Skip to main content

Culture Centers and Endowed Professors


'Niyi Coker, Jr.
E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professor of
African/African-American Theatre and Cinema,
Directing for Stage and Screenwriting and Playwriting
International Studies and Programs
314-516-4552
314-516-6757 FAX
'Niyi Coker, Jr.

Recognizing St. Louis' Largest Minority Community

Through the generosity of noted St. Louis philanthropist, E. Desmond Lee, the University of Missouri-St. Louis established the E. Desmond Lee Professorship in African/African-American Studies in 1998.

The creation of this professorship comes at a particularly auspicious time. As the elements for economic, social and political renewal create changes throughout Africa, the E. Desmond Lee Professorship in African/African-American Studies will support the work of a distinguished expert in the field of African/African-American Studies. Through teaching and research that focus on African and African-diaspora studies, the history, contributions and current status of African nations and their descendants will become better known. This enhanced knowledge will create a new appreciation for the cultural heritage of African-Americans in the St. Louis community and acknowledge their contribution to the unique nature of our local cultural diversity.

Biographical Note

Dr. 'Niyi Coker, Jr. is E. Desmond Lee Professor in the Department of Theatre, Dance and Media Studies. 'Niyi Coker Jr., has directed over 50 major stage productions around the world. He has also served as Director for several professional theatre companies ranging from the National Theatre of Nigeria, to Malmo Hogskola in Sweden, and several productions in Bermuda.

He is the founding Artistic Director of the African Arts Ensemble in New York City. His theatre directing credits include Ola Rotimi's "The Gods Are Not to Blame" at the Nat Horne Theatre- Off Broadway in New York City, Lewis Nkosi's "The Psychiatrist" at the John Houseman Theatre in New York City (Theatre Row), and at King Alfred's Theatre in Winchester, England. He has also received the Kennedy Center Merit Award and recognition for Directing.

He received British Council Grant and Support in writing the play, "Endangered Species", which was also performed at John Houseman Theatre in New York and toured several theatres in the United Kingdom. In association with the Southern Ute Tribal Council in Colorado, he wrote the historical play, "Ouray". This is a play based on the 19th century struggles of the Utes in Colorado, against European encroachment. In collaboration with Musician, Dr. Barbara Harbach and Lyricist, Dr. Jonathan Yordy, he wrote and directed the musical "Booth!", which had its Off-Broadway New York Premiere at the NYU Skirball Theatre. His latest play, "Preemptive" is currently in preparation for a 2010 tour of Barbados, Bermuda, Nigeria, Ghana and Great Britain.

His Film writing, directing and producing credits include, "Black Studies USA", which won best short documentary at the 2005 Berlin Black Film Festival in Germany, 2007 Silver Remi Award at Worldfest in Houston, and was Official Selection at the 2007 Hollywood Black Film Festival. He also directed & produced "The Black 14" for FERPA/PBS through the University of Wyoming Television. He has served as Consultant for Black Canyon/HBO Productions Emmy nominated documentary "Fields of Fire". His is currently completing, "Pennies for the Boatman", a feature film he directed, based on writer Mario Farwell's play, "The Seamstress of Saint Francis Street".

'Niyi Coker, Jr. received the B.A. in Dramatic Arts from the University of Ife. He received the MFA in Directing from Brooklyn College CUNY, and the Ph.D in African American Studies from Temple University, Philadelphia.

He has published two books; "A Study of the Music and Social Criticism of African Musician Fela Kuti" and "Ola Rotimi's African Theatre: The Development of an Indigenous Aesthetic". His articles have appeared in several newspapers and journals including, the NYU Renaissance Journal, the Journal for Black Studies and the Encyclopedia of Black Studies. He has a book chapter on "Film as Historical Method in Black Studies" in the "Handbook for Black Studies" edited by Molefi Asante and Maulana Karenga, published by Sage Press.

He is a member of the United States Commission for FESMAN III to be held in Dakar, Senegal in 2011. He was recently honored with the 2009 Saint Louis American Excellence in Education Award. He is Festival Director of the Africa World Documentary Film Festival.


