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April 26, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST
“No time” or “I’m too busy” are phrases you will never hear Pam or Ellis Ingram say. Finding a simultaneous moment when the couple is able to pull away from their busy schedules at the same time is quite difficult. But neither of them seems hurried.
Pam is the founder and director of Granny’s House, an after-school nonprofit program that helps mentor and guide children around town. Ellis, who is a practicing doctor, senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion and an associate professor at the Missouri School of Medicine, helps run a club named Called to Academic & Leadership Excellence and Building, more commonly known as CALEB — The Science Club, for pre-med students in which older students help mentor younger students. Together, Ellis and Pam have four adult children, who are each following different paths of success.Related Articles
Ellis, who wakes up every day around 5 a.m. to work out at the MU Student Recreation Complex, describes how he and his wife never forget to make time for each other in the morning. “We spend time at least twice week in the morning, before the day starts, to talk and pray,” he says. Pam explains how they’ll go to the Missouri River at night and read together.
“It’s a wonder how someone who has seen both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans can enjoy looking at the muddy Missouri River,” she says while chuckling and looking over at her husband. The location doesn’t seem to matter to either as long as it is just the two of them.
Sometimes, they go on a whim to Kansas City or St. Louis. They’ll go see a movie or eat at a nice restaurant, even if it’s spontaneous. Their time together is still precious; it is the key to their success.
But the crucial thread through everything, according to Ellis, is that they are enthralled by the grace of God. “Despite being busy,” Pam says, “we have the same passion and vision for life. We both want to help and mentor people.”
Although a strong desire and passion for helping others might sometimes be difficult to find, it is not the case with the Ingrams. Pam says that both of them had similar, yet difficult upbringings in poverty and weren’t necessarily surrounded by environments that bred and pushed for their future successes. They both want nothing more than to make sure the kids they help know they can “thrive with the hand they are dealt,” she says.
Pam and Ellis were just honored by the city with the 2012 Columbia Values Diversity individual award. Pam says the beauty of what they do is that it can’t be measured solely by a physical award or a newspaper article. “When you love what you do, you don’t work a day in your life,” she says. That’s a mantra anyone can live by.