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  • Jonathan Stokes

UMSL Orientation: Lucas Hall

By: Jonathan Stokes


Originally named the Arts and Sciences building, Lucas Hall began construction alongside four other campus buildings in 1969 as UMSL sought to expand its footprint and increase the number of classrooms. In 1971, the building opened and was immediately put to use. That same year, the name changed to Lucas after Jean Baptiste Charles Lucas, a superior court judge appointed in 1805. Lucas’ son built an estate spanning 1000 acres named Normandy, which is the namesake of the university’s neighborhood.


Photo by The Current, 1971


Today, the building houses the College of Arts and Sciences, which includes 17 departments, including philosophy, criminology and art history. 

 

The likelihood that a Triton has been inside Lucas Hall, physically or virtually, is high. The advising offices are on the third floor, and with the number of majors that fall under the college’s umbrella, a steady flow of eager students keeps the advisors’ schedules busy. Undeclared students are assigned advisors in the College of Arts and Sciences, which also increases the team’s demand. 


Photo by UMSL


Advising can be anxiety-inducing for any student as the topic of conversations is primarily about the future. The experienced team meets Tritons’ needs through a variety of approaches to advising. Guiding the educational journey of a prospective graduate is no small feat. Still, the academic advising team are fiercely dedicated leaders ready to take on any challenge.


Heather Robinson Coburn is one of those dedicated academic advisors. As an advisor to communications, biochemistry, biotechnology, organizational leadership and psychological sciences majors, Coburn’s reach spans far and wide across the UMSL student body.  In January 2022 she received an UMSL Hero Award. The UMSL Hero Awards are given to only three staff or faculty members each month for their outstanding contributions to the UMSL community.


Students who regularly rely on advising services to guide their educational journeys can attest that their assistance is top-notch, individualized and handled with care. The UMSL Hero Awards are given to only three staff or faculty members each month for their outstanding contributions to the UMSL community.  


 Students who regularly rely on advising services to guide their educational journeys can attest that their assistance is top-notch, individualized and handled with care.


Photo by Jonathan Stokes


Down the hall from the advising offices, on the other side of a gorgeous mural, is the office of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice. The department has consistently been ranked one of the top programs in national rankings by peers across multiple academic institutions. 


 On the top floor, students will see a bevy of offices for professors representing several departments and a smattering of bulletin boards with job and internship opportunities displayed along the hallways. The art and art history department shares a central office with the philosophy department and the communication and media department. 


The fifth floor is also home to The Current, which was first published on Nov. 18, 1966.


Photo by The Current (1966)


Student newspapers have been a part of the UMSL community since the school’s establishment. Student news at the University of Missouri campuses has existed since 1960. The first school papers were known as the Tiger Cub. However, in 1966, UMSL sought to release locally relevant news and did so with the creation of The Current.

Subsequent publications like UMSL Daily, the weekly photo series Eye on UMSL and the biannual UMSL Magazine continue the legacy of student-produced media at UMSL. 


Archived publications of these newspapers are available online through the library’s Student Newspapers Collections. 


The Current is published every two weeks and curated by a small, mighty team of nosey, tenacious students who are passionate about story and truth-telling. With graduations, the staff is constantly reshaping with new names who share unique perspectives. The team always seeks new members to help keep student-run news alive.


The commitment to write for the paper is flexible for multiple types of schedules. Staff Writers provide articles for each publication while Contributing Writers submit articles when they can. Editors have leadership positions within the organization that curate each publishing cycle. Media and photography roles are another way for students with technology and artistic prowess.



The newspaper team meets weekly in Lucas Hall in The Barnett Agency room.   


Photo by The Barnett Agency Public Relations


The student-run public relations firm is named after former UMSL ChancellorMarguerite Ross Barnett. The agency gives students a paid opportunity to get real-world experience working in the communications field by connecting them with clients and developing crucial professional experiences before graduation.


The agency is the brainchild of the renowned public relations practitioner and UMSL professor, Jill Alexander. With more than 30 years of public relations experience across the United States and leadership roles, including president of the Public Relations Society of America, Alexander leads the students as they step forward into their future careers.


Students interested in gaining experience, growing skillsets and fostering meaningful connections in the industry are encouraged to contact the agency regarding open positions. 

  

The fourth floor is home to the offices for the English and history departments, several faculty offices and a cozy student longue available to students throughout the day. 




Photos by Jonathan Stokes


The third floor exudes more comfort with the Gender Studies Lounge. Every Tuesday and Thursday, students of all disciplines utilize the communal space to meet, relax and study. The colorful environment and welcoming atmosphere provide a safe space for students to be themselves and connect. The unique aesthetic of the lounge comes from UMSL’s dedication to providing LGBTQ+ students with resources and safe spaces.


Between the student staff and the mascot, a plastic deer statue nicknamed Mildred, the company kept in the lounge is similar to a café or the hangout spot at the most extraordinary person’s home.


Photos by Jonathan Stokes


While the second floor maintains a standard layout with multiple classrooms, the first floor uses an alternative layout. 

 

The Office of Inclusive Postsecondary Education (OIPE) offers students with intellectual and developmental disabilities a two-year, comprehensive postsecondary program that helps students gain employment and life skills. The program’s facilities have a modern design and extremely comfortable seating. 


Photo by Jonathan Stokes


Students in these programs often work together as the camaraderie built during their time at UMSL fosters a tight-knit, collaborative community. While this area’s facilities are not open for all students, the dedicated spaces aim to provide a stellar opportunity to transition out of college and into the workforce with all the resources the university can provide. 

 

Finally, in the same area as OIPE, a small studio with media equipment is actively being dusted off as students prepare to revitalize the UTV program. 



Photo by The Current (1972) Photo by Aliena Abernathy


Since 1972, Lucas Hall has been home to the student radio station, KWMU-FM.UMSL Radio has been a unique opportunity for Tritons to learn about media production and try their hand at creating their own sonic experiences for listener’s enjoyment. 


UTV began uploading video productions to its YouTube channel in 2010. The program has seen highs and lows with an ebbing and flowing of interested students. In 2024, students are actively recruiting to bring the program back to life. 


The studio offers experience with professional-grade equipment and is a great way to build a portfolio of published work. Students interested in being a part of the talentor crew  teams for UTV can submit completed interest forms for review by a team member.  


For 53 years, Lucas Hall has been an oasis for UMSL students looking to advance their careers, develop new skills or build community with fellow ambitious creative thinkers before stepping into their respective new chapters in life. Lucas Hall remains a hot spot on campus and will receive minor upgrades throughout the Transform UMSL project. Fingers crossed, it includes more comfortable seating and obscure animal statues. 


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