Harris Stowe State University is naming its park in honor of the state senate who sponsored the bill putting Harris-Stowe into the state public higher education. Senator Jet Banks of St. Louis sponsored the bill in 1979. He also sponsored the bill in 1993 that allowed Harris-Stowe to move from being a teacher’s college to a full university.
Banks served in the House and later the Senate where he became the first African-American floor leader. He resigned from the Senate in 1999 after admitting he filed a false tax return and died in 2003.