Former Express Scripts Chairman and CEO George Paz and his wife, Melissa Paz, donated $4 million for scholarships at his alma mater, the University of Missouri St. Louis. It is the largest philanthropic gift in the school’s history.
George Paz told UMSL Daily that his father insisted that education was essential to building better lives and encouraged his children to get a college degree. Paz earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting in 1982.
“UMSL offered a quality, affordable education and flexibility so I could work and attend school – everything I needed to be successful. It was outstanding preparation for what I would experience in the business world,” Paz said in UMSL Daily. “I learned more than what comes from textbooks. I saw opportunities and what the future may hold.”
Paz is president of UMSL’s Chancellor’s Council and has maintained a strong connection with UMSL since he graduated, even relocating Express Scripts corporate headquarters onto UMSL’s North Campus in 2007.
Express Scripts has been a primary benefactor for UMSL’s Bridge Program’s Saturday Academy for area high school students, in addition to supporting internships, academic programs, diversity initiatives and community betterment projects that have continued after Paz’s tenure.
“We are so thankful for George and Melissa’s generosity on behalf of our students,” said UMSL Chancellor Kristin Sobolik. “Because of them, even more people, including many from disadvantaged backgrounds, will get to experience the transformative power of a college education. They in turn will join the legions of UMSL graduates helping to shape the future of the St. Louis region and beyond.”
The university is known for its access to affordable, high quality education to a diverse group of students. Eighty percent of the UMSL student population receive some form of financial aid.
“George just gets it. He knows from experience that there are plenty of talented students out there who, through no fault of their own, simply cannot afford higher education without the help of scholarships,” said Paul Herring, vice chancellor of university advancement. “George selected UMSL as a philanthropy of choice because he knows our students seek that upward trajectory. UMSL alumni are strong contributors to the St. Louis workforce and community.”