Bert Berkley to receive Hugh J. Zimmer urban education award

School of Education to honor community champion at 2016 Urban Education and Community Forum


March 11, 2016

The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Education has announced that education champion and UMKC supporter E. Bertram (Bert) Berkley will be honored in April with the 2016 Hugh J. Zimmer Award for Excellence in Urban Education.

The award, named for business and civic leader Hugh J. Zimmer, will be presented in conjunction with the 2016 UMKC School of Education Urban Education and Community Forum on April 5.

Berkley, chairman of Tension Corp., is an accomplished businessman and civic leader. He has served as chair of both the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, and the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. He has been a board member of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, the Flexographic Technical Association and Turn the Page KC.

Berkley was the founder in 1992 of the Local Investment Commission (LINC), which is focused on investing in children and families. One of the first LINC programs was placing healthcare professionals, mental health specialists and social workers in Kansas City public schools to meet the needs of children and parents to serve the whole child. Today, that concept, known as Community Schools, is a major educational movement in the U.S., advocated by the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) in Washington, D.C. Berkley has served on the IEL Board since 1995.

Berkley also has been a strong supporter of UMKC and the School of Education. From 2007 to 2015, he and his wife Joan Berkley made available through the UMKC School of Education an annual award for Kansas City area teachers who developed programs to make learning more enjoyable and more meaningful. Berkley also brought the Educational Policy Fellowship Program to UMKC. He is a former Chairman of the UMKC Trustees, and later received the Chancellor’s Medal, the highest non-academic award UMKC offers to a volunteer.

Berkley is an immediate past member of the Dean’s Advisory Council at the Graduate School of Education, Harvard University; and is a former director of the National Council on Economic Education, serving as chairman from 1979-1980. He graduated from Duke University and Harvard Business School. He served for 42 months in World War II, and an additional 17 months in Korea, and received the Combat Infantry Badge and the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service. He vowed that if he got out of Korea alive he would give back, which he has been doing for more than 60 years.

Zimmer Award selection committee chair Edward Underwood, Ph.D., noted Berkley’s “long and deep involvement in education” and his “passion for urban education.”

“He understands that it is critical that young people in our urban centers receive an excellent education so they can be successful citizens,” Underwood, executive director and Kauffman Endowed Chair of the Institute for Urban Education, said when the award was announced late last year. “He also understands that the issues around students in urban settings are multi-faceted and complex. It is with great pride and gratitude that we will present him with the 2016 Hugh J. Zimmer Award.”