February

  • Philosophy Professor, Founder of Honors Program, Celebrated

    UMKC recognizes Bruce Bubacz with Spotlight Award
    Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni with an awards celebration. The Spotlight Award is a little different, as it can recognize the excellence of almost anyone in the UMKC community whose accomplishments, leadership and public service have caused regional and national attention to be focused on the university and the metropolitan area. This year, the Alumni Association is honoring Bruce Bubacz, Ph.D., with its Class of 2023 Alumni Spotlight Award. Bubacz is celebrating 50 years of teaching at UMKC this year. Currently serving as the chair of the department of philosophy, he has also served as a professor in the School of Law, as dean in College of Arts and Sciences (now the School of Humanities and Social Sciences) and even as provost of the university. He was also the driving force behind the university’s Honors Program. “The positive impact Bruce has had on UMKC and, through UMKC, the greater KC community, cannot be overestimated,” said Bubacz’s colleague, Clancy Martin, Ph.D. “Every year he helps other colleagues get tenure, or win awards, or coaches them through work-life balance struggles, or advises others in the upper administration who rightly recognize his matchless experience, care and expertise.” Bubacz had much to say on receiving this award. As a non-alum, what drives you to be so dedicated to UMKC? I have learned as much during the past 50 years as have my students. UMKC has become my home. There is not a place on the Volker Campus that does not hold a memory; there are memories of all kinds. You have touched the lives of over 5,000 students during your tenure. How have your students inspired you? About a year after joining the faculty, I was attending a professional conference. One of my graduate professors asked me what UMKC was like. You must realize that faculty at the University of Washington in Seattle considered Kansas City to be rather exotic. I answered, “I teach at a very serious place. The students are serious as are my colleagues.” Nearly all of our students are here for a reason, they are not just “going to college.” They deserved to be taken seriously, and I take that to be an important commitment. What inspired you to start the Honors Program? The Honors Program was in fact the brainchild of several people on the faculty. It was thought that students could benefit from an accelerated program of study. I agreed to manage it through the early years. After six years it was secure, and I decided that fresh eyes could take it in a new direction. In addition to teaching, you also donate to the university. What drives you to give? Two main reasons. Many of our students have limited means and must work in order to make ends meet. I like to think that I can give some help to them. And I have wanted to memorialize two people who were important influences: my mother (through the Graduate Assistance Fund) and my dear friend Hank Frankel, through a scholarship named for him. What is your proudest accomplishment? On several occasions I was asked to serve in a leadership role in a situation that badly needed calm stability. I think I succeeded. Where can you be found on the weekends? What are your hobbies? When you get to be my age you are expected to downsize. So, we bought 116 acres in Benton County, Missouri. Maintaining the property takes some effort. For example, about 65% of the property is forest, with many trails cut through the trees, some easy, some demanding. The trails need to be groomed, so Joan and I drive through towing a large mower. We also have a 6-acre stocked pond, and a very nice house. This has been a great place for photography, which has been my favorite hobby since I was 10. I also enjoy wood working of all sorts. About Alumni Awards Join us in honoring Bruce Bubacz and the other Class of 2023 awardees at an in-person event on the evening of March 10 at Plexpod Westport Commons. For more details, visit UMKC's Alumni Association website. If you are unable to attend the event but would like to donate to student scholarships, contributions can be made online. Feb 28, 2023

