I’ve always been an inquisitive person, and one of the things I love most about serving as Chancellor of a university is the daily opportunity to learn something new.
As Chancellor of UMKC, I also need to stay on top of what’s going on here on our campus. So I have two big reasons for being grateful to UMKC history buff and alumnus Chris Wolff, author of the new book A Pearl of Great Value: The History of UMKC, Kansas City’s University.
Reading Chris’s book has given me an opportunity to learn even more about the 80-plus years of UMKC history. No matter how much you think you know about Kansas City’s university, I expect Chris Wolff will have a few surprises for you.
I also believe that the past has a significant influence on the present and the future, so learning this detailed history is going to help me do my job even better.
Still, you don’t have to be a chancellor to appreciate Chris’ excellent work. The story of UMKC is one of partnerships and progress, expansion and education. Chris does a marvelous job of weaving it all into a compelling story.
Released just in time for Founders’ Week Sept. 23 – Oct. 1, the book traces the development of UMKC from a small, private liberal arts college of 260 students to the robust, urban-serving research university of more than 16,000 that it is today.
The book is a culmination of three years of research and writing. He has assembled a thorough look into the history of UMKC, which contains hundreds of photographs, many never before published, that chronicles the historical events and stories that embody the character and set the foundation for Kansas City’s university of today.
And best of all, Wolff’s book answers questions such as: How did we become Kansas City’s University? Why are we the Kangaroos? Have we always been an urban serving university and a research university?
The book’s origins stem from Chris joining the UMKC staff as the general merchandise manager for the UMKC Bookstore. While working here, he began to merge his love for the university with his passion for history. He became a frequent visitor to the UMKC University Archives, where he discovered the lost history of the university.
As luck would have it for us, Wolff started giving lunchtime historical tours of the campus in 2013. There he met many fellow UMKC employees who often asked him when he was going to write a book about UMKC’s history. This encouragement led him to partner with the UMKC Alumni Association for the creation of A Pearl of Great Value: The History of UMKC, Kansas City’s University.
Now everyone can benefit from Wolff’s vast knowledge of UMKC’s history. And, purchasing Wolff’s book will help others because proceeds will support student scholarships through the UMKC Alumni Association.
To learn more about Wolff’s book, visit the UMKC Bookstore, 5000 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, Mo., or online.