St. Louis businessman nominated for open UM System curator seat

Tuesday, January 25, 2011 | 6:34 p.m. CST; updated 7:40 p.m. CST, Tuesday, January 25, 2011

St. Louis businessman David L. Steward was nominated Tuesday to fill one of four open seats on the UM System Board of Curators.

Steward would replace David G. Wasinger and serve through Jan. 1, 2017.


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Gov. Jay Nixon said in a press release after the nomination that Steward’s strong business background would make him an excellent fit with the curators.

"I am pleased to nominate him to serve on the board of one of the nation's pre-eminent university systems," Nixon said.

Steward is the founder and chairman of World Wide Technology, an international provider of technology products and services. The company was recognized on the 2010 Forbes list of America’s Largest Private Companies.

Steward also serves on the executive advisory board of Nixon's Strategic Initiative for Economic Growth and is the author of “Doing Business by the Good Book: Fifty-Two Lessons on Success Straight from the Bible.”

He said Tuesday that he hopes to bring his passion for children and education to the curators.

“One of the things I’ve had in my life is I’ve had great people — teachers, coaches and people who cared enough about me to give me their very best," Steward said. "So giving support to those teachers and leaders and our system is extremely important.”

Steward graduated from the University of Central Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and an emphasis in industrial organization.

The experience he has gained prepared him for the position, he said, but he recognized that “first and foremost is the big challenge to replace some very, very big shoes.”

Although he built a successful business, he said he's learned the most from his failures.

"It’s taught me a lot about obviously what not to do, and to make some changes in order to improve the way in how we did things and bring value to our customers and partners we work with,” Steward said. “I think I bring that level of experience.”

With 27 years of business experience, Steward said he believes the relationships and partnerships he’s built over the years will make a difference on the board.

He said he would bring that level of experience to the curators.

“What better place to bring those relationships than to the University of Missouri System?”

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