It was early 1964 when Lois Schoemehl enrolled at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. It was an unlikely landing spot for someone who’d just six months earlier passed up Washington University in favor of a smaller private college in Springfield.
The fledgling UMSL was just a few years removed from its life as the Bellerive Country Club golf course. The school touted a small selection of degrees, 26 faculty members, fewer than 700 students and a single building.
But Schoemehl, then 18, was a refugee of sorts. She’d started her college life at Drury College only to realize she wasn’t ready to be so far from St. Louis.
“It was in the fall that John Kennedy was assassinated,” Schoemehl said. “I just wanted to be home.”
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