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2017 Student Literacy Corps Luncheon


Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Student Literacy Corps Luncheon

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to the 2017 celebration of Webster University’s Student Literacy Corps.  I am delighted to welcome so many longtime friends of the Student Literacy Corps to our luncheon today.

Greetings to Debbie Schirmer and our friends from Maritz, to Derek Martin and Melanie Brasier from U.S. Bank, to JoAnn Hejna and Mary Kemp from the Saigh Foundation and to Webster’s own Ellen Elliceri (EL-A-SIRI) who have faithfully supported the work of our SLC tutors in schools across the region. Ellen is a longtime donor and first time luncheon attendee-welcome Ellen. Another special greeting to Mr. Colby Heckendorn, the Principal at Patrick Henry Downtown Academy Elementary School who will share with us his school’s experience with our SLC tutors. I understand that Webster has several connections to Patrick Henry including through our Art Department-I recall seeing a lovely exhibition of your students’ art on display at our Gateway campus last year. We look forward to hearing from you Mr. Heckendorn, and to learning more about the amazing things that you have achieved at Patrick Henry. 

Last but certainly not least I want to ask SLC Director Kate Northcott, Math Mentor, Carol Schwab, and our tutors to please stand (Lead the applause).

It was just last year, almost to the day, that we were in this very room celebrating the SLC’s 25th anniversary. We had a special recognition for the Literacy Corps’ most enduring champion that we were unable to award due to scheduling difficulty. I want to take just a moment to share with everyone our heartfelt token appreciation for JoAnn Hejna and Mary Kemp of the Saigh Foundation who have been faithful supporters of Webster’s Student Literacy Corps for 13 years!  We hope you can find room for it at the foundation offices!

It has been another remarkable year at Webster. As you might have noticed driving up today, we are nearing completion of our new interdisciplinary science building, Browning Hall. The 29 laboratories and state-of-the-art workspaces will equip Webster students to participate more fully in the region’s booming bio-science and technology sectors. 

In discussing highlights I have to include our Webster University Chess team who, last month, won their 5th consecutive National Championship at the President’s Cup competition in New York. Of note for all us is the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s recent rankings for teacher preparation programs – we are thrilled to report that each of the 7 teacher preparation degree programs submitted by our School of Education received the highest possible rankings-Tier One. Congratulations to Dean Brenda Fyfe and our School of Education. 

As we look toward Webster’s bright future, I’m pleased to introduce to you some new faces that who will help take us forward. First, is Patty Arnold. Patty joined us in January as our interim Vice President for Advancement and we are pleased to have her on board. And Quen Agnew, Quen also joined us in January as our new Director of Corporate Relations.  I know that you will enjoy getting to know them as we have.

Well, all of us who have attended these annual Student Literacy Corps events in the past know that we will hear stories from Kate and our tutors that will make us laugh and just as likely bring tears to our eyes. The message that we take away today is that the small miracles and special moments that our speakers share with us are made possible by the affirmative decisions that you, our donors, have made to support the work of our student tutors.  We could not be more grateful and we hope that Webster’s message of thanks to you will resonate every bit as much as the stories that you will hear from our tutors.

Please enjoy your meal and each other’s company. After lunch, Kate Northcott will share some highlights from the past year and introduce you to the student tutors and SLC partners that we have with us this afternoon.  Thanks each of you for joining us today and please enjoy your lunch.