Henry Givens Jr.

When Henry Givens Jr., PhD, took over as president of Harris-Stowe State College in 1979, it offered one degree program — in teacher education — and had one building on its midtown St. Louis campus. Givens received an honorary doctor of humanities degree in 2007.


Creating new possibilities for Harris-Stowe students

Today, it is no longer a college, but a university offering 12 degree programs and boasting six buildings.

Under Givens’ leadership, Harris-Stowe State University not only has greatly expanded its degree programs in selected applied professional disciplines and significantly increased its facilities, but it has also opened its first business school satellite campus in south St. Louis; constructed its first student residence hall and student center; and tripled its student enrollment.

A native St. Louisan, Givens earned a bachelor of science degree in education at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo., a master’s degree in school administration at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a doctor of philosophy degree in urban school administration at Saint Louis University. He pursued post-doctoral studies in higher education administration at Harvard University.

Under his leadership, legislation was passed overwhelmingly in 1993 by the Missouri General Assembly to expand Harris-Stowe’s mission — something that had not been accomplished during the previous 135 years.

In addition to its traditional excellence in teacher preparation, the university today offers an increasing number of new baccalaureate degree programs, including business administration, secondary teacher education, criminal justice, health care management, accounting, information sciences and computer technology, and hospitality/tourism management.

Givens ultimately was instrumental in Harris-Stowe obtaining university status by the state on Aug. 25, 2005. He has received more than 125 national, state and local awards and recognitions for his leadership and service.