• UMKC Pharmacy Students Win National Competition

    Three UMKC Pharmacy students beat out more than 100 teams to win top title.
    Fourth-year School of Pharmacy students Hannah Kempker, Claire Vogl and Rylee Pitts have been hard at work since September preparing and competing in the American College of Clinical Pharmacy’s 2023 ACCP Clinical Pharmacy Challenge. The competition spanned several months with multiple rounds and culminated in UMKC going head-to-head with the University of Arkansas in the championship round in Dallas, Texas. After a tight race, UMKC won on the final question and took home $1,500 in prize money and a commemorative trophy. Known for its “quiz-bowl” style, the challenge included rounds featuring general pharmacy trivia, a clinical case study and final jeopardy. Teams began their journey with virtual rounds, and only the top eight travelled to Dallas to compete during the annual ACCP Conference in November. Once there, the competition heated up. Teams were expected to answer questions quickly, using a buzzer and going head to head. “Online versus in-person rounds are a different game,” Kempker said. “Online rounds you have more time to think critically and reason through a question. In person, you have to rely on all knowledge from didactic coursework and rotations to quickly come up with an answer and stick with it.” No stone was left unturned by the team during preparation for the competition, and it was an all-hands-on-deck effort. “Generally, we looked through the ACCP pocket guide, the APhA review book and our old pharmacotherapy notes,” Vogl said. “We also tried to look at specific jeopardy categories as the rounds progressed, focusing on categories we hadn’t seen yet to prepare for the next round.” Kempker added, “I think the biggest thing we did to prepare was to talk aloud our strategy.” The three students keyed in on their blind spots and worked to fill in any gaps in expertise to be as prepared as possible. “Because we are all close, we also know each other’s tendencies and hesitations, so that helped when we moved into the live buzzer rounds,” Vogl said. “One person might buzz for the other because we knew they might be more hesitant.” Elizabeth Englin Pharm.D., served as the faculty mentor and traveled with the team to the Dallas competition rounds. “It was so fun to watch them, and they were so strategic in their play,” Englin said. “You could tell that they were friends, and they work so well as a team…They’re just wonderful students all around.” After the competition, Englin reflected on the high level of sportsmanship the team possessed. “They did really well with the other teams,” she said. “They were congratulating, wishing luck and really got to connect with the other schools.” The competition is just a feather in the cap of the students, who in their final year of pharmacy school are preparing for what’s next. “I felt pharmacy gave me the best opportunity to combine my desire to impact others with a career that aligned with my personal interests and curiosity,” Pitts said. Dec 20, 2023

  • Top 10 Photos of 2023

    Visuals that capture the year
    UMKC photographers Brandon Parigo and Patrick Oliverio captured many moments on and off campus this year. They selected a few of their favorite images that show what it looks like to be part of Kansas City's university. Union Station was illuminated Roo blue and gold for UMKC Engagement Month in October. | Photo by Brandon Parigo, UMKC Conservatory Professor JoDee Davis stands in the middle of her students at the UMKC Trombone Studio. | Photo by Patrick Oliverio, UMKC Dancers perform at Crescendo, the UMKC Conservatory signature event held annually at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. It raises funds for student scholarships. | Photo by Brandon Parigo, UMKC The Roo statue in silhouette on the UMKC Volker Campus. | Photo by Brandon Parigo, UMKC UMKC cheering at a soccer game. Roo up! | Photo by Patrick Oliverio, UMKC Making a splash at the Swinney Center pool. | Photo by Brandon Parigo, UMKC Durwood Stadium at dusk during a soccer game at Welcome Week. | Photo by Brandon Parigo, UMKC I (heart) UMKC always. | Photo by Brandon Parigo, UMKC Streamers and confetti help celebrate graduates at Spring Commencement at the T-Mobile Center. | Photo by Brandon Parigo, UMKC   Dec 19, 2023

