Alumni 5K provides perfect excuse for alum Art Lauer to return to campus after decades away
Art Lauer had traveled much farther than most of the more than 400 people lined up beside him in the circle drive outside the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center Saturday morning as they awaited the start of the third annual University of Missouri–St. Louis Alumni Association 5K Run/Walk.
Lauer, a member of UMSL’s class of 1978, now makes his home in Indianapolis, but he came back to his alma mater to take part in the race and rekindle some of the memories he had from his days as a student pursuing his degree in administration of justice.
“I haven’t been to the campus in a very long time,” Lauer said. “I’ve been gone for about 32 years, probably. I still have family in the area but not many. My parents have passed away. But I saw the run, and I thought it’d be pretty cool to go back to the school.”
Lauer is an avid runner and has been for years, choosing it as his preferred method to keep fit in retirement from his career in logistics. It showed as he embarked on a 27-minute, 20.4-second tour of North Campus, placing first in the 70-and-over age group.
He followed a course that went from the Touhill, out along Grobman Drive to University Drive and Natural Bridge Road, included two laps around the periphery of the Quad and in between the Millennium Student Center ponds, then back along Grobman Drive past the Recreation and Wellness Center and MSC to the Touhill Circle.
“It’s just so different,” Lauer said. “I think there were five buildings here when I first started, and it is just amazing to see the campus growing.”
Lauer, who grew up in south St. Louis, did more sightseeing when he picked up his race packet on Friday afternoon and after the race ended on Saturday. He tried to find the room where he had his 8 a.m. English literature course in Lucas Hall, but the space had been turned into an office. He had an easier time returning to the experiences he had as a student relaxing near Bugg Lake.
“It just brought back a lot of memories,” Lauer said. “College was hard for me. It really was, having to leave and go to work. I thought about some of the good teachers we had here and all that, but I also thought about some of the struggles.”
Lauer was surprised to learn how much his experience still mirrors the stories of so many UMSL students today. He was the first in his family to earn a college degree after starting out at a community college, transferring to university and learning to balance his studies with regular work to support his education.
By the time he earned his degree, he’d already gone to work for Venture Stores. Within a few years of graduating and starting a family, he accepted a transfer to Indianapolis to help the company expand. The family wound up setting down roots in the Hoosier State even as he shifted careers and industries.
Indiana is also where his children and grandchildren live now.
“I still love coming back to St. Louis,” Lauer said. “This is my home.”
It was a treat for him to spend the weekend here.
The Alumni 5K proved enjoyable for all who attended, including strong representation from UMSL’s student-athletes, even as they faced a cool wind and some light precipitation.
Nicolas Dunsworth, a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in mathematics, won the race with a time of 19:12. MBA student Huyen Ngo was the top women’s finisher in 22:27.
View more photos from the UMSL Alumni Association 5K Run/Walk on the UMSL Flickr page.
Short URL: https://blogs.umsl.edu/news/?p=100214