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In 1965, the University Of Missouri Board Of Curators established the Center for Metropolitan Studies and named Norton Long as the founding director. The Center for Metropolitan Studies was part of the original Public Policy Research Centers. In addition to directing the CMS, Long was a noted author in the fields of urban politics and public administration and a professor at the Center of Public Administration & Policy, Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Prior to that, Long taught at Harvard (1935-1939), at Mount Holyoke College (1939-19400, and at Queens College (1940 -1942).
In 1978, Jean Tucker founded the Photography Gallery at the Center for Metropolitan Studies. Tucker was one of the first to exhibit contemporary photography in St. Louis as well as one of the first female curators of her time. Tucker had become interested in photography after she and her husband attended an Ansel Adams exhibition in Chicago in 1970. She returned to St. Louis and began teaching photography at the University of Missouri-St. Louis as well as exhibiting the works of local and international artists in the PPRC Photography Gallery. She also founded The Contemporary Art Museum.
Margaret Bush Wilson
In 1988, the James T. Bush Center was established at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and later became part of the Public Policy Research Centers. Margaret Bush Wilson was the founder of the James T. Bush Center. Bush broke many barriers throughout her professional career. She graduated from the Lincoln University of Missouri School of Law in 1943 and became the second woman of color admitted to practice in Missouri, and she successfully managed a St. Louis law firm for more than 40 years. She was also the first African-American woman to head the NAACP, and served nine terms in that office. Wilson's other professional experience includes serving as United States Attorney for the Rural Electrification Administration of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Assistant Attorney General of Missouri.
In 1989, the Lance LeLoup was named as the founding director of the Public Policy Research Center (which was established through a consolidation of the Center for Metropolitan Studies, the James T. Bush, Sr. Center and Public Policy Extension/Survey and Applied Research). LeLoup earned a bachelor's degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and his master's and doctoral degrees from The Ohio State University in Columbus. He came to UMSL as an assistant professor in 1974 and served from 1975 to 1976 as director of the master's program in Public Policy Administration. He was chairman of the Department of Political Science from 1978 to 1980 and then again from 1986 to 1989. He was director of the PPRC from 1989 to 1996.