College of Business Administration celebrates 50th anniversary of graduate programs

by | May 2, 2022

UMSL offers quality AACSB-accredited degree programs and specialty certificates that are flexible and affordable.
Kevin Sansberry II speaks at the 50th anniversary celebration of UMSL's graduate business programs

DBA graduate Kevin Sansberry II was the keynote speaker at the 50th anniversary celebration of the UMSL College of Business Administration’s graduate programs. (Photos by Wendy Todd)

Galip Tozge flew in all the way from Turkey to participate in the the 50th anniversary celebration for the University of Missouri–St. Louis College of Business Administration’s graduate programs last Thursday at Anheuser-Busch Hall.

Tozge got his MBA in the program 30 years ago and wanted to come back to recognize the milestone and reconnect with friends and colleagues.

“I found this email for a 50-year ceremony, and I thought it was nice timing and a nice opportunity to visit my school and my friends in St. Louis,” Tozge said.

Tozge, who got his undergraduate degree in economics, started out his career as a banker, migrated through several senior management roles and now sits on the board of three European banks. He credits UMSL’s MBA program for helping him progress in his career.

“I learned a lot from the professors – the case studies, the finance course, marketing course and communications,” said Tozge, who’d been referred to the MBA program by his then-supervisor at work. “It was a great experience which kind of leveraged my career. That’s what I think.”

Three people pose in a classroom in front of a tall window.

Alumnus Galip Tozge (middle) flew in from Turkey to celebrate the 50th anniversary of UMSL’s graduate business programs with fellow alumni and faculty, including Ekin Pellegrini (far right), the associate dean for graduate business programs and the founding director of the DBA program.

Dean Joan Phillips attended with other faculty, staff and alumni and spoke of the benefits of the program.

“We offer quality AACSB-accredited degree programs and specialty certificates that are flexible and affordable,” Phillips said. “Our curriculum is state-of-the-art and designed to prepare our graduates to successfully lead their business units through future opportunities and challenges. More than 4,000 professionals earned their graduate degree from the College of Business Administration.”

The keynote speaker of the event was behavioral scientist Kevin Sansberry II, a DBA program graduate and owner of KEVRA consulting, which helps businesses build a healthy work culture. Sansberry began his talk by asking the group to discuss the significance of having a diverse work environment.

Many shared their thoughts and collectively agreed that cultural diversity ideally leads to diversity of thought, which is important for effective problem solving and business growth.

While Sansberry led the conversation on the future of business and culture, alumni and Constituent Relations Coordinator David R. Ganz, a former associate dean and director of undergraduate studies for the College of Business Administration, reflected on how the graduate program has grown over the years.

Three people stand against a wall with a window smiling.

Alumni Stan and Terry Freerks attended the event and interacted with Joe Rottman, chair of the Strategic Planning and Innovation Committee and director of the International Business Institute. Stan Freerks was the second recipient of the Dean’s Medal, having received the award in 2018.

“Well, it’s a much broader program now,” Ganz said. “When it started it was only an MBA program. But we now have a specialized master’s degree in information systems, accounting and the DBA program. So, there’s a lot more now being offered in the graduate program than there was in earlier years.”

Ganz hopes the quality of students the program has attracted will continue as the university continues to work to ensure a valuable experience for them.

“We’ve been very blessed over the years with a very, very talented student population,” Ganz said. “We’re hoping that will continue and that the program is a good one for them and they can go on and come back as proud alumni saying what a good experience it was. That’s really what makes the whole thing worth doing, is that people say, ‘It’s a good program.’”

Phillips has similar hope for the outlook of the program and College of Business Administration.

“The UMSL College of Business will continue to prepare the region’s business leaders to successfully navigate future challenges,” she said. “Looking forward, our world-renowned faculty will continue to engage with the St. Louis business community to develop solutions to the toughest problems facing business and society. In addition, COBA’s engagement with the business community will foster a growing entrepreneurial mindset that will strengthen the economic vitality of the St. Louis region.”

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Wendy Todd

Wendy Todd

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