Freshman legislators visit UMSL on statewide tour

by | Dec 13, 2018

The 64 newly elected members of the Missouri House of Representatives and Missouri State Senate toured the UMSL Patient Care Center, science complex and Anheuser-Busch Hall.
Freshman legislators visit UMSL

Chancellor Tom George (red shirt) welcomes freshman legislators to UMSL’s campus Thursday morning. The group of newly elected members of the Missouri House of Representatives and Missouri State Senate began their brief visit in the lobby of the Patient Care Center and also toured the science complex and Anheuser-Busch Hall. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Newly elected members of the Missouri House of Representatives and Missouri State Senate have been getting a crash course on the broader state, visiting various businesses, colleges, charter schools, prisons and other notable buildings and attractions.

The two-week bus tour made a brief stop at the University of Missouri–St. Louis on Thursday morning, and a group of 64 freshman legislators had a chance to see and learn about some of the more recent changes to the nearly 500-acre campus.

Chancellor Tom George was just one of the people to greet them upon their arrival at the UMSL Patient Care Center, the 2-year-old building associated with the College of Optometry on South Campus.

“We picked just a few places for you to see,” George said during his welcoming remarks. “We’d love to have you here the whole day and show you everything, but we at least wanted to give you a sampling of what we do here at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.”

Flexible learning studio

College of Arts and Sciences Dean Andrew Kersten talks to newly elected legislators about the flexible learning studio created as part of a $25.3 million renovation of Benton Hall completed in August. (Photo by August Jennewein)

After sharing a short history of the university, outlining its impact as measured by the number of students and graduates and expressing his gratitude to the legislators for their service, George handed the microphone off to Larry Davis, the dean of the College of Optometry, to share more about the Patient Care Center.

The elected officials split into two groups for a quick tour through the building before re-boarding their buses and heading to their next stop.

One bus went to the Science Learning Building and the newly renovated Benton Hall. College of Arts and Sciences Dean Andrew Kersten was waiting to meet them, and he, Vice Provost Chris Spilling and Graduate School Dean Teresa Thiel showed them around the facility, stopping in a biotechnology lab, the High Field NMR Facility and the new flexible learning studio before ending up at the Whitney R. Harris World Ecology Center.

The other bus stopped at the Anheuser-Busch Hall, home to the College of Business Administration. In U.S. Bank Executive Education Room at the northwest corner of the building, Dean Charlie Hoffman presented an overview of the college and some of its initiatives, including Ameren Accelerator and the Entrepreneur Quest Student Accelerator.

Freshman legislators visit A-B Hall

Dean Charlie Hoffman shares information about the College of Business Administration with freshman legislators visiting the U.S. Bank Executive Education Room Thursday morning in Anheuser-Busch Hall. (Photo by Sara Bell)

“I was here as a student in the early 2000s, and there’s been a lot of improvement,” said Tony Lovasco, the newly elected representative from Missouri’s 64th House District in St. Charles County.

Kevin Windham Jr., who just won election to represent the 85th House District, has been a more frequent visitor to campus throughout his life, even attending some classes with his mother as a kid while she was earning her degree.

“It’s a full-circle experience being here,” Windham said. “I was just telling some of my bus mates how the Normandy School District gave a gift to the university, and that’s how it began. My family has always been in the area. Knowing UMSL is a staple in the community, I’ve always tried to make it a big deal to come back.”

The two groups reconvened at The Nosh in the Millennium Student Center for a lunch of pizza and salad and were soon on their way to the next stop on a tour that concludes Friday.

“I think that would have been the one downside is that we didn’t really have a chance to really delve into a lot of details at a lot of places, but we had to keep that schedule,” Lovasco said. “But we did visit a lot of different organizations, and it was pretty neat.”

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Steve Walentik

Steve Walentik

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