Sue and Jerry Schlichter receive Harris Award

Couple honored for countless contributions to St. Louis community

Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton (left) presents the 2019 Jane and Whitney Harris St. Louis Community Service Award to Sue and Jerry Schlichter during a March 29 luncheon at the Saint Louis Club. (Photo: Sid Hastings/Washington University)
Then-Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton (left) presents the 2019 Jane and Whitney Harris St. Louis Community Service Award to Sue and Jerry Schlichter during a March 29 luncheon at the Saint Louis Club. (Photo: Sid Hastings/Washington University)

The late Jane Freund Harris’ legacy is one of giving recognition to others who give back to the St. Louis community. Jane and her late husband, Whitney, were known for their support of charitable organizations as well as contributions to many entities at Washington University in St. Louis, including University Libraries, the School of Law, the School of Medicine, the Brown School, the Danforth Scholars Program, Edison Theatre and the Friends of Music Scholarship Program.

The Jane and Whitney Harris St. Louis Community Service Award was established in 2000 by a bequest from Jane. Each year, the Harris Award committee chooses a St. Louis married couple to be honored from among nominations it receives.

Sue and Jerry Schlichter received this year’s award on March 29.

“They have demonstrated the type of commitment and dedication to the St. Louis region that Jane and Whitney cherished so highly and demonstrated in their own lives,” Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton told guests at the event. Wrighton concluded his tenure as chancellor June 1.

The Harris Award’s committee chair, Michael Loynd, also attended and joined Wrighton in honoring the Schlichters.

The Schlichters met as students at the University of California, Los Angeles, and graduated in 1972. The couple has worked toward making a positive impact in the St. Louis community since moving here. Jerry Schlichter’s work as an attorney representing individuals in personal injury and civil rights cases brought them to the Midwest.

Jerry Schlichter

Jerry Schlichter founded the law firm of Schlichter, Bogard and Denton in 1989. He has spent many years working on civil rights, economic, personal injury and environmental cases. He also served as an adjunct professor at the School of Law, teaching trial techniques.

Schlichter won a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case related to 401(k) plans in 2015. He has been featured in several national publications such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. He successfully led efforts to pass state legislation including the Missouri State Historic Tax Credit, the Missouri Rebuilding Communities Act and the Neighborhood Preservation Act.

Schlichter co-founded Arch Grants, a nationally renowned global startup competition that provides equity-free $50,000 grants to startups in St. Louis. He serves as chair of the Arch Grants board. Many university alumni have founded startup companies and are recipients of Arch Grants. He also serves as co-chair of the Economic Development Committee of Downtown St. Louis Inc. He is also a member of the university’s Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship National Council.

Sue Schlichter

Sue Schlichter went on to earn her master’s degree in social work from the Brown School in 1976. She also worked at Barnes Hospital in the psychiatry department. Eventually, she began her own private practice with a resolve to support and strengthen the community.

In addition to volunteering in the community, Schlichter also served on the boards of two independent schools. Her work with underserved children inspired the couple’s nonprofit organization, Mentor St. Louis. The organization pairs K-5 public school students with professional mentors. The organization has received the “What’s Right with the Region” award from Focus St. Louis.

Schlichter also served as the executive director of the Express Scripts Foundation from 2004-2012. She is past president of the New City School board. She also served on the board of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater St. Louis and on the Incarnate Word Foundation board of directors. She currently serves as chair of the program outcomes committee for the St. Louis Public Schools Foundation board.

Additionally, Schlicter has served as vice chair for planning and allocations on the Jewish Federation of St. Louis board of directors. Recently, she completed her term on Washington University’s Alumni Board of Governors. She is a member of the Brown School National Council and received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the Brown School in 2013.

The couple are members of the William Greenleaf Eliot Society. Together, they have three sons: Andy, Joe and David. David earned a bachelor’s degree and an executive MBA from Olin Business School.

In addition to receiving an engraved Waterford clock, Harris Award recipients are honored with a cash gift made in their name to the St. Louis-area charitable organizations of their choice. The Schlichters chose to support Arch Grants and the International Institute of St. Louis.

For more information on the award and how to submit a nomination, email harrisprize@wustl.edu or call 314-935-6013.

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