Lasting UMSL connections inspire lifetime of giving for Kirk and Maureen Richter

by | Oct 12, 2017

UMSL awarded the 2017 E. Desmond and Mary Ann Lee Medal for Philanthropy to Kirk and Maureen Richter.

Maureen (at left) and Kirk Richter accept the E. Desmond and Mary Ann Lee Medal for Philanthropy on Oct. 5 at UMSL’s annual Founders Dinner at the Ritz-Carlton in Clayton, Missouri. (Photo by August Jennewein)

It all came full circle for Maureen Richter at the grand opening of Anheuser-Busch Hall.

As she prepared to take her first steps into the University of Missouri–St. Louis’ new business education building, she did a double take at the person holding the door open for her. Despite the many students she met during her 34 years of teaching, Maureen recognized his face instantly.

A student she had taught in sixth grade was now enjoying Anheuser-Busch Hall, a donor-funded facility for which Maureen and her husband, Kirk, were among the lead contributors.

“It was quite a connection,” Maureen said of her reunion with the student. “It’s great to see kids that I taught, who are now doing the same things I did as a student at UMSL.”

This type of connection is precisely why the Richters, both UMSL alumni, contribute time and financial support to their alma mater.

In the last year, the Richters’ lifetime giving level to the university has surpassed $5 million. Their donations extend to scholarships, the UMSL Alumni Association endowment, Anheuser-Busch Hall and the planned Phase II addition to that facility.

Kirk has also provided significant volunteer leadership within the UMSL Alumni AssociationChancellor’s CouncilUMSL Business College Leadership CouncilCollege of Business Administration Alumni Chapter Board and the University of Missouri Intercampus Alumni Council.

UMSL recognized the Richters for their lasting commitment with the E. Desmond and Mary Ann Lee Medal for Philanthropy on Oct. 5 at UMSL’s annual Founders Dinner at the Ritz-Carlton in Clayton, Missouri.

The university established the award in 2006 to honor the Lees for their extraordinary philanthropic support and vision. The prestigious medal is presented annually and reserved for an individual or organization whose contributions have touched the lives of students or the university in exemplary ways.

When presenting the award, Vice Chancellor for University Advancement Martin Leifeld said the couple’s philanthropy will undeniably transform UMSL.

“Together they have served as caretakers for the university, investing time, financial support and energy back into the alma mater they love,” Leifeld said. “Through such supportive involvement, the Richters inspire continued alumni engagement and ensure that future generations of students will enjoy the same quality educational experience they once had.”

Kirk, a 1968 accounting alumnus, retired in 2012 after 34 years at Sigma-Aldrich Corporation, where his most recent positions were vice president and treasurer and interim chief financial officer. Maureen, a 1973 alumna of the College of Education, is also retired following her teaching career at Holy Child School in Arnold, Missouri.

“It’s been fun to see UMSL grow up over the years,” Kirk said while accepting the award. “But we’ve only finished the first 50 years. We have the next 50 to look forward to. I got a great education there, and I look forward to UMSL continuing that tradition.”

As a member of UMSL’s second graduating class, Kirk says his contributions, particularly those dedicated to the business college, were inspired by the campus progress he’s witnessed since graduating. He hopes the university will continue to flourish and similarly influence future students.

“It’s a matter of seeing the business college continue to grow,” Kirk said. “It was three deans ago that we started talking about the business college facility. It was something I wanted to see happen, so I’ve supported the college as well as the university. This is something I was passionate about because I was involved in it all the way through. That sort of motivated me to make it happen.”

Maureen is also happy to see their gifts impact the St. Louis region – an area she’s called home all of her life.

“I love St. Louis,” Maureen said. “I’m so proud that I’m part of a university in our city. I’m proud of UMSL’s growth and love everything about it. I’m really glad that Kirk has been so involved at UMSL so that I can jump back in and be involved again.”
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Sara Bell

Sara Bell