Another Home Run for UMKC at The K

More than 2,300 degrees conferred at second consecutive spring stadium celebration
Graduate cap that says "UMKC, she's outta here" with the Royals Crown Vision screen in the background

The University of Missouri-Kansas City returned to Kauffman Stadium for its second consecutive spring Commencement at the home of the Kansas City Royals, celebrating the degrees earned by more than 2,300 graduates.

The event was spread over two ceremonies on May 15. Thousands of guests cheered as they watched their loved ones cross the stage on the giant Crown Vision screen.

Graduates and their loved ones basked in brilliant sunshine. A late decision to shift the scheduled 10 a.m. ceremony to 6 p.m. to dodge a furious downpour kept everyone dry.

Chancellor Agrawal stands at a podium on the field of Kauffman Stadium with the stands in the background
Photo by Brandon Parigo

“Through your experience at an urban-serving university, and as students at UMKC, you’ve been introduced to the critical issues in the greater Kansas City area and beyond,” said Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “Through your experiences, you have learned the importance of giving back and the value of commitment and community. Through your experiences, you have acquired the knowledge, confidence and skills you’ll need to navigate an ever-shifting landscape in the days to come.

“More challenges surely await you. But I know, and you know, that you are up to those challenges because you have a degree from UMKC. You are ready for what comes next.”

A graduate stands on the stage with her hands in the air, diploma in one hand, smiling
Photo by Tyler Wirken

UMKC Provost Jennifer Lundgren acted as grand marshal of the ceremony.

"We’d like to thank John Sherman and the Kansas City Royals for giving us this opportunity to celebrate in majestic Kauffman Stadium again this year," Lundgren said. "We certainly feel at home surrounded by blue and gold.”

During the ceremony, Agrawal presented the UMKC Chancellor’s Medal – the university’s highest non-academic award – to U.S. Sen Roy Blunt of Missouri. Agrawal thanked Blunt for his work to generate critical investments in higher education.

“Senator Blunt created the grant that allowed UMKC to receive funding to improve COVID-19 testing and vaccine access in underserved communities in Kansas City. His advocacy for the Kansas City Streetcar broadens opportunities for our students and our campus as a whole,” Agrawal said. “Senator Blunt’s leadership brought us more than $15 million to expand the UMKC School Of Medicine to our new St. Joseph campus, which allows us to train even more doctors to benefit the state of Missouri.”

A graduate walks up the stairs after receiving his diploma and shakes hands with a loved one as a young boy hugs him
Photo by Tyler Wirken

Blunt then delivered a commencement address in which he reminded the graduates of the power of the example they have set.

“People have been watching you – people you didn’t even know were watching you,” Blunt said. “These people have been inspired by what you have managed to accomplish.”

Senator Roy Blunt appears on Crown Vision at Kauffman Stadium
Photo by Brandon Parigo

Blunt said that each of the professional fields that the graduates were about to enter, from medicine to management, had changed dramatically over the past few years.

“What a great time to commence. What a great time to begin,” he said. “There’s an economy out there that is desperately looking for people. You are prepared to adapt to a rapidly changing world.”

Published: May 15, 2022