Sunderland Foundation Commits $5 Million for Heritage Hall Updates

Original home of the Bloch School will receive classroom and technology improvements

By Patricia O’Dell, Strategic Marketing and Communications

Students on UMKC campus

Students talk outside Bloch Heritage Hall. Photo by Brandon Parigo, Strategic Marketing and Communications

The Henry W. Bloch School of Management Heritage Hall will receive $5 million of a $15 million gift to the University of Missouri-Kansas City for capital improvements from the Sunderland Foundation. The gift is a critical part of a capital campaign that will allow the school to add and improve classrooms to accommodate anticipated enrollment growth, incorporate state-of-the-art technology and create a hub for student engagement.

“We treasure Heritage Hall as the original home of the Bloch School,” said Tom Bloch, UMKC Trustee and UMKC Foundation board member. “The Sunderland Foundation’s tremendous gift will expand student opportunity by adding classrooms and upgrading our ability to incorporate technology in these older classrooms to meet the needs of our growing enrollment.”

Heritage Hall is comprised of two parts. The original Tudor Revival-style Shields Mansion was built in 1909 and an addition was completed in 1986. While the state-of-the-art Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation opened in 2013, Heritage Hall has not received an upgrade since the addition was completed in 1986.

“Our experience after the opening of the world-class Bloch Executive Hall showed us very clearly how the physical environment can transform the way students learn and engage and also our ability to partner with employers and community organizations,” said Brian Klaas, Ph.D., dean of the Henry W. Bloch School of Management. “Thanks to the Sunderland Foundation’s gift, we will be able to provide a much improved experience for our students, enhancing their skills and providing them with expanded opportunities. The improved space and technology will allow us to innovate in how we teach, how deliver our programs and how we partner with our stakeholders.”

Celebrating Our Namesake: The Leadership and Legacy of Henry Bloch

Henry W. Bloch (1922-2019) was a devoted friend and supporter of several institutions in Kansas City, but none more so than the school that bears his name: the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

In 2011, he and his wife, Marion, established the Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation, dedicated to improving the Greater Kansas City area. The foundation focuses on seven areas, ranging from social services to education for the poor, disadvantaged and underserved to the family’s “legacy organizations.”

Some people close to Henry have compared his dedication to serving Kansas City in multiple facets to the holistic care of the mind, body and soul. And that is reflected in the family foundation’s priorities: the mind’s focus has been the Bloch School, the body served through Saint Luke’s Health System and the soul with the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Henry Bloch studied at UMKC, then known as University of Kansas City, before graduating from the University of Michigan in 1944. As a former student, Henry had a natural affinity for UMKC. He endowed the former UMKC School of Business in 1986, and the name was changed to Henry W. Bloch School of Management in 2010.

“Henry’s vision was for the Bloch School to serve Kansas City by pursuing excellence. His vision was for us to serve as Kansas City’s Business School, supporting the start-ups, the established firms, and the non-profit and governmental organizations that are all critical to our community’s well-being,” said Brian Klaas, Ph.D., dean of the Bloch School. “Because of Henry, the Bloch School has developed world-class programs, attracted outstanding faculty and staff, and provided opportunities to students from all walks of life. Henry’s life will serve as our inspiration, reminding us to work hard, take risks, fly right, and do good.”

Henry’s hope has been for the Bloch School to be considered a center of excellence for UMKC and Kansas City, creating leaders and the next generation of entrepreneurs by recruiting top students from around the country.

In 2013, Henry attended the school’s 60th anniversary celebration. He recalled a challenge that he issued in 1986 when he endowed the school. “I challenged the school to strive to be the best, to achieve greatness,” he said at the celebration. “Today, I am proud to be able to stand here before you and witness that success.”

Following Henry’s vision, the Bloch School of Management has a strategic focus on twin pillars of excellence: entrepreneurship and innovation in the for-profit sector and social entrepreneurship and innovation in the public and nonprofit sector.

His support over the years has manifested in many ways, including the creation of the state-of-the-art Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in 2013. This building came to fruition thanks to a $32 million gift from Henry to further elevate the Bloch School as a world leader in educating and training future generations of leaders.

