International group honors local leaders with regional education awards

Angela Bennett and Curt Crespino recognized for service, volunteer efforts

The Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) presented its annual Leadership Awards at the Case District VI Conference Jan. 10 at the Westin Crown Center in Kansas City, Mo. This year’s honorees included UMKC alumna Angela Bennett, director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, Midwest Division, and Curtis Crespino, UMKC vice chancellor for University Advancement.

Bennett was honored with the Volunteer of the Year Award, which is presented annually to a volunteer with a distinguished record of service to higher education. Bennett’s volunteer service spans presidencies of both the UMKC Alumni Association and the UMKC Women’s Council to service on the KCUR Advisory Board and the UMKC Law Foundation. Her commitment to higher education extended beyond the UMKC campus to the University of Missouri System, where she served as president of the Board of Curators, the highest volunteer position in the four-campus UM System.

Bennett received two bachelor of arts degrees from UMKC in 1974 — in radio, TV and film, and in political science. She graduated from the UMKC School of Law in 1977, the only African-American student in her class.

“The UMKC Alumni Association is a successful, active force for students, university and community due in large part to the commitment of leaders such as Angela Bennett,” said Damon Bryant, president of the UMKC Alumni Association. “Whether it’s scholarships, community beautification or other outreach efforts, Angela has been at the forefront in building her university and our community.”

Crespino received the Distinguished Service Award, which honors persons with exemplary professional service to CASE and to furthering the advancement profession. Now in his 20th year at UMKC, Crespino has served the Advancement Division in a variety of roles. In each of his positions, from director of Alumni and Development for the School of Pharmacy to vice chancellor for University Advancement and senior vice president of the new UMKC Foundation, he has remained a volunteer leader for CASE, which brings together more than 22,000 advancement professionals from 3,200 colleges, universities and schools in 54 countries.

Prior to serving on the International Board for CASE, Crespino served on the CASE Alumni Relations Commission, which helped shape and define professional best practices for alumni relations. He has also served as chair of the CASE District VI Regional Board.

Washington, D.C.-based CASE is the leading advocacy organization for higher education in the United States. District VI comprises higher education professionals in Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

“We were thrilled to see both Angela and Curt recognized for their tremendous contributions to UMKC and to higher education,” said UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton. “UMKC is a better place because of leaders like them, and it’s a true pleasure to see their respective work honored at this level by CASE.”

About the University of Missouri-Kansas City

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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