“Best Neighbor” accolade to UMKC

Top 25 listing recognizes positive work in urban community

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) today was named one of the Top 25 “Best Neighbor” universities based on its contributions to its community, according to “Saviors of Our Cities: A Survey of Best College and University Civic Partnerships.” The survey was authored by Dr. Evan Dobelle, President, Westfield State College, Westfield, Mass. Among the top 25 are University of Southern California, Emory University and University of Missouri-St. Louis – another member campus of the University of Missouri System.

“An important part of the University’s vision is its active engagement with the city, as well as the region,” said Leo E. Morton, UMKC’s Chancellor. “As a University, we are committed to engaging our community in making this a great urban university – one of which the administration, faculty, students, staff and the community can be proud.”

According to the announcement, the 25 colleges and universities were selected based “on their positive impact on their urban communities – both commercial and residential activities – such as revitalization, cultural renewal, economics and community service and development.” UMKC was one of the members of the inaugural listing of Top 25 universities in 2006, which highlighted the economic impact and influence of higher education institutions.

“The positive financial impact of higher education on local communities is well-documented,” said Dr. Evan S. Dobelle, President of Westfield State College. “Increasingly, more sophisticated partnerships are emerging that are addressing complex issues such as homelessness and health care and are serving as catalysts for community change. Colleges and universities are doing more and more to support their local communities, and it is a win-win situation for both.”

UMKC provides several community resources and was recognized for the following:

Center for Economic Information – established in 1994, the center provides local, regional and national information to the economic decision-makers in Kansas City. The center is involved in research, teaching and outreach activities and its expertise is in the application of computer technology for economic analysis.

Innovation Center – the center joins the university, community and global resources in transferring innovative ideas from concept to commercialization; in helping entrepreneurs launch and expand their businesses; and in stimulating innovation and economic growth in the region.

Small Business and Technology Development Center – SBTDC is part of a nationwide network that provides analysis, consultation and training support to small businesses and technology venture firms to assist in their development and growth.

Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design – AUPD actively consults with the community on urban and regional policy and participates in projects – locally and nationally – in the urban planning and design studios. The AUPD team provided pro bono technical assistance to the city of New Orleans, assisting with its recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina.

In addition to being named one of the Top 25 “Best Neighbor” universities, UMKC has been named three times to the Corporation for National and Community Service’s President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. Launched in 2006, the Community Service Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to service-learning and civic engagement.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience.


This information is available to people with speech or hearing impairments by calling Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966 (TT) or (800) 735-2466 (voice).

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