Over the years, Henry loved to come to the school for impromptu visits with faculty, staff and, especially, students. Students in the Bloch School’s Entrepreneurship Scholars program in past years found Henry to be a familiar and welcome fixture in classes and at campus events, always ready with a thoughtful question or a timely suggestion.

At the 2013 graduation ceremony for the scholars, he said “as a retired CEO, I can tell you the view from the top is pleasant and satisfying. But the never-to-be-forgotten excitement, the fun and challenge, is in the climb.”

Bloch Associate Professor Brent Never interviewed

Photos by Photos by Brandon Parigo, Strategic Marketing and Communications

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt broadcast live from Kansas City on Thursday, Oct. 11. Brent Never, associate professor of public affairs at the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management, was interviewed for a story that aired during the show.

The story is about the historic role Troost Avenue has played in Kansas City as a physical and symbolic dividing line.

Never calls himself an urban geographer. His work includes identifying communities underserved by human services and he teaches courses in research methods, public policy analysis, program evaluation and public-private partnerships.

In a 2016 UMKC Bloch Magazine article, Never said he is concerned about equity in the availability of services. His research looks at ways to identify situations in which services are not readily available to people in need. And he contends that geography has a profound influence on where service providers locate.

Photos by Photos by Brandon Parigo, Strategic Marketing and Communications

“As a community, Kansas City has stark boundaries: Troost Avenue, the state line, the Missouri River,” he said in the article.

As a professor, Never’s work also includes introducing students to gentrification within cities, showing them the history and talking about the legacy. He and other UMKC professors often take their students out in the community. He said young people value the history of Kansas City, and are determined to make some positive changes.

“Kansas City is a city of neighborhoods,” Never said. “At UMKC, we’re a city university. Our students need to feel this community is part of the university.”

Bloch Re-Branded


New visual identity showcases Kansas City’s business school

UMKC’s Bloch School of Management unveiled its new brand and marketing campaign on Oct. 2, accompanied by T-shirt giveaways, retro music, a barbecue lunch and lots of selfies. The campaign will roll out across the city, starting the week of Oct. 8.

Dean Brian Klaas, with help from his school’s namesake Henry Bloch and son Tom Bloch, hosted the brand reveal party as students, faculty and staff gathered for the outdoors event on an unusually warm and breezy day.

From this day forward, Klaas told the crowd, we at Bloch are claiming “We Are Kansas City’s Business School.”

Bloch has been working on a rebrand for several months with the Kansas City-based marketing firm, Trozzolo, and the UMKC Strategic Marketing and Communications team. The project, funded by the Bloch Family Foundation, called for developing a new brand identity for Bloch to elevate awareness among prospective students and the greater Kansas City community. The project included feedback from campus and community via focus groups, quantitative surveys and input from current students, faculty and staff at Bloch.

Klaas laid out the core ideas of the brand identity at the Oct. 2 event.

“We are proclaiming that the Bloch School gives students the belief, the courage and the tools to build businesses, shape communities and lead the future,” he said. “We are committed to growing Kansas City’s leadership. Our students are this community’s future.”

Furthermore, he said, our students benefit from:

  • Our long-standing, deep connections to the Kansas City community, including global organizations headquartered here.
  • Our strong alumni network offers a welcoming community for Kansas City’s future business leaders, and opportunities for connections across the globe.
  • A curriculum powered by the innovative and civic mindset inspired by Henry W. Bloch, which is so relevant in today’s world. The result is a higher return on their educational investment than students can find anywhere else.

For those accustomed to UMKC’s signature blue and gold, the campaign adds a new twist: A bold, resonant orange. The orange was inspired by design elements within the ground-breaking Bloch Entrepreneurship Hall and because it partners so well with UMKC’s traditional colors.

An orange square and accent color will be featured, along with blue and gold, in ads, billboards and social media – and even in a life-size acrylic orange block that will be featured at community events and used as a way to engage the public at community events.

“It …is an instantly recognizable symbol of all that we stand for,” Klaas proclaimed.