  • Donation Process During UMKC Campus Closure

    Here's how to give during winter break
    While the UMKC campus is closed during Winter Break, Monday, Dec. 25 through Monday, Jan. 1, it's still easy to make a year-end gift by observing the following guidelines. Gift timing is essential to ensure receipt of tax credit for the 2023 calendar year for your donation; please reference the guidelines for specific gift types below. If you need assistance with your donation, please get in touch with Jenny Akhtar at 816-780-9151. Give now by credit card Donation by Checks Envelope MUST be postmarked prior to Dec. 31, 2023. If the envelope received is postmarked after Dec. 31, it will be counted as a 2024 gift. Donors should send their checks to the address below: UMKC Foundation Office of Gift Processing202 Administrative Center5115 Oak StreetKansas City, MO 64112 Checks dated prior to Dec. 31, along with postmarked envelopes, should be received by UMKC Foundation Gift Processing staff on or before Friday, Jan. 12, 2024. Gifts received after that point will not automatically be included in processing for the annual tax receipt. Donations by Stock or Mutual Funds Please get in touch with Tram Nguyen at for the transfer form and DTC instructions. Stock gifts must be received into the account on or before Dec. 29 to be reflected in the 2023 tax period, per the IRS. Stock gifts will require the donor's name, number of shares, security, expected date of transfer, and gift intention area. Donors must send information via email to Tram Nguyen at Liquidation of the Stock gifts cannot be completed until confirmation of this information is received. Mutual funds take an additional 3-5+ business days before posting to our account. Donors, please advise brokers to initiate mutual fund transfers before Dec. 21. Regular equity stock takes 24 hours to post to our account. Donations by Credit Cards Ways to donate using a credit card: Our website, UMKC Foundation, where donations will be processed through midnight, Dec 31. All donor gifts processed through our website will be reflected in the donor's 2023 giving year totals. Contact our staff in Gift Processing at 816-780-9151 during regular business hours through the end of the year, including the winter break. Mail: Credit Cards by mail MUST be received no later than noon Dec 29, for processing. ** We cannot guarantee mail delivery will meet the required deadline; for more reliable processing, we ask all donors to either call the number listed for Gift Processing Staff or to use our website. Contacts and Staff Availability The Gift Processing Staff will be available by phone at 816-780-9151 to accept credit card gifts and to answer all inquiries about year-end gifts during regular business hours through the end of the year, including during the winter break. The UMKC Foundation Office will be closed during the winter break. Should you have any inquiries during that time, please call 816-235-5778, and someone will return your call. For help with stock gifts or wire transfers, contact Tram Nguyen at Dec 19, 2023

  • Fifteen Students Named Dean of Students Honor Recipients

    Graduating students are recognized for their outstanding academics, leadership and service
    Fifteen UMKC students have been named Dean of Students Honor Recipients in recognition of their accomplishments on campus and in the community. Every semester, exceptional graduating students are honored with this designation. These students maintain excellent academic standards while actively participating in university activities and community service outside of the classroom. The Fall 2023 honorees’ accomplishments include helping international students settle into the university life, volunteering with the families of homicide victims, organizing a conference celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community, working on the Lucerna research journal, volunteering with Operation Breakthrough and more. “These students embody what it means to be a Roo with their dedication to academics, service and community," said Michele D. Smith, Ph.D., vice provost for student affairs and dean of students. “I am thrilled to recognize them for their many accomplishments and look forward to the bright futures ahead of them.” Students shared reflections on their time at UMKC at a special breakfast celebration in their honor. Some excerpts: Emma Sauer: “As a transfer student, I’ve only spent two years at UMKC, but my experience has shaped who I am. My time here has exposed me to all kinds of people, ideas and perspectives I would never have found anywhere else and really inspired me to take a more active role in my local community.” Matthew Grimaldi: “My time at UMKC has been truly memorable, and as a Kansas City native, the best part has been experiencing the school’s connection with the surrounding community. During my time here, I’ve been able to intern with a federal judge, work with underserved clients and meet with prospective students. UMKC is more than just a place of higher education, it is a community institution.” Paige Lyell: “UMKC has given me the gift of a lifetime – not only has the university provided me with an amazing education, but it also gave me some of the best years of my life. I feel honored to forever be a part of such an inclusive and compassionate group of people. I leave here with a stronger sense of community, respect and integrity.” Congratulations to the Fall 2023 Dean of Students Honor Recipients! Scott Cameron, School of Humanities and Social Sciences Paige Eickhoff, School of Medicine Alejandra Frias-Fraire, School of Science and Engineering Matthew Grimaldi, School of Law Natasha Hillard, School of Nursing and Health Studies Mufrad Islam, School of Science and Engineering Mustavi Islam, School of Science and Engineering Marco Loaiza, School of Humanities and Social Sciences Paige Lyell, School of Medicine Marisa McKay, School of Humanities and Social Sciences Elliot Mejia, Bloch School of Management Jonah Petitjean, School of Humanities and Social Sciences Emma Sauer, School of Humanities and Social Sciences Olga Shupyatskaya , School of Law Ben Wilson, Bloch School of Management Dec 19, 2023