  • Roos in Flight: UMKC Community Involved in Creation of New Airport Terminal

    Students, faculty and alumni were involved in the project from start to finish
    It’s only fitting that Kansas City’s university would be involved throughout the largest infrastructure project in the history of the city. The new KCI Airport terminal is open to travelers and UMKC students, alumni and faculty helped make it happen. Communication Before any construction happened, Joe McBride (B.A. ’86) had one of the earliest roles to play in the project: getting the community on board. As senior manager of communications for the Kansas City Aviation Department, McBride had to convince people of the need for a new terminal, a sometimes-uphill battle as many Kansas Citians liked the convenience of the old airport design. “I was happy that people had a sense of ownership of it,” McBride says. “That’s good.” After the project was approved, McBride monitored public meetings and comments to ensure that travelers’ concerns were taken into consideration during the design process. His role in the project was truly from beginning to end, as he also played a key role in planning the grand opening. “I think after all the labor and toil it will be, ‘Wow, it’s finally here,’” McBride said. “And watching people come into the terminal, checking in with the wow and the awe in their eyes, that’s going to be a fun, long, proud day.” Design For Kimberly (B.S.E.E. ‘95) and Trent (B.S.C.E. ’95) Robinett, the chance to participate in the design of the new airport had as much personal significance as professional. “The terminal project is one of those signature projects that impacts the entire city,” Kimberly said. “It is the first thing about our city that visitors experience. But beyond that, we are hopeful that the new terminal will improve the lives of Kansas City residents by making it more attractive for airlines to add additional connections out of Kansas City.” The Robinetts cofounded TREKK Design Group. TREKK helped develop the infrastructure for the new airport. This included locating and surveying existing utilities. “Our crews were challenged with untangling what looked like a bowl of spaghetti,” she said. From there, they worked with subcontractors to design critical systems for the new terminal, including drainage and ground service equipment. These systems have a substantial impact on travelers, but unlike food vendors or retail, travelers are usually unaware of their existence. But, according to Kimberly, recognition has never been front of mind for the Robinetts. “We are so grateful for the opportunities that we have had to work with leaders across Kansas City in building its future and making a meaningful contribution toward improving lives.” Engineering Led by CEO Hagos Andebrhan (B.S.C.E. ’78) and president Leonard Graham (B.A. ’74), Taliaferro & Browne Inc. is the lead landside civil engineer company for the terminal project. Although they’ve been involved in significant projects before, including renovations of Arrowhead and Kauffman Stadium and the Kauffman Performing Arts Center, they view this project as notable in its own way. “It is the largest single infrastructure project in the city’s history, and the largest construction project in which our firm has lead-design responsibility,” says Graham. “The KCI new single terminal project is probably one our proudest efforts yet.” The firm’s responsibilities included project management and coordination, design of roadways, including roundabouts and bridges, street and parking lot lighting, surface parking lots and utility relocation. And if that wasn’t enough, the firm was also responsible for designing the temporary traffic modifications that kept travelers moving to the old terminals throughout the project. “The new $1.5 billion KCI single terminal is a project like no other,” says Andebrhan. “It is a once in a lifetime project for the city and everyone involved in its construction.” Consulting Four students from the Bloch School of Management, Msgana Zegeye, Nicolas Hartung, Erik Klaas and Henry Meeds, consulted with vendor management company Vantage Airport Group. The students researched how to attract workers and meet their needs, particularly employees of the restaurants and other airport vendors. They made recommendations regarding which employment websites to use, transportation needs of employees, and how to recruit workers from downtown Kansas City. “Participating in a once-in-a-generation project and making a meaningful impact on my city has been an unforgettable experience,” Meeds said. Hartung added, “Not only did we gain real-word experience, we were also given the opportunity to be part of Kansas City’s history. Working on this project has showed me that a classroom is not the only way to learn essential skills in college." Art Kati Toivanen, professor of studio art, was one of 28 artists selected out of more than 1,900 applicants to create a piece of art for the new terminal. This piece is Toivanen’s first permanent commission in the city, and it represents an experience she knows well: traveling with family. Toivanen is from Finland and travels frequently to visit family. When her son was young, much of her luggage space was dedicated to his needs and entertainment. Her artwork, titled “I Spy Carry-on” is reminiscent of those days. “The collection of objects in the project reflects this universal experience of family travel,” Toivanen said. “It is my hope that the project will provide entertainment for both parents and children as they explore and discover familiar objects in the images.” Spoiler alert: look closely and you’ll find a kangaroo shape that signifies Kansas City’s university. Feb 27, 2023

