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Outstanding Alumni Honors Announced

Sixteen alumni and one family will be honored at Awards Luncheon on April 21

The University of Missouri-Kansas City Class of 2016 Alumni Award recipients includes a doctor who spent four years as Chief Medical Officer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; one of the nation’s pioneering leaders in progressive policing; a Holocaust survivor who shares her experiences as a teacher, speaker and witness; and the global head of Telecom Business Development and Partnership for Android at Google.

Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association Governing Board and the campus recognize outstanding individual alumni, and one family, with top honors. UMKC will celebrate these alumni at a luncheon event on April 21 on the UMKC campus. UMKC’s Alumni Association will highlight recipients’ stories and accomplishments at the luncheon, and honorees will visit classrooms to share their stories with current students.

The annual luncheon is one of the university’s largest events, with proceeds supporting student scholarships. Last year’s luncheon attracted more than 600 attendees and garnered more than $141,000 in student scholarship support. Proceeds from the Alumni Awards event benefit UMKC students through supporting both endowed and immediate student aid.

“We’re proud to showcase these amazing UMKC graduates,” said Raymond Cattaneo, M.D., president of the UMKC Alumni Association Governing Board. “We’re also committed to helping the next generation of Roos reach their potential, which is why this event benefits student aid and scholarships.”

Over the last seven years, the Alumni Awards event has garnered more than $800,000 for student scholarships and immediate aid.

“The Alumni Association has been a true partner in using its signature event to honor UMKC’s best and also help hundreds of students,” said Curt Crespino, vice chancellor for Advancement at UMKC. “Each year as we honor the great accomplishments of a select group of outstanding UMKC alumni, we lay the foundation for many more accomplishments to come from those following in their footsteps.”

Following are the 2016 UMKC Alumni Awardees:

Campus-Wide Award Recipients

Alumnus of the Year: Alexander Garza (’90 Biological Sciences)
As Chief Medical Officer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from 2009-13, Alex Garza, M.D. (B.S. ’90) led the nation’s health and security efforts in combatting both natural disasters and terror threats. His office led DHS programs including the BioWatch program and the National Biosurveillance Integration Center. He served as the DHS lead in response to the H1N1 flu pandemic, and the health lead for multiple disasters including the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the Haiti earthquake. Today, he serves as Associate Dean for Public Health Practice and Professor of Epidemiology at the Saint Louis University College of Public Health and Social Justice.

Spotlight Award: Darrel W. Stephens (’74 Arts & Sciences)
Darrel W. Stephens has transformed American policing and has earned a lifetime national reputation for progressive law enforcement. He is Executive Director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association and is a member of the faculty of the Public Safety Leadership Program at the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University. He served as chief of police for multiple cities, including Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., St. Petersburg, Fla., Largo, Fla., and Newport News, Va. Best known for advancing innovative approaches to policing, he was inducted into the “Evidence-Based Policing Hall of Fame” by the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University in 2010.

Bill French Alumni Service Award: Julia M. Wilson (’84 Management)
Teamwork is a value Julie Wilson wields daily in her role as Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer at Cerner Corp. That central focus characterized her time as a UMKC athlete and describes the volunteerism and dedication Wilson has shown to UMKC and, specifically, to UMKC athletics. Following an exciting basketball career including two NAIA Honorable Mention all-American selections and three NAIA all-District 16 selections and the NAIA Frank L. Hesselroth Award, Wilson became a central supporter of the UMKC Athletics program.

Defying the Odds Award: Judy G. Jacobs (’77 Management, ‘86 Education)
After Germany occupied Hungary in 1944, Judy Jacobs and her family were placed in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp when she was seven years old. She lost many loved ones in the gas chambers of Auschwitz. When she and her parents were freed, she was sent off – young, alone and scared – to boarding school while her parents attempted to rebuild their lives. In 1946, Jacobs and her family moved to the United States. Despite everything they had experienced, her parents passed on their belief in the importance of education and Jacobs went on to college. Jacobs came to UMKC to earn her MBA and a Ph.D. in higher education administration and finance and completed her degrees while working and raising a family. Today, Jacobs utilizes her education and her experiences during WWII to teach others about the Holocaust and makes every possible effort to accept all the speaking engagements she can.