  • Triple Threat: Three Sets of Twins Competing as UMKC Student-Athletes

    Seeing double on the court and track
    Last year, 3,664,292 people were born. It’s estimated just 3 percent of those born were twins. So it’s safe to say giving birth to twins is rare. What’s even more rare is three sets of twins ending up on the same college campus as student-athletes. Right now at UMKC, there are roughly 220 student-athletes competing on various teams. Among them are six twins who make up just 2 percent of that total. For Precious and Promise Idiaru, Elauni and Emani Bennett, and Jack and Bret Beard, UMKC always felt like the right place to be. “Being so close to home is one of the main reasons we chose UMKC,” said freshman Emani Bennett. “Our high school teammates, high school coaches and AAU coaches still get to come and see us play.” Elauni and Emani BennettFreshmen | UMKC Women’s Basketball If you’re in need of a quick way to tell these two apart, just look at their jump shot. “I’m a lefty and Emani’s a righty,” said Elauni Bennett. The two freshmen guards didn’t have to travel far to join the UMKC women’s basketball team. Just seven months removed from their high school graduation at Lee’s Summit North, these young student-athletes are already adjusted to college life. It’s something they attribute to having each other. “Coming into college is an adjustment for all freshmen, but we have each other so it makes it a lot easier,” Elauni said Off the court, the Bennetts bring impressive high school resumes with them to UMKC and despite being identical twins, the two sisters have different interests when it comes to their education. “We’re different in a lot of ways, and that’s something our coach was big on is celebrating our individuality,” said Emani. Emani is majoring in psychology, while Elauni plans to pursue a future in health sciences. Precious and Promise IdiaruSophomores | UMKC Men’s Basketball Unlike the Bennett twins, Precious and Promise traveled a long way to land on the UMKC men’s basketball team: 4,743 miles, to be exact. The brothers call Speyer, Germany, home just an hour south of Frankfurt, but being in the U.S. is nothing new to them. The Idiaru brothers came to the U.S. as high schoolers, competing in Los Angeles,. "Precious and Promise were available late in the recruiting process, which ended up being a huge plus for Kansas City Basketball,” said head coach Marvin Menzies. “The twins are very high in character and in talent.” Now in their second season with the Roos, both Precious and Promise say there have been challenges being twins on a new team. “The coaches had trouble telling us apart,” said Promise. “To make it easier on them we decided that Precious would start wearing a headband.” Even with their headband idea, it wasn’t an instant fix. “There was an incident last year at LSU where the coaches had difficulties telling us apart even with the headband and accidentally kept yelling out the wrong names to each twin.” While telling them apart on the court may be difficult for new eyes, things might be easier for their UMKC professors. Like the Bennett sisters, Precious and Promise have chosen different paths for their education. Precious intends to study nutrition, while Promise has his sights set on a career in business and marketing. Jack and Bret BeardSophomores | UMKC Track and Field Blink and you might miss this set of twins. Jack and Bret Beard are coming off a successful freshmen season at UMKC, one in which they both made strong showings at the Summit League Championships. Being a college athlete also runs in the family. Their father was an All-American kicker at Friends University. Their older brother Braedan played Division I soccer at both Creighton and Drake Universities. Like the Bennett sisters, Jack and Bret are competing for UMKC with a hometown crowd nearby. The Olathe Northwest graduates say their decision to come to UMKC can be attributed to the coaching staff, led by head coach Benaud Shirley, and being close to family. "I love that my parents are able to come and support us and watch us compete," said Jack. "It gives us added motivation when they are at our meets." When it comes to identifying them on the track, Bret says there is still the occasional confusion among their coaches. Whether they get mixed up or not, Bret admits it's special being able to compete alongside his brother. "We don’t always compete in the same event but when we do I love being able to compete alongside my brother because we are creating life long memories together." Both Beards are studying business administration at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management. Dec 18, 2023

