Martin Jischke on increasing diversity

Martin C. Jischke, who served as chancellor at UMR between 1986 and 1991, describes the importance of African-American alumni as well as the role of Lawrence and Katherine George in the recruitment and retention of African-American students.

Audio transcript

So, when I came it was obvious we weren’t doing very well in terms of enrollment of minority students or faculty. And I met with them and they told me the story and had . . . their great credit, they were willing to give it another go. And they became the basis for sort of building a deeper commitment to a growing enrollment dealing with issues of climate and so on. And they became donors . . . . And these really admirable men . . . and in a funny way, I mean it’s an interesting life lesson, that the environment they had at Rolla was really tough, it was challenging and . . . God Bless Lawrence and God Bless Catherine, provided a kind of home away from home in that tough environment and that love from the Georges, built in these guys, I think both real strength and tenacity and persistence, and also, oddly, an affection for the place. It would be easy to rationalize that once they got their degrees, it was goodbye forever. But that isn’t what happened. I mean, they really were committed to continuing to help and make a difference, and they did, they did. It partly signaled to the whole campus that the leadership of the campus was serious about these kinds of issues.

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