founders_dinner_20171005_1311C (4).jpg

About the University:

The largest public research university in Eastern Missouri, University of Missouri-St. Louis [UMSL] is recognized as a leading school with a diverse population, and notable learning and leadership opportunities. While the reputable school receives a lot of worthy attention, it makes sure to turn the spotlight on its valuable alumni and community donors.

“UMSL achieved a remarkable milestone this spring when it graduated its 100,000th alum,” says chancellor Tom George. “The Founders Dinner is special this year as we honor the friends, donors, alumni, faculty, staff and students who helped to make this milestone a possibility.”

The annual event highlights the importance these significant contributions make to the students, faculty and staff at the university, as well as the community at large.

“Only 23 percent of our budget comes from the state of Missouri,” the chancellor says. “We depend on our alumni and friends to partner with us to fund scholarships and campus buildings.”

Nominations for the night’s honorees pour in from alumni, faculty and the entire campus. An alumni committee makes final selections, and passes them along to the Alumni Association Governing Board for approval.

“The Founders Dinner is a chance for all to come together and celebrate,” notes George. “It [allows us to] honor those who have given time and money to the university.”

About the 2018 Founders Dinner:

In years past, the Founders Dinner has kicked off with an inspirational presentation by famed St. Louisans – from former Cardinals All-Star Ozzie Smith to Bobby Norfolk, the three-time Emmy award-winning storyteller — followed by supremely talented student entertainment.

“The big surprise is the E. Desmond and Mary Ann Lee Medal announcement,” says Jennifer Jezek-Taussig, associate vice chancellor for Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving. “The hush that goes across the room turns into a spontaneous, standing ovation. It gives you goosebumps to honor these special people.”

Desmond and Mary Ann Lee were well-known philanthropists throughout the St. Louis area. The Des Lee Collaborative Vision unites professors from different fields, who exceed beyond their respective areas while maintaining valued community partnerships. “We ask professors to go that extra mile,” explains George. “Continue being famous in your field, but on top of that, have a community outreach component. The Des Lee Collaborative Vision fits in perfectly [with] what we are doing at UMSL.”

Past Founders Dinner honorees have included: KSDK sports director Frank Cusumano; George Paz, chairman of the board at Express Scripts and current chair of UMSL’s Chancellor’s Council; Sandra Van Trease, group president at BJC Healthcare; and former Missouri State treasurer Clint Zweifel. “We are honoring terrific alumni,” says George. “For us, it’s been a ‘who’s who’ list in the past – and it is as well this coming year.”

University of Missouri-St. Louis, 1 University Blvd., St. Louis, 314-516-5000, 1-888-GO-2-UMSL,

2018 Founders Dinner

6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4 at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis

Visit for more details. Event sponsors at the Triton level include: Bayer, Edward Jones and Emerson.