Giving Stories



UMKC receives $1 million gift

The UMKC Foundation, the Law Foundation of UMKC and the School of Law acknowledged a $1 million gift to the Law Foundation from Dr. Mary Davidson Cohen in January of 2010. Dr. Cohen provided the gift in honor of her late father, Mr. Julian Klein Davidson. The gift provides scholarships to outstanding School of Law students.

Mr. Davidson graduated from the Kansas City School of Law (now UMKC School of Law) in 1905 with his LL.B., and earned his Bachelor of Laws from the University of Michigan in 1906. Although Mr. Davidson loved the law, his practice was limited to only 18 months. When Mr. Davidson’s father passed away in 1907, he assumed responsibility for the family’s Kansas City, Mo.-based mortuary business – the Carroll-Davidson Undertaking Company.

Liberal Arts

UMKC memorial concert honors alumnus Thomas H. Talbott

In April of 2011, UMKC held a memorial concert to honor the contributions of the late Thomas H. Talbott to Kansas City, UMKC, students and the community. The concert raised donations for the Talbott Scholarship & Leadership Award Fund, which assists College of Arts and Sciences students.

Talbott received a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the College of Arts and Sciences and an MBA from the Bloch School of Management, and served as an executive with Mobil Oil Corporation; president and chief operating officer of The C.J. Patterson Company; and partner with wife Dr. Linda Hood Talbott in Talbott & Associates and The Center for Philanthropic Leadership. In 1985, he received a Distinguished Alumnus award from the Bloch School. Dr. Linda Hood Talbott is an alumna of the university and received the Alumna of the Year award in 1990.


Alumna donates $1 million to support UMKC scholarships

Since Jo Anna Dale (B.A. ’52) first arrived on the UMKC campus in the late 1940s, she has cultivated a strong interest in literature and creative writing. Although she majored in English, Dale also is an avid supporter of the performing arts.

Because of her passion for UMKC, Dale designated an estate gift of $1 million to be divided equally between the College of Arts & Sciences Department of English and the Conservatory of Music and Dance. The estate gift will create a new Jo Anna Dale English Scholarship, and support the existing Jo Anna Dale Scholarship in Creative Writing (established in 2007) and Jo Anna Dale Conservatory Scholarship (established in 2010). In 2008, Dale established the Conservatory's Dale Vocal Studies Travel Fund to assist vocal students needing to travel to launch their careers.

"Jo Anna Dale’s generosity provides students in two of UMKC’s fine programs with the resources necessary to reach their potential," said UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton. "This is the time and the place where gifts such as this further enhance our students’ academic experience."

Nursing and Health Studies

Hirsh RN to BSN Scholarship helps prepare nursing workforce

Bill and Irma Lou Hirsch have provided a scholarship to support four students per year in the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies’ online RN to BSN program. The support is greatly appreciated, because industry demand is high for registered nurses to earn Bachelor of Science degrees in Nursing.

The School of Nursing and Health Studies’ online RN to BSN program is meeting a rising demand for baccalaureate-educated nurses, while allowing students flexibility in how they achieve their academic goals. Enrollment in the School of Nursing and Health Studies’ RN to BSN program has increased by more than 200 percent in the last five years.



UMKC Foundation receives first major gift of $1.7 million for renewable energy and environmental research

In September of 2009, the UMKC Foundation acknowledged its first major leadership gift commitment, which benefits renewable energy and environmental research at the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering, in consultation with the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Chemistry. Valued at $1.7 million, the gift is from Andress Kernick, an engineer whose career spanned more than 43 years. An alumnus of the University of Kansas, Kernick holds 25 U.S. Patents, some of which were used in the Apollo Command Module for NASA, Space Shuttle Orbiter and L-1011 Airbus.

Kernick and his late wife, Marjorie, were acknowledged as members of UMKC’s Robert H. Flarsheim Society, which recognizes alumni and friends who have remembered the university through a gift in their estate plans. Lila Dickerson, a family member and UMKC student who intends to study Chemistry and/or Law, is recognized as a co-donor.


UMKC School of Pharmacy receives largest gift commitment in school’s history

In June of 2010, the UMKC School of Pharmacy announced the receipt of an estate gift commitment from Robert Sperry, a local resident whose family has longtime ties to the pharmacy industry. Sperry has requested that the gift be used to support School of Pharmacy students through the UMKC Pharmacy Foundation and to fund the creation of an endowed chair in geriatric pharmacotherapy. The goal in creating the endowed professorship is to encourage and support research and education about medication-related problems specific to elderly patients.

Sperry is the son of Merle Sperry, who served as president of Kansas City-based McPike Wholesale Drug Company, the largest wholesale drug distribution center in the world. The company was sold in the 1980s and Merle Sperry passed away in 2005, but Robert Sperry says his admiration for the pharmacy profession endures, as does his admiration for the work the UMKC School of Pharmacy conducts to advance the profession and the health of citizens in the local community and beyond.


