STLCC Foundation Receives Funds for Endowed Scholarship for Horticulture Students
The St. Louis Community College Foundation has received a contribution from the Gers family to establish the Gers Memorial Endowed Scholarship for the horticulture program.
The gift of $75,000 was made to recognize the Gers family’s continued relationship with the College’s horticulture program at Meramec. It will provide tuition scholarships for students obtaining an associate degree in horticulture.
Isadore Gers initially established the Gers Memorial Scholarship in the early seventies, and then donated funds to construct the first Meramec Greenhouse in memory his wife Jennie and son David. An avid gardener after his retirement in 1958, Isadore Gers was a member of the Richmond Heights Men’s Garden Club and volunteer at the Missouri Botanical Garden. After Pauline Gers, the daughter-in-law of Isadore Gers, passed away in 2020, her three children chose to endow the scholarship in her memory.
“We are honored to receive the Gers family’s generous gift to the STLCC Foundation to assist students pursuing careers in horticulture professions,” said Jeff L. Pittman, Ph.D., STLCC chancellor. “Increasing accessibility to scholarships increases opportunities for our students to enroll and persist in horticulture career pathways. We are grateful for the Gers family’s generous, continued investment in our students and helping to transform today’s students into tomorrow’s horticulture professionals.”
In 1982, Pauline and Jerry Gers, and Marcella Goldberg donated funds for a second greenhouse in memory of Isadore and his son, Bernard. In 1992, Pauline Gers funded an outdoor garden on campus in memory of Jerry Gers and Marcella Goldberg. The children of Jerry Gers and Pauline Gers wish to honor their grandfather by endowing the scholarship so that Isadore Gers’ legacy extends into the future.
The gift is part of the College’s $20 million multi-year “Opportunity for All: A Campaign for STLCC,” which has achieved 92 percent of its goal. Contributions to the campaign will help STLCC students by providing scholarship, access to success programs, support for temporary and unexpected financial hardships, and more.
STLCC is one of the only institutions in Missouri that offers an associate degree in horticulture. Since 2016, STLCC has awarded 120 degrees and certificates in horticulture. Currently there are nearly 150 students enrolled in the program.
The Meramec campus features 10 acres of living laboratories and outdoor classrooms where horticulture students gain hands-on experience in plant identification, landscape management, irrigation, turf management, and landscape design. In addition to the state-of-the-art greenhouse, facilities also include a pot-in-pot nursery and urban farm.
Graduates of the horticulture program are well prepared for green industry careers. Students find work as horticulturalists at botanical gardens, zoos, golf courses, conservation areas, and garden centers. Others are employed by St. Louis area municipal park districts, research institutions, start-up companies, landscape design-build firms, and not-for-profit organizations. STLCC horticulture graduates propagate and care for ornamental plants, food crops, green roofs, athletic fields, nursery stock, and native plants across the St. Louis metropolitan area.
The horticulture program enjoys close working relationships with the region’s top green industry businesses, municipalities and public sector organizations. Through guest lectures from leaders of the industry – arborists, growers, company founders, ecologists, garden center owners, soil scientists, and landscape designers – students learn best management practices, trends, and leading-edge strategies that impact the marketplace.