  • Pete Buttigieg Visits UMKC To Announce $10 Million Grant

    The grant will reinforce the university as an innovator in environmental transportation
    U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg visited the University of Missouri-Kansas City 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. The grant will provide $2 million annually for five years. "It's a big deal. To be among those selected really reflects well on this institution," said Buttigieg, who toured labs at the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise and Research Center at UMKC while he was in town to visit the new Kansas City International Airport terminal. He discussed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law-funded grant with students. Robert Hampshire, deputy assistant secretary for research and technology, and chief science officer at the U.S. Department of Transportation, joined him. The grant was highly competitive: UMKC was among 20 selected from 169 universities to lead Tier 1 University Transportation Centers for underserved and disadvantaged populations. UMKC will work in consortium with Tennessee State University, Texas State University, the University of Louisville and Washington State University, and focus on preserving the environment. UMKC was the only university in the state of Missouri to be selected in this round of funding and was chosen because of its transportation research and project expertise in a city environment. The Plaster Center, from roof to ground floor, is built with labs that work on transportation innovations, including: Sidewalk technologies that won’t freeze in the winter and aren’t too hot in the summer Improved bus-stop surroundings for all seasons Drones that help inspect bridges and deliver packaged goods 3D printing that can simulate vehicle parts Methods to make more durable concrete for highways and road “With this grant, our urban, public-research university and its partner institutions will work collaboratively to perform cutting-edge research and to help build an environmentally responsible, 21st century U.S. transportation infrastructure,” said UMKC Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal. “It is a great opportunity for our students and our community.” UMKC is integrally involved in major transportation projects across Kansas City: Bloch School of Management students consulted on new employees’ transportation needs for the $1.5 billion KCI Terminal opening Feb. 28. Faculty and alumni have served additional roles on the project including construction, communications and art. The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority collaborated with the UMKC Center for Economic Information to better understand the economic impact of its zero-fare policy. The UMKC center’s analysis found the regional Gross Domestic Product will increase between $13 million and $17.9 million as a result of ZeroFare KC. In two years, the Kansas City Streetcar will have its southern-most stop at UMKC upon completion, extending the existing route from the River Market straight to the university’s doorstop. Ceki Halmen, UMKC associate professor of the natural and built environment, is program director of the grant. Hired in 2008 at the university, his research focuses on corrosion of steel and the breakdown of concrete, and finding ways to make more sustainable and durable materials to improve quality of life.“Transportation conveys substantial socioeconomic benefits but at the same time impacts the environmental systems,” Halmen said. “As transportation planners face the evolving challenges of aging infrastructure, funding constraints, climate change and shifts to multimodal transportation systems, guidance is needed on how transportation decisions impact the environment, especially for disadvantaged or overburdened communities.” Feb 27, 2023

  • Advocating a Path to New Scholarships and Successful Careers in Law School

    UMKC School of Law Campaign for Advocates is making a difference
    The UMKC School of Law is recognized consistently for the education and preparation of students focused on advocacy. The Campaign for Advocates is a $1 million campaign  initiated to increase’ opportunities for students in this area through support of scholarships and advocacy competition travel and expenses. The campaign has raised more than $600,000; lead gifts supported a faculty fellowship to fund coaching for the trial advocacy teams. Scott Bethune (J.D. ’88) and Kent Emison (J.D. ’81), are campaign co-chairs, and David Mayer (J.D. ’92), managing partner Monsees & Mayer, P.C., and Jim Bartimus (J.D. ’77) created the first two endowed scholarships to support the Campaign For Advocates. Mayer worked while he attended law school, and he knows the challenges that juggling school and employment present to law students. As a scholarship recipient during his time at UMKC, he is dedicated to supporting the Campaign for Advocates because of the assistance it provides. “Many students come to law school with debt from their undergraduate education,” Mayer says. “I know that potential students consider the available scholarship funding when they are choosing a law school. The more talent we can keep or attract is a bonus to the law school and Kansas City.” Stephanie Landers (J.D. ’23) is one of the first recipients of the Monsees & Mayer Endowed Scholarship. She was a teacher when she decided to go to law school. “I have always had a huge heart for helping people who don’t have a voice,” Landers says. “After 10 years of teaching I wanted to make a career change where I could truly advocate for people every single day.” Nervous about going back to school, Landers applied to 10 law schools and was accepted to all of them. One of the schools that accepted her offered her a full tuition scholarship. “When I was deciding, I remembered touring UMKC and seeing professors and students in the hallways having conversations,” Landers says. “It felt like family, and it felt like home. I accepted the offer from UMKC the next day. I knew it was where I was supposed to be.” Initially interested in family law, she participated in “Last Man Standing,” a mock trial challenge, her first year. “I fell in love with litigation,” Landers says. “I love being in the courtroom and advocating. The whole reason I came back to law school was to give hope to people who didn’t have a voice. That part of advocacy is important to me.” Even though Landers worked full time during law school, receiving the scholarship this year has been essential. “I’m sitting for the bar and the help with bar preparation has been critical.” Steve Leben, Douglas R. Stripp Missouri Distinguished Professor of Law, is committed to furthering opportunities for advocacy students. “We provide critical support to all of our students, but establishing endowed scholarships ensures that we can recruit more effectively,” Leben says. “In addition, the support is important for advocacy students who are unable to work as much as they’d like because of the preparation for advocacy competitions. These funds help our students, but also the potential clients who need their skills.”   Mayer knows that the scholarship funding will make a difference for the students. “I’m a firm believer in the quality of students who attend UMKC School of Law,” Mayer says. “We want to continue to attract the highest level of talent. It’s good for UMKC and the Kansas City legal community. That’s what made our firm want to give back – to UMKC and to the students at the School of Law.” Feb 23, 2023

