UMKC Recognizes Outstanding Alumni

14 alumni and one family were honored April 5
2024 Alumni Award recipients

The University of Missouri-Kansas City Class of 2024 Alumni Achievement Award recipients include a national ABC News anchor, a nonprofit founder and Kansas City trailblazers.

Each year, UMKC recognizes a select group of alumni for their inspirational accomplishments. The event offers a chance to celebrate the achievements and successes of graduates UMKC sends out into the world each year at Commencement, and raises funds to support their fellow Roos.

The Class of 2024 awardees were honored at a celebration on April 5 at the White Recital Hall in the James C. Olson Performing Arts Center.

2024 Alumna of the Year Rhiannon Ally speaks to the crowd.

University-Wide Alumni Awardees
Alumna of the Year

Rhiannon Ally (B.A. ’05) is a national anchor for ABC News’ “World News Now” and “America This Morning” and is a correspondent on “Good Morning America.” She also made her author debut with the children’s book, “Mommy, Please Don’t Go to Work!” The Raytown native co-anchored the Emmy-Award-winning 10 p.m. newscast for Kansas City’s NBC affiliate KSHB-TV alongside her husband, Mike Marusarz (B.A. ‘04), whom she met at UMKC.

Ally’s nearly 20-year career has taken her to Miami, New York, Los Angeles, London and Las Vegas. She has interviewed renowned celebrities including Madonna, Denzel Washington, Caroline Kennedy and Gloria Steinem. Ally also has had a front row seat to history, documenting events including the Boston Marathon bombing, the war in Ukraine, Hurricane Katrina and the Ghislaine Maxwell trial.

Spotlight Award

Carmaletta Williams (B.A. ’84, M.A. ’87, Ph.D.) is the Chief Executive Officer of the Black Archives of Mid-America in Kansas City. In this role, she plays a part in preserving and celebrating the role that Black Kansas Citians played in shaping, growing and enriching the Kansas City area. She also worked on a booklet titled ‘Kansas City Black History: The African American Story of History and Culture in our Community,’ which acknowledges, memorializes and documents the impact of exceptional leaders, artists, businesspeople and athletes from Kansas City’s Black communities.

The Bill French Alumni Service Award

As a member of the UMKC Board of Trustees and Trustees’ Scholars Committee, Suzanne Shank (J.D., MPA ’82) demonstrates an unwavering dedication to the university’s advancement.

 She has also actively participated in numerous nonprofit associations, showcasing her commitment to philanthropy and community development. Her leadership roles in local organizations such as the KC Ballet, the UMKC Friends of the Conservatory, the Symphony League and the Lyric Opera, have contributed significantly to the cultural and artistic fabric of Kansas City.

Defying the Odds Award

Henry W. Wash (B.A., MPA) is the founder of High Aspirations, a proactive mentoring program for Black males ages 8 to 18 that emphasizes social, emotional, academic and spiritual growth. Over the last decade, this nonprofit has impacted thousands of young Black men’s lives. It is a nurturing program for Black males that increases social capacity and leads to a better quality of life for all.

Wash faced adversity early in his life. Abandoned by his mother at 3 months, he grew up in the foster-care system. He credits the mentorship he received from two prominent Kansas Citians, Henry W. Bloch and Thurman N. Mitchell, in helping him overcome his circumstances. Wash proceeded to get his undergraduate and MPA degrees from UMKC.

Legacy Award

The Tedrow/Selders/Hogerty Family's legacy at UMKC dates back generations. Joseph Herbert Tedrow graduated from the Kansas City School of Law in 1922.

His granddaughter, Martha Hogerty, earned her B.A. from UMKC in 1975 and her J.D. in 1979. She then served as Missouri Public Counsel for 12 years, where she advocated for Missouri residents and small businesses and represented Missourians in utility regulation cases.

Her daughter, Mary Needham, earned her B.A. from UMKC in 1988. Needham works at the UMKC Foundation as the director of development for the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

School of Medicine awardee Michael Monaco with School of Medicine dean Alexander Norbash

School Alumni Achievement Awardees

Conservatory: Dina Thomas (MFA ’11)


School of Dentistry: Laila Hishaw (D.D.S. ’00)

Founding Partner, Tucson Smiles Pediatric Dentistry

School of Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences: Donna Bushur (B.A. ’86, MSW ’06)

Health Forward Foundation, Impact Strategist

Henry W. Bloch School of Management: Julia Terenjuk (MBA ’00)

Founder and CEO, Creative Capsule

School of Humanities and Social Sciences: Daniel Silva (B.A. ’00)

President and CEO, Kansas City, Kansas Chamber of Commerce

School of Law: Allison Murdock (J.D. ’88)

Managing Partner, Stinson LLP

School of Medicine: Michael Monaco (B.A. ’84, M.D. ’87)

Internal Medicine Physician, Empower Preventive Care PA

School of Nursing and Health Studies: Lori Erickson (BSN ’06, MSN ’09, Ph.D. ’20)

Director, Remote Health Solutions, Children’s Mercy

School of Pharmacy: Crystal Riggs (Pharm.D. ’03)

Senior Vice President, Pharmacy Services, Curative

School of Science and Engineering: Amy Manning-Bog (Ph.D. ’99)

Chief Innovation Officer, MRI Global

If you were unable to attend the event but would like to donate to student scholarships, you can make a contribution online on the UMKC Alumni Association website.

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 aid for UMKC students.

Top Stories