The University of Missouri–St. Louis is proud of the economic and philanthropic reach of its programs and partnerships, but it’s the people UMSL most wants to honor as it celebrates its 60th anniversary. Throughout the year of celebration, UMSL will be spotlighting 60 alumni who apply one or more of the university’s core values in the world and help to make it a better place.
This month’s honorees are Syed Ali, Sylvia Fallon, Tim Green, Hubert H. Hoosman Jr. and Jim Tuxbury.
Syed Ali has always had a passion for patient care. While growing up in Columbus, Ohio, he volunteered at a local hospital with one primary goal – to put a smile on patients’ faces.
“I wanted to make them forget why they were in the hospital in the first place,” Ali said. “Looking back on it now, it’s no surprise how I ended up committing my life to the health of others.”
Soon after his volunteer hospital experience, Ali launched a 25-year professional journey with Express Scripts, starting as a patient care advocate and continuing in various leadership roles. Today, he is the director of strategic projects and optimization with Accredo by Evernorth, an Express Scripts company that collaborates with prescribers, payers and specialty manufacturers to deliver care and services to patients with chronic, complex and rare health conditions.
As Ali rose through the ranks, company leaders nominated him to take part in the Express Scripts Professional MBA program at UMSL. Ali, who graduated in 2019, says the program opened his eyes to new forms of critical thinking.
“The MBA program reinforced the importance of working together to solve critical issues,” Ali said. “The experience challenged me to go deeper by asking ‘why’ while equipping me with practical tools to analyze real-world business problems and develop winning strategies in management communications and human performance.”
He added: “Some of my best days on the job are when I’m able to help people recognize how they are making a difference. Throughout my career, I have been able to see the impact I can create when connecting them with our company’s mission.”
Through his deep desire to help others, Ali is transforming health care as a change agent for the greater good.
Sylvia Fallon has worked at the crossroads of science and policy for nearly two decades at the National Resources Defense Council in Washington, D.C. As an ecologist and evolutionary biologist, she has secured protections for endangered wildlife species such as gray wolves, white bark pine and monarch butterflies. Fallon has ensured that science is integrated into the development of NRDC’s policy positions and decision-making.
Prior to joining NRDC, Fallon was a science and technology policy fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of California, San Diego and a PhD from UMSL. While at UMSL, she appreciated the faculty and was pleasantly surprised by the international flavor she found.
“Bob Ricklefs was a fantastic PhD advisor for me, and the UMSL student body was such a mix of international cultures from China, Mexico, Iceland and Brazil, making our social get-togethers so interesting,” she said. “I had been hesitant to move to the Midwest, but St. Louis turned out to be such a cool place to live.”
After earning her PhD from UMSL, Fallon took a postdoctoral fellowship at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. opening up more avenues involving policy.
“Following that, I took a position with my current organization, NRDC, using my training in evolutionary biology and ecology to explore how federal agencies were using genetics in decision-making around endangered species management,” she said. “I also was able to use my academic connections to ensure researchers were consulted on agency actions that would benefit from their expertise.”
Besides advocating for individual species protections and improved wildlife management policies at the state, federal and international level, Fallon mentors graduate students seeking advice on careers in nonprofit environmental advocacy.
“Once you are in a graduate program, it can be difficult to find career paths outside of academia,” she said. “But science can have much broader implications for the world, and we need scientists to be involved in policymaking and advocating for solutions that are going to help improve environmental outcomes.”
Fallon says it can be easy to get caught up in a very obscure research topic during graduate work, but it is also possible to apply scientific training more broadly to solve complex and real-world problems.
“I would tell students to try to think beyond their research project to how they can help contribute to addressing today’s environmental crises,” she said. “We need you!”
As a strong voice for the people, Tim Green has made life better for generations of Missouri residents. Green, who was first elected to represent north St. Louis County in the Missouri House of Representatives in 1988, oversaw the development of the state’s $19 billion budget as chair of the powerful Budget Committee from 2000 to 2002. In 2004, he was elected to the Missouri State Senate, where he served until 2013.
Throughout his legislative career, Green served as an advocate for labor unions to improve the state’s business climate. Significant legislative accomplishments included measures that redistributed municipal sales tax dollars in St. Louis County, required utility companies to set aside pension benefits for retirees and gave contractors the right to receive prompt payment for their services.
“I understood the demands of business and how to utilize public policy to achieve success in our region and our state,” he said. “Bringing quality jobs with health and pension benefits provided citizens opportunities for gratifying careers.
“The hard work and perseverance needed to complete courses for a degree, while working full-time, gave me the work ethic to knock on doors and ask people for their vote. My education was critical in helping me understand the positive outcomes that were possible through legislation.”
His legislative work also made a positive difference for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled, earning recognition from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill |St. Louis and the Missouri Association of County Developmental Disabilities Services. In addition, he fought to ensure that low-income Missourians have access to legal assistance, an effort recognized by Legal Services of Eastern Missouri.
Green, who graduated from UMSL with a BSBA in 1990, says the experience gave him the courage to pursue a career in politics.
