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Christopher D. Harris receives College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Award

UMKC Alumn Chris Harris speaks during the Spring 2018 Graduation with Distinction LuncheonFor more than 20 years, Chris Harris has devoted his time to transforming urban land into green spaces and recreation areas.

He developed the Harris Park Midtown Sports and Activities Center in the late 1990s, which turned a vacant lot in urban Kansas City, Missouri, into a beautiful park with a playground and basketball court. Since then, Harris has built the park into not only a recreational facility, but also an educational environment that helps youth and adults cultivate basic life skills, self-esteem, and respect for others and property.

He is also working on building a state-of-the-art, nine-hole putting green as a way to bring golf to the urban area. At UMKC, he was awarded the Bernard Osher Reentry Scholarship, which gave him the opportunity to advance his philanthropic initiatives and his career. Harris currently serves as a housing locator at Truman Medical Center.

His career achievements led him to be named the 2018 Alumni Achievement Award winner for the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Continue reading

Kansas City Philanthropist and Children’s Health Advocate Receives Honorary Doctorate, Gives Commencement Address

David Westbrook gives the commencement address during Spring 2018 College of Arts and Sciences Commencement CeremoniesUnhindered by juvenile glaucoma that took his sight at age 17, David Westbrook (B.A. ’71) has proven that vision has nothing to do with one’s ability to see. He founded Corporate Communications Group, a communications and public relations firm he sold before taking his talent and dedication to longtime client Children’s Mercy.

Westbrook attributes his lifetime of success to his parents and to the University of Missouri-Kansas City. His alma mater awarded him with an honorary doctorate at the 2018 College of Arts and Sciences commencement ceremony, and he gave the address to the graduating class at Swinney Recreation Center on campus.

“This is not a defining moment, this is a moment of celebration,” said Westbrook, who holds bachelor’s degrees in English and psychology from UMKC. “Defining moments are with your professors and your friends.” Continue reading

CAS Alumnus and Kauffman School Founder/CEO to receive UMKC Bill French Alumni Service Award

Hannah Lofthus poses for a headshotHannah Lofthus, who received Bachelors of Arts in Philosophy and Political Science from UMKC in 2007, has been selected as the 2018 recipient of the UMKC Bill French Alumni Award. Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes individual alumni and one family with top honors.

UMKC will honor Lofthus and other outstanding alumni at the 2018 Alumni Awards event on Friday, June 15. The reception is one of UMKC’s largest events, with proceeds going to support student scholarships. In the last decade, the Alumni Awards event has garnered more than $1 million in scholarships and immediate aid for students. Continue reading

Two CAS Alumni Receive Fulbright Awards

Fulbright US Student Program logoTwo College of Arts and Sciences alumni have been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Program Award to continue their research and scholarship. Sydney Harvey, who received her Bachelors of Arts in Philosophy and Film from UMKC in 2016, will study in the United Kingdom; and Marc Reyes, who received his Master of Arts in History from UMKC in 2014, will study in India.

Since 1946, the Fulbright Program has given more than 380,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, professionals and scientists the opportunity to study, teach, conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Continue reading

Two UMKC French Alums Receive Fund for Teachers Grants

Three teachers in Independence, Missouri, hold signs about their 2018 Fund for Teachers grantsTwo UMKC French alumni, Katy Foudree Owens and Brandi Pruente have been awarded Fund for Teachers Grants to attend the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF) congress in Martinique this summer.

The AATF convention is an immersion opportunity allowing educators to work on their French language skills while learning more about teaching practices.

“We in the Foreign Languages and Literatures Department, particularly in French, are thrilled for their success,” said UMKC French professor Dr. Kathy Krause. Continue reading

Marc Reyes History Alum (MA 2014) wins Fulbright Award

Marc Reyes smOur hearty congratulations go to UMKC History Alum (MA 2014) Marc Reyes! Marc has been awarded a Fulbright Award to support his doctoral research in India. The title of his research is: “In the Circle of Great Powers: India, the United States, and the Postcolonial Atomic State, 1947-1974.” Marc is currently a PhD student and Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Connecticut. You do us proud, Marc!

More than She Imagined: Q&A With Studio Art Graduate Heather Burton

Q&A with Heather Burton, who landed a career before graduationHeather Burton, an Olathe, Kansas, native, graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art in December 2017. Before graduating though, she’d already landed a job. Check out Heather’s story in this Q&A:

How was your graduation day?

It was overwhelming to me. It’s the day you work so hard for since you’re 5. I kept worrying about my cap falling off, and of course it did as I walked up to receive my diploma. Continue reading

2017 Winter Commencement Challenges Graduates to Better the World

UMKC students at graduationApproximately 1,000 University of Missouri-Kansas City graduates, friends and families filled Swinney Auditorium to celebrate the culmination of years of late nights and hard work as graduates claimed their diplomas. The university held three ceremonies on Saturday, Dec. 16 and presented two honorary doctorate degrees. Continue reading

Dorothy Day’s struggle with faith takes the stage

Actor Deuker rehearses fThis Other Love rehearsalPatty McCarty, a former NCR copy editor, will see her two-act play about the life of Dorothy Day staged by a Milwaukee-based theater company this month.

Acacia Theatre Company will present “This Other Love” by Patty McCarty July 14-16 and July 20-23.

The action of the play takes place in August 1927, during a time Day was struggling with her growing spirituality and relationship with her common-law husband, Forster Batterham. The play addresses Day following God’s call to work with the poor. Janet Bouman Peterson is the play’s production director. Continue reading

Don’t stand down, stand up

Honoree Chely Wright | Photo by Brandon Parigo, Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications

UMKC graduates urged to move the world into the future

More than 2,100 graduates of the University of Missouri-Kansas City claimed newly-minted diplomas over a sun-splashed late-spring weekend in May 2017.

UMKC also awarded honorary doctorates to four commencement speakers, three of which came from the College of Arts and Sciences. Continue reading