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More Than 2,000 Students Receive Degrees

Class of 2019 graduates and KC native Calvin Trillin honored
Group photo of students during the College of Arts and Sciences commencement ceremony

More than 2,000 students received their UMKC degrees during end-of-year commencement exercises this weekend.

Over the course of 12 different ceremonies and a number of graduation events, we celebrated the class of 2019 and all their accomplishments. Here’s a look back at the month’s festivities.

Avanzando Year-End Celebration

Avanzando is a partnership between the Hispanic Development Fund (HDF) and the UMKC Division of Diversity and Inclusion that supports HDF Scholarship and Agapito Mendoza Scholarship recipients.

Students dance at the Avanzando year-end celebration at the Student Union.
Students celebrate the end of the year at the Avanzando celebration. Photo by Brandon Parigo.
Multicultural Graduate Reception

Forty-four graduates were recognized by family, friends, mentors, faculty and staff on May 2. All graduates received a multicultural stole and first-generation college grads receive a "1st Gen ROO" lapel pin. The reception was sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, the UMKC Multicultural Student Organization Council, UMKC Student Affairs and UMKC Alumni Multicultural and Community Affairs Committee.

Group photo of 2019 Multicultural graduates.
Students recognized during the 2019 UMKC Multicultural Graduate Reception.
Lavender Graduation and Pride Awards

Ninety people gathered to honor the achievements of 10 LGBTQIA+ students during Lavender Graduation on May 8. The event included a presentation of the Pride Awards, which recognized individuals who have contributed to the betterment of our LGBTQIA+ community at UMKC.

Congratulations to the following 2019 Pride Award recipients:

Outstanding Faculty/Staff Award: Sadie DeSantis

Jim Wanser Award: Todd Wells

Outstanding Alum Award: Samuel Lim

Collaborative Excellence Award: Multicultural Student Affairs

LGBTQIA+ Student of the Year: Trae Tucker

“Be of service to others. Try to understand what others are feeling. And connect to others all that you can. And you will most certainly have very good luck.” — Jim Lammers

College of Arts and Sciences Graduation with Distinction Luncheon

Butch Rigby, Arts and Sciences and Law alumnus, spoke at the luncheon recognizing students who earned Magna Cum Laude and Summa Cum Laude distinction. Rigby encouraged students to use their 20s to try new things, have adventures and find what they excel at, and then be responsible in your 30s.

Attendees in Helzberg Hall for the Conservatory commencement ceremony.
Attendees at the Conservatory of Music and Dance commencement ceremony at Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Photo by Brandon Parigo.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Honor Recipients

This program recognizes the exceptional students who maintain high scholastic performance while actively participating in university and community leadership and service activities outside of the classroom.

  • Anne Case-Halferty
  • Hanna Fiedler
  • Paige Husa
  • Elisabeth Laundy
  • Rania Mahrous
  • Cara Nordengren
  • Sierra Richard
  • Sarah Shin
  • Brandon Woods

 

“I was told by a high school counselor college wasn't for me. But here I am, a college graduate giving a commencement speech. Celebrate tonight. Wake up tomorrow and go change the world.” — Steven St. John

Commencement Speakers and Honorees
New graduate Ravali Reddy with her degree and flowers.

Spotted on Instagram, new grad Ravali Reddy, "Is it just me or is it one degree hotter in here?"

Speakers during the ceremonies included:

  • Diane Beatty, School of Biological Sciences alumna and vice president of regulatory and clinical affairs, Immunophotonics
  • Ingrid Burnett, Conservatory alumna and Missouri State Representative
  • Arif Kamal, School of Medicine alumnus and associate professor, Duke University
  • Jim Lammers, Computing and Engineering alumnus and president of Trinity Animations
  • Paula Peterson, Bloch alumna and vice president and director of strategy, finance and marketing, Commerce Bancshares, Inc.
  • Eric Schmitt, Missouri Attorney General 
  • Steven St. John, College of Arts and Sciences alumnus and host of the popular morning show “Border Patrol,” 810 WHB
  • Jayson Strickland, School of Education alumnus and incoming superintendent, Hogan Preparatory Academy
  • Deborah Trautman, president and chief executive officer, American Association of Colleges of Nursing

"Be of service to others. Try to understand what others are feeling. And connect to others all that you can. And you will most certainly have very good luck," said Jim Lammers.

"I was told by a high school counselor college wasn't for me. But here I am, a college graduate giving a commencement speech. Celebrate tonight. Wake up tomorrow and go change the world," Steven St. John urged graduates.

UMKC also awarded an honorary doctorate to Kansas City native and New Yorker contributor, Calvin Trillin, an American journalist, humorist, food writer, poet, memoirist and novelist.

Calvin Trillin receives honorary degree during College of Arts and Sciences commencement.
Longtime contributor for the New Yorker Calvin Trillin was presented with an honorary doctorate.
Photo by Brandon Parigo.
Published: May 20, 2019

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