  • 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. 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. 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.” Feb 22, 2023

  • Celebrating the 2023 TAASU Freedom Breakfast

    Disabled But Not Really founder Wesley Hamilton shares his path to empowerment
    The African American Student Union (TAASU) Freedom Breakfast was created to commemorate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., promote unity and harmony within the UMKC community and celebrate the university’s values of diversity, inclusion and respect. This year marked the 32nd anniversary of the breakfast and included student performances. Michele D. Smith, vice provost for student affairs, dean of students, recognized the importance of TAASU and the Multicultural Student Association. “Love, peace and equity still have a way to go,” Smith said. “But we are committed to progress and change by developing and sustaining a culture of inclusion.” Keynote speaker Wesley Hamilton, Disabled But Not Really founder, spoke about his life growing up on Kansas City’s Eastside. Hamilton moved out of his family’s house at 16 years old. A single parent at 22, he was shot three times in the back just after his 24th birthday. TAASU Freedom Breakfast Contributors Left to right: Keichandra Dess-Burnett, Malowa Mays, Makiya Carmons, Noma Ruben, Jalyn Williams, Khalil Shelton, Khyra Curtain, Ta'Sha Lumpkins He spent three years in recovery from a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed below the waist. His rehabilitation led to a focus on health, and competition as an adaptive bodybuilder. Hamilton founded Disabled But Not Really, an organization designed to bring positivity and hope to the disabled community. “I have not had a lot of opportunity to celebrate my Blackness,” Hamilton said. “It’s good for people to see the journey.” Hamilton, who was featured on “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” in Kansas City, is focused on serving communities better to support mental health and self-esteem. “Slavery, Jim Crow, high levels of stress, anxiety and depression have a profound impact on our daily lives. We need to do more.” Feb 16, 2023

  • How Standing for Civil Rights Led This Alumni Award Recipient to UMKC

    Rev. Carl Moore (BME ’68) shares his journey through music, business and faith
    Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni with an awards celebration. UMKC is honoring Rev. Carl Moore (BME ’68) with its Class of 2023 Defying the Odds Award. Rev. Moore arrived in Kansas City in 1960 after one year at Alabama State College. During his time there, he was arrested for protesting racially inequality and not allowed to return to school. His mother put him on a train to Kansas City which led him to enroll in the University of Missouri–Kansas City that fall. Moore graduated from the UMKC Conservatory of Music with a degree in music education to embark on a career as a high school teacher, a business executive for IBM, as well as a senior pastor for over 24 years. How did UMKC prepare you for/contribute to your success? UMKC provided wonderful, caring and encouraging professors; I met great people and lifelong friends, assuring me that I had something to offer the world. What has music meant to your life? Music is a unifying force, generating love, happiness, a calming influence and a sense of joy. Music has stirred the deepest emotions in my life. How do you believe young people can make a difference in their communities? Young people can make a difference by focusing on education, making good choices, being role models and by setting high, but realistic, goals for their lives. What advice do you have for students who would like to follow in your footsteps? Students need to know “they can.” Paul, the Gospel writer, said, “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” Feb 15, 2023

