Meyer Gives Back Alumnus Finds Unique Way to Give Back to Southeast
The Mary E. (Griffith) Meyer Reading Room is centrally located in Kent Library, across from the cafe. The room serves as a group study area for students assigned to teams working on group projects. The reading room is just steps away and within ready access to other library materials students may need while completing their projects.
When approached by Jane Stacy (former Director of Alumni Services) to make this gift in his wife's honor, Tom did not hesitate, because the library has special meaning for Tom and Mary.
"My wife and I met at the library; she was a student worker there. I used to go to the library and sit at the table right by that room. I would study and wait for her to get off work, and we would walk back together," he says. "I checked out my wife there at the library."
Having the Mary E. (Griffith) Meyer Reading Room dedicated in his wife's honor is only one of the countless ways Tom has given back to the University through the years. He and his wife are Southeast Boosters and also support KRCU at Southeast Missouri State University as well as the Harrison College of Business. Since Tom is also the president of his own real estate company in Cape Girardeau, he frequently advises the Foundation regarding real estate matters. Tom has also served on the Planned Giving Advisory Council for the Southeast Missouri University Foundation.
Tom has been very involved with the Southeast Missouri State University Alumni Association; he and his wife are lifetime members. Tom is the incoming president of the Alumni Association. Tom has been working with Director of Alumni Services, Shad Burner, on new, innovative ideas for this year's Homecoming celebrations, among other things.
"Tom has already made an incredible impact on the Alumni Association," says Burner. "I look forward to his term as president as a transitional time marked by many great accomplishments at the Association. Tom and I believe we can strengthen the Association's relationship with the rest of campus, diversify the geographic make up and scope of the board of directors, and develop stronger ties to the alumni community at large."
One of Tom's favorite groups to work with is the former Southeast Vet Corps. He was integral in the formation and recognition of the Vet Corps. A member of the Navy SEABEES during the Vietnam War, Tom enjoyed the camaraderie of being around other veterans. In 2006, he helped organize a Vet Corps reunion at Southeast's Homecoming celebration. It was the first time the group had a reunion since it began to disperse in the late 1970s. Thanks to Tom's help, the Vet Corps is now recognized as an alumni chapter and celebrating with a traditional pig roast every year at Homecoming.
Tom says even in economic times such as these with things a little tighter for everyone, it's still important to give back to the University.
"The University and faculty were there for us when we were students, especially when we got back from the service. Being students, we had to pinch our pennies; we often wore old military jackets to class. We couldn't afford to give anything then; now we can afford to give back to the University and to people who gave us so much. We received a hand up, and now its time to give a hand back. My education has helped me succeed in business and in life, so I want to give back."
He adds that former University President Mark Scully really liked the veterans and members of the Vet Corps and helped them adapt to student life after having served in the military.
Some of Tom's favorite memories of Southeast are hanging out at Memorial Hall with the other veterans between classes and devouring books in the private study rooms at the library. He also remembers his most influential teachers, including Dr. Charles Wiles, Dr. Bert Kellerman, Dr. Van Psimitis, E. Victor Williams and his speech teacher, Dr. Joe Low.
Whether it is through his generous support of the University over the years, his service to the Foundation and the Alumni Association, or his fond recollections of his time at Southeast, it is easy to see that Tom Meyer is the personification of Southeast Missouri State University.