Outstanding Alumni Recognized at 2022 Alumni Awards Celebration

Sixteen alumni and one family were honored at the April event
Alumni awards shaped like kangaroos are lined up on a table

The University of Missouri-Kansas City Class of 2022 Alumni Achievement Award recipients included the founder of a veterans housing program, a judge, a national CEO and a legacy family whose education and contributions to UMKC have spanned generations.

Sixteen alumni and one family were honored on April 29 at the James C. Olson Performing Arts Center. This year’s event was back in-person after the pandemic kept the last two year’s ceremonies virtual.

The Alumni Awards ceremony is one of the university’s largest events to support student scholarships. In the last decade, the Alumni Awards event has garnered more than $1 million in scholarships and immediate student aid for UMKC.

The audience looks up to the stage and applauds

“When our alumni return to campus, it is always an exciting reunion. Whether the faces we see are familiar or not, we share the connection of walking the same halls, developing similar goals and being united as UMKC Roos,” said Chancellor Mauli Agrawal.

The night’s biggest honor, Alumnus of the Year, went to Bryan Meyer (B.A. ’11, M.P.A. ’15, J.D.’15), co-founder of the Veterans Community Project. Located at 89th and Troost in Kansas City, the Veterans Project is an innovative non-profit that provides housing for homeless veterans in tiny home villages.

“UMKC consistently reminded me there is always more to learn. For example, when I was pursuing my Masters, I took a class in leadership. I served five years in the Marine Corps and led other Marines in two different combat deployments – so I attended class confident there wasn’t anything I could learn on leadership from a classroom. I was wrong,” Meyer said. “I know the knowledge gained from my M.P.A. and law degree have been instrumental in my ability to provide a benefit to my community.”

Law school dean Barbara Glesner Fines stands with alumni award recipients

Complete list of awardees:

Alumnus of the Year: Bryan Meyer (B.A. ’11, M.P.A ’15, J.D. ’15)

Spotlight Award: Riddhiman Das (B.S. ’12, M.S. ’19)

The Bill French Alumni Service Award: Ann Mesle (J.D. ’72)

Defying the Odds Award: Susan B. Wilson, Ph.D. (MBA ’05)

Legacy Award: North/Cheadle Family

College of Arts and Sciences: Melissa Zarda (B.A. ’02, M.A. ’07)

School of Biological and Chemical Sciences: Joseph Lambing (Ph.D. ’90)

Henry W. Bloch School of Management: Mike Perry (B.B.A ’89)

School of Computing and Engineering: Jungwoo Ryoo (B.S. ’96, M.S. ’98)

Conservatory: Xi Wang (M.M. ’03)

School of Dentistry: Brenda Bohaty (Ph.D. ’09)

School of Dentistry–Dental Hygiene: Jo Ann Weatherwax (B.S.D.H ’06, M.S. ’12)

School of Education: Lucero Garibay (M.A. ’16)

School of Law: J. Kent Emison (J.D. ’81)

School of Medicine: Lucky Chopra (B.A. ’91, M.D. ’92)

School of Nursing and Health Studies: Leslie Luke (M.S.N. ’00)

School of Pharmacy: Janelle Sabo (Pharm.D. ’00)

Co-chairs for this year's event were Joseph Spalitoo (B.S. '68, D.D.S. '72), president of the UMKC Alumni Association, and Debbie Thompson (B.S.D.H. '81).

If you were unable to attend the event but would like to donate to student scholarships, contributions can be made online.

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