Rebecca Bergman, Director of Student Services for the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences, is the 2018 recipient of the UMKC Human Resources Staff Excellence Award. Bergman received the award on Thursday, April 26, 2018, during the Staff Awards Reception.
CAS Associate Dean and Studio Art Professor Kati Toivanen nominated Bergman for the competitive award because of her ongoing service to the entire UMKC community, specifically the College of Arts and Sciences.
“I am thrilled that Becky was recognized for her exceptional service and excellent performance by this award,” Toivanen said. “Becky is truly deserving of campus-wide recognition. An award like this highlights the often invisible, yet critical and significant, contributions by our wonderful staff members.
Bergman has worked in the CAS Student Services office, previously A&S Academic Advising, since 2000 when was a graduate student. She served as an Academic Advisor and Student Services Coordinator before becoming Director of Student Services in 2007. Becky received her Master’s of Arts in Art History from UMKC in 2006.
The inaugural Staff Awards event was separated from what was formally the Faculty and Staff Awards because, as Bichelmeyer said, “we want to take time to properly recognize staff for their contributions to our university.”
Staff were awarded for their professional development and academic achievements, milestone anniversaries, contributions to student success and excellence in service to the campus community.
“Because of the amazing number of services and duties that members of our staff perform, it’s hard to think of just one way to say thanks that covers everyone and really tells staff what they mean to UMKC,” said Interim Chancellor and Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer. “This event is just one way to show our gratitude.”
Bichelmeyer herself was surprised with a special award—the UMKC Living the Values Award—for her leadership throughout the 2017-2018 academic year. The Living the Values Award recognizes a staff employee that best exemplifies excellence in one or more of the university’s key values: learning, diversity, integrity, accountability, respect and collaboration.
UMKC Living the Values Award
“This year’s honoree exudes each of those key values in their daily work,” said UMKC Executive in Residence Doaranne Hudson as she introduced the award. “She continues to lead with dignity and transparency in challenging times, and she is always looking after the best interest of the university and its people.”
Bichelmeyer stepped into a dual role in August 2017 to serve as UMKC’s sole leader, and has continued to advocate for the university. There to celebrate her award recognition, and make an additional special announcement, were her siblings and their spouses.
“This year has been our success,” said Bichelmeyer as she accepted her award. She went on to acknowledge the campus community for their grace and patience, and for stepping up to fill in and represent UMKC on campus and in the community when she is unable. “It’s about the collective,” she said, sharing the motto she lives by, “all for each, and each for all.”
John & Mary Bichelmeyer Scholarship Fund
Adding to the morning of surprises, Hudson announced a new endowed scholarship fund in appreciation of Bichelmeyer’s staunch advocacy of education and student success.
Many Kansas Citians are aware of the Bichelmeyer family’s deep roots in Kansas City, but very few were aware of their unique tie to UMKC—affectionately known as Kansas City’s university.
In the early 1930s Bichelmeyer’s late father, John Bichelmeyer was approached to attend the newly founded University of Kansas City (now University of Missouri-Kansas City). Though he was unable to attend, John and his wife, Mary Bichelmeyer, instilled the importance of education in each of their 10 children.
Bichelmeyer said not attending college was one of her parents’ deepest regrets in life, so they did everything they could to ensure each of their children would have the opportunity to attend. Bichelmeyer added that between her and her siblings, her parents paid for more than 130 years in tuition “because they would not take a scholarship.”
John and Mary’s passion for education is part of what drives Bichelmeyer today as she pays it forward to the students, faculty and staff at UMKC.
2018 Staff Honorees include:
Supervisory Development Series Graduates
Administrative Leadership Development Program Graduates
Summer 2017 – Spring 2018 Graduates
Series Milestones – staff members who have given five or more years of service to UMKC and are celebrating a milestone anniversary in FY 2018
Staff Council Award Recipients:
Chancellor’s Education First Award
Molly Mead; Manager, Information Technology
Chancellor’s True Unsung Hero Staff Award
Arnold Abels; Director, Counseling Health, Testing and Disability Services
Staff Council Dedication Award
Danielle Martinez; Executive Assistant, Division of Diversity and Inclusion
Student Affairs Student Mentor Award
Breana Boger; Academic Advisor, Honors College
Staff Council Scholarship Awardees:
Katie Anton, Student Support Specialist Senior, Planning, Analysis and Decision Support
Russell Friend, Operations Support Tech III, School of Medicine
Seth Snyder, Student Support Specialist Senior, School of Law
All Star Staff Award
Sean Grube, Director of Residential Life, was recognized at a previous reception for his hard work in helping displaced students during the closing of Oak Street Apartments.
A version of this story was first published on April 26, 2018, on UMKC Today.