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Vice Provost Kevin Z. Truman accepts the Award for Academic Leadership from IRC Board President Lyn Lakin. IRC board member Stephen Steigman of KCUR, far right, looks on. Photo by Brandon Parigo, Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications

International Relations Council Honors UMKC for Academic Leadership

The University of Missouri–Kansas City accepted the Award for Academic Leadership from the International Relations Council at the IRC’s Global Honors Evening on Nov. 9.

The Kansas City-based IRC presents its Award for Academic Leadership to local individuals or educational institutions that contribute to global education in the Midwest. The IRC cited UMKC’s international initiatives that “provide an integrated strategy and educational opportunities for all students and faculty.” The award specifically cited the contributions of two recent retirees: Linna Place, Ph.D., former UMKC director of International Academic Programs, and Chancellor Emeritus Leo E. Morton.

Kevin Z. Truman, Ph.D., F.ASCE, Vice Provost and Dean of the School of Computing and Engineering, accepted the award on behalf of the UMKC community.

“We take our international commitment, in terms of both incoming and outgoing students, very seriously,” Truman said. He cited the enrollment of more than 1,700 international students from 80 different nations at UMKC, as well as the study abroad and joint research programs UMKC has established in more than a dozen nations.

“One of the best ways to internationalize Kansas City is to get our students to make that trip,” Truman said.

In a statement announcing the award, the IRC said: “Each year, more than 300 UMKC students participate in study-abroad opportunities around the world. Many of these are faculty-led programs, bringing together faculty and students in innovative curriculum-based experiences. UMKC partners with more than 100 academic institutions in other countries to develop a variety of student and faculty exchanges, research collaborations and scholarly dialogue. UMKC students have done very well in rigorous nationally competitive fellowship competitions such as the Fulbright, Gilman Study Abroad Scholarship, and German DAAD, spending up to a year in study, research and language immersion in another country.

“UMKC recognizes the vital importance of bringing individuals together from across the world and from many different backgrounds in friendship and commitment to working with one another.”

The IRC brings a global perspective to the Kansas City community through strategic partnerships with businesses, universities, community organizations and K-12 schools. The organization’s Global Honors Evening celebrates international statesmanship and Kansas City’s connections to the global community.

Also during the event, the IRC presented its Distinguished Service Award for International Statesmanship to General Richard B. Myers (U.S. Air Force, ret.), Kansas City native, 15th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and recently inaugurated president of Kansas State University.

The Eliot S. Berkley Award, named for the IRC’s founder, is presented annually to an exceptional high school student. This year’s winner was Hilary Griggs, a junior at Bishop Seabury Academy in Lawrence, Kansas. The IRC Award for Contributions to the Community was presented to The Consular Corps of Greater Kansas City.

Past recipients of the Award for Academic Leadership have included the Stowers Institute (2009); KU Confucius Institute (2008); KCPT Public Television (1999); and E. Grey Dimond, M.D., founder of the UMKC School of Medicine (1989).


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