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Mizzou celebrates $1.5 million gift from legacy donor

Jim Pace, a direct descendant of the Pace family who donated to bring the University of Missouri to Columbia, created fund to bolster business practices at his alma mater

September 20th, 2019

Story Contact: Sheena Rice, 573-882-8353,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – In 1839 three brothers from the Pace family—John, Richard and Lineal—chose to support efforts to bring the University of Missouri to Columbia. They made financial contributions despite the fact they had no connections to higher education. Today, 180 years later, MU officials celebrate a $1.5 million gift from alumnus Jim Pace, a direct-descendant of the Paces.

The gift from Pace to the University of Missouri will help improve business practices, which frees up university resources for student success and research excellence.

“As a descendant of one of the founding families of Mizzou, Jim understands the impact this great flagship institution has on the community and on society,” MU Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright said. “I’d like to thank him for his tremendous faith in our university, and for working with us to improve our business models so we can prioritize an exceptional, yet affordable, education for future generations of students.”

Pace, the now-retired owner and CEO of ROM Corporation, a manufacturing company, obtained his business degree from MU in 1965.

Pace’s $1.5 million gift to the university includes a cash donation of $150,000 that was received in 2016. Funds from this gift were used to improve services in the university’s business services.

“I want to thank Jim for his energy, dedication and vision”, said Rhonda Gibler, vice chancellor for finance and chief financial officer.  “Thanks to his support and leadership we have been able to jump start important initiatives that have and will continue to aid the university in finding the most efficient and effective ways to tackle administrative work to better serve students, faculty and staff.”

Under Gibler’s leadership, Pace’s gift has helped:

  • Train more than 4,500 participants on financial processes.
  • Employ a contract portal that helps Mizzou secure cost-effective services and materials.
  • Launch user-friendly, secure websites for the Division of Finance and Cashiers.
  • Support the work of the Chancellor’s resource allocation model committee.

“Through this gift, Jim has brought together two areas of his life that are important to who he is—his alma mater and his business knowledge,” said Tom Hiles, “His gift is helping to transform Mizzou. Jim is a great example of what it means to be Mizzou Made.”

Pace has a long history of supporting Mizzou. He serves on the Mizzou: Our Time to Lead campaign cabinet, which is responsible for the vision of the $1.3 billion campaign.

“Throughout my career, I learned to appreciate how investments can fuel a business enterprise,” Pace said. “My hope is that this gift will allow MU to explore new ways to identify and reduce operating costs in a period of declining state funding and limited opportunities to raise tuition. With this, MU can free up other resources so the university can continue giving students access to a world-class education.”

Editor’s note: ROM Corporation is pronounced “R-O-M.”