40 Years of Making a Difference at UMSL

Benard Diggs learned about the University of Missouri–St. Louis from the ground up.

“In 1973 I reported to the basement of the old administration building to work nights as a custodian,” Diggs said. “I was 22, tall and skinny with a huge Afro. I was going to college in Illinois and needed the money. A friend’s father got me the job working on the floor crew. There were 21 of us in those days.”

At the time, Diggs was a pre-med student at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Today, he directs the 165,000-square-foot Millennium Student Center from top to bottom. And he’s working on his PhD in higher education leadership.

Colleagues, friends and family gathered June 24 to celebrate Diggs’ 40-year run at UMSL and to wish him well in the future.

“He’s so calm and soft spoken. I’ve never seen him get angry,” said Nyonia Frye, a Human Resources assistant since 1977 and a friend of Diggs almost as long.

Most of the nearly 100 people who attended the event had the same descriptions.

“He’s a very caring man,” said Joann Westbrook, Human Resources manager. “He’s always checking on other people. He’ll call and ask how are you doing.”


Posted on Jul 02, 2013.

Benard Diggs

Benard Diggs, director of the Millennium Student Center operations at UMSL, tells a story from his early days 40 years ago at the university. An anniversary party was held June 24 to honor Diggs who started working at UMSL as a custodian and is now working on his doctorate in education leadership. (Photo by August Jennewein)

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Campus: UMSL
Key words: Employee Information, St. Louis Campus, UM System,
County: St._louis