He credits his father, a union construction electrician, and his mother, a teamster forklift driver, for instilling in their seven children a thirst for knowledge through education. That passion became a family affair after all seven children earned their bachelor’s degrees from UMSL.
Green’s wife, Lisa, also received her BA, MBA and PhD in nursing from UMSL and currently teaches in the nursing program, while their daughter received her degree from UMSL in criminology.
Hubert H. Hoosman Jr. brought light to every life he touched through an unwavering commitment to service, especially when it came to giving back to UMSL.
Hoosman was a powerful advocate for UMSL, serving on the Alumni Association Board of Directors, the Chancellor’s Council and the African American Alumni Chapter. He was instrumental in establishing the Marguerite Ross Barnett Scholarship Fund and creating a plaza in her honor as the university’s first African American chancellor. He also established a scholarship fund and launched the first alumni weekend celebration, designed to strengthen the connection between UMSL and its alumni around the world. He was honored with the University of Missouri System’s Presidential Citation Award for outstanding service.
“His generosity was as large as his commitment to helping other people,” longtime friend Al Parks said in an interview with The St. Louis American after Hoosman’s untimely passing in a 2017 car accident. “He was just a good guy with a big heart.”
Hoosman, who grew up in East St Louis and was a resident of north St. Louis County, earned a BS in administrative justice from UMSL in 1979. Hoosman was also a star collegiate athlete, scoring 1,351 points as a member of the UMSL men’s basketball team. It is one of the best point totals in UMSL hoops history and secured his induction into the UMSL Sports Hall of Fame in 2007. Through those formative days as an UMSL scholar-athlete, Hoosman fully embraced his passion for making a positive difference in the lives of others. It was a commitment he carried forward in his life journey.
“I enjoy getting involved with students, I enjoy giving back because a lot of people helped me to finish school,” he told UMSL Magazine in 2015.
He created internship and shadowing programs for UMSL students at Vantage Credit Union, where he served as president and chief executive officer for 19 years until his retirement in 2013. He then partnered with his wife, Andreal, to form Haywood-Hoosman Realty and H&H Brokerage Group, a minority-owned business headquartered in downtown Ferguson. As a commercial real estate consultant, Hoosman was passionate about providing African Americans with homeownership opportunities and access to financial literacy.
“He was a remarkable person who made a major footprint in both the civic and financial community in St. Louis,” his nephew John Gaskin III told The St. Louis American. “He was dedicated to supporting and sustaining the Black business community.”
The story of Jim Tuxbury is one of hope and inspiration for anyone considering a new career, even while in the middle of a successful one. Tuxbury’s professional journey took root at UMSL, where he earned a degree in communication in 1988. After graduation, Tuxbury embarked on his first career in television news, discovering a passion for being behind the camera to bring the news home to viewers. Nearly 15 years later, Tuxbury decided to embark on a second career, this time in engineering. He chose UMSL once again for the training and education to prepare him.
“I chose UMSL the first time because it was a great local place to further my education and I could explore my options,” Tuxbury said. “I originally enrolled as a business major, but after I landed my part-time position at KSDK-TV, I changed it to communications. Dr. Michael Murray was a true inspiration and mentor to me as I made my way through the program. We are still friends to this day. I chose UMSL the second time because the program offered me the flexibility to go at my own pace, mostly at night. I knew from my first experience the education would be top-notch and would prepare me for the next phase of my journey.”
“In each case, I felt UMSL provided me with a strong foundation to enter the job market,” he said. “My communications degree gave me the opportunity to explore my creativity. The technical and writing skills I picked up at UMSL, both in my radio production class and working at The Current, served me well throughout my career as a photojournalist. My BS in electrical engineering also prepared me well for my current career as an automation engineer. The program was well rounded and taught me the problem-solving skills necessary to become a successful engineer. I had plenty of hands-on experience in my laboratory courses to solidify the concepts learned in class. I’m proud to be able to use the knowledge and skills I learned at UMSL to make the St. Louis community, my community, a better place.”
During his time as a photojournalist with KDSK Channel 5, Tuxbury covered stories from across the U.S. and around the world, including the Olympic Games and a papal inauguration. Tuxbury also captured the moving frames of tragedy and turmoil, from the Oklahoma City bombing to the civil unrest in Ferguson.
Tuxbury was at the top of his profession after winning several Emmys for his work in photojournalism when he decided to return to UMSL in 2004 to pursue another degree, this time in electrical engineering. Smart phones were a new phenomenon then and Jim recognized from the beginning just how significant these devices would become for the consumption of news and information.
“I’ve always had a technical part of my mind that I wanted to explore,” Tuxbury said. “I’m also committed to being a life-long learner. It made sense to me, when the time was right, to give engineering a shot. The most difficult part of the journey was leaving my comfort zone at the television station and taking that leap into a completely new career.”
He was accepted into the joint UMSL/Washington University Joint Undergraduate Engineering Program, juggling a full-time job and full-time class load. While pursuing his engineering degree, he spearheaded the documentary, “Landmark of Legends,” that followed the construction of the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge from groundbreaking to completion. During production, he organized a visit for the joint engineering students to tour the construction site.
After his second successful UMSL experience, Tuxbury joined Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, where he has spent the past eight years working as a project engineer.