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Five Missouri universities recognized for partnering with the community

By Rachel Lippmann

St. Louis – Three Missouri universities are among the best at partnering to improve the cities where they are located.

The University of Missouri campuses in Kansas City and St. Louis, and St. Louis University all made it into the top 25 in the latest "Savior of our Cities" rankings.

The top universities share with their metropolitan area a view that each needs the other to survive, said Michael Konig, a research fellow at Westfield State College in Massachusetts. He conducted much of the research for the rankings, which are based on a survey that looks at 10 factors, including economic impact and involvement in community service.

"They have initiated programs that are relevant to their communities, that really meet important community needs, but at the same time provide important research and teaching opportunities on campus," Konig said. The 2009 report updates one Westfield released in 2006.

UM St. Louis was specifically recognized for its social service and public health outreach. But the university's efforts aren't limited to the centers mentioned in the report, said chancellor Tom George.

"We're in fact planning to build a new building in Grand Center to get more engaged with the arts scene," he said. "Our school of social work has its tentacles everywhere throughout the region. Optometry has a mobile which actually travels around the region, goes to schools, and people can get eyes checked."

UM St. Louis shared the 14th spot with UM Kansas City and the University of Houston. Saint Louis University came in 22nd. Washington University in St. Louis and Graceland University in Independence were also recognized but did not make the top 25.


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