  • Top 10 Stories of 2023

    A groundbreaking year filled with excitement and many firsts for the university
    The year 2023 saw rapid growth for Kansas City and its university. UMKC continues to reach new heights as an institution of higher education. With our students, faculty and staff at the forefront of our accomplishments in deep partnership with the community, it has never been a more exciting time to be a Roo. Here are the Top 10 stories of 2023 at UMKC. Roos in Flight: UMKC Community Involved in Creation of New Airport Terminal In February, the new KCI Airport terminal opened to travelers and UMKC students, alumni and faculty helped make it happen. Together, Roos from communication, design, engineering, consulting and art backgrounds were involved throughout the largest infrastructure project in the history of the city. UMKC Student Opportunities with the Kansas City Chiefs UMKC announced that it is an official higher education partner of the Kansas City Chiefs, the 2022 World Champions. The five-year partnership between UMKC and the Kansas City Chiefs focuses on student success and recruitment efforts. Opportunities for UMKC students include scholarships as well as leadership, mentorship and career-shadowing within the Chiefs organization. Events for prospective students include stadium tours and other programs. Revealing the Future of the UMKC Health Sciences District  The university revealed the design of its largest capital investment to date: the $120 million Healthcare Delivery and Innovation Building. With key funding from the state of Missouri and visionary Kansas City donors, the building will enable the university to provide state-of-the-art education, find newer and better ways to serve patients in need, strengthen collaborations with surrounding neighborhoods and facilitate greater interdisciplinary partnerships to fuel innovation and research. UMKC Announces $10 Million Transportation Grant During Pete Buttigieg Visit U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg visited UMKC to discuss a new $10 million federal grant awarded to the School of Science and Engineering to develop innovative approaches to improve the sustainability and equity of transportation infrastructure. UMKC was among 20 selected from 169 universities to lead Tier 1 University Transportation Centers for underserved and disadvantaged populations. Greater Kansas City and Missouri Named Tech Hubs  The U.S. Economic Development Administration has named the KC region and Missouri “Tech Hubs” as part of a historic investment to strengthen the U.S. economy and national security - and UMKC played a significant role in this recognition. "The new Tech Hubs designation provides great scope for innovation in Kansas City – and I can envision all the groundbreaking advancements to come as our UMKC students, faculty and staff work in collaboration with the many fantastic organizations in the greater Kansas City area," said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. "We at UMKC could not be more excited." UMKC is Now a First Scholars Institution! This new designation from the NASPA Center for First-Generation Student Success recognizes our efforts in supporting students with programs such as First Gen Roo Scholars. About half our students are first-generation students, and those who participate in the program have higher GPAs and are more likely to complete their degree than those who don't take part.  New UMKC School of Medicine Building Will Transform Health-Care Access in Missouri UMKC broke ground on a new $14.5 million medical building for the School of Medicine campus in St. Joseph. With nearly half of rural counties in Missouri lacking adequate health-care access, this 22,000-square-foot building will transform access by training future health care providers who are committed to rural medicine, supporting research and providing care to people in St. Joseph and the surrounding area. UMKC Divine Nine Garden Deepens Community Connections UMKC paid tribute to the contributions and presence of the Divine Nine fraternities and sororities with a ceremonial unveiling in the heart of campus. Hundreds of people from across the Kansas City region representing the Divine Nine Black Greek organizations that make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council gathered to celebrate. What Do UMKC and the Kansas City Zoo Have in Common? Kangaroos UMKC and the Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium announced a five-year partnership centered around their shared love of kangaroos. The relationship between the two Kansas City institutions dates back almost 90 years. Next time you find yourself at the zoo, venture into the Australia section to learn how the Roo came to be the mascot of UMKC.   Taylor Swift Eras Tour is Part of This UMKC Dance Alum's Resume It's definitely been the year of T Swift, and Conservatory alumnus Kameron Saunders has enjoyed the excitement. He had the chance to "make the whole place shimmer" in Kansas City as a backup dancer on the Eras tour with Taylor Swift. Although originally from St. Louis, Saunders considers Kansas City a second home. Dec 16, 2023

