benefits of having a degree significantly enhances the economic opportunities for both the individual and community in which they live. That’s why the Chamber and a broad community of leaders are championing increased degree attainment as an economic priority for our region. We’re delighted that UMSL is demonstrating exceptional leadership in this collective effort to ensure more students [have] access to college and can successfully complete degrees.”

Founded in 1963, UMSL now has more than 95,000 alumni – of which about 72 percent live and work in the St. Louis region. No university has more alumni in the region.

“Our alumni can be found in all 50 states and dozens of countries, but their greatest concentration is in St. Louis and Missouri,” George said. “We’re very proud of their contributions to the economic and social well-being of the region and state.”

For the record, UMSL raised more than $27 million in gifts and pledges from July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016.

“Donors continue to be very generous toward the university, its students and its mission,” said UMSL’s Vice Chancellor for Advancement Martin Leifeld. “I am sure that each of them will be delighted with today’s announcement and the knowledge that their gifts are contributing to the success of our students.”

To read about just a few of UMSL’s most recent graduates, click here.

Media coverage:
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The UMSL Experience

Bob Samples

Bob Samples

Bob Samples is associate vice chancellor for university communications at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.