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Alumni Invest in Faculty

March 2, 2015

The image shows Sharon Austin Keister and Richard Keister.

Mizzou alumni, Sharon Austin Keister and Richard Keister.

Richard Keister, BA ’61 mathematics, and Sharon Austin Keister, BA ’61 zoology, fondly remember their time at MU. They were both first-generation college students and enjoyed great relationships with faculty and staff. “All the people at MU were very friendly, helpful, and available,” says Richard Keister.

They recently brought their granddaughter to MU for a tour. As they walked around their alma mater, they were very impressed with all the changes that have taken place since they graduated. Even though much has changed, they were pleased to see familiar buildings and reminisce about their time at MU.

Shortly after their tour, the Keisters decided to establish the Richard F. & Sharon A. Keister Faculty Enhancement Endowment in the College of Arts & Science. Their generous contribution will be divided equally between the Department of Biological Sciences and the Department of Mathematics. They specifically chose to support faculty in each department and intend for their gift to help attract, reward, and promote outstanding faculty. “We want to support faculty because that is really what is going to determine the future of the university and maintain its academic quality,” says Richard Keister.

Glen Himmelberg, chair of the Department of Mathematics, is grateful for the Keisters’ investment. He says, “A university’s strength is in its faculty, and we are fortunate that at MU we have faculty who are dedicated to MU’s teaching and research mission. Gifts, such as we received from the Keisters, allow us to reward faculty in a way that otherwise would not be possible.”

John Walker, Curators’ Professor and Director of the Division of Biological Sciences, agrees. “I’m thrilled about the gift,” he says. “It will let us recognize and promote exceptional faculty, which will enhance the entire department.”

MU is fortunate to have generous alumni like the Keisters; their willingness to support faculty will have far-reaching impacts for years to come.


Kristi Galloway, College of Arts and Science

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