Former teacher Beth Fitzgerald took her creativity from the classroom to the city’s nationally recognized children’s museum as the current president of The Magic House. She is one of many University of Missouri—St. Louis alumni using a broad-based education to make a big impact on the community. “Our graduates are problem-solvers, innovators and creative thinkers who know how to think outside the box,” says chancellor Tom George.
With 84,000 alumni (62,000 of whom are living and working in the greater St. Louis region), UMSL supplies more local graduates than any other university, with a number of them feeding the area workforce. Among other alums are George Paz, CEO of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical benefits manager, St. Louis-based Express Scripts; Warner Baxter, president of Ameren Missouri; and Norm Eaker, principal at Edward Jones. In addition, Sandra VanTrease, group president for BJC HealthCare, graduated from the university’s nationally lauded business program; and St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom has three degrees from the school’s top-ranked criminology department.
The university's low tuition rates and array of high-ranking programs continue to make UMSL a top-tier choice for today’s students, George notes, adding that its business, criminology and nursing programs are consistently top-rated in the nation by U. S. News and World Report.
And with a tough job market, quality programs that can lead to long-term careers are attractive to students. Among UMSL's current 17,000 students are first-generation college-goers and full-time workers returning for supplemental education. The university’s emphasis on STEM education, including information technology and bio-technology programs, also bodes well for students aiming to secure a stable spot in the workforce. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 53 percent growth in available jobs in the information technology field into 2018.
George says UMSL aims to stay on the cutting edge of today’s job market by offering programs in niche areas that are growing and timely. One example of this is the university’s new faculty-driven incubator, Innovative Technology Enterprises, where staff, students and other community members can start a small tech company. And students are gaining experience off-campus, as well. Internships with companies, including major engineering firms Monsanto and Boeing, as well as small technology businesses, give students real-world work opportunities. “In many cases, the internship leads to a job at that institution,” George says.
Whatever career field students aspire to, George says UMSL strives to prepare them for what companies are looking for in today’s employees: a broad-base education with emphasis on innovative and creative skills. “When our students graduate, they hit the ground ready.”