For further information, please contact:

Dr. Hung-Gay Fung
Professor, College of Business Administration
Phone: 314-516-6374
Fax: 314-516-6757

A Special Gift

Moved by the plight of peasants in China, Dr. Yien-Si Tsiang began his life of public service with the study of agriculture. In his policy making role, Dr. Tsiang was the architect of Taiwan's land reform program, a policy that formed the foundation for the country's economic modernization and remains a model for other developing countries. Throughout his many years of exemplary service to the government and people of Taiwan, Dr. Tsiang distinguished himself as a scholar, researcher, administrator and statesman. The Dr. Y.S. Tsiang professorship in Chinese Studies was established in recognition of Dr. Tsiang's outstanding contributions through the generosity of the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for Scholarly Exchange, Far Eastern Textile Ltd., Liu International Foundation, Ministry of Education, Republic of China, Taipei Fortuna Hotel and United World Chinese Commercial Bank.

An International Business Focus

By enhancing teaching, research and community programs about China, the Dr. Y.S. Tsiang Professorship in Chinese Studies builds on the University's strong foundation of expertise in the area of East Asian studies. The selection of Dr. Hung-Gay Fung as the first holder of the professorship, reflects the University's recognition of the economic importance of the Asian Pacific region. Dr. Fung's expertise in international and Chinese business provides an invaluable resource for the campus and community.

An Opportunity for Campus and Community

The Dr. Y.S. Tsiang Professorship in Chinese Studies supports conferences, distinguished speaker's programs, visiting scholars, faculty research and cultural programs about China. It not only strengthens the academic excellence of the University, but also brings a global vision to the St. Louis region and enhances our relationship with the local Chinese-American community.

China MBA Program


Dr. Michael B. Cosmopoulos
Professor of Archaeology
314-516-6241
314-516-6757 FAX
cosmopoulos@umsl.edu

The Local Inspiration

The initiative to create a professorship in Greek studies came from the Greek-American community in St. Louis. Motivated by a common commitment to preserve the Greek heritage in the United States, 300 individual contributors, the government of Greece and the Karakas Family Foundation pooled their resources to create The Hellenic Government-Karakas Family Foundation Professorship in Greek Studies.

Our Mission

With the assistance of a community-based advisory committee, the Greek Studies program seeks to promote the study of ancient, Byzantine and modern Greek culture. In accordance with the wishes of the donors to enhance the preservation of the Greek language, history and heritage, the Professorship offers courses in modern Greek language and culture. The program is the first of its kind in Missouri.

Serving Campus and Community

In addition to the teaching and research components of the Greek Studies Professorship, The Karakas Family Foundation Alliance for the Advancement of Hellenic Studies has been established to develop and promote outreach education in Greek studies and culture for the broader community. These programmatic activities include lectures, symposia, concerts and film series. The Alliance annually sponsors a major international conference. According to Nick Karakas, chairman of the Karakas Family Foundation and the Greek Studies Advisory Council, these programs fill a very important void in the understanding and appreciation of the input of the Hellenic civilization into Western thought. They explore, feature and publicize the rich legacy of Hellenic culture and foster the continued interest and development of Hellenism in the St. Louis area, the Midwest and the country at large. For students, the Greek Studies program creates new opportunities to study another language and culture. The Professorship also symbolizes the intentions of UM-St. Louis to become an international university, to internationalize the experiences of its students, and to provide leadership for Missouri and the St. Louis region in preparation of the 21st century.

Biographical Note

Dr. Michael B. Cosmopoulos is the Hellenic Government-Karakas Family Foundation Professor of Greek Studies, International Studies and Programs, University of Missouri-St. Louis. Until August, 2001 he was Professor of Classics and founding Director of the Centre for Hellenic Civilization, the University of Manitoba, in Canada.

He has studied Greek and Roman Archaeology, Ancient History, and Classical Languages at the University of Athens (B.A., summa cum laude), the University of Sorbonne-Paris IV (D.E.U.G.), and Washington University in St. Louis (M.A., Ph.D.). He also holds a Diploma in Underwater Archaeology from the Council of Europe.

His research interests are the social, political, and cultural history of ancient Greece, about which he has published ten books and more than seventy articles and scholarly papers in international journals. He has excavated at several ancient sites in Greece and Ukraine, including Mycenae, Pylos, Epidaurus, Ancient Corinth, Ithaca, Oropos, and Olbia. He has been the director of the new excavations at the famous sanctuary of Demeter at Eleusis and is currently directing a new interdisciplinary archaeological project at Iklaina near Pylos. For his research accomplishments he has been awarded the Rh Award for Outstanding Contributions to Scholarship and Research in the Humanities.

