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Vince Schoemehl (BA ’72)

If you were to compile a list of people who helped shape the St. Louis we know today, it would undoubtedly include Vince Schoemehl. The 42nd mayor of St. Louis, who graduated from the University of Missouri–St. Louis with a BA in history in 1972, was a vocal champion of historic preservation and urban design during his three terms as the city’s chief executive from 1981 to 1993. Vince credits his time at UMSL, while living in several historic buildings in University City and the Central West End of St. Louis, for stirring a passion for the preservation of the built environment.

Vince Schoemehl

“Through friends at UMSL and through the neighborhood associations in Skinker DeBaliviere, I got very active with neighborhood preservation, which led naturally to historic preservation efforts.”

"Before becoming mayor, I was elected to the St. Louis Board of Aldermen in 1975, and one of my accomplishments in that role was to pass an ordinance creating the Skinker-DeBaliviere Historic District."

Later as St. Louis mayor, he helped save the Cupples Warehouses from demolition and emphasized public-private partnerships and urban design in revitalization efforts that included Union Station, the Edward Jones Dome and MetroLink. He also launched Operation Brightside, a St. Louis beautification program, and led other initiatives to plant flowers and clean up neighborhoods.

Vince was also a big supporter of creativity while at City Hall, establishing Grand Center as the epicenter of the arts for the St. Louis region. After leaving office, he eventually became president and CEO of Grand Center Inc., completing several major projects to reinvigorate the district, including redeveloping the Woolworth building into the Kranzberg Arts Center; constructing UMSL at Grand Center, which is home to St. Louis Public Radio; and renovating the Beau Arts Building into Grand Center Arts Academy.

Besides his commitment to the arts and historic preservation, he is an executive in residence with Nine PBS St. Louis and serves as a fellow with the UMSL Public Policy Administration program.