Ashley Knight

Ashley Knight Honored With President's Volunteer Service Award

If UMKC student Ashley Knight shows up at your door, you can be sure she is going to ask you to do something – spend a day at the Kansas City Free Health Clinic, make a donation to Camp Quality, a summer camp for sick children... or shave off all of your hair. 

Knight’s (School of Dentistry, 2009) volunteer activities have attracted fans everywhere – including President George W. Bush.  Bush was in Kansas City on Thursday, May 29, to give the 2008 President’s Volunteer Service Award to Knight. 

Dentistry Professor Michael McCunniff knew Knight as the faculty advisor for Students Take Action (STA), a student run organization of dental and dental hygiene students who come together for community service and companionship.  Since the inception of STA in 1998, members do dental screenings, participate in low-cost clinics, provide free dental care to children and perform many additional community service activities.   

“The White House organization, USA Freedom Corps, was aware of Ashley and her work,” said McCunniff.  “She is known as a person who would rather make a difference in someone else’s life than spend time thinking about herself, and those are the qualities that the White House wanted to spotlight.” 

“Ashley went to Arrowhead Stadium with a group called Team Smile, to treat low income children.  She also organized the 7th annual Shear Madness fundraiser, where she found people willing to have their heads shaved – for the right price.  She brought in $11,000 in bids from students and faculty, and everyone had a ball on Shear Madness day when the hair came off.”         

Knight has no intention of changing things much after graduation from Dental School.   

“I may study for an advanced degree, or start my practice.  But wherever I am, I will connect with a comparable group and work some nights or Saturdays as a volunteer.   

“This award is very flattering, but what is important to me is making a difference.  So many other students pitch in, and faculty are really generous with their time.  Every year that we’ve had Shear Madness, Dean Reed (School of Dentistry) has had his head shaved.  He was away this year, but we got a first-timer, Dr. Killip, Assistant Dean for Student Programs, to step up.”  

Knight, age 25, is a native of Lawrence, Ks. 

Following are links to a few of the media interviews over the last several days.;jsessionid=8DCE80D434032B9A78125759868C4098?contentId=6637847&version=2&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=TSTY&pageId=1.1.1&sflg=1