Deep-rooted KC Family Includes Generations of Roo Alumni

UMKC Alumni Association honors the Accurso Family with the 2023 Legacy Award

Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni with an awards celebration. UMKC is honoring the Accurso family with its Class of 2023 Legacy Award.

The Accurso family’s legacy at UMKC dates back to the 1940s when Joseph Accurso attended UMKC, then known as Kansas City University. Members of the family have graduated from nearly every program on campus, including the College of Arts and Sciences, Henry W. Bloch School of Management, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, School of Education, School of Law and School of Medicine.

Headshot photos of Joseph C. Accurso and Tammy Dickinson
Left to right: Joseph Accurso and Tammy Dickinson

Alumni include Joseph’s nephew, Lou Accurso (B.A. ’78, J.D. ’81) and Lou’s sons Christopher (B.A. ’11, J.D. ’14), Anthony (M.D. ’12) and Patrick (J.D. ’18). Many other family members have attended, including Michael C. Accurso (B.B.A.  '82), Melissa Accurso (B.A. '88), Joseph M. Accurso (B.A. '96), Tammy Dickinson (J.D. '98), Terri Accurso (B.A. '02, M.A. '12), Danielle Roy (M.S. '09) and Nicholas Accurso (B.B.A. ’20).

“I chose to study at UMKC because it allowed me to obtain a world-class education while being able to hold a job,” Lou said. “It turned out to be the greatest single investment of my life. Being a Roo brings a sense of bonding among my family; it’s part of our commitment to the community.”

Residents of Kansas City may recognize the name from the Accurso Law Firm, one of the city’s most well-known law firms. Founded by Lou in 1988, Lou and Christopher work in the firm as trial attorneys. Lou is a renowned attorney, with many successes in both state and federal courts.

Photo of Lou, Christopher and Patrick Accurso together
Left to right: Patrick. Lou and Christopher Accurso, Photo by Brandon Parigo | UMKC

Lou’s son, Patrick, is currently an assistant prosecutor with the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office, which has been a launch pad for several members of the Accurso family. Lou and Christopher both began their legal careers there, and Tammy Dickinson, sister to Lou, was an assistant Jackson County prosecutor for 15 years.

“I knew that I wanted to be a trial attorney when I started law school, it was my second profession,” Tammy said. “There really wasn’t any other institution that I would have considered attending. I knew that I could get an excellent education in my hometown and would have opportunities that I couldn’t get elsewhere.”

Tammy went on to become the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, where she worked to create the intensive drug treatment court program to provide sentencing alternatives for those convicted of drug-related crimes.

The Accurso family’s impact goes beyond the courtroom. Anthony Accurso, Lou’s son, is an oncologist and hematologist in Hays, Kansas.

“My family’s legacy at UMKC proved to me that I didn’t need to go to a prestigious private university or Ivy League college to receive a great education,” Christopher said. “Our family’s legacy demonstrates that anyone can receive an excellent education and find success in any number of professions with a degree from UMKC.”

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Published: Feb 22, 2023

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