Harris-Stowe State University | St. Louis Public Radio

Harris-Stowe State University

Harris-Stowe State University is one of 13 four-year public universities in the state and receives the least amount of state appropriations.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Waiel Turner, 20, was not planning on going to college. He thought about entering the U.S. Air Force or becoming a police officer for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. 

Enrolling at Harris-Stowe State University was strictly happenstance.

In 2017, he accompanied a friend to the campus in midtown St. Louis where she was registering for classes. An admissions counselor told Turner he should enroll. Two days later, Turner became a college student. 

Turner said it is the family environment that makes Harris-Stowe home for him. Like many historically black colleges and universities, Harris-Stowe is struggling to keep its tight-knit family of students and staff together in the face of shaky finances and relative lack of state resources. 

College and graduation illustration
Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri is joining 20 other states in a nationwide initiative to attract students who’ve put a hold on their college education back in the classroom.

Degrees When Due, a program of the Institute for Higher Education Policy, offers colleges and universities tools to work with students who hit pause on their higher education. 

In Missouri, more than 75,000 people have two years' worth of college credits under their belts but don’t have a degree. Officials with the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development hope the initiative will change that.

Harris-Stowe biology professor Sandra Leal demonstrates how to make fruit fly food infused with CBD oil on June 25, 2019.
Shahla Farzan | St. Louis Public Radio

Anaejal Davies reaches into a jar of wriggling fruit fly larvae and grasps one with a pair of tweezers.

“You have to be really delicate,” said Davies, positioning the larva under a microscope. “Even the slightest pinch, you could puncture them and they can die.”

The Harris-Stowe State University sophomore is one of a handful of biology students studying how CBD, a compound derived from cannabis plants, affects fruit flies. Most of the students had never worked in a research lab before taking the class and are learning the process from the ground up — while investigating cutting-edge scientific questions.

Dwaun Warmack is installed as president of Harris-Stowe State University in April 2015.
Wiley Price | St. Louis American

When Harris-Stowe State University President Dwaun Warmack graduated from high school, he had a 1.7 grade-point average and did not think he was college material. Today, Warmack, 42, is one of the youngest presidents of a four-year college in the country.

His journey with Harris-Stowe began in 2014, but come July 31, he will leave the historically black university for Claflin University in South Carolina.

Gregory Wolk, Heritage Resources coordinator for the Missouri Humanities Council, talked about an unveiling of the panel, "America's Long Road to Freedom: Missouri's Civil War," at Harris-Stowe State University. Joining the conversation by phone was Grego
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

This Thursday, Harris-Stowe State University and the Missouri Humanities Council are commemorating some of the city’s past residents in a new Civil War panel titled “Long Roads to Freedom.” It will be unveiled on the grounds of the university near the former site of John B. Henderson’s home, the Missouri senator who co-authored the constitutional amendment abolishing slavery.

The panel also honors others who advanced the cause of equal rights, such as Henderson’s wife Mary Henderson – who was very involved in the cause of women’s suffrage and women’s rights – and Hiram Reed, the first slave freed on the authority of the American military during the
Civil War.

Joining Monday’s St. Louis on the Air discussion with St. Louis Public Radio reporter Jeremy D. Goodwin to delve into the topic’s history were Gregory Wolk, Heritage Resources coordinator for the Missouri Humanities Council, and Gregory Carr, an instructor in speech and theater at Harris-Stowe State University.

This image is believed to be the only know image of the old Stars Park that stood in St. Louis in the 1920s.
Missouri Historical Society

A rare find by a Missouri Historical Society archivist is proving to be a valuable link to a chapter of St. Louis’ baseball history from nearly a century ago. It’s the only known image of Stars Park, a baseball stadium that was home to a Negro National League team in St. Louis.

Legal Services of Eastern Missouri will provide pro bono legal support to residents and neighborhood associations in Hyde Park, the West End, Old North St. Louis and Academy. The grant money will prevent residents and land owners from displacement.
File Photo | Marie Schwarz | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis homebuyers will soon be able to purchase some city-owned properties at a deep discount.

The going rate? One dollar.

Beginning this month, the Land Reutilization Authority will sell certain residential properties in the city’s land bank through the “Dollar House” pilot program. It’s part of an effort to reduce the number of vacant, city-owned properties and revitalize fading neighborhoods.

Attendees receive informational materials at the 2017 community health fair, organized by 100 Black Men of Metropolitan St. Louis.
100 Black Men of Metropolitan St. Louis

The organization 100 Black Men of Metropolitan St. Louis will host its 16th annual community health fair this weekend.

The event, held at Harris-Stowe State University, will feature a range of free health screenings for all ages, including blood pressure, cholesterol, hearing and vision tests. Organizers say the goal is to encourage community members to think more about their own health and wellness.