  • UMKC Celebrates 2023 Mid-Year Graduates

    Kansas City’s university held its annual Mid-Year Commencement at the T-Mobile Center in downtown Kansas City
    UMKC graduates and their loved ones filled the T-Mobile Center as more than 1,000 degrees were conferred. “I know you are a remarkable group of people,” said Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “I am proud to be here today to celebrate this momentous occasion with you.” UMKC alumna Esther George (MBA ’00) was the keynote speaker. George was the first woman president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. “Keep learning and remember this, the degree UMKC is about to confer upon you today does not represent what you know, but what you are capable of learning,” George said. “Let curiosity lead you to places of knowledge that you might not have considered.” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas also addressed the graduates, encouraging them to push through challenges many face in their careers and in life. “I know as you’ve gone through your journey many things have changed, but you have persevered,” Lucas said. “Be ambitious, courageous and bold…You should continuously strive to be famously excellent in all you do.”Following the addresses, the graduates were recognized and the Class of 2023 moved their tassels from the right to the left side of their caps, symbolizing their status as graduates. The celebration concluded with confetti, streamers and sparklers.   Dec 15, 2023

  • Kansas City Current Announces Groundbreaking Higher Education Partnership with University of Missouri-Kansas City

    Kansas City’s university will provide undergraduate and graduate opportunities to Current players
    The Kansas City Current announces a multi-year partnership with the University of Missouri-Kansas City as the Official Higher Education Partner, beginning in the 2024 NWSL preseason. UMKC will provide first-of-its-kind undergraduate and graduate opportunities to players actively on the Current roster. The Current will provide player and coach mentorship as well as access to Current facilities for preseason training and a match. “We are so thrilled to announce this new partnership with UMKC,” said Current co-owner Angie Long. “We want to provide every opportunity to our players to continue their higher education. We think this relationship will present groundbreaking opportunities and educational access for our athletes as well as the Roos scholar-athletes. We are proud to partner with UMKC and eager to provide a unique education opportunity that can complement the demanding schedules of our professional athletes as they build the skills they need to succeed off the pitch.” This partnership focuses on elevating education on multiple levels. UMKC will provide educational opportunities for KC Current athletes through its robust academic programs. The Current will use its platform to elevate UMKC and its women’s soccer program, allowing scholar-athletes to connect with KC Current players for leadership and mentorship. The Roos will host one pre-season and one regular season match at the Sports Complex in Riverside, Missouri on the Championship Field in 2024. UMKC will also be able to share the excitement of KC Current soccer on campus, when it brings its Teal Mobile takeovers to students, with team spirit and merch opportunities. “Kansas City’s groundbreaking team is partnering with Kansas City’s groundbreaking university,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal, Ph.D. “Both of our institutions are breaking barriers and we intend to keep breaking them.” The Kansas City Current announced plans for the first stadium purpose-built for a professional women’s soccer team with expected completion in 2024. | Photo courtesy of the Current.   UMKC has a host of unique programs to elevate students across various professions. UMKC’s top-ranked School of Medicine innovated a combined six-year B.A./M.D. program, different from the traditional eight-year program. UMKC founded Supplemental Instruction, a peer-tutoring system now used at hundreds of colleges around the world because it boosts letter grades and retains students through reinforced learning. Just this month, the NASPA Center for First-Generation Student Success designated UMKC a First Scholars Institution, recognizing the university’s unique methods of helping first-generation students succeed in college, earning higher GPAs and retention rates when compared with their peers. The UMKC Division I Athletics program is also exceptional, with students exceling on and off the field. Players on the women’s soccer team have a cumulative 3.63 GPA. This year, the Summit League recognized Roos Women’s Soccer Coach Jess Smith as its Coach of the Year. Smith also is a coach for the KC Current Summer Camp. “We are fortunate and grateful to partner with the KC Current organization,” said Brandon Martin, Ph.D., UMKC vice chancellor and director of Athletics. “Our mission, goals and priorities are aligned, and we look forward to immediate championship-level synergy. This partnership not only elevates our women’s soccer program but propels our effort to advance Kansas City.”  Roos Women's Soccer Coach Jess Smith won the Summit League Coach of the Year. | Photo courtesy of UMKC Athletics.   These two groundbreaking Kansas City institutions share other deep connections. UMKC alumni serve as top KC Current leaders: Monica Ngo as Vice President of Human Resources for the Current and Maggie Walters as General Counsel. UMKC faculty Meg Gibson, M.D., is a physician for the Current. Current founders and co-owners Angie Long and Chris Long were named Kansas City Entrepreneurs of the Year by UMKC for their leadership roles at Palmer Square Capital Management and their work with the Current, two powerful platforms that are leading the way in making positive change on a global basis. It’s that worldwide emphasis that also makes this partnership groundbreaking in nature. UMKC attracts students from more than 75 countries and the Current’s fanbase spans the globe. The Current roster features international players from France, Canada, Sweden, Brazil and Denmark. Kansas City’s university and the Current align in their missions to be the best in the world while also being pillars of the Kansas City community. Crowds line up for the KC Current's Teal Mobile for team spirit and merch. | Photo courtesy of KC Current   About the Kansas City Current Founded in December 2020, the Kansas City Current is led by the ownership group of Angie Long, Chris Long, Brittany Mahomes and Patrick Mahomes. The team competes in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). The Kansas City Current announced plans for the first stadium purpose-built for a professional women’s soccer team with expected completion in 2024. To receive periodic updates on the new Kansas City Current Stadium at Berkley Riverfront Park, visit here to sign up for more information or to stay connected. About the University of Missouri-Kansas City The University of Missouri-Kansas City is a public research university with more than 15,300 students and more than 125 academic programs. Its two main campuses are in the heart of Kansas City, providing students with unparalleled access to jobs and internships. UMKC is dedicated to providing a quality education to everyone with one of the largest percentages of Pell-Grant-eligible students in the nation and in-state tuition scholarships to students in all 50 states. Dec 13, 2023

