Mike Giger, LA ’65, is a quiet, committed leader who works tirelessly in support of Washington University students, the Parkview Gardens neighborhood, The Delmar Loop, and the broader St. Louis community. Mike believes in community and knows that there are many facets to developing strong neighborhoods, whether through his community development work or as a champion of the Campus Y.
As a student at Washington University, Mike was actively involved in the Campus Y, serving as chair of the student board. Following graduation, Mike served in the Peace Corps and the military. After returning to St. Louis, he joined the Campus Y Board of Advisors in 1974 and has served continuously for over 40 years. He has held every conceivable leadership position on the Campus Y Board and is most well known as the “Book Fair Guy”, chairing this large regional event for many years and raising thousands of dollars annually to support children and youth in the St. Louis area. According to William Lowry, one of Mike’s nominators, “Mike has done more than anyone other than staff to make the Campus Y an important part of Washington University life.”
His impact in the University City community is immeasurable. As a neighborhood property owner in Parkview Gardens, Mike partnered with others to form the Parkview Gardens Association in the 1980’s, working to preserve and stabilize this important multi-family neighborhood just north of The Loop. Their work helped establish the neighborhood as a National Historic District, which makes it financially feasible to renovate and preserve historic buildings. This ultimately led to the Association’s purchase and renovation of 21 deteriorated buildings, providing safe and affordable housing in the neighborhood.
Mike’s understated nature belies a relentless energy to improve the quality of life of those around him. His day-to-day efforts have preserved the Parkview Gardens neighborhood and ensured the vitality and success of the Delmar Loop. He has developed creative funding avenues from weekly Bingo to the creation of a special business district to fund infrastructure improvements, community gardens, before and after school care, summer youth recreation and tutoring programs, and college scholarship programs to benefit children in the neighborhood.
According to Robin Hattori, Mike’s colleague on the Campus Y Board, “His genial nature and formidable work ethic inspires others to join the effort. He is always the first one to arrive and the last one to leave, always with a smile on his face. He will bend over backwards to thank other people while taking none of the credit for himself.”