Hugh J. Zimmer

Hugh Zimmer is the 2010 Chancellor's Medal recipient.
Hugh Zimmer is the 2010 Chancellor's Medal recipient.

2010 Chancellor’s Medal recipient

Successful businessman. Dedicated board member. And, ardent supporter of urban education.

Hugh Zimmer has invested a lot of time in UMKC. As the 2010 Chancellor’s Medal recipient – the highest non-academic award presented to a volunteer – he is working to level the playing field, providing a means for students to reach their full potential through his volunteer efforts.

Zimmer rolls up his sleeves … and gets results

Zimmer is an active member on boards that fashion opportunities to improve the availability and the quality of education students receive – a member of the UMKC Board of Trustees and as the Chair of the Chancellor’s National Advisory Board for the Institute for Urban Education (IUE).

“Approximately 70 percent of UMKC’s graduates live and work in Kansas City five years after graduation,” said Zimmer. “It has seemed to me that Kansas City must have a well-educated and well-trained workforce to accommodate expansion of businesses that are already in the area.”

Zimmer understands the relationship between education and workforce development. To him, workforce development is important to any city, and Kansas City is no different. And, he is aware of the educational challenges facing Kansas City and the nation today – and his role in it.

Zimmer advances opportunities for Scholars

Hugh Zimmer visits with Angela Nickens, senior, Institute for Urban Education.

Hugh Zimmer visits with Angela Nickens, senior, Institute for Urban Education.

Zimmer is a member of the UMKC Trustees and was actively involved in the founding of the Trustees’ Scholars Program, started in 2002. Scholars receive more than $60,000 over their four years at UMKC.

The Trustees’ scholars receive full four-year scholarships, plus full room and board for two years, a $500 stipend for books each year and internship opportunities. According to Zimmer, this is one way to keep the graduates in the city.

“The Trustees’ Scholars Program was designed to retain the ‘best and brightest’ in Kansas City,” said Zimmer, “so that we have an opportunity to retain them in our workforce after graduation.”

A 2006 graduate of the Trustees’ Scholar Program, Andrew Garten interned at Zimmer Real Estate Services, L.C., ONCOR International, where he currently is Senior Research Manager.

“The UMKC Trustees’ Scholars Program offers a progressive and unmatched educational opportunity,” said Garten. “Not only does the scholarship fund all financial obligations for the student but the individual mentoring and internship programs transform students into valued professionals.”

Seventy-four students have been recipients of the Trustees’ Scholars Program and approximately 90 percent stayed in the Kansas City area after graduation. Currently, there are 28 students in the Program.

Unwavering supporter of urban education

Zimmer works to maintain positive relationships between the business community and the University, and to promote the potential benefits the relationship can bring to both groups. As a UMKC Trustee, Zimmer continued to learn more about UMKC’s role in the community. And, it was with this in mind that he became interested in championing the IUE program – a program that could positively impact UMKC and the urban community.

“My interest in workforce development and recognition of the problem that faces Kansas City (and every city) in the education of young people from our urban core led to my interest in the Institute for Urban Education,” said Zimmer.

The IUE program is a four-year program that prepares educators to teach successfully in elementary and middle school urban classrooms. The program partners with three school districts – the Kansas City, Missouri, School District; the Kansas City, Kan., School District; and the Hickman Mills School District. In exchange for a commitment to teach in one of Kansas City’s urban school districts, IUE students receive scholarships.

“As Chairman of the IUE National Advisory Board, Hugh Zimmer has worked tirelessly to support the IUE program,” said Ed Underwood, Ph.D., Executive Director, IUE and Kauffman Endowed Chair. “He has clearly articulated the vision and goals of the IUE to the community of Kansas City and has inspired other key business and community leaders to partner with us in our effort to prepare teachers for the challenges they will face in their classrooms.”

“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.” Elizabeth Andrew

As a member of the UMKC Board of Trustees and the board of the UMKC Foundation, champion of the IUE program and chair of its National Advisory Board, Zimmer logs numerous hours on the UMKC campus. Because of his time commitment and continuing support of the University, Zimmer was awarded the 2010 Chancellor’s Medal.

“Hugh continues to serve UMKC well – as a valued volunteer and civic champion, who has a passion for the education of all students,” said Chancellor Leo E. Morton. “Hugh supports the areas in which he has strong beliefs through his own personal philanthropy – and education is one of those. He willingly seeks to acquire the same level of support from others.”

“I am very humbled at being selected for the 2010 Chancellor’s Medal,” said Zimmer. “As I look at the others who have received this honor and recognition in earlier years, it emphasizes to me the importance that people have placed on the development of UMKC as a critical institution in our community, and I would hope that people generally might look at the overall impressive list of recipients of the Chancellor’s Medal over the years to renew and expand their commitment to make our University one of the most important institutions in our metropolitan area.”

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