A Journey of Commitment

Photo by Janet Rogers, Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications

Peggy Dunn Cited by College of Arts and Sciences

Have a job that requires leadership, skill and teamwork? A tough project? A goal that broadly benefits the entire community? Call Peggy Dunn.

Peggy J. Dunn (BA ’72), 2014 Alumni Achievement Award recipient for the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, is no stranger to a challenge. When you are one of the community’s most involved and tireless civic leaders, it comes with the territory.

Fresh off a year’s service as co-chair of UMKC’s 80th Anniversary committee, Dunn wasted no time taking on her next endeavor. Recently, she and her husband, Terry, agreed to lead efforts to raise $50 million to help lure the Republican National Convention to Kansas City in 2016.

Some of her civic involvement includes: Mayor of Leawood, Kan., since 1997; Senior Fellow at the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management; board member for several organizations in both Kansas and Missouri, including the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Union Station, Truman Medical Centers, the Youth Volunteer Corps and the Hall Family Foundation.

Those are just highlights of the current list. Over the years, Dunn has served as co-chair for a UMKC capital campaign, and served as a board member for Saint Luke’s South Hospital, the Leawood Chamber of Commerce, Starlight Theatre, the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, the Francis Family Foundation and Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas.

She has served UMKC as dinner chair of the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards event, as a member of the Flarsheim Society and Bloch Public Affairs Advisory Council and on the Friends of the Conservatory Board. (A sociology major, Dunn also took piano performance classes at the Conservatory throughout her undergraduate career.) The Terry and Peggy Dunn Family Classroom was recently dedicated on the fourth floor of the new Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Friends and colleagues throughout the civic community uniformly praise her for her work ethic; Dunn has always been one to lend not only her name, but her energy as well, to a cause.

No wonder, then, that she is a past winner of the JCRB/AJC Henry W. Bloch Human Relations Award; Johnson Countian of the Year; and the Marion and John Kreamer Award for Entrepreneurship in Volunteer Community Service presented by the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at UMKC.

“I believe you should live life’s journey with total and complete commitment – and not just commitment, but enthusiastic commitment,” she said. “If it is worth your time and energy, you should feel passionate about it and give it your very best. Always surround yourself with good people that you enjoy working with and remember to never take yourself too seriously.”

Fellow civic leader Thomas M. Bloch, in nominating Dunn for the Alumni Achievement Award, wrote: “Those who have been touched by this remarkable woman say she is the epitome of the type of leader this community admires, and she represents the kind of community we aspire to be.”

Another nominator, Betsey Solberg, added, “She has stepped up time and again to help raise funds: the job that everyone else tries to avoid.” And got results – Dunn-led campaigns have raised more than $350 million for education, health and arts organizations in this community.

“I chose to major in sociology with an emphasis in social work primarily because I enjoy working with people,” Dunn said. “My role in municipal government allows me to keep my life in balance and split my time into three areas of emphasis: my family and faith, my job as mayor and my other nonprofit community boards. I continue to be driven by the value I feel my contributions make and the terrific people I am blessed to work with.”

Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association presents alumni awards to one honoree from each school and five campus-wide awards at its annual awards luncheon. This year’s event, which will include the presentation of the 2014 Chancellor’s Medal, will be held on Thursday, April 24, on the UMKC campus. For information and tickets go to the 2014 Alumni Awards luncheon website.

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