Harris-Stowe State University

Harris-Stowe State University’s historic Vashon Community Center is getting an upgrade.

The university has received a $500,000 grant from the National Park Service to renovate the interior of the 1936 building, along with $1.2 million from the state of Missouri. The building has most recently been used for storage, but after the $1.7-million renovations, the former public recreation center will again be open to the public.

Harris-Stowe State University is celebrating its 160th anniversary in 2017.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Members of two local NAACP chapters are urging the state of Missouri to give equal funding and treatment to the state’s historically black universities: Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis and Lincoln University in Jefferson City.

Harris-Stowe’s NAACP Youth and College Branch established the Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Higher Education to push for more funding from the state. The St. Louis City NAACP chapter announced Monday its support of that effort and added that litigation may be the next step if the state fails to provide more funding.

Former Mayor Raymond Tucker (at right) and then-civic leader and bond issue chairman Sidney Maestre look out over an area of Mill Creek Valley slated for clearance in this photograph from 1956.
Missouri Historical Society

Gwen Moore can rattle off the names of all sorts of characters who once walked the streets of Mill Creek Valley, a historic St. Louis neighborhood demolished in the name of urban renewal in the late 1950s.

General William T. Sherman lived in Mill Creek at one point. The poet Walt Whitman stayed there during trips to visit his brother, and the owner of the Daily Missouri Republican also called the community home.

Marsha Evans and the Coalition at the 1860 Saloon on February 24. The band played blues, hip-hop, and r&b songs during their performance.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

Marsha Evans is no stranger to the blues. She has performed blues music all her life and can be found performing at venues across St. Louis with her band, Marsha Evans and the Coalition.

But Evans doesn’t confine her passion for the blues to the stage. She’s a strong advocate for the music. For weeks, she and other musicians in the St. Louis region have discussed ways to honor the legacy of the blues and keep the treasured African-American art form alive.

“You’re pouring your life in three or four minutes of musical expression — your innermost emotions, all of the pain you felt on any particular day for a number of months or years,” she said.

Audience members express dissatisfaction with St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson's comments Wednesday at a meeting at Harris-Stowe State University. Oct. 11, 2017
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

During a frequently contentious forum Wednesday at Harris-Stowe State University, people who have been protesting for the past three weeks had choice words and asked pointed questions of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson.

What was billed as a forum to discuss how to transfer the activism of the protests into policy turned into more of a question-and-answer session with audience members demanding to know why it’s so hard to get a new police chief; why the city isn’t investing more in communities of color and why the city hasn’t followed the recommendations of the Ferguson Commission.

Harris-Stowe State University students Aaron Betite, Erica Wise and University President Dwaun Warmack discussed the role of HBCUs in the spectrum of higher education with Alicia Lee.
Alicia Lee | St. Louis Public Radio

Historically Black College and Universities, known by the acronym HBCUs, have long been a place for black Americans to receive an education, particularly when other schools would not accept them. The institutions were considered was a safe haven for many.

HBCUs were established after the American Civil War by African-Americans with support from religious missionary organizations in the northern region of the United States. They were initially created as a place for freed slaves who wanted to receive an education.

Harris-Stowe State University is celebrating its 160th anniversary in 2017.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

According to the most recently available federal records, Harris-Stowe State University’s six-year graduation rate was three to six times lower than Missouri’s other public colleges in 2014.

But university officials say the graduation rate only counts a fraction of the historically black college’s graduates, and cite increased enrollment and a large graduating class as evidence of the school’s success.

Entrance to Harris Stowe State University, April 2013
Paul Sableman (cropped image) | Flickr

A white professor at a predominantly black university in St. Louis was fired "because of the color of her skin," a three-judge panel of the Missouri Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

Their decision affirmed a 2015 jury verdict that awarded nearly $5 million to Beverly Wilkins, a former professor at Harris-Stowe State University. 

Harris-Stowe State University President Dwaun Warmack discussed his recent meeting with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on St. Louis on the Air.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

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By now, you know the uproar over the photo: Kellyanne Conway with her feet on the Oval Office couch. While Conway has asserted she meant no disrespect, a huge amount of attention was diverted to that moment from what the actual event was about: A meeting of leaders of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) with President Donald Trump.

What were they meeting about and what did they discuss? Harris-Stowe State University President Dwaun Warmack knows intimately: he was in the room (and, indeed, in the now-infamous picture) to meet with President Trump. In fact, Warmack was in D.C. for a lot more: he met with legislators and Cabinet leaders in order to drum up support and money for financially struggling HBCUs.

Dwaun Warmack is installed as president of Harris-Stowe State University in April 2015.
Wiley Price | St. Louis American

After compiling a solid record of achieving goals needed to get extra money from the state of Missouri, Harris-Stowe State University met only one out of five of the necessary criteria in its most recent evaluation.

