UMKC Now Has A Football Team: The Kansas City Chiefs

Five-year partnership centers on student recruitment, scholarships and success programs
A large group of people, KC Wolf and KC Roo stand in front of the Student Union and cheer enthusiastically as red and gold confetti floats down onto them

The University of Missouri-Kansas City announced today that it is an official higher education partner of the Kansas City Chiefs, the 2022 World Champions.

“Kansas City’s university is thrilled to join with Kansas City’s football team to bring exceptional real-world learning experiences to our students,” said UMKC Vice Chancellor of Strategic Marketing and Communications Anne Hartung Spenner. “There is great forward momentum in our city and our university, and we look forward to building on this continuing wave of excellence in our community through this partnership.”

“We’re very excited to roll out this new education partnership with the administration, faculty, staff and students at UMKC,” said Chiefs Vice President of Partnership Strategy and Development Kim Hobbs. “We think the relationship between the team and the university will present extremely unique opportunities and access for their students moving forward and will reinforce the idea that Roos should ‘Never Choose the Norm.’”

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.

The partnership between the two organizations - both pillars of the city - is a natural one. Each founded by innovative entrepreneurs and pioneers - William Volker (UMKC) and Lamar Hunt (Chiefs) - the two organizations each have worldwide stakeholders. UMKC attracts students from more than 75 countries and the Chiefs’ fanbase spans the globe.

Red graphic with gold text reading: Kansas City's Team. Kansas City's University. Proud to be an Official Higher Education Partner of the Kansas City Chiefs. UMKC and Chiefs logos are below text.
The Chiefs and UMKC also share many connections through alumni, students, faculty and staff, including:

• Amy Patel, M.D., professor of the UMKC School of Medicine and an alumnae, was the 2022 Kansas City Chiefs NFL Fan of the Year.
Chiefs Safety Justin Reid created a coding camp hosted this summer at UMKC.
Union Station is the site of Chiefs fandom in large part thanks to UMKC alumni George Guastello, its chief executive officer, and Michael Tritt, its chief marketing officer.
Jerry Blanton, associate director of UMKC Student Union, is a former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker and his son, Kendall Blanton, was a member of the Chiefs in the most recent Super Bowl.
• Numerous UMKC alumni work for the Chiefs including Ishmael Shumate (BBA ’20, MBA ’22), philanthropy and community programming coordinator, or have worked for them, including dental hygienist Ashley Hobbs (B.S.D.H. ’11), who was a Chiefs Cheerleader.

To commemorate the new partnership with the Kansas City Chiefs, UMKC is planning a campuswide celebration Sept. 7 ahead of the season opener that evening, and a Red Friday Roos Tailgate on Sept. 22.
Yet another thing the two organizations have in common: mascots named for their beloved hometown. Both KC Wolf of the Chiefs and KC Roo of UMKC will attend the celebrations.

Earlier this year, Kansas City’s university entered into a partnership with another city favorite, the Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium. The five-year partnership funds improvements to the Australia new habitat, where kangaroos live, and provides learning opportunities from UMKC students. The university’s mascot was inspired by kangaroos at the zoo, and the classic Roo was drawn by Walt Disney. UMKC also is a longtime partner of Sporting KC, and the campus community has enjoyed that relationship for more than a decade.

Published: Sep 6, 2023

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