Champion of Education

Honorary degree for Ralph Reid

Ralph Reid has tirelessly dedicated his personal and professional life to creating a community that provides justice and opportunity for everyone.

In recognition of that devotion, the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Education conferred an honorary doctorate degree on Reid at its commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 18. Reid also served as the commencement keynote speaker.

Reid is president of the Sprint Foundation and vice president of corporate social responsibility for Sprint Nextel. In those roles, he directs the company’s many philanthropic activities, focusing on K-12 education, positive youth development, and the environment.  He also is responsible for Sprint community relations, employee volunteerism, and corporate diversity and inclusion efforts, including marketing initiatives that target women and multicultural communities.

Reid was instrumental in a $1 million gift to the school to establish an endowed professorship in urban education from the Sprint Foundation. The Foundation also contributed approximately $500,000 to support students in the School’s Institute for Urban Education.

An alumnus of the UMKC Law School and long-time supporter of the university, Reid is a member of the Law School Minority Advisory Board, the Kansas City Repertory Theatre Board and a past member of the UMKC School of Education’s Institute for Urban Education steering and advisory committees.

His leadership extends to numerous civic and nonprofit organizations, including president of the board of directors of the Kansas City Downtown Minority Development Corporation and vice chairman of the Greater Kansas City Urban League. He also serves on the Boards of Shawnee Mission Medical Center, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kansas City and is a Park University trustee.

Reid was previously named to Savoy Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America and named a “Trailblazer” by the Kansas African American Museum for his pioneering work at the state level helping to “shape the African American experience.”

In 2012, Reid received the 2012 Clifton R. Cohn Distinguished Community Leader Award for his accomplishments in improving Kansas City and inspiring others. He was a recipient of the Evelyn Wasserstrom Award in 2008, honoring his commitment to causes of freedom and justice for minorities and oppressed people in the Kansas City area.

The Wichita, Kans. native is married to Leisa, and they are the parents of three children.


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