  • Starlight Internship Starts UMKC Conservatory Student Off on a High Note

    Kansas City’s outdoor/indoor performing arts venue was the opening number for a career in arts marketing
    Roslinde Rivera has been going to Starlight since she was a child, but now her view of the stage is a little different. Rivera, who is pursuing her MBA and graduate certificates in performance and performing arts management, was a marketing intern for Starlight. Rivera was interested in arts administration and knew the UMKC performance arts management certificate would be a perfect fit for her career goals. When she met with faculty member Lisa Anderson Bongers, they narrowed down Rivera’s focus to find an internship to jumpstart her career path.“I’m interested in marketing and development, so we had a conversation about what places would be best for me to start in marketing,” Rivera said. “When Starlight came up on that list, I was very interested.”“Having that connection to Starlight and able to come back to a place I love, that was really important to me,” Rivera said. Working at Starlight gave Rivera the opportunity to hone her marketing skills in a supportive environment. She put together press kits, wrote blog posts, managed social media and worked with outside partners. “One thing that I always look for in a workplace is great community,” Rivera said. “Being at Starlight has really shown me what a good community looks like in how people treated each other.”Starlight is a natural fit for Rivera, a singer and performer. Rivera knew her hometown had endless opportunities, both as a student and beyond.“Being able to go to a local university that has so many connections is incredible,” Rivera said. “Kansas City has so many opportunities, and I don’t think a lot of people realize the connections, especially if you’re wanting to go and perform.” “There are people in all different paths of life and they’re all working toward something,” Rivera said. “If you’re starting out and you’re terrified and you don’t know what to do, you have people that you can look up to. And I think that’s just really invaluable.” Dec 05, 2023

  • Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Honor Visionary Leaders who Transform Businesses in KC and Around the Globe  

