Apr 16, 2007    #059
Contact: Amanda Lepper
(816) 235-1592

Senator Claire McCaskill, a University of Missouri alumna, to pay tribute to 2007 UMKC graduates

When the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s 2007 graduates flip their tassels and throw their mortarboards to the wind this May, they’ll do so to the applause of life-long Missourian Claire McCaskill. The veteran state auditor and one-time Jackson county prosecutor has been selected as the Commencement keynote speaker, who, by her example, will inspire this year’s graduates to make a positive impact on the Show Me State and the nation.

"Graduates from UMKC are earning a degree that will allow them to look to their future with confidence," McCaskill said. "I'm proud to be part of the University of Missouri tradition, and I look forward to congratulating this year's graduates at their commencement ceremony."

McCaskill is a fourth-generation Missourian, born in Rolla and raised in Lebanon and Columbia. Six years of waiting tables helped her pay her way through college and law school at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and nearly three decades ago to the date, she celebrated her own graduation from the UM System.

Following in the footsteps of her public servant parents – her father was a state insurance commissioner and her mother was Columbia’s first female city council member – McCaskill began her legal career as a clerk for the Missouri Court of Appeals. She was soon appointed assistant prosecutor in Kansas City overseeing arson cases and in 1982 won a seat in the State Legislature.

McCaskill broke new ground in 1993 when she became the first female Jackson County Prosecutor. McCaskill then served as Missouri state auditor from 1999-2006. In 2004, she took on her own party establishment and became the first person to defeat a sitting Missouri governor in a primary election. McCaskill was elected to the United States Senate in 2006.

On May 5, McCaskill will commend UMKC’s 2007 graduates and rally them to begin their own successful careers. More than 800 graduates are expected to participate in the Unified Commencement Ceremony, scheduled for 10 to 11:30 a.m. at Theis Park.

UMKC’s individual academic units also will recognize their respective students with separate ceremonies throughout the afternoon. In total, more than 2,200 students will receive diplomas. For a full schedule of events and Commencement details, go online to

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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