History of the Trustees

How the university has grown through the support and deliberate advocacy/partnership of the business community

During the depression-era, KC Chamber of Commerce leaders wanted to position Kansas City as a sophisticated and progressive city, and they were determined that a public university would build an educated citizenry and influence the intellectual life of the community. In 1929, a charter to establish the University of Kansas City was granted and the University opened its doors in 1933.


Civic partnership has played a key role with the University’s growth and development throughout history. The University’s original Board of Trustees was led by a group of businessmen who raised the capital and endowment funding. Trustees were also originally accountable for all university operations and held fiduciary responsibility for the organization until mergers with other existing private schools – Kansas City School of law, KC Western Dental College, KC College of Pharmacy and Kansas City Conservatory of Music – joined UKC.


In 1963, UKC joined the University of Missouri System and changed its name to the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Through an agreement with the UM System, UKC Trustees remained in control of all Trustee-held endowments, and they continued in operation as a high-level advisory Board.

How Trustees Partner with UMKC Today

Great cities require the influence and stimulation of a great university. The UMKC Trustees encourage this thinking and understanding in the community. Trustees steward the investment of monies given to the Trustees to benefit University programs, such as:

  • Provide annual award/recognition stipends for Trustees Faculty Fellows/Scholars

  • Real Estate program begun by Miller Nichols – now serves the needs of a growing campus. More than 200 properties have been purchased within the University’s master plan area.

  • UMKC Trustee Scholars – 31 scholars are at UMKC with full-ride (tuition, housing, book allowance) scholarships provided by Trustees and their community partners.

  • UMKC Marketing Campaign “UMKC: A Great Place to Get a Life!” was originally a Trustee marketing initiative. That campaign has sparked the new Marketing Campaign targeted at enrollment growth that launched in April 2008

  • Working to advocate public support from State, local and federal sources

  • Keeping the University focused on serving targeted community needs.

Meet a Trustees Board Member

Patrick McLarney

Patrick McLarney
Past Chair


“Over the years, the Trustees’ role has changed to reflect the fact that the school gets less state money and has to rely on outside income. The Trustees have to be involved in generating that revenue. We’re always trying to figure out new ways to generate money for scholarships and programs.”