  • UMKC Alumnus of the Year Recognized for Career Freeing the Wrongly Convicted

    Sean O’Brien is also a School of Law professor
    Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni with an awards celebration. The university and the association are honoring Sean O’Brien (J.D. ’80) with the Class of 2023 Alumnus of the Year Award. O’Brien became interested in the practice of law at his first traffic stop. “I was 16 years old and the man who was running for sheriff came to my car after the police officer left,” O’Brien remembers. “My dad’s car had the candidate’s sticker on it, and he told me that since I was a constituent, he could arrange for the ticket to disappear.” When O’Brien recounted the story to his father, his dad was furious. “He called the man and told him that law should work for everyone,” O’Brien says. “That was my first lesson in equal protection, and it stuck.” Following law school, O’Brien experienced another defining moment in his career in the face of inequity. “At breakfast at a local business organization, the keynote speaker used the appointment of the honorable Fernando Gaitan’s (J.D. ’74) appointment as a springboard to everything wrong with the justice system based on his race. I walked out and turned in my notice without another job to go to.” “UMKC School of Law prides itself on producing practice-ready lawyers, and that was true in my case.” - Sean O'Brien A month later, O’Brien interviewed with Chief Public Defender Jim Fletcher. “It felt like coming home,” O’ Brien says. “They offered me a job on the spot. I took it and never looked back.” In 1988 Senator Tom Eagleton, Robert Popper, dean, UMKC School of Law , professors Ellen Suni and Nancy Levit wrote a grant to create the Missouri Capital Punishment Resource Center to recruit and train good lawyers  to assure that people sentenced to death have access to legal representation when they need it. Already recognized as a tireless advocate for the wrongly convicted, they hired O’Brien to run it. In some ways O’Brien feels that he never really left UMKC. After directing the Missouri Capital Punishment Resource Center for 15 years, Dean Emerita Ellen Suni hired him as a visiting professor. After two semesters he applied to be the permanent criminal law professor. He finds that if someone finds work that they are passionate about, it’s not really work, it’s a calling. “I am proud of the work I have done, but my feelings about it are complicated,” O’Brien says. “It is much harder to free an innocent person than it should be and much too easy to wrongly convict them in the first place. You never lose sight of how much these innocent men and women have lost during their years or decades of wrongful incarceration, and how deficient our social safety net is. “It’s a struggle for them to find work, health care and housing. Some do find good jobs and create happy, productive lives, but they all suffer some degree of post trauma stress injury, especially people exonerated from death row. The day they walk out is just the beginning of a new struggle.” O’Brien considers his most significant professional accomplishment the Supreme Court victory in Schlup vs. Delo, a landmark case which set the standard for innocence claims in federal habeas corpus proceedings. “It’s impossible to brief an innocence argument anywhere in the country without relying on Schlup. It has helped free hundreds of people from prison.” He credits his education at the UMKC School of Law for providing the foundation for his success. “UMKC School of Law prides itself on producing practice-ready lawyers, and that was true in my case.” But his proudest accomplishment is not related to his career. “I have two amazing daughters who are brilliant, creative and curious,” O’Brien says “I am prouder of them than anything I have done professionally.” Feb 14, 2023

  • How This Freshman Made Key Career Contacts in First Semester

    Colton Stewart is already meeting potential future employers through UMKC Professional Career Escalators
    Roos don't just dream, they do. Our students turn ideas into action every day. Get to know our people, and you'll know what UMKC is all about. Colton StewartAnticipated graduation: 2026Academic Program:  law and justice track, Professional Career EscalatorsHometown: St. Louis Colton Stewart understood early on the value of networking and making connections to long- term career success. When he learned that such connections are one of the primary benefits of a new university program, he made the cross-state leap from St. Louis to Kansas City to pursue his career in criminal justice. Stewart enrolled in the Professional Career Escalators program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. It’s a comprehensive career-development program designed to propel students from their academic studies to high-paying careers by providing a dedicated, GPS-guided path from enrollment to workforce. It didn’t take long for the program to deliver. “I am being connected to opportunities I had no clue existed, like a huge police job fair which granted me the opportunity to speak with many police departments as well as FBI, ATF and the Missouri State Highway Patrol,” Stewart said. “The Professional Career Escalators might also connect me to a paid police internship this summer, so the benefits of the program are extensive.” The Professional Career Escalators program is a unique, trademarked system of personalized support and services unlike anything being offered across the U.S. It prepares students for careers in four key areas of workforce demand: law and justice, engineering and business, education and health care. Each semester, students participate in the five Professional Career Escalators core experiences: career guidance and development; experiential learning opportunities (such as job shadowing and internships); mentoring with faculty experts and community professionals; graduate and professional school preparation; and leadership development. “UMKC has amazing connections to Kansas City and to the law enforcement field, so they can easily get their students paired to careers and opportunities,” Stewart said. Why did you choose your field of study? I chose criminal justice and criminology because it had been something I wanted to do since I was a kid. That is how I was sure I wanted to choose it. How has your college program inspired you? My program has inspired me to consider the impact of my field, and show me the value of doing what few people want to do. Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself? I have learned that some of the things I once valued so highly had no real value nor meaning. I learned to focus on the matters that will genuinely benefit me or those I care about, rather than attach myself to trivial matters Are you a first-generation college student? Yes. It means a lot to me. It means that I can do much more than my family before me and give much more to the family after me. It means that I have accomplished a great deal in the family as well, and that I am making a name for us. Do you have any scholarships? I have multiple scholarships. One for the Professional Career Escalators program, one for being a first-generation college student and one for being multiracial. They mean a great deal to me because they made me feel secure and accomplished. What other extracurricular activities are you involved in at UMKC? I am in Enactus, UMKC Men of Color, Kappa Sigma Fraternity, Inter-Fraternity Council and the FBI Academy.     Feb 08, 2023

  • How Did Union Station Become the Chiefs Fans’ Top Hot Spot?

