Taking the Reins
For the Mizzou Alumni Association’s new volunteer president Jim Gwinner, MU is a family affair.
he Mizzou Alumni Association’s new volunteer president Jim Gwinner joined the association just a couple of weeks after graduating in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. His first job was working in Jefferson City, Mo., on the election campaign of Carl Vogel, who served Missouri as a state representative and senator. That job put Gwinner in the proximity of an inspiring group of people in the Cole County chapter.
“The chapter’s barbecue takes place the Thursday before every first home football game,” Gwinner says. “It’s the go-to Mizzou social event in Cole County, and a lot of elected officials come. You might run into the attorney general or a state official. Meeting people like that was really impressive. And seeing the social support and camaraderie prompted me to become part of it. I joined the association on the spot.”
By the mid-1990s, Gwinner had served in the U.S. Army Reserves, returned to Cole County and worked his way up in the chapter to become its president. In 2000, he moved to St. Louis and became involved in the local chapter. He is married to The New York Times bestselling author Angie Fox Gwinner, BJ ’94, and their children are Maddie, 8, and Jimmy, 5.
Gwinner, a vice president at the public affairs and strategic communications firm kglobal, looks forward to helping the association capitalize on Mizzou’s move to the SEC. “That has positioned us to engage alumni in new geographies. We will be center stage in front of people in Florida and Georgia.”
As the first in his family to earn a college degree, Gwinner has sometimes envied others whose families have a history in higher education. “But in a way, I’m starting a tradition,” the new president says. “I want to give others the same opportunities I’ve had, and it begins by creating an atmosphere they enjoy.”