Honoring Four Outstanding Community Leaders

Julia Irene Kauffman
Julia Irene Kauffman celebrates her honorary doctorate with Chancellor Leo E. Morton and Dean Peter Witte

Four honorary doctorates among more than 1,800 degrees conferred

UMKC honored four Kansas City community leaders with honorary degrees at the 2012 commencement ceremonies, where more than 1,800 students received degrees over two days of pomp and celebration.

Alvin Brooks

Chancellor Leo E. Morton conducts the ceremonial hooding for honoree Alvin Brooks

The College of Arts and Sciences awarded the doctor of philosophy honoris causa degrees to Alvin Brooks and Richard Carrothers and Dennis D. Hennessy. The Conservatory of Music and Dance presented the doctor of music honoris causa to Julia Irene Kauffman at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

“This is a great opportunity for the university – and for me – to honor four individuals who have given so much to UMKC and to our Kansas City community,” said UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton. “We appreciate their giving spirits and are privileged to call them alumni of Kansas City’s university.”

Julia Irene Kauffman has been a tireless advocate for the arts, entrepreneurship and education in Kansas City. Her sustained leadership of the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation and her vision and leadership in establishing the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and the Todd Bolender Center for the Kansas City Ballet have been transformational to Kansas City.

Richard Carrothers and Dennis D. Hennessy

Provost Dr. Gail Hackett, left, adjusts the doctoral hood for Richard Carrothers as his partner and fellow honoree, Dennis D. Hennessy, looks on. (photos by Janet Rogers)

Brooks is an alumnus of the College of Arts and Sciences (B.A. ’59, M.A. ’73) and has committed his career to public service, making significant contributions to the university and to the Kansas City metro area. His civic involvement spanning 58 years has emphasized community safety and civil rights. As a founding member of the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime, he has worked diligently since 1977 to make Kansas City’s urban communities safer. In 2009, UMKC awarded Brooks with the Alumnus of the Year Award.

Richard Carrothers and Dennis D. Hennessy – both UMKC College of Arts and Sciences alumni – represent UMKC’s tradition of excellence in the visual and performing arts. Both have an impressive list of accomplishments, receiving acclaim on local, regional and national levels. Early in their careers, they were co-owners of Tiffany’s Attic and Waldo Astoria in Kansas City, deemed by the Wall Street Journal as “two of the most successful theatres – both artistically and financially – in the country.”

In the 1990s, they co-founded the New Theatre Restaurant in Overland Park, Kan., and have received numerous awards for their work in theatre and film.

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