    These two super-proud alums lead the success
    No doubt and nothing subtle about it, aside from Arrowhead Stadium, Union Station is Kansas City’s most popular spot for celebrating the Chiefs inside and out. At night, the massive 109-year-old beaux-art limestone building exterior is illuminated in the team’s colors, a glowing red-and-gold beacon in the skyline. Step through the doors any time of day, and there’s a gigantic fan zone to match. An enormous Chiefs flag hangs from the ceiling of Union Station’s Grand Plaza. And in other prominent spots, there’s a large screen with Chiefs season highlights surrounded by historic and modern artifacts, a store packed with red merchandise and a brilliantly lit AFC Champions marquee sign designed for seriously stellar selfies and photo ops. Two Roos and their creative teams are at the center of it all. George Guastello (B.B.A. ’82, M.B.A. ’84) has been president and CEO of Union Station since 2008. Michael Tritt (B.S. ’86) has served as the Union Station chief marketing officer for the past decade. George Guastello, president and CEO of Union Station, at left, stands next to Kansas City Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt and former Chiefs player Bobby Bell at Union Station.  “We add to the experience each year,” Tritt said. Indeed, baby goats in Chiefs jerseys that appear on weekends have been added to the mix because, duh, the Chiefs have a quarterback destined to be the Greatest Of All Time. Rewind to three years ago when Union Station was the rally center of the championship parade after the Chiefs won the Super Bowl in 2020. “Union Station has the size, location and history to make it the most popular destination to host such festivities,” Guastello said. “For more than a century, the monument has been the scene of celebrations of every size and for every reason. Wartime reunions. Business gatherings. Proposals. Weddings. Civic events. And millions of moments that write personal stories to last a lifetime.”  KC Wolf, Kansas City Chiefs mascot, stands next to Michael Tritt, chief marketing officer of Union Station. The flag in the background mentions the 2023 NFL Draft, which will be held in April at Union Station. Another Roo connection to Union Station: UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal is on its board of directors. “Union Station is happy to host every one of these special moments and humbled by the outpouring of gratitude we receive as a result,” Tritt said. Attendance this year to Union Station’s fourth annual Fan Zone is expected to set a new record, with more than 160,000 guests visiting the lights, sounds and selfie opportunities made available by Union Station and its community partners. And yes, they’re ready to host another rally, fingers crossed, with even more crowds who are part of the devoted Chiefs Kingdom.  Feb 08, 2023

  • 5 Questions with Chiefs Philanthropy and Community Programming Coordinator

    Working for the Super Bowl-bound team was first job for UMKC alumnus
    All of Kansas City is cheering for the Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory. Ishmael Shumate, BBA ’20, MBA ’22 will be at the game as a fan and employee. Why did you choose UMKC? And what made you decide to pursue your MBA? I was born and raised in Kansas City, and I have always known UMKC has a reputation for excellence and high-quality education. I thoroughly enjoyed my undergraduate experience in and outside of the classroom and wanted to continue my education at UMKC. How has it helped you pursue your career? What I learned at UMKC continues to impact me in my career. I continue to use what I learned at UMKC in my day-to-day responsibilities at the Kansas City Chiefs. Another benefit is that the teachers were not only teaching, but truly engrained in the Kansas City business community. This led to a multitude of opportunities and connections throughout my short career. Working with the Chiefs must be amazing! Tell me how that came about and how your Bloch MBA helped. I always knew that I wanted to be in the nonprofit sector. While I was pursuing my MBA at UMKC, I was a nonprofit accountant and I learned about the financial components of operating a nonprofit. This helped me to connect with others in this sector and learn more about the management and fundraising components. When I learned about the opening at the Kansas City Chiefs, I had the skills they were looking for in an applicant. I applied, got an interview and the rest was history! What do you do in your current position? I am the coordinator of philanthropy and community programming at the Kansas City Chiefs. My job responsibilities include working with the Hunt Family Foundation, player foundations and Kansas City Chiefs community programs. Last question, are the Chiefs going to win the Super Bowl? On a daily basis, I see how the players, coaches, trainers and business staff at the Kansas City Chiefs give their all each day. You always want to win, so I hope this hard work will pay off and we will be crowned as champions at Super Bowl LVII!   Feb 06, 2023