Gift to establish first scholarship for planned Honors College

Linda Hood Talbott's gift is one of several scholarship endowments she has established at UMKC


July 23, 2014

The University of Missouri-Kansas City Foundation is pleased to announce a $20,000 gift from Dr. Linda Hood Talbott to establish a scholarship for students attending the university’s planned Honors College.

The gift, which under a University of Missouri system matching program will establish a $40,000 scholarship fund, brings to five the total number of scholarship endowments Dr. Talbott has established at UMKC.

“Dr. Talbott is the kind of generous alumna and university leader who makes this university great,” said Murray Blackwelder, president of the UMKC Foundation. “UMKC’s continued strength depends on attracting top students. And, the reality is, scholarships are an important part of that. Scholarships like the ones established by Dr. Talbott will open a world of opportunities to many future students who, without financial help, might not be able to attend college.”

Dr. Talbott earned three degrees from UMKC: a bachelor’s in English language and literature in 1962; a master’s with a double major in English language, literature and counseling psychology in 1964; and a doctorate with a triple major in higher education administration, counseling psychology and communications in 1973. She was a post-doctorate fellow at the Harvard University Business School in 1974.

Dr. Talbott met her late husband, Thomas H. Talbott, whose name joins hers on the scholarship endowments, while both were attending the university as undergraduates. Tom Talbott, who died in 2010, held a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in business administration. Both Talbotts have been honored as distinguished alumni. Dr. Talbott was alumna of the year in 1989.

“Tom and I both cared very much about giving back both to the community and to the university,” Dr. Talbott said. “It has given me a great sense of bonding and helpfulness to not have waited until a bequest after my death, but to help students now…I’m delighted to do this in my lifetime and those scholarships will be my legacy and my husband’s legacy, too.”

Herself an honors student, Dr. Talbott said she is pleased to be the first to support a scholarship for the future Honors College, which is being planned as part of the UMKC strategic plan. The university is in the process of searching for a dean for the college. The Linda H. and Thomas H. Talbott Honors College Scholarship will be awarded to honors students with financial need.

“I think it says a lot about her vision that she thinks this is important and she wants to support it early on,” said Gayle Levy, director of UMKC’s current Honors Program and co-chair of the Honors College dean search committee. “Having an honors college is going to bring in more of the really top students.”

Dr. Talbott, who has been active in many civic causes in Kansas City, said she knows having top students is crucial to UMKC’s future. And a strong UMKC, she said, is “a major pillar of support for a strong city.”

“It is critical that UMKC be nurtured continually and recognized and supported,” she said.

Dr. Talbott’s civic involvement includes leadership roles at UMKC and with the UMKC Foundation. Among many other roles in the community, she is a founder of the Greater Kansas City Women’s Foundation, an organizer of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, a director of the boards of Great Plains Energy and Kansas City Power & Light Co., and founder, president and CEO of Talbott & Associates, philanthropic management consultant.

In addition to the Honors College scholarship, Dr. Talbott’s gifts to UMKC include:

  • The Linda H. and Thomas H. Talbott Scholarship & Leadership Award for an outstanding junior or senior student of merit in English and/or economics in the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences.
  • The Linda H. and Thomas H. Talbott Scholarship for Performing Arts Excellence for outstanding students with financial need to study the performing arts of Theatre in the College of Arts and Sciences and/or all performing arts in the Conservatory of Music and Dance.
  • The Linda H. and Thomas H. Talbott Honors Scholarship for Leadership Development for outstanding students with financial need to study leadership development skills for business, nonprofit management, social entrepreneurship or philanthropy in the Bloch School of Management.
  • The Linda Hood Talbott Scholarship for Urban Education Excellence for outstanding undergraduate students with financial need who enroll in the School of Education to develop skills in teaching, administration, counseling and/or research in urban education.
  • The Linda Hood Talbott Award for Excellence, established through the UMKC Women’s Council’s Graduate Assistance Fund, which Dr. Talbott has supported for more than two decades. The award is for women graduate students in interdisciplinary studies at UMKC leading to the master’s or doctorate degree. Since 1990, through this award, she has assisted more than 20 women graduate students who have moved into professional careers in Kansas City, across the nation, and around the globe.

Dr. Talbott’s philanthropy has expanded educational opportunities for many outstanding students who have made a significant impact in their career, their profession and in their community — here and abroad.

“I look forward to meeting the Talbott Scholars who are recipients of Tom’s and my established scholarships and developing further support to help students fulfill their potential and realize their dreams,” Dr. Talbott said.

In addition to her scholarship gifts, Dr. Talbott also has pledged an estate gift of $250,000 to the university.