UMSL Vice Chancellor for Advancement Martin Leifeld, Chancellor Thomas George and Barbara Harbach, professor of music

The University of Missouri–St. Louis honored Chancellor Thomas George and his wife, Barbara Harbach, at its Founders Dinner in September for private gifts exceeding $2.5 million – placing them among the top donors to the university.

“Chancellor George and Dr. Harbach have been exceedingly generous in supporting the growth of this university,” said Vice Chancellor for Advancement Martin Leifeld. “I’ve been associated with many people who have invested in their own institutions and programs, but Tom and Barbara have taken their support to a unique level.”

George and Harbach also are celebrating their 10th anniversary at UMSL – he as chancellor and she as professor of music. The primary benefactor of the couple’s gifts has been the College of Fine Arts and Communication and UMSL’s Women in the Arts initiative.

Women in the Arts sponsors a variety of programs designed to heighten the awareness and understanding of the artistic achievements of women throughout history. It includes many campus and community organizations in its activities.

UMSL is a public metropolitan research university with 2,700 faculty and staff, nearly 17,000 students and more than 86,000 alumni.

$1.2M grant to train science teachers 

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has received a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation. During the next five years, the Robert Noyce Scholarship Program at SIUE will graduate and certify 36 secondary science teachers to serve in high-needs rural and urban communities in southwestern Illinois.

The program provides funding for scholarships, stipends and programming to recruit and prepare STEM majors to become middle school and high school science teachers. The program is a partnership of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), School of Education, SIUE STEM Center, master teachers, community-based organizations, local community colleges and the cooperating school districts.

“The need for teachers, who can not only educate but truly inspire our children to become the next generation of engineers and scientists, is absolutely paramount for keeping our economy strong and discovering innovations to solve the challenges of our growing population,” said Jerry Weinberg, associate provost for research and dean of the Graduate School.

This  multi-disciplinary effort will be led by Jessica Krim, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction in the School of Education; Kelly Barry, associate professor of biological sciences in CAS; Sharon Locke, director of the Center for STEM Research, Education and Outreach in the Graduate School; and Susan Wiediger, associate professor of chemistry in CAS.

Three novel elements of the program design are a self-efficacy framework, a focus on recruitment of pre-health professional students and regional capacity building. The objectives of the project are to:

  • Recruit highly qualified STEM students that demonstrate an aptitude for teaching
  • Provide these students with an enhanced experience in STEM education and research
  • Supply high-needs middle and high schools with exemplary science educators
  • Increase outreach in the communities of southwestern Illinois
  • Disseminate project findings for use in other STEM education settings.

The program will implement strategies for recruiting and nurturing cohorts of STEM teacher candidates during their college years and into their early teaching careers in high-needs schools. Key components of the program are:

  • A self-efficacy framework that imparts confidence and skills to developing teachers
  • A two-phased recruitment strategy that exposes underclassmen to the rewards and challenges of education and offers scholarships and research opportunities to upperclassmen
  • The development and support of a STEM teacher network in southwestern Illinois high-needs schools.

Ten summer internships will be awarded annually to SIUE and local community college freshmen and sophomores with an intended or declared major in STEM disciplines who show promise to be strong teachers. Interns will teach in a variety of educational outreach programs at SIUE or with community partners for a total of 200 hours during the summer. They will receive training in science pedagogy for informal learning, meet regularly with project staff to reflect on their experiences and give a culminating presentation at the end of the summer.

Competitive Noyce Scholarships valued at $11,500 per year will be awarded to juniors and seniors with a STEM major who are committed to pursuing STEM education careers. Noyce Scholars will conduct outreach with disadvantaged middle and high school students, observe master teachers in high-needs schools and take on the challenges of formal research in their content area or STEM education. Scholars also will receive funding to attend the National Science Teachers Association annual conference.

After graduation, new teacher support will include a summer face-to-face workshop, online mentoring and support, and professional development events to maintain a collaborative network of peers and supportive master teachers in southwestern Illinois. The new teachers will have access to and support from the SIUE STEM Center, which provides numerous services to educators, including a lending library and professional development opportunities.

Through outreach activities built into the program design, the Noyce interns and scholars will reach an additional 2,500 middle and high school students, providing “minds-on” STEM activities designed to generate interest and enthusiasm in STEM and STEM careers.

Benefit for Military Veterans Program at UMSL 

Members of the St. Louis community are invited to honor the Hellenic Spirit – and to contribute to the University of Missouri–St. Louis military veterans scholarship program – at the seventh annual Athena Awards to Women of Achievement hosted by the Hellenic Spirit Foundation at the Missouri Athletic Club in downtown St. Louis.

Since its inception, proceeds from its fundraising events have enabled the foundation to contribute nearly $1 million to programs that enhance various education, philanthropic and charitable causes in the United States and abroad.

“Our Hellenic heritage guides our relations with other people in our society," said Nick Karakas, chairman of the Hellenic Spirit Foundation. "It is a distinct and unique value system which has endured and transcends time and boundaries of war, hatred and narrow-mindedness."

Honorees of this prestigious award for the 2013 Women of Achievement include: Joan Lee Berkman, Amelia A.J. Bond, Terri Griege, Mary Elizabeth Grimes, Linda Hall, Tishaura O. Jones, LaVerne Lorenzini, Virginia McDowell, Kathleen M. Ratcliffe, Donna Wilkinson, Sonia Zamanou-Erickson and Terri J. Odom, E6 Retired. 

The event will feature Stella Markou, associate professor of music and a noted soprano and members of the Gateway Battallion ROTC. It will be held  11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15 at the Missouri Athletic Club, 405 Washington Ave. The luncheon is $75 per person, $750 table of 10. For more information, or to make reservations, please call 314-447-0290 or email All proceeds from the event will fund Military Veterans Program at UMSL. 

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