Business Administration graduate Jalen Walker-Wright has created a lasting legacy at UMSL

by | May 13, 2024

Walker-Wright, who helped plan and organize 23 events as an undergraduate, will pursue his MBA after graduating in May.
Jalen Walker-Wright

Jalen Walker-Wright has made a huge positive impact during his time at UMSL. (Photo by Derik Holtmann)

One thing is for sure about Jalen Walker-Wright’s time at the University of Missouri–St. Louis: He has made an impact. A driven, relentless, selfless, positive impact on his fellow students and everyone in his sphere of influence, which has included pretty much the entire campus since he arrived as a McCluer High School graduate in the fall of 2019.

“I believe in leaving places better than how I found them,” he said.

He’s done that, no doubt. Through his work with the Office of Student Involvement, Walker-Wright has personally been involved with the planning, execution and marketing for 23 different campus events. That includes being the program chair for the University Program Board (which plans and organizes Mirthweek), and his role with UMSL’s 60th Anniversary Homecoming Planning Committee, as the programming and engagement intern.

The list doesn’t end there.

He was named UMSL’s Student Leader of the Year in 2023. He’s been active in the Student Government Association as a senator. He was a resident advisor for two years. He was asked to be a presenter at the 60th Founders Celebration. He’s been a student leader on the Student Activities Budget Committee. He was selected to represent UMSL at the Missouri Governor’s Leadership Forum. An excellent student, too, Walker-Wright has been on both the College of Business Administration Dean’s List and the Pierre Laclede Honors College Dean’s List since the spring of 2022.

His intramural volleyball team even won the title this spring.

Walker-Wright was initially looking at colleges outside of St. Louis, including ones in Tennessee and Georgia. But he loved the idea of staying close to home, and receiving scholarships – including the Chancellor’s Scholarship, Honors College Scholarship and Irvin Dagen and Margaret W. Dagen Scholarship, among others – helped make the choice simple.

UMSL just made sense.

“A fun fact I like to tell everybody,” Walker-Wright said, “is that all the schools that I went to are connected by the same street: My high school, my elementary school and middle school and now UMSL are all connected to same street, Florissant Road.”

Walker-Wright graduated over the weekend with a BSBA with an emphasis in management and a minor in criminology and criminal justice. He started his college career as a criminal justice major but switched to business administration in 2022. And his time at UMSL has not ended.

“I’ve been accepted into a graduate assistantship here on campus,” he said. “I’ll be getting my Master of Business Administration with my emphasis in management. I plan on taking another two years here learning a little bit more, developing my business acumen and just continuing to grow as a leader and as a business professional.”

His involvement in campus activities isn’t an accident. He’s used his opportunity at UMSL to prepare for what he hopes to do after he finishes his MBA.

“I want to go into the field of event management or project management, somewhere in that aspect,” Walker-Wright said. “I just really enjoy pooling resources from everywhere, talking to vendors, contractors, other peers, other staff members to put an event together. I enjoy that.”

Walker-Wright’s time at UMSL – starting right before the COVID-19 global pandemic stopped the “normal” world – offered a unique opportunity that will serve him well in life. He had the chance to help rebuild an area the pandemic took away, UMSL Radio. The station shut down during the pandemic, with no plans to reopen.

Jalen Walker-Wright

Walker-Wright was a driving force in the revival of UMSL Radio. (Photo by Derik Holtmann)

In the days and weeks and months as life on campus returned to normal, Walker-Wright would walk past the empty radio station in the Millennium Student Center. With the help of fellow student Aden Adams, Walker-Wright initiated inquiries and started the revival process of the station, including a rebrand to UMSL Radio.

“We started in the fall of 2021,” Walker-Wright said. “We just started recruiting, started getting the word out that the station’s back and people wanted to get involved. We had a team of about 14 or 15, plus an alumni advisor, Keith Robinson, and we just started creating content.”

Walker-Wright served as UMSL Radio general manager for two years, hosting his own shows and looking for ways to grow the station and involve other people. No surprise, that’s exactly what he’s done. He took a thing and used it to enrich the college experience for others. This past April, UMSL Radio won Organization of the Year at the Student Leadership awards, hosted by the Office of Student Involvement

“Hearing some of the other students’ experiences, that they always wanted to be on the radio and have a show and have access to that type of equipment and be involved on campus, that was great to hear,” he said. “They wanted to be involved, but they didn’t want to be a part of other organizations. And now radio has become an opportunity to be involved, to stay on campus and get to know other people in the station as well.

“It’s kind of like a megaphone. They get the chance to broadcast their talent, promote themselves, promote their show and talk about their perspective, their life views or they talk about their college life or culture. And this semester, we opened it up to staff and faculty, so now they can have their shows and share their perspective and wisdom, their insight in music and things they like.”

It’s about creating a legacy.

“My whole goal was to create a community, and not just one limited to students, but opening it up to everybody, so everybody can have a voice and be involved,” Walker-Wright said. “I’m really glad that’s a mark that I’m leaving here.”

It won’t be the last time Walker-Wright leaves a positive mark on campus.

“UMSL’s really been great to me,” he said. “I want to give back in some way. In the future, I want to be able to give scholarships, to be a donor here at UMSL, and do all those types of things.”

Ryan Fagan

Ryan Fagan