During Blanche M. Touhill’s 12-year tenure as chancellor, UM-St. Louis added 30 degree programs; funded 32 new endowed professorships; and added campus housing and built or renovated 17 academic buildings. Highlights include construction of a 175,000-square-foot student center and a $50 million performing arts center, which bears her name. Touhill received an honorary doctor of humanities degree in 2003.
The university also dramatically increased its minority and international student enrollment and raised more than $275 million in gifts, grants and contracts. The campus expanded its size by 138 acres to 328 acres and created academic centers in four locations around Missouri.
Blanche M. Touhill, PhD, along with Washington University Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton, was instrumental in helping develop the Joint Engineering Program, a collaboration between UM-St. Louis and Washington University in which nearly 400 students per year participate. The program, which allows students to take their lower-level engineering courses at UM-St. Louis and upper-level courses and labs at Washington University, is the first such program in the country to receive national accreditation.
Touhill earned a bachelor’s degree and doctorate in history and a master’s degree in geography, all from Saint Louis University.
Touhill joined UM-St. Louis as an assistant professor in 1965, just two years after the campus opened. She was the first female faculty member in the Department of History, the first tenured female faculty member and the first female administrator in the university’s history.
She assumed the responsibilities of interim chancellor in 1990 and was named chancellor in April 1991.