    Sports are a common thread and include KC Current and Chicken N Pickle
    Five game-changing entrepreneurs were awarded during the Henry W. Bloch School of Management Regnier Institute’s 37th annual Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. Started in 1985, the event celebrates the contributions of entrepreneurs in Kansas City and beyond by recognizing the work of students as well as local, national and global-industry entrepreneurs and leaders.  This year’s event was held at the H&R Block headquarters - the industry-shaping business entrepreneurs Henry Bloch and his brother, Richard Bloch, founded. Prior to the awards ceremony, attendees learned about business ventures by students from Bloch and the Kansas City Art Institute at the Student Venture Showcase. “Their dedication and passion is truly inspiring,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “Celebrating risk takers and innovators is one of the reasons I look forward to this event.” The 2023 awardees: Henry W. Bloch International Entrepreneur of the Year and Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Inductee Marcelo Claure, Founder and CEO of Claure Group and Founder of Brightstar Claure is a global entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Claure Group, a multi-billion-dollar global investment firm. He is a well-known entrepreneur and operator after building Brightstar from a small local distributor to the world’s largest global wireless distribution and services company.  As an investor, Claure was also the CEO of SoftBank Group International where he launched SoftBank’s $8 billion Latin America Funds and had direct oversight for SoftBank's operating companies like ARM, SB Energy, WeWork and others. Claure also helped orchestrate Sprint's $195 billion merger with T-Mobile, creating what is now one of the most valuable telecommunications companies in the world. "The journey of an entrepreneur is never a straight line," said Claure, who delievered remarks via video. "My goal is to continue innovating, lead with integrity and inspire future entrepreneurs." Claure owns Club Bolívar, Bolivia's largest professional soccer team, and is a co-owner of Spain's Girona FC, in partnership with City Football Group. Claure was inducted into the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame. Located on the main level of the UMKC Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the hall of fame gives students and the community a peek inside the journeys of Kansas City’s entrepreneurial stars. The dedicated gallery space was the vision of Joe and Judy Roetheli, creators of Greenies dog treats. Their goal is to honor entrepreneurs and inspire students. Exhibits of the hall include an interactive touchscreen featuring inductee biographies, artifacts from their lives and words of inspiration from the entrepreneurs themselves. Kansas City Entrepreneurs of the Year Chris Long, Founder of Palmer Square Capital Management Angie Long, Chief Investment Officer of Palmer Square Capital Management Chris Long founded Palmer Square Capital Management, an approximately $27 billion asset manager focused on corporate and structured credit with offices in Kansas City and London, in June 2009. Currently, he serves as chairman, CEO and portfolio manager. He serves on the Board of Directors of the KC Sports Commission and Greater Kansas City Community Foundation and in many roles related to Princeton University.  Angie Long is chief investment officer and one of two principal owners for Palmer Square Capital Management. Her career includes experience at JPMorgan Chase & Co. where she was named a managing director at age 29 and held many senior roles. She serves on the Board of Directors of Union Station as well as the KC 2026 World Cup Board. She is a member of the 100 Women in Finance and is a CFA charter holder. Along with co-owner Brittany Mahomes, the Longs brought a National Women’s Soccer League franchise back to Kansas City. The Kansas City Current has built the only training facility in the world with a women’s professional team as the sole tenant. They are also building the world’s first stadium devoted to a women’s professional soccer team. "We get to lead two amazing organizations - both of which have powerful platforms to be a positive force on a global basis," the Longs said at the event. "It is a privilege we do not take lightly. We are fortunate to work with some of the most talented, passionate people in both the investment world and the sports business. Together, and as a result of the hard work, innovation and leadership of these organizations, it is exciting to look at the impact." Marion and John Kreamer Award for Social Entrepreneurship David Johnson, Founder of Chicken N Pickle and CEO of Maxus Realty Trust Johnson had already founded and developed a successful real estate management company when he created Chicken N Pickle in 2017. The concept burst onto the scene, and now has eight venues open, with seven more announced across several states. Community engagement is at the core of the Chicken N Pickle culture, with programs that provide strong support for 2,029 charitable organizations in the surrounding areas where each of the Chicken N Pickle locations are based. Extra money is raised for charities through their cup sales, and more than $100,000 was donated just through those extra dollars to support the community. "My team embraces the community everywhere they go, and they deserve all the credit," Johnson said. "We've found that by doing good, good things happen to us." Johnson is currently on the board of Verimore Bank, KC Crime Commission, MU Dean’s Board and Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. Student Entrepreneur of the Year Lesly Romo Romo is a business administration student and bilingual real estate professional. Over the past year, she has achieved more than $2 million in sales and possesses a comprehensive understanding of the real estate industry. Currently, Romo holds the role of vice president of projects for UMKC Enactus, where she takes the helm of multiple innovative initiatives that leverage social entrepreneurship to drive meaningful change.    Romo is working to establish a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting financial literacy in the Hispanic community. She is also looking to construct a multifaceted soccer facility. The aim is to create an inclusive space for soccer enthusiasts of all backgrounds.  "This serves as a commitment to turn my wildest dreams into action," Romo said."We will unite people through their love of soccer as they come to Kansas City for the World Cup (in 2026)."  All proceeds from the event directly benefit the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s student and community programs. The Regnier Institute at the Bloch School focuses on connecting students and community members with a comprehensive combination of world-class research, renowned faculty, cutting-edge curriculum and experimental programs driven to deliver results and nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs. Dec 01, 2023