UMKC 2011 Midwest Dental Conference ends on $1.5 million note

Four years may sound like a long time, but for dental educators, that never seems to be enough time to teach dental students all they need to know before they graduate. Because time is limited, one subject that traditionally takes a back seat to clinical education is practice management – the business side of being a dentist.

At the UMKC School of Dentistry that has changed, thanks to donations from Gary McCabe Ross (D.D.S. ’80) Albuquerque, N.M.; Charles Squire (D.D.S. ’68) and Mrs. Margit Squire, Wichita, Kan.; and Onas Johns (D.D.S. ’32, deceased), Springfield, Mo. Their combined gift of $1.5 million has enabled the School of Dentistry to establish an Endowed Chair in Practice Management. The gift was announced in April at the 2011 Midwest Dental Conference Alumni and Friends Recognition Breakfast in Kansas City, Mo.

The person appointed to the endowed chair will work to develop a curriculum that will focus on exposing students to the realities of running a dental practice, such as how to finance a practice, manage debt, handle personnel matters and set realistic financial goals. The endowed chair will also manage the day-to-day operations of the dental school’s proposed Innovation Clinic, which will operate just like a small dental practice. Through the Innovation Clinic, students will see patients from the Kansas City community and will have a chance to build both their clinical and business skills. Students will work alongside dental hygiene students and dental assistants and will be involved in the clinic’s day-to-day operation, including scheduling, ordering supplies, solving personnel problems, record keeping and billing.



Sprint Foundation awards $1 million to UMKC School of Education

In April of 2011, the Sprint Foundation – a longtime supporter of UMKC and education – provided a $1 million grant to fund an endowed professorship for the UMKC School of Education’s Urban Education Research Center. The grant will be paid over five years.

The Center will focus on conducting and disseminating research that addresses local issues, problems and questions in urban schools and communities with national applicability, and the endowed professorship will be a vital part of the Center.

Shermans’ gift to create Urban Education Research Center

In May of 2011, Marny and John Sherman provided one of the largest gifts in the history of the UMKC School of Education. Their gift will support the creation of an Urban Education Research Center, which will help the School of Education become one of the nation’s leading urban-serving schools of education. The Urban Education Research Center will focus on conducting and disseminating research that addresses local issues, problems and questions in urban schools and communities with national applicability.

John Sherman is the founder, chief executive officer and president of Inergy, LP. He serves on the UMKC Trustees and the UMKC Foundation Boards. Marny is a civic leader and chair of Cristo Rey Kansas City’s Board of Trustees.


Sirridge gift strengthens medical ethics programs

Marjorie Sirridge, M.D., once again demonstrated her unwavering commitment to the UMKC School of Medicine with a gift of $125,000 to advance and sustain the unique contributions that the Sirridge Office of Medical Humanities and Bioethics makes to the outstanding medical education of UMKC physicians.

Sirridge, the former dean of the Medical School, and her late husband, William Sirridge, M.D., established the Sirridge Office of Medical Humanities and Bioethics in 1992, creating one of the first such programs in the nation. The importance of humanism and ethics in medicine is now considered an essential educational component for training future physicians.

The Sirridges were instrumental in the establishment of the school, assuming roles as founding docents, and helping to develop the curriculum, the role of the docents (the mentoring physicians), and in establishing the clinical excellence in teaching that has since been emulated by many other medical schools through the nation.

Chancellor’s Fund

$6 million gift creates Thomas D. Hyde and Vina W. Hyde Chancellor’s Fund for Excellence

In August of 2011, Thomas D. and Vina W. Hyde provided a $6 million gift to create the Thomas D. Hyde and Vina W. Hyde Chancellor’s Fund for Excellence. Their gift will provide unrestricted funds to support the chancellor’s vision for the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The funds may be used for addressing UMKC’s most compelling needs; taking advantage of unexpected opportunities; providing seed money for innovative programs and new research; and hiring, retaining and rewarding stellar faculty and staff.

A UMKC alumnus (J.D. ’75) and UMKC Foundation Board member, Thomas Hyde served as executive vice president of Legal and Global Ethics and corporate secretary for Walmart Stores, Inc. Thomas Hyde also received the UMKC Alumni Achievement Award in 2004 and a Corporate Diversity Leadership Award from the Coalition of Bar Associations of Color.


Bloch School

$32 million gift supports Bloch building

In September of 2011, Henry W. Bloch provided a $32 million gift – the largest outright gift in UMKC’s history and among the top 24 largest in 2011 according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy. The gift will fund a state-of-the-art building to house the Henry W. Bloch School of Management’s graduate and executive programs. Henry Bloch has been a lifelong advocate of education and began supporting the UMKC School of Business Administration when he endowed the school in 1986.

The gift complements recent Princeton Review rankings that place the Bloch School’s undergraduate and graduate programs among the top 25 entrepreneurship programs in the U.S. Only 11 schools nationwide have both undergraduate and graduate programs included in this ranking.