Leaving a legacy: Crosby MBA graduate creates scholarships to help students like herself

Patti Baymiller

Patti Baymiller

The University of Missouri has always held a special place in Patti Baymiller’s heart. 

This is where she came to launch – and relaunch – her dreams of exploring the world outside her small Missouri hometown: first when she received a degree from the Missouri School of Journalism in 1978 and again in 1984, when she earned an MBA from the Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business. Each time, Mizzou delivered, and Baymiller went on to enjoy a successful career as a principal/business system consultant in Denver, Colorado.

So, when life came full circle and Baymiller returned to Shelbina, Missouri, to care for her aging parents, she began to contemplate her legacy. One of her beneficiaries was obvious: Mizzou.

“Simply put – who had more of an impact on my life than the University of Missouri?” she said.

Baymiller recently endowed two scholarships at the Trulaske College of Business – both of which stem from her own experience as a Mizzou student. The first is for an undergraduate student who wants an international experience as part of their degree program. The second is for a graduate student who has an undergraduate degree in a non-business area and has returned to college after working for at least two years. There is a third endowed scholarship at the Missouri School of Journalism for an undergraduate who is taking a significant number of electives at the College of Business. 

“An international experience is invaluable for anyone,” said Baymiller, who spent the summer after her freshman year in New Zealand through a 4-H exchange program. “My first international experience was life-changing, and the second was career changing.”

Finding her calling 

Baymiller and her sister grew up in Shelbina, where their parents owned and operated Vernon’s Flower Shop for 21 years, making a name for themselves providing floral arrangements for local weddings, funerals and holidays. But Baymiller wasn’t interested in taking over the family business. She had her sights set on broadcast journalism and came to Mizzou in the mid-1970s to pursue her dreams.

Her first job out of college was in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and her second was in Wichita, Kansas – both cities provided decent sized television markets, but the reporting jobs were grueling, with long hours, low pay and little hope of advancement unless she was willing to relocate. 

Disillusioned, Baymiller quit her job and spent the next five months traveling on her own in Europe. It was during a stop in Italy when she realized she needed to change careers, this time returning to Mizzou for an MBA from the Trulaske College of Business.

“While I had a name-brand journalism degree, I didn’t feel like I had many other marketable skills,” Baymiller said. “I thought an MBA would give me what I needed.”

Putting it all together

Turns out, Baymiller’s MBA was the perfect way to leverage her journalism degree and eventually land a successful career with American Management Systems Company (AMS) in Denver, Colorado.  She soon made a name for herself as a talented technical writer with a sharp business mind – a skillset that opened the door to an opportunity with AMS in Germany. 

At the time, Europe was privatizing public utilities and there were American companies like the Baby Bells AMS assisting with the process through business expertise. Baymiller had taken two semesters of German while in graduate school and had already established herself at AMS as an expert technical writer. She was asked to join the documentation team in Germany and spent the next two years managing the translation and delivery of thousands of pages of documentation involving customer care and billing systems for a new cellphone company. 

“It all seemed to come together for me,” she said. 

During her tenure with AMS, Baymiller completed similar assignments in England and around the U.S. with clients headquartered across the globe, including Belgium, Sweden, Portugal, the Netherlands and Switzerland. She also received a master’s certificate in organizational development/change management from Georgetown University in 1999.

Returning home

By the early 2000s, Baymiller was experiencing some health issues and telecommunications worldwide was changing rapidly. AMS was changing, too; so, when Baymiller was offered a buyout, she took it. In 2006, she returned to Shelbina where she continues to live in her childhood home and look after her mother in a local nursing home. Her father died in 2019.

In the summer of 2023, Baymiller received an email from an organization she belongs to that offered online tools to create a will. It was during the process of writing the will that Baymiller realized she could do more to change lives by setting up a trust and offering scholarships at Mizzou.

“I would have qualified for any of the scholarships that I’ve created,” she said. “I thought, that’s the legacy I want to leave.”

Today, Baymiller is retired and an avid quilter, a skill she perfected during the COVID-19 pandemic when she crafted 40 quilts – several with black and gold themes. She is an active member of the Modern Quilt Guild of St. Louis and is getting more involved with alumni activities at Mizzou and the Trulaske College of Business. Reconnecting has reminded her of the importance of giving back. 

“I want to continue to get more engaged,” she said. “I want to help students along the way who were on the same path I was all those years ago.”