STEM programs benefiting from $1 million gift from Bayer

Benton Hall Room 103

The recently renovated first-floor lecture hall in Benton Hall will be named for Bayer in appreciation for the company’s $1 million gift. (Photo by August Jennewein)

The University of Missouri–St. Louis’ strategic effort to enhance its programs and facilities focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics has received a $1 million boost from Bayer.

The first-floor lecture hall in Benton Hall will be named for the company in appreciation for Bayer’s assistance with the recently completed renovations to the building, a centerpiece in UMSL’s multi-building science complex. UMSL has more than 1,700 students enrolled in STEM programs and is a leading provider of the regional science and technology workforce.

Bayer announced the gift along with a grant to Operation Food Search on Tuesday.

“Through these grants, Bayer is supporting our company values of supporting health and nutrition and being an active member of society in all of the communities in which we are present,” Bayer Vice President of Community Engagement Al Mitchell said. “Operation Food Search is doing great work by not only providing nutrition to families in need, but also providing them with the education and resources to help them be successful. At the same time, the University of Missouri–St. Louis plays a critical role in educating the future leaders of our community.”

Named for one of Missouri’s first U.S. Senators, Thomas Hart Benton, Benton Hall is the oldest original facility built on the UMSL campus. The building, opened in 1965, just received a $25.3 million renovation that included new flexible classroom spaces, seminar rooms, study areas, collaborative venues and other student spaces. Restrooms, entrances and other building components were replaced to meet current accessibility requirements. Mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems were replaced or refurbished, and new audiovisual technology was installed.

The state, University of Missouri System and campus provided the other funding for the project.

“We are grateful for the support from Bayer,” UMSL Chancellor Tom George said. “The company’s commitment to enhancing learning facilities at the university is a commitment to enhancing the development of the St. Louis workforce. This gift will directly impact individuals who will one day work for companies and organizations within the region’s thriving bioscience ecosystem.”

UMSL has seen a nearly 25 percent increase in STEM majors in the past eight years, with the largest increases in chemistry and biochemistry, biotechnology and computer science.

Graduates go on to work at such companies as Bayer, Pfizer, MilliporeSigma, Novus International and Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals in the bioscience sector, as well as in the health care, energy and technology industries.

UMSL began a three-phase plan to enhance the science complex through renovations and updates to existing facilities in 2011. That also included the construction of the new Science Learning Building, a $35 million structure that opened in 2016 with 18 laboratories, study areas, a café and a town center. There are plans to renovate another facility in the complex, Stadler Hall, in the coming years.

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