His teaching extends beyond the classroom and in the field, where in the last twelve years he has trained more than 500 students in archaeological theory and methodology and in Greek archaeology and history. In Winnipeg, besides the traditional teaching techniques, he has used complementary means of education, such as exhibitions and films. In recognition of his teaching, the University of Manitoba has awarded him a Merit Award for Teaching (1991) and the prestigious Olive Beatrice Stanton Award for Excellence in Teaching (1999). In 2001 he was recommended for the national "Canadian Professor of the Year Award".

He is currently an Academic Trustee of the Archaeological Institute of America; Vice-President of the Archaeological Institute of Canada; member of the Managing Committee of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens; and a life member of the Archaeological Society of Athens. Since 1996 he has been included in the Canadian edition of Who is Who.

Dr. Cosmopoulos has worked intensely for the promotion of Greek Studies in Canada. In 1993, in close cooperation with the Consulate General of Greece in Toronto and the Pan-Macedonian Association of Ontario he founded the Pan-Macedonian Association of Manitoba, Inc., of which he served as first president. In 1995 he founded the Centre for Hellenic Civilization of the University of Manitoba, the only university centre in Canada, dedicated to the study of ancient, medieval, and modern Greece. In 1998, in close cooperation with the Greek Embassy in Canada, he organized the Canadian Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles, of which he currently serves as Coordinator. He has been recommended by the Greek Embassy in Ottawa to receive the Order of Phoenix Decoration by the President of Greece.

Main Publications

Books: Mysteria. The Archaeology of Greek Secret Cults, Routledge, London and New York, in press. The Rural History of Ancient Greek City-States: the Oropos Survey Project, Oxford 2001. The Mycenaean Pottery from Grotta, Naxos Athens 2001. Macedonia. An Introduction to its Political History, Winnipeg 1992. The Early Bronze 2 in the Aegean, Göteborg 1991. Neolithic Anatolia, Athens 1984. Pericles, a Biographical Study, Athens 1979.
Other: More than seventy articles in journals (including Oxford Journal of Archaeology, Prähistorische Zeitschrift, Aegaeum, American Journal of Archaeology, Classical Views, The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology and Underwater Exploration, and Platon) and scholarly papers presented at international and national conferences.

Eamonn Wall

For further information, please contact
Dr. Eamonn Wall
Professor of English
314-516-5589
314-516-6757 FAX
Eamonn Wall

A Unique Gift in Support of International Education
In 1996, Dr. Michael Smurfit pledged the funds to create the Smurfit-Stone Endowed Professorship in Irish Studies. As a major multinational corporation, Smurfit-Stone Corporation clearly exemplifies what it means to be a good corporate citizen in the era of global economic interdependence. Integral to the efforts to internationalize the University of Missouri-St. Louis, this professorship represents another important step in ensuring that our students and the local community understand and communicate with people of different cultures.

About Professor Wall
Eamonn Wall, a native of Co. Wexford who immigrated to the US in 1982, was educated at University College Dublin, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the City University of New York-Graduate Center, where he received his Ph.D. in English.

Wall teaches courses in Irish, Irish-American, and British Literature, coordinates the UMSL’s Irish Speakers and Performances Series, and directs the UMSL Summer Study-Abroad Program in Galway.

His books include Writing the Irish West: Ecologies and Traditions (Notre Dame, 2011) and From the Sin-e Café to the Black Hills: Notes on the New Irish (Wisconsin, 2000). He is a past-president of the American Conference for Irish Studies. Eamonn Wall is also the author of six collections of poetry: Sailing Lake Mareotis (2011), A Tour of Your Country (2008), Refuge at De Soto Bend (2004), The Crosses (2000), Iron Mountain Road (1997), and Dyckman-200th Street (1994), all published by Salmon Publishing in Ireland. In 2013, he edited two volumes of Irish poet James Liddy’s literary essays: On American Literature and Diasporas and On Irish Literature and Identities, both published by Arlen House/Syracuse University Press. Essays, articles, and reviews of Irish, Irish American, and American writers have appeared in The Irish Times, New Hibernia Review, Irish Literary Supplement, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, South Carolina Review, An Sionnach, and other journals. Further information is available at www.eamonnwall.net

Programs for Campus and Community

The establishment of the Smurfit-Stone Distinguished Lecturer series has permitted International Studies and Programs to offer outstanding programs for campus and community audiences. The events include presenting speakers on Irish culture, literature, history, politics, and performers of Irish music and dance.

