Honoring Student Leaders

UMKC Head Tennis Coach Kendell Hale and honors recipient Matheus Rohde. Both are doing the UMKC Roo hand signal. Photos by John Carmody, Strategic Marketing and Communications

Dean of Students celebrates new graduates with high academic and community service achievements

It’s difficult to believe now that at one point Matheus Rohde wasn’t sure he was in the right place.

His transition to UMKC four years ago when he came to play tennis wasn’t an easy one. Rohde, whose coach and teammates nicknamed “Brazil” for his birthplace, was not crazy about the cold weather in Kansas City. And he had just had surgery and didn’t get to play tennis immediately.

“I had a hard time adjusting to the classes and the dorms,” he said.

But on Dec. 14, Dean of Students Sandra Miles recognized Rohde and eight of his fellow graduating students for their commitment to leadership and service to the university while maintaining high academic standards at the Honors Recipient Breakfast.

Rohde credits his tennis teammates for his success.

“The cool thing about being on a team is that you come to a new place, where you know literally no one, and you still have a group of people who you can count on as friends,” Rohde said.

Rohde was able to play second semester and began to find his place at UMKC.


“(Matheus Rohde) is one of those players who motivates by example…His work and effort are a major reason why we won the 2017 Western Athletic Conference championship.”

-UMKC Tennis Coach Kendall Hale


“I knew something big was waiting for me at the finish line and I needed to push a little bit,” he said.

This tenacity allowed Rohde to emerge as a strong team leader.

“Up until college, tennis was just about the individual. But college tennis is different—it’s about the team,” he said. “It’s a lot more energy. It’s a lot more intensity. I became one of the people who tried to hold the knots together. I was one of the people who tried to make sure that everyone was being accountable in practice and doing what we’re supposed to be doing.”

UMKC Head Tennis Coach Kendall Hale—who nominated Rohde—recognized his player’s potential.

“I’m not in the habit of nominating students for this honor,” Hale said. “Matheus is the old-school model. He is one of those players who motivates by example. He worked for two years as an assistant without pay or credit. His work and effort are a major reason why we won the 2017 Western Athletic Conference championship.”

In addition to his high academic standing and his accomplishments on the court, he’s represented UMKC in the community and volunteers at a soup kitchen and the Ronald McDonald House, Harvesters and the Kangaroo Food Pantry.

Rohde, who majored in psychology, is planning to attend graduate school.

“I’ll be pretty open,” he said. “But I’m thinking industrial organizational psychology.”

At the ceremony recognizing Rohde and his fellow honor recipients, Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal noted “student success is at the core of what we do. These students began as students on fire and ready to learn.”

Rohde encourages younger students to find that fire.

“Try to get involved as much as you can. UMKC offers so many resources for students to find their niche – whether it’s research, organizations, a campus job or even athletics. My motto during my time on the team and for life is ‘Always leave a place a little better than it was when you came in.’”


Dean of Students Fall 2018 Honor Recipients

The program recognizes graduating students from all academic programs who have actively demonstrated their commitment to leadership and service to the university community while maintaining high academic achievements.



Felix Amparano
College of Arts and Sciences
Honors College

Michele Baker
School of Nursing and Health Studies
Honors College

Ashutosh Barve
School of Pharmacy

Anita Cap
School of Biological Sciences
College of Arts and Sciences
Honors College

Eun-Li Deem
Henry W. Bloch School of Management

Emma Dyer
Henry W. Bloch School of Management

Akshay Jain
School of Pharmacy

Matheus Rohde
College of Arts and Sciences

Elizabeth Sites
College of Arts and Sciences

| Article by Patricia O’Dell, Strategic Marketing and Communications

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