Alumni Association honors legislators Brian Williams, Caleb Rowden, Marlon Anderson and the late Tom Hannegan
The University of Missouri–St. Louis Alumni Association honored Missouri State Senators Brian Williams and Caleb Rowden, Representative Marlon Anderson and the late Representative Tom Hannegan with its inaugural Friends of Higher Education Awards.
The award was created to recognize both Democratic and Republican members of the Missouri General Assembly who have proven their support of higher education in the state.
“Higher education is not a partisan issue, it affects both sides of the aisle,” said Kat Riddler, a three-time UMSL alumna and the chair of the Alumni Association’s Legislative Advocacy Committee. “Our Friends of Higher Education awardees have shown in a number of ways that they will support higher education. That may be that they have come to UMSL events or voted for higher education bills or met with students to hear concerns. All of our nominations care about supporting higher education in a myriad of ways.”
Williams, a Democrat from University City, Missouri, represents the 14th Senatorial District, which covers a portion of St. Louis County that includes UMSL. Rowden, a Republican from Columbia, Missouri, serves as the Senate Majority Leader and represents the 19th Senatorial District, which includes Boone and Cooper counties. Anderson, a Democrat, serves the 76th District in the Missouri House of Representatives, which includes a portion of north St. Louis. Hannegan, who died of a stroke in October, was a Republican representing the 65th House District, which includes a portion of St. Charles County.
COVID precautions prevented the Alumni Association from presenting the awards in person, but it mailed certificates to the honorees.
The Friends of Higher Education Awards grew out of discussions among members of the Legislative Advocacy Committee that began more than two years ago. Riddler said the committee hoped to strengthen the UMSL community’s connection with members of the Missouri General Assembly and believed recognizing the efforts of legislators for their support of higher education would encourage others to follow their example.
They created a nomination process and invited members of the UMSL Alumni Association Governing Board of Directors, UMSL Chancellor’s Council and Legislative Advocacy Committee to submit nominations. Because of the difficulty in evaluating candidates simply on votes for specific legislation, they asked those making nominations to consider a legislator’s attendance at Legislative Advocacy-sponsored events; time spent volunteering to programs or mentorship of UMSL students; work sponsoring, testifying and voting for increased funding for UMSL; or sponsorship of legislation benefitting university students.
The Legislative Advocacy Committee reviewed the nominations and also sought input from the chancellor’s office before finalizing the list of awardees.
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