May 4, 2006    #085
Contact: Wandra Brooks Green
(816) 235-1601

Pellom McDaniels, III Returns to Kansas City

Amid the growing crowd of 600 graduates and more than 5,000 guests, the University of Missouri-Kansas City will celebrate its Unified Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 6, at Theis Park, Volker Blvd. and Oak Street. The ceremony will take place from 10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

Author, Ph.D. student and former Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman, Pellom McDaniels, III is the keynote speaker for the ceremony. McDaniels is the author of “My Own Harlem,” a collection of poetry about his own renaissance, and “So You Want to be a Pro?,” a book for young readers written in 1999.

“Pellom is an amazing individual,” said Pat Macdonald, UMKC Alumni Vice President for UMKC Alumni Association Minority Affairs. “His breadth of interests and accomplishments – including his careers as a professional athlete, author, visual artist and PhD candidate – can be nothing but inspiring to UMKC graduates. I am thrilled and view us as extremely fortunate that he has accepted the University’s invitation to address the class of 2006 and the community that will be present in celebration of them.”

McDaniels graduated from Oregon State University in 1993 and joined the Kansas City Chiefs as a defensive lineman. After leaving the Chiefs in 1998, he went to the Atlanta Falcons for the 1999 season before retiring from professional football.

In 1998, he was named to the President’s Committee for the Arts and Humanities. McDaniels and his wife, Navvab, fund “Arts for Smarts” through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, supporting a pursuit of the fine arts. The program introduces children to art, poetry, literature and the beauty of language and encourages children to express their creativity.

McDaniels serves on the board of directors for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and is an authority on Carter G. Woodson, who began Black History Week more than 80 years ago. Currently, McDaniels is completing his Ph.D. in American Studies at Emory University. He and his wife have two children.

The celebration at Theis Park will be in addition to the various academic units’ ceremonies. The Unified Commencement will include a procession on Oak Street and a variety of music played throughout the ceremony.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a three-part mission: visual and performing arts, health sciences, and urban affairs. # # #

This information is available to people with speech or hearing impairments by calling Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966 (TT) or (800) 735-2466 (voice).


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