PPRC's history spans more than 25 years, and in that time we've seen a lot of change. Much of it has been positive, but inevitably there have been some significant losses as well.  PPRC is an expression of the people and projects that have shaped and defined it over the years, and here we'd like to honor and remember them.

Don Phares

Dr. Donald Phares

Don Phares, scholar, researcher, teacher, urbanist, university administrator, sports fan, father, friend, and colleague died peacefully in home hospice in his home in St. Louis, MO, on June 27, 2015. 

Don  was a central figure in the history and development of the Public Policy Research Center.  His tenure with PPRC began with several key roles in the Center for Metropolitan Studies (CMS), which was one of the three units that later became PPRC.  Don served as CMS’s Associate Director from 1978-81, the Acting Director from 1981-82, and Director from 1984-89.   Like PPRC’s current function, CMS conducted public policy studies for local, state, and federal agencies on issues including public housing and governmental structure. CMS became a part of the Public Policy Research Centers (Centers) in 1989, and Don served as Interim Director for the Centers from 1996-1999.  In 2000, the Centers became known as the Public Policy Research Center, and Don remained a very active figure in PPRC’s work, conducting research, authoring reports and several books, and organizing conferences.  He was a PPRC Research Fellow from 1993-94. 

Don received his BA in Economics from Northeastern University (1965) and both MA (1967) in and PhD (1970) in Economics from Syracuse University.  He held a position as an instructor of statistics at Le Moyne College in Syracuse (1968-69) before taking a position at the University of Missouri, St. Louis (UMSL) in 1969.  Don continued at UMSL for the rest of his academic career, retiring after the spring semester of 2000, where he remained an emeritus professor.

While at UMSL and, indeed into his retirement, Don served in many capacities, including faculty and emeritus faculty member, department chair, research center director, researcher, consultant, interim dean, and vice chancellor, where his contributions were widely recognized and highly valued.  In 1997, Don received the University of Missouri Thomas Jefferson Award. This award, only one of which is made per year, is presented to faculty members who “rise above excellence and demonstrate clear distinction in teaching, research, and service to the University of Missouri and humankind.”

Don also provided his expertise as an urban economist extensively in the greater St. Louis area, in Missouri and nationally.  He served such organizations as the City and the County of St. Louis, the State of Missouri, the State of New York, the State of Hawaii, the Urban Institute, the US Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Affairs, the Rand Corporation, the Ford Foundation, and many more.

As an active scholar, Don authored or edited six books, numerous articles in scholarly journals, as well also a large number of research reports, policy papers, contributions to conference proceedings, and newspaper and magazine articles.  In 1987-1988, while also holding his position at UMSL, Don was selected as the administrator of the St. Louis City-County Board of Freeholders, where he supervised the research staff for the state constitutionally mandated governmental reorganization study of St. Louis City and County. Don was co-editor of the Urban Affairs Quarterly from 1985 to 1989.  He stepped down from that role when he became vice chancellor at UMSL.

Don was also very active in the Urban Affairs Association. He chaired the local host committee for the annual UAA conference in St. Louis in 1988, served on the UAA Board from 1987 to 1993, and organized, chaired or served on panel sessions at numerous UAA meetings. In 2013, Don was inducted into the UAA Service Honor Roll.

He will be missed by all.

PPRC Photography Project

HH Exhibit Oasis Image

From 1978 - 2013, the PPRC Photography Project helped to illustrate the work that PPRC and its partners engaged in.  Because photography is a valuable component to understanding and appreciating public policy, the Public Policy Research Center inaugurated a series of special photographic exhibitions in 1978.   The artists selected for inclusion in the exhibitions represented a broad spectrum of both established and emerging photographers, including, on occasion, students attending the University off Missouri-St. Louis.

Very early on, PPRC understood the value of photography. Beginning in 1978 and over the course of 25 years, PPRC worked with renowned curator Jean Tucker to sponsor a series of special photographic exhibitions. PPRC continued and reshaped its commitment to photography in 2004, when artist Mel Watkin transformed the exhibition series into the current PPRC Photography Project. Like PPRC itself, the PPRC Photography Project concentrates its efforts on community groups in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

In July 2013,  Photography Project Director Mel Watkin stepped down in order to devote herself full-time to her personal artwork.   The Photography Project is currently under the direction of Andrea Purnell at the Missouri Institute of Mental Health. Photography Project Collection archives past shows in a fully searchable database. >Visit  The PPRC Photography Project 5-Year Retrospective Catalog Still Available Download a free copy here.

Lance Leloup

Lance Leloup

Lance Leoup who retired June 15, 2009, after a distinguished career in political science research, teaching and administration, died July 23 at his home on Whidbey Island in Washington state. He was 60 and a three-time cancer survivor, having recently completed medical therapy for extensive lung cancer.

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.

Jean Tucker
Jean Tucker

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.

A faculty member of UMSL for thirty-six years, Jean was a scholar and writer in the history of photography, and published numerous catalogues and one book on the subject. She organized photography exhibitions that traveled extensively. Jean was a member of Ansel Adams' Board of the Friends of Photography; she also founded Gallery 210 at UMSL.  Jean died in 2009, leaving behind her legacy, as well as many devoted friends and family.