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University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Oct. 7, 2011) – A $500,000 gift from Dave and Thelma Steward will establish a unique signature scholarship program in the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies at the University of Central Missouri. University President Charles Ambrose announced the scholarship program during his inauguration ceremony on campus
Ambrose called the new program “extraordinary.” He noted that it will serve as a prototype for UCM alumni who want to create a legacy at the university by helping outstanding students achieve their education goals. This includes full-ride scholarships with added benefits such as international experiences and interaction with educators and professionals in their chosen field that go far above and beyond most scholarship programs.
“The Steward Scholars Program will be pivotal in building a community of scholars who are engaged in a valuable and intense learning environment with equal focus on leadership and service to others,” said Ambrose. “This leadership gift by David Steward sets an example for our other alumni and friends to offer similar support to create programs such as this in all our colleges within the next two years.”
Steward’s gift, pledged over five years, establishes UCM’s first business group of named scholars. The Steward Scholars Program will provide full tuition assistance for up to five undergraduate students pursuing Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degrees in computer information systems. In addition to the typical four-year curriculum, Steward Scholars also will have unique high-impact opportunities to interact with business leaders and key mentors, attend professional conferences and experience a focused international internship or study-abroad semester.
Applicants must meet specific criteria that include being a declared computer information systems major and must agree to participate in a study-abroad program or international internship. Preference also will be given to students of diversity and to students who graduate from Clinton High School in Henry County, Mo., where Dave Steward graduated. The scholarships will be awarded next spring, and it is expected the first class will be enrolled for fall 2012.
“Dave’s gift allows our next generation of leaders to leave UCM with unique and transformational experiences in civic engagement, social and cultural awareness, and leadership,” said Roger Best, dean of the Harmon College. “His support is a testament to the impact his own experience at Central Missouri had on him personally and is evidence of the quality business education we provide.”
Rick Sluder, vice provost for enrollment management, also added, “The Steward Scholars program will allow us to bring in the best and the brightest students to campus for a very unique UCM experience. There’s nothing else like it at the university and it will provide a wonderful educational advantage to those who are selected.”
Steward is a UCM alumnus and founder and chairman of the board at World Wide Technology, based in St. Louis. Mrs. Steward was recently named Variety Children’s Charity 2012 Woman of the Year.
Steward graduated from UCM in 1973 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree, and holds honorary doctorates in Humane Letters from Harris Stowe University and Lindenwood University. He held various senior management positions with Wagner Electric, Missouri Pacific Railroad and Federal Express Corporation before he started World Wide Technology in 1990. Since then, the company has grown into a global organization, employing more than 2,000 employees and operating more than 2.5 million square feet of warehousing, distribution and integration space in 30 facilities throughout the world.
The St. Louis-based firm is a leading systems integrator providing technology products, services and supply chain solutions to the commercial, government and telecom sectors. In 2011, the company was recognized by the “St. Louis Business Journal” as one of the city’s best places to work. Its annual revenue is in excess of $4 billion.
Steward, an emeriti member of the UCM Foundation Board of Directors, received the UCM Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2004. In 2008, he received the National Urban League’s Business Pioneer Award as well as the St. Louis County Economic Council Dr. William D. Phillips Technology Award. He has been voted by “Ebony” magazine among “the 100 Most Influential Black Americans.”
In addition to serving on the boards of several charitable, community and civic organizations, including the University of Missouri Board of Curators, Steward is also author of the book, “Doing Business by the Good Book,” providing insights into how he built a successful company based on his curiosity about technology, a talent for motivating others, a genuine interest in people and a willingness to take risks, all while upholding business practices focused on the core values of his faith.
“I’ve been fortunate to have great people in my life — teachers, coaches and others — who cared enough about me to give me their very best,” Steward said. “Giving support to those teachers and leaders in our system is extremely important. I’m excited to give back to my alma mater and create this signature scholarship program with so much potential to shape the future of technology.”