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bloch groundbreaking

Big 5

The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce has identified the "Big 5" regional civic initiatives that can "elevate the Kansas City region onto the world stage" -- and UMKC figures prominently in these top priorities.

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The seven-year, $250 million campaign is designed to help UMKC become Kansas City's model research university, to empower students through additional scholarship opportunities, to attract and retain outstanding faculty, and to continue developing and expanding the university's world-class programs and facilities.

One of the five goals focuses squarely on UMKC: Moving UMKC's World-Class Arts Programs to a New Downtown Location. The idea is to capitalize on the synergy of placing arts education in the midst of the city's burgeoning arts renaissance, exemplified by the Kauffman Performing Arts Center and the Crossroads Arts District. According to the Chamber, "a UMKC Downtown Arts Campus would help maximize the economic impact of arts in the area, which currently realizes a $278 million boost annually from regional arts and culture organizations."

UMKC leaders believe a downtown arts campus could offer new and creative ways to integrate culture into the curriculum of every student, enhancing their education and creating the next generation of arts lovers in our region. As for performing arts majors, the location would maximize opportunities for student interaction with world-class artists -- such as master classes with Joyce DiDonato and Yo-Yo Ma -- that only arise at an urban campus with access to major performing venues.

UMKC is a central player in another Big 5 goal -- Making Kansas City "America's Most Entrepreneurial City". According to the Chamber, "The effort will leverage existing regional assets like the Kauffman Foundation and its new Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation, UMKC's renowned Bloch School, and the ultra-high-speed Google fiber network being implemented in both Kansas City, Mo. and Kansas City, Kan. in 2012."

The Bloch school has earned recognition on several highly regarded "Best of" lists for the quality of its research and teaching in entrepreneurship, innovation and public administration. Maintaining those rankings will be critical to meeting this goal and making Kansas City a magnet for entrepreneurship, innovation -- and investment.

UMKC is one of 17 community partners participating in the Urban Neighborhood Initiative, a new nonprofit entity charged with coordinating efforts for another Big 5 goal: Revitalizing Our Urban Neighborhoods Through the Urban Neighborhood Initiative. The Troost Corridor-- an area between Troost Avenue and Highway 71, from 23rd Street to 51st Street -- has been selected as a target area for an unprecedented neighborhood revitalization effort designed to improve health and safety, prosperity and education for residents of the area.

Participating in this effort aligns with UMKC's mission of community engagement, as well as the UM system's history of service as a land grant institution.

Growing Kansas City's Medical Research, From Discovery to Cure is another Big 5 goal in which UMKC plays a vital role. The goal is focused on translational research, or "translating" laboratory discoveries into actual treatments for sick patients.

UMKC's Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Nursing and Biological Sciences are all deeply involved in various forms of translational research. Our clinical partners in the Truman, Saint Luke's, Children's Mercy and Research hospital systems are treating patients in clinical studies based on concepts developed by UMKC research.