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Foundation’s generosity leads to new vehicle

The quartet poses in front of the van and Memorial Union.

The University of Missouri College of Engineering (UMCOE) Foundation members Robert Holtsmith, Ward Chambers and Susan Pasternack flank Dean Elizabeth Loboa in front of the van the Foundation recently donated to the College.

College student participation in teams, clubs and organizations offers them everything from the chance to put coursework into action to organizational, leadership and skill-building opportunities. And there’s the networking with students at Mizzou and other universities. But supporting the many student organizations and competition teams at MU’s College of Engineering requires an increased need for safe and reliable means to transport students to these affiliated extracurricular events.

The University of Missouri College of Engineering (UMCOE) Foundation learned from now- retired team advisor Marty Walker that the four vans used to transport engineering students — the newest being 12 years old — needed to be replaced and/or upgraded. The Foundation responded to that grant request and generously provided funds to purchase a new 15-passenger van for the College. In recognition of the gift and the need, the University matched the gift, so Mizzou Engineering now has two new vans.

In addition to the College’s gratitude, the Foundation received unexpected, heartfelt appreciation for their gift in a serendipitous turn of events.

Engineering alumnus and Foundation board member Don Baker, BS CiE ’71, attended an event in Columbia where he struck up a conversation with the mother of a young woman studying engineering at MU. When Don told her about the Foundation and that it helped the College purchase a new van, the woman was overjoyed.

She told him her daughter went on a student trip and the van broke down, delaying them and making the mother fear for her daughter’s safety. She told Baker that he had no idea how happy the news had made her.

“Each year we look at what the priorities are for the dean that will directly impact students, faculty and staff,” UMCOE Foundation secretary Susan Pasternack BS EE ’70, said. “Requests for these contributions must be achievable, with an implementation plan.”

Pasternack said the Foundation has had steady growth since its inception in 2010 and that they’ve been able to invest $170,000 in the College. In addition to the van, they’ve funded facilities projects and scholarships.

UMCOE currently is working to support the College’s strategic planning efforts and also has started an endowment intended to sustainably fund and support the College. Foundation directors attended the most recent Dean’s Engineering Advisory Committee (DEAC) meeting and heard from the Dean Elizabeth Loboa and engineering department chairs about their specific needs in areas such as research and collaboration.

“It gives the Foundation focus. We respond to specific and worthy objectives,” she said. “And now it’s going in a great direction.”

For more information about the foundation, click here.

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