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University of Missouri

The Gift of Giving

Couple starts engineering scholarship fund as Christmas present.

When Doug DeMaire and his bluegrass band took the stage at Max’s Campus Snacks in 1966, Barbara Nice was there to cheer him on. They were in the same circle of friends who hung out at the M Bar on the ground floor of the Missouri Bookstore on Lowry Avenue — but they were only friends. It wasn’t until 1986 that the two reconnected, this time as more than friends.

Barbara DeMaire established a scholarship in the College of Engineering in honor of her husband, Doug Demaire. Photo by Chuck Vosburgh.

For Christmas 2012, Barbara DeMaire established a scholarship in the College of Engineering in honor of her husband, Doug DeMaire. Photo by Chuck Vosburgh.

Barbara, BS Ed ’68, was living in Jefferson City, Missouri, directing fundraising for the American Cancer Society, and Doug, BS IE, MS ’69, was in Edwardsville, Illinois, in charge of strategic planning and information systems for Olin Brass. For 10 years Barbara and Doug dated long distance, occasionally driving to Columbia. “Unfortunately, we discovered the Stein Club was gone,” Doug says. Too many days spent in the car later, Doug proposed. The couple got married Jan. 19, 1997, in Edwardsville.

Since Doug retired as president of Primex Technologies, the DeMaires — Doug a consultant and Barbara a sculptor — live in North Carolina in the summer and Florida in the winter. After nearly 30 Christmases together, in 2012, Barbara was out of gift ideas. When she received an engineering magazine and a letter about the Mizzou Annual Fund, Barbara thought of the perfect gift: a scholarship for an MU College of Engineering student.

In my development career, I was always asking for money, and I thought it would be rewarding to be on the other side where we could actually give the money to help a Missouri student and give back to our alma mater,” Barbara says.

In fall 2014, a student from Lamar, Missouri — Doug’s hometown — was the first recipient of the J. Douglas and Barbara Nice DeMaire Scholarship, awarded annually to an engineering student from southwest Missouri.