Data from the state Department of Higher Education shows that in its first year under President Dwaun Warmack, Harris-Stowe met only the performance target of having a higher percentage of first-time full-time freshmen students successfully complete 24 credit hours.

Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 4:48 p.m. Friday, with reaction from Harris-Stowe: For the second time in recent weeks, former employees at Harris-Stowe University have won seven-figure discrimination verdicts against the school.

In the latest case, a St. Louis Circuit Court jury this week ordered the payment of  $750,000 in actual damages and $1.75 million in punitive damages to Shereen AbdelKader, an Egyptian native whose contract as an assistant professor of education was not renewed in 2010.

Harris-Stowe State University president Dwaun Warmack joined "St. Louis on the Air" as part of its series on regional institutions of higher education.
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Dwaun Warmack became president of Harris-Stowe State University in July 2014. Calling himself a “change agent,” Warmack told “St. Louis on the Air” last November that his first focus was on assessment: understanding the university he meant to guide.

Summer program at Harris-Stowe gives science students a boost

Jul 27, 2015
Kimon Chapman conducts an experiment in a chemistry class at Harris-Stowe's Academy for Science & Mathematics this summer.
Bob Morrison | Harris-Stowe State University

Some incoming freshmen at Harris-Stowe State University are getting their first taste of college life — and a crash course in math and science.

Every summer, the Academy for Science & Mathematics provides up to 25 students with free room and board and a $1000 stipend.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Every bill Missouri lawmakers sent to Gov. Jay Nixon this year has now been signed or vetoed, with only one bill becoming law without his signature.

That bill, HB 137, tweaks the bidding process for license fee offices by doing away with rewarding points to bidders based on how much revenue the state would get back in return. It was co-sponsored by state Rep. Dean Dohrman, R-LaMonte.

Dwaun Warmack is installed as president of Harris-Stowe State University in April 2015.
Wiley Price | St. Louis American

Dwuan Warmack says his focus as president of Harris-Stowe State University is hard to forget, because it’s young men just like him.

At Friday’s formal installation in the position that he took over last July, Warmack noted that he didn’t have the best grades or the highest test scores in high school. “All the indicators said I wasn’t college material,” he told a crowd of friends, family and colleagues at the festivities, which included tributes, a bit of history and a video explaining to his young daughter why he wears a bow tie.

Aids.gov

At least 5,638 people in the St. Louis region are living with HIV, according to 2013 numbers from the Missouri Department of Health. About 250 people were newly infected.  

Two out of three of those new cases affected African Americans.  

Harris-Stowe University is offering free HIV testing, education and entertainment on Saturday, National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

The St. Louis Department of Health reports the HIV rate was nearly five times higher in St. Louis’ black community than in the white community in 2012. Increasing HIV testing can reduce the rate of HIV infection. On Saturday, Turn Up for Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day will offer free HIV testing, health screenings and performances.

MLK Day Clash At Harris-Stowe Leads To Conversation

Jan 22, 2015
 the Rev. Dr. William G. Gillespie Residence Hall and Student Center at Harris-Stowe State University
Harris-Stowe State University website

After a heated exchange on Martin Luther King Day between protesters supporting “reclaimMLK” and Harris-Stowe State University students, the university and protesters are working to turn confrontation into conversation. On Tuesday student representatives and administrators met with a Ferguson activist to start a dialogue and “hopefully move forward as a community.”

Harris-Stowe State University President Dwaun Warmack
Harris-Stowe State University

Dwaun Warmack took over as president of Harris-Stowe State University in July. A month later, Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson, about 12 miles away.

Rebecca Smith/St. Louis Public Radio

As far as sexual assaults on a college campus are concerned, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill says no news is definitely not good news.

McCaskill, D-Mo., came to Harris-Stowe State University Monday as part of her continuing efforts to strengthen colleges’ responses to sexual assault – responses that she says too often are half-hearted or, at their worst, harmful to the victim.

Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

What lessons can be learned from the killing of Michael Brown and its aftermath in Ferguson?

For three hours Wednesday night, several panels discussed that question and more at “A community in turmoil,” a symposium at Harris-Stowe State University. Not surprisingly, given the setting, a lot of the answers had to do with education, on campus and on the streets.

And in many cases, speakers said it will be the young teaching the old, not the other way around.

Harris-Stowe State University President Dwuan Warmack.
Harris-Stowe State University

The incoming president of Harris-Stowe State University doesn’t take over until mid-July, but Dwaun J. Warmack has a pretty good idea of what his priorities will be.

He told a news conference on campus Thursday that he is a visionary leader, and his vision has four parts:

  • Academic excellence
  • Strong enrollment and retention of students
  • Marketing and branding
  • Friend-raising and fund-raising

And, Warmack said, his background prepares him to get the job done.

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