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Renowned Economist Receives Honorary Doctorate

Photos by Brandon Parigo, Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications

More than 700 students received degrees in three ceremonies

Deirdre McCloskey, a renowned economist, rhetorician and historian, was presented with an honorary doctorate during the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s College of Arts and Sciences’ mid-year commencement ceremony Dec. 15.

A distinguished professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago from 2000 to 2015, McCloskey has written 18 books and nearly 400 articles on a wide range of topics including economic history, philosophy, feminism and law. She describes herself as a “free-market quantitative literary postmodern Anglican feminist Aristotelian woman from Boston who now lives in Chicago.”

“We are pleased to honor Deirdre McCloskey for not only her countless contributions to the field of economics but for her unwavering dedication to education,” said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Wayne Vaught. “Her books on the bourgeoisie have offered an illuminating viewpoint on the history and ethics of capitalism.”

More than 700 students received degrees in three ceremonies. It was also UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal’s first graduation ceremony at UMKC.

“Student success will always be at the core of what we do,” Agrawal said. “Congratulations, Roos, on a job well done.”

Michelle Wimes (B.A. ’88), attorney at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., delivered the College of Arts and Sciences commencement address. Wimes is a lawyer, civic leader and a nationally in-demand speaker on workforce development, diversity and inclusion, and work/life balance.

Recalling her days as an undergraduate student at UMKC, Wimes said, “I remember all the wonderful graduation festivities. The excitement of four years coming to an end. UMKC laid the groundwork for the critical thinking and language skills I have used my entire life. The woman I am today began when I was a young person at UMKC.”

Wimes shared this advice to the graduating students: “Be excellent. Be the best at what you do, and I promise success will abound. Stand for something. Use your smarts for good. You and you alone are responsible for your own personal and professional success. Follow your passion even when others don’t understand you or mock you. Align yourself with others who share your passion. Surround yourself with others who support you.”

Above all, Wimes told the graduates to keep up the good work.

“Be willing to take risk. Choose growth and advocate for yourself. Learn how to weather setbacks. Real success requires step after step and choice after choice, persistence and hunger.”

At the morning Henry W. Bloch School of Management ceremony, Agrawal expressed gratitude and appreciation to University of Missouri System Curator John Phillips, who is nearing the end of his term on the board.

“Since joining the Board of Curators, he has become a strong and powerful advocate for all things UMKC,” Agrawal said. “His leadership specifically related to our efforts to build a new home for the Conservatory of Music and Dance has been invaluable. Our students have no greater champion than you. Thank you for your countless hours of staunch and dedicated service to the Board of Curators. We are better because of your leadership and advocacy.”

Darcy Howe, managing director, KCRise Fund, LLC; and president and CEO, KCRise Fund Manager, LLC, gave the UMKC Bloch School commencement address. Growing a successful entrepreneurial business within a Fortune 100 company, Howe was named a “Barron’s Magazine Top 100 Women Advisors in the U.S.” as well as Worth magazine’s “Top 100 Wealth Advisors in the U.S.” In her current position with KCRise Fund, Howe connects companies with capital from all over the U.S.

“Because of Howe’s efforts, a number of early stage firms are growing and prospering,” said UMKC Bloch School Dean Brian Klaas. “Her efforts have helped to create a vibrant environment for entrepreneurs and her efforts are setting the stage for long-term growth and prosperity in the region.”

Klaas said Howe works hard to make a positive difference in the community and has been a friend of UMKC. She has mentored and coached UMKC Bloch students, employed Bloch graduates and traveled to China with a Bloch student group to study and promote economic development.

At the conclusion of the commencement ceremonies, Agrawal presented the Class of 2018 – future world leaders, innovators and humanitarians.

“Graduates, the years you’ve spent here at UMKC are like the great opening chapter in a good book. You just know there are a lot of great chapters to follow.”

|Article by Bridget Koan, Strategic Marketing and Communications


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