The Northeast Florida Alumni Chapter takes Tiger spirit to the next level.
It’s not surprising that Matthew Krueger, BA ’76, has been active in five Mizzou Alumni Association (MAA) chapters. He has practice as one of Mizzou’s biggest cheerleaders: the University of Missouri tiger mascot.
On the field, he riled up crowds at Memorial Stadium with M-I-Zs. Off the field, he fostered pride among fellow students in the inaugural class of the Alumni Association Student Board.
Now Krueger is president of the Northeast Florida Mizzou Alumni Chapter, recognized by the Columns Program as one of MAA’s fastest-growing and highest-achieving chapters.
Launched in 2000, the Columns Program honors alumni chapters that go above and beyond the call of duty. Columns Chapters complete 12 activities, such as hosting student-engagement events and maintaining an online presence; each is then recognized with a $1,000 scholarship to award to a local Mizzou student. Capstone Chapters complete all Columns-level activities plus additional activities, such as working with the Mizzou Legislative Network and hosting academic-theme events; each is recognized with a $4,000 scholarship. This year, MAA has 50 Capstone Chapters, up from 28 in 2011.
In April 2015, the Northeast Florida chapter participated in One Spark, an annual crowdfunding event in downtown Jacksonville. The Capstone Chapter hosted a booth and passed out Mizzou swag to the nearly 300,000 attendees. The Gators and Seminoles were surprised to see the Tigers so well represented, and Krueger says he met 20 Mizzou-connected families and even recruited a new member, Sara Bellchamber, BSF ’01, MS ’04. “They are small but mighty,” Jayson Meyer, director of alumni engagement for MAA, says of the chapter, which serves about 500 alumni in the area.
Krueger attributes the chapter’s growth to its diversity of events and programs. “The enthusiasm and dedication of the chapter overwhelms me,” he says. In March 2015, members dined with 12 Mizzou students who were in Jacksonville on a Mizzou Alternative Breaks trip, and in August 2015, the chapter held a send-off event and presented freshman health science major Alexis Dekrell with its first $1,000 scholarship. (Next year the newly minted Capstone Chapter will award a $4,000 scholarship.)
“The university has blessed us with a wonderful education,” says Krueger, a digital marketing consultant at web.com. “It opened a thousand doors for me. I feel like I need to reciprocate and allow others to share and benefit from what I experienced.”