2011: A UMKC Year to Remember

A look back at some of the top headlines from the past year

Great things happen in America’s cities.

And in Kansas City, it all starts at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

From the Presidential Honor Roll to a Pulitzer Prize winner and from leading the way for the region’s “Big Ideas” to leading the world in innovation research , 2011 was a year filled with recognition and accomplishments for the students, faculty and staff at UMKC.

Following are just a few of the top UMKC headlines from the past year.

UMKC Named to President’s Honor Roll for Community Service

President's Honor Roll LogoThe University of Missouri-Kansas City was named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the fifth consecutive year. Awarded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, it is the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.

“This recognition speaks directly to UMKC’s mission as an urban-serving university,” said UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton. “It is a testament to the faculty, staff and students at UMKC, who devote tens of thousands of hours annually to community service, much of which is focused on underserved populations and the needs of disadvantaged youth.” Read more.

Conservatory’s Zhou Long wins the Pulitzer Prize for opera

Zhou LongZhou Long, UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance Research Professor of Music Composition, received a Pulitzer Prize in 2011 for his opera “Madame White Snake,” which premiered on Feb. 26, 2010 by Opera Boston at the Cutler Majestic Theatre.

Zhou Long is internationally recognized for creating a unique body of music that brings together the aesthetic and musical elements of East and West. Deeply grounded in the entire spectrum of his Chinese heritage, he is a pioneer in transferring the idiomatic sounds and techniques of ancient Chinese musical traditions to modern Western instruments and ensembles. Read more.

A rare honor: UMKC professors receive Guggenheim Fellowships

Christie Hodgen and Clancy MartinTwo UMKC College of Arts and Sciences’ professors, Christie Hodgen and Clancy Martin, were honored with Guggenheim Fellowships in 2011. Hodgen is an assistant professor in the Department of English and specializes in fiction, creative writing, contemporary literature and the history of the short story. Martin is chair of the Department of Philosophy and specializes in 19th and 20th Century European philosophy, the intersections of philosophy and literature and the ethics of advertising and selling.

Hodgen will be writing her fourth book of fiction, a collection of short stories titled “Bedtime Stories for the Middle-Aged”. Martin plans to use the fellowship to research the exotic animal trade in South America and Asia, which will form the basis for a book called “The Primitive.” Read more.

UMKC ranks as world’s No. 1 university for innovation management research

Bloch ranking announcement by Dean TanThe University of Missouri-Kansas City has been ranked as the world’s No. 1 university in innovation management research by the Journal of Product Innovation Management. A total of 625 universities were ranked – including MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Michigan State and Texas A&M – on research topics and current trends in the field of innovation management. The ranking will be published in the March 2012 issue of the journal.

The results were driven by the research of three UMKC faculty – Michael Song, Ph.D., Mark Parry, Ph.D., and Lisa Zhao, Ph.D. – in the Henry W. Bloch School of Management. The three faculty also were listed among the top 50 innovation management scholars, with Michael Song ranking No. 1 in the world. Read more.

Henry W. Bloch provides largest outright gift in UMKC’s history

Henry BlochThe University of Missouri-Kansas City and the UMKC Foundation announced a $32 million gift from Henry W. Bloch — the largest outright gift in UMKC’s history and among the top 24 largest in 2011 according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy. The gift will fund a state-of-the-art building to house the Henry W. Bloch School of Management’s graduate and executive programs.

“I chose to make this significant gift because now is the right time,” Bloch, co-founder of H&R Block and benefactor of the Bloch School, said. “I stand behind the Chancellor and Dean Tan’s purposeful vision for the Bloch School and have already seen them execute successful strategic initiatives that will propel the school toward national and international renown.” Read more.

UMKC announces seven-year, $250 million ‘The Campaign for UMKC’

UMKC Campaign LogoThe University of Missouri-Kansas City and the UMKC Foundation announced the official launch of “The Campaign for UMKC” – the public stage of a seven-year, $250 million capital campaign. The announcement was made at a special campaign launch event at the Kansas City Club on Wednesday, Nov. 9. The Campaign for UMKC will help the University empower students to achieve by providing additional need- and merit-based scholarships; attract and retain outstanding faculty by offering competitive endowed faculty positions; develop and expand our world-class programs.

“In a city that is first-rate, UMKC must be the academic cornerstone,” said UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton. “Campaign funds will help with the ongoing transformation of UMKC and further the measures in our strategic plan.” Read more.

Thomas and Vina Hyde pledge $6 million to UMKC

Tom and Vina HydeThe University of Missouri-Kansas City and the UMKC Foundation announced a $6 million pledge from Thomas D. Hyde and Vina W. Hyde to support the Chancellor’s vision for the University. This is the fourth largest gift to the University. The future funds are unrestricted and can be used for the University’s most compelling needs or for hiring, retaining or rewarding stellar faculty – among other uses.

“Vina and I hope this gift will help ensure that Chancellor Morton and future chancellors are able to implement and fund projects that they deem to be vital to the continuing success of UMKC,” said Tom Hyde. Read more.

UMKC is key player in three of KC Chamber’s “Big 5” ideas for the region

Kansas City skyline including the Kauffman Center for the Performance Arts buildingAfter months of dialogue and dozens of meetings, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce announced its “Big 5” ideas for the region. Following are the three ideas that involve UMKC: The Making of America’s Most Entrepreneurial City; The KC Regional Translational Research Initiative; and The New UMKC Downtown Conservatory.

“The Big 5 build on strengths we already have regionally,” said Greg Graves, Chamber Chair and Chairman & CEO of Burns & McDonnell. “Taken together, they propel the community forward, enhance our quality of life, and create jobs.” Read more.

UMKC School of Medicine celebrates 40 years of advancing the health of our community

School of Medicine Building SignThe UMKC School of Medicine kicked off its 40th Anniversary celebration in April with a series of events for alumni, including the annual UMKC Alumni Awards luncheon and presentation, where School of Medicine founder E. Grey Dimond, M.D., received the UMKC Chancellor’s Medal, the University’s highest non-academic honor.

“For 40 years, the UMKC School of Medicine has filled a unique role of preparing highly successful physicians and researchers to serve our community and our state,” said Betty M. Drees, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine. “We look forward to continuing and building on that tradition for many years to come.”

New UMKC Student Union receives Gold LEED Certification

UMKC Student Union BuildingReflecting UMKC’s ongoing commitment to sustainability and environmentally friendly construction, the university announced that the UMKC Student Union has officially been certified as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design [LEED] Gold project.

The new building, which opened in August 2010 and has received several architectural and environmental awards, features public transportation access, storm water control, natural lighting, skylights, high ceilings, a central stairway and a 6,300-square-foot multi-purpose area that is divisible into four rooms.


More headlines:

UMKC welcomes new UM System President Timothy Wolfe

UMKC and MSU launch Doctor of Pharmacy Program in Springfield

UMKC and partners bring $37 million in federal jobs funding to KC

UMKC collaborates on $20 million NIH grant to create research network

UMKC scientists selectedto participate in global ‘1000 Genomes’ project

Miller Nichols Library and Student Union win Architectural Awards

Urban Planning + Design students work to envision a resilient Joplin

KCUR-FM named ‘Radio Station of the Year’ by Kansas City Press Club

UMKC launches Bachelor of Health Sciences degree program

UMKC honored as ‘Bicycle Friendly’ university at National Bike Summit


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