Additional gift will bring more talented writing students to UMKC

The Stanley H. Durwood Foundation's recent $50,000 gift will support two more Durwood Scholars in the creative writing program


Feb.19, 2015

The University of Missouri-Kansas City Foundation is pleased to announce an additional $50,000 gift from the Stanley H. Durwood Foundation to UMKC’s creative writing program.

The gift, which follows several years’ of similar support from the Durwood Foundation, will provide funding for UMKC’s College of Arts and Sciences Department of English to designate two additional Durwood Scholars.

Durwood Scholars, as recipients of this prestigious scholarship are known, get tuition assistance and an additional stipend to help cover living expenses over the course of the three-year program.

“This is a scholarship that allows us to compete for the best and brightest students,” said Whitney Terrell, assistant professor of creative writing in the Department of English. “This is among the very highest (financial scholarships) offered nationally.”

Terrell said the Durwood funding, which has been offered to 20 students since 2007 when it began, has allowed UMKC’s creative writing program to attract some of the most talented writers in the country.

“We have students who come to us instead of going to other nationally ranked programs,” Terrell said. “It has had an incredible effect on our program. We have consistently been able to attract high-level students to come study with us and many have stayed in the Kansas City area.”

Charles J. Egan Jr., Durwood Foundation co-trustee, said this flow of talented students into the community is one of the foundation’s primary motivations for supporting UMKC’s creative writing program with support that totals $432,000 to date.

“It draws talent to Kansas City from all parts of the country,” Egan said. “It’s really quite substantial.”

The Durwood Foundation was founded in 1999 when Stanley Durwood, the founder of the Kansas City-based movie theatre company, AMC Entertainment, Inc., died. The foundation was funded in 2004 when AMC was sold.

Sabrina Veroczi came to UMKC from New York last fall as a Durwood Scholar. She acknowledges that the financial support she is receiving through the Durwood Foundation was a big advantage to choosing UMKC.  

“Typically, as an MFA student, one must balance coursework, writing and teaching,” said Veroczi, an actress who has appeared on the television program Law & Order, among others. “Sometimes, because of time constraints, large projects aren’t able to receive the attention they need.”

While at UMKC, Veroczi plans to finish a book about her father’s life and his time in Vietnam.  

“It is an important project, and the Durwood Fellowship will allow me to complete it,” she said. “It is a rare gift to a writer, and I hope to make the most of it.”