Indeed, the orange color was a standout feature of the human-size selfie booth at the launch event. Large, stacked orange blocks proclaimed, #WeAreBloch. The display anchored one side of the outdoor plaza between the Bloch Legacy Building and the Bloch Entrepreneurship Hall. Students and staff clustered around Henry Bloch for photos.
For each selfie posted to Bloch’s Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts, a donation will be made to a scholarship fund for Bloch students.
Reactions to the new brand? One student called the campaign “dope” – fresh and modern.

Vice Chancellor Anne Hartung Spenner noted that the community-wide rollout of the campaign will begin the week of Oct. 8.

“You will see Bloch’s new brand across the greater Kansas City metro area and beyond – from billboards to bus wraps, from social media to digital ads,” she said. “Just like our Bloch students and our more than 10,000 alumni in the area, you’ll see us everywhere.”

Bloch ranking validated

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Independent review upholds No. 1 research ranking

The University of Missouri System Board of Curators today released the findings of an independent review of the academic rankings of the Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

The Board of Curators commissioned the review in response to a request from Gov. Jay Nixon after questions were raised regarding rankings of the Bloch School of Management. The review was conducted by Robert D. Hisrich, Ph.D., who retired as of Jan. 1 as Garvin Professor of Global Entrepreneurship and Director of the Center for Global Entrepreneurship at Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Ariz. Dr. Hisrich was aided by work conducted by the global audit and accounting firm PwC, formerly known as PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Among the conclusions reached by Dr. Hisrich in the report released today:

  • The journal article that led to the Bloch School’s top ranking in innovation management research was consistent with generally acceptable professional practices.
  • The $32 million gift from Henry Bloch for a new building was not motivated by past and future rankings but by enrollment growth.
  • Information provided to the Princeton Review Board for certain years was inaccurate in three subject areas, but he couldn’t conclude that the information made a material difference in UMKC’s rankings.

“I am pleased to have the Bloch School’s No. 1 ranking in innovation management research validated, but I take seriously the report’s conclusions on the three areas of flawed data in the Princeton Review application. We have already implemented changes and will continue to seek ways to improve our data collection,” Morton said.

On the ranking in the Journal of Product Innovation Management, the Hisrich report found that the journal article that yielded the No. l rankings in product innovation management – for UMKC as an institution, and for Prof. Michael Song as an individual – was “consistent with generally acceptable professional practices.”

The review by Hisrich found no basis for the charge that the school sought to artificially inflate rankings in order to persuade philanthropist Henry W. Bloch to donate $32 million for construction of the new Bloch School building that opened in August 2014. According to the review, the decision to donate the funds was made by Mr. Bloch in the spring of 2011, many months before the publication of the JPIM article.

The Hisrich review questioned flawed data reported to the Princeton Review Board including the number of student clubs cited by the Bloch School, the way mentor programs were counted and how certain enrollment numbers were calculated. The Bloch School’s undergraduate and graduate entrepreneurship programs have ranked among the top 25 in the nation five different times.

Chancellor Morton said Bloch School Dean David Donnelly has already made changes to the way the data was collected and reported this year. In addition, Morton said the Bloch School has appointed a special faculty committee to oversee the processes involved in any rankings submissions going forward.

Hisrich stated in his report that he could not determine whether the incorrect data would have affected the overall final ranking for UMKC. Information from the Princeton Review stated that “a shift in one data point, even going from 100% to 0%, would not change the overall outcome of the 2014 ranking of UMKC’s program.”

Hisrich noted that the Princeton Review considers 40 separate data points in its rankings, most of which were unquestioned, and further added that “Recent submissions of UMKC using more conservative data has resulted in UMKC remaining in the top 25 universities in the Princeton Review rankings.”

The Bloch School’s benefactor, Henry Bloch, expressed appreciation for the thoroughness of the independent review.

“I am grateful to Gov. Nixon for insisting that an independent expert be brought in to bring the truth to light. Dr. Hisrich’s credentials and credibility are such that this report should put this matter to rest once and for all,” Henry Bloch said in a statement. “It’s time to get back to the important work of building on the successes of the Bloch School and continuing the fine work they’ve been doing to meet the needs of its students and Kansas City’s business community.”

For the Hisrich report in its entirety, please visit: http://umurl.us/RHreport.

For the PwC report in its entirety, please visit: http://umurl.us/PWCreport.