Legacy Award: The Armacost Family
The Armacost family’s Kangaroo tradition began with the University of Kansas City (UKC), the predecessor to the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Lucille Cahill Armacost graduated from UKC in 1938 and her husband, the late Don R. Armacost, Sr., former owner of Peterson Manufacturing Company, graduated in 1940. Their son, Don R. Armacost, Jr., CEO of Peterson Manufacturing Co., graduated from the Henry W. Bloch School of Management in 1968 and received that school’s 1990 Alumni Achievement Award. Other graduates from the Armacost family include Jarrett Bertoncin (B.A. ’94, M.F.A. ’96, Arts & Sciences), who is an active member of the College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Board and current board president. In 2010, Lucille Armacost created the Don & Lucille Armacost Scholarship, one of the largest and most prestigious scholarships at UMKC.

School-Based Alumni Achievement Award Recipients

College of Arts & Sciences
Jim Caruso (B.A. ’89, M.A. ’90)
CEO of Flying Dog Brewery in Maryland, Jim Caruso got his start in the restaurant business as a busboy with Denny’s and eventually became the corporate Vice President.

School of Biological Sciences
Bernard Beall (B.S. ‘82, M.S. ‘85)
Bernard Beall, Ph.D., heads the Streptococcus Laboratory within the Division of Bacterial Diseases’ Respiratory Diseases Branch in the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

Bloch School of Management
Doug Baker (M.B.A. ’95)
Doug Baker is Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Discovery Networks International, the world’s no. 1 nonfiction media company reaching 2 billion subscribers in 220 nations.

School of Computing & Engineering
Fareed Adib (B.S. ’00)
Fareed Adib is global head of Telecom Business Development and Partnership for Android at Google, where he is responsible for furthering efforts around the Android ecosystem with global Telecom and OEM partners.

Conservatory of Music and Dance
Charles Bruffy (M.M. ’88)
Artistic director of the Kansas City Chorale since 1988 and the Phoenix Chorale since 1999, Charles Bruffy’s recordings have been honored with a total of 12 Grammy nominations and five Grammy wins.

School of Dentistry
Charles F. Squire (D.D.S. ’68)
During his career, Charles Squire was a periodontist serving patients in Wichita, Kan. He also served on the State Board of Dentistry in Kansas and participated in a variety of local and national roles.

School of Dentistry – Dental Hygiene
Ashley Grill (B.S.D.H. ’99)
A speaker, writer and leader in the field of oral health, Ashley Grill is a clinical assistant professor at New York University and has served in numerous leadership roles including the New Hampshire Dental Hygienists’ Association, New Hampshire Public Health Association and the American Dental Hygienists’ Association.

School of Education
Scott Harlan Brownlee (M.A. ’04)
With more than 30 years of experience in the arts as an educator, performing artist and administrator, Harlan Brownlee has served as president and CEO of ArtsKC Regional Arts Council and as executive director for Young Audiences. He was recently named chief executive officer of the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey.

School of Law
Jean Peters Baker (J.D. ’98)
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker has earned recognition in her role for a number of leadership and community safety initiatives, including Kansas City’s No Violence Alliance (NoVA), which received a significant national award from the FBI.

School of Medicine
Karen Remley (M.D. ’80)
In 2015, Karen Remley, M.D., was named executive director and CEO of the American Academy of Pediatrics – the first woman to serve in that role.

School of Nursing & Health Studies
Cathy L. Young (M.S.N. ’92)
Cathy Young is an associate professor at Tarleton State University and has served as president of the Northeast Arkansas Nurse Practitioner Association, and in 2015, was one of 168 leaders to be inducted into the American Academy of Nursing.

School of Pharmacy
Deborah Kavanaugh (B.S.P. ’85)
Debbie Kavanaugh’s pharmacy career has included positions at Roche and as regional sales director at Novartis and Pfizer as well as practicing and preceptoring students at the Kansas City VA Medical Center; she is also past president of the Missouri Society of Health System Pharmacists.


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