For further information, please contact
Dr. Laura Miller
Professor of History
Dr. Miller's History Faculty Page
314-516-7246
314-516-6757 FAX
Email Dr. Miller

A Special Gift

In 1999, Mr. Seigo Arai, businessman and friend of the Shibusawa family, made a generous gift to the University of Missouri-St. Louis to establish the Ei'ichi Shibusawa-Seigo Arai Professorship in Japanese Studies. The professor strengthens the profile for Japan studies by developing and offering additional courses, conducting research, and by organizing and presenting programs for the campus and local community about Japanese culture and society.

About Professor Miller

Dr. Laura Miller is an internationally prominent scholar of Japan studies and linguistic anthropology. After graduation from the University of California, Santa Barbara with BA degrees in Anthropology and Asian Studies, she supervised an English language program for a Japanese company in Osaka (1977-1981). She received her Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1988. She has published more than seventy articles and book chapters on Japanese culture and language. She is the author of Beauty Up: Exploring Contemporary Japanese Body Aesthetics (University of California Press, 2006). She co-edited Modern Girls on the Go: Gender, Mobility, and Labor in Japan (with Freedman and Yano, Stanford University Press, 2013), Manners and Mischief: Gender, Power, and Etiquette in Japan (with Bardsley, University of California Press, 2011), and Bad Girls of Japan (with Bardsley, Palgrave 2005). Diva Nation: Female Icons from Japanese Cultural History, co-edited with Rebecca Copeland, will be published in June 2018 by the University of California Press. Dr. Miller has been active as a leader in many professional organizations, and is currently the Vice President of the Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs, and member of the American Advisory Committee for the Japan Foundation.

Programs for Campus and Community

The Professorship sponsors a variety of speakers and programs on Japan studies. Past academic events supported by the Professorship include a symposium on The Politics of Speaking Japanese (2014), and a symposium on Pop Heroines and Female Icons of Japan (2012). Recent invited lectures have focused on Edo period letter writing, the Japanese typewriter, and morning television drams called asadora.

East Asian Studies Certificate

For undergraduate students, UMSL offers an East Asian Studies Certificate, equivalent to a minor that can be earned in conjunction with a bachelor's degree. Students must complete language study, additional credit hours chosen from various disciplines, and a 3 credit hour independent study. For details, see East Asian Studies Certificate.


For further information, please contact
Dr. E. Wendy Saul
Teaching and Learning
314-516-4580
314-516-6757 FAX
saulw@umsl.edu

E. Wendy Saul serves as the Allen B. and Helen S. Shopmaker Endowed Professor of Education and International Studies in Collaboration with Springboard. In this capacity she works with teacher-specialists and the Springboard staff to "motivate, stimulate and inspire" underserved children, largely in the St. Louis Public Schools. Before coming to UMSL, Dr. Saul was a Professor of Education at UMBC (the University of Maryland Baltimore County). Years ago she taught Jr. High school on New York City's lower east side and worked as Education Director of the Grand Street Settlement House.

For the past 15 years Dr. Saul has served as PI for various NSF grants that explore the relationship between science and literacy. She has also been active in the international Reading Association's Reading and Writing for Critical Thinking (RWCT) Project, working with teachers in Eastern and Central Europe and Central Asia. During her last sabbatical she coordinated the RWCT project and founded "Thinking Classroom: An International Journal of Reading, Writing and Critical Reflection." This publication has now become part of IRA's stable of journals, and Dr. Saul serves (with colleagues from Russia and Lithuania) as Editor-in-Chief. For this work and for her efforts in Kosovo as well as the Baltimore area, Wendy Saul received the University of Maryland Regents' Award for Public Service. For her work "bringing science to children, their parents, teachers and librarians" she has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dr. Saul's recent publications (February 2004) include an edited book co-published by the International Reading Association and the National Science Teachers Association entitled "Crossing Borders in Literacy and Science Instruction: Perspectives on Theory and Practice" and a revised edition of "Science Workshop: Learning to Read, Write and Think Like a Scientist" (Heinemann 2003). She is also responsible for the website SearchIt: Science, an on-line readers' advisory available through Heinemann. Her website in support of the Elementary Science Integration Projects is accessed by teachers, librarians and scholars. Saul has also written extensively about the selective tradition in children's literature. Wendy Saul received her BA from Knox College, her Masters from the University of Chicago and her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.