Commitment to Education

John Sherman to receive honorary degree

John Sherman is a philanthropist, entrepreneur, civic leader and supporter of his community. Because of his commitment to urban education and leadership in advocating for underserved communities, the University of Missouri-Kansas City will award the doctor of educational, leadership, policy and foundations honoris causa degree to Sherman during the School of Education commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 17.

“As a successful entrepreneur, businessman and civic leader, John Sherman knows that investing in the education of Kansas City’s least- and most historically underserved students and communities is not only about educational equity and social justice, but it also contributes to workforce development, business formation, job creation, and economic development and prosperity,” said Wanda J. Blanchett, Dean of the School of Education.

Sherman and his wife, Marny, established an endowed scholarship for students in the UMKC School of Education’s Institute for Urban Education in 2008. In 2011, the Shermans established the Urban Education Research Center (UERC), which launched last fall, and the Sherman Family Endowed Chair in Urban Education Research.

“As a philanthropist, John is a self-described dedicated education advocate focused on narrowing the educational opportunity gap for the marginalized and underserved. He and Marny are among Kansas City’s leading and most passionate urban education advocates, giving very generously of both their time and their resources,” continued Blanchett. “Their personal investments in our vision to be a leading urban-serving school of education in the nation are unequaled and will have tremendous impact for years to come. We are both humbled by and grateful for their advocacy and generosity.”

Sherman has started two successful businesses. In 1991, he founded LPG Services, which became one of the nation’s largest wholesale propane marketers. In 1996, he founded Inergy, L.P. (now Crestwood Midstream Partners L.P.), one of the largest independent natural gas storage operators in the United States and a major developer and operator of energy infrastructure.

He serves on numerous boards, including the UMKC Trustees, UMKC Foundation, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Teach for America Kansas City, Civic Council of Greater Kansas City and the Truman Presidential Library Institute.

He was the 2013 Salvation Army Christmas chair, overseeing a $10.5 million goal, and has received many awards, including the Hope Award from the National MS Society in 2012. In 2009, he was named the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management’s Regional Entrepreneur of the Year.


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