Ready to Cross that Fine Line

Congratulations, Class of 2013!

More than 2,000 graduates received degrees at a series of Spring Semester graduation ceremonies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Festivities began Thursday evening with the commencement for the School of Nursing and Health Studies at Swinney Recreation Center. A total of 12 events are scheduled for the university’s array of academic units, continuing Friday May 17 and Saturday May 18, concluding with the School of Medicine commencement Friday May 24.

Also during commencement exercises, five exceptional civic leaders who have made an indelible mark on their community received honorary doctorate degrees. The honorees are Gregory Graves, CEO of Burns & McDonnell, School of Computing and Engineering; philanthropist Shirley Bush Helzberg, Conservatory of Music and Dance; R. Crosby Kemper Jr., retired chairman of UMB Bank, College of Arts and Sciences; James A. Polsinelli, founder of the Polsinelli law firm, School of Law; and Ralph Reid, president of the Sprint Foundation and vice president of corporate social responsibility for Sprint, School of Education.

In addition to the honorees, other commencement speakers at the various commencement ceremonies include Teresa Chaurand, a UMKC alumna and special assistant to the president at the White House; Peter deSilva, president and COO of UMB Financial; Mark L. Hayes, an alumnus, health policy attorney and former chief health counsel for the U.S. Senate Finance Committee; Steve Kraske, political correspondent for The Kansas City Star and host of KCUR’s “Up to Date;” Deborah Persell, an alumna and the 2013 Alumni Achievement Award winner for the School of Nursing and Health Studies; the Hon. Ortrie D. Smith, an alumnus and U.S. District Court judge; and Thomas L. Toth, M.D., an alumnus and 2013 winner of the E. Grey Dimond Take Wing Award.

“Today you become part of the history of a university that opened its doors 80 years ago.  Just like that class of 265 students who began their studies here with such excitement and promise, so too will you always be a part of this venerable institution,” UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton told graduates at one ceremony. “You have distinguished yourselves in so many ways – as scholars, as community volunteers, and as leaders. You are prepared to meet the demands of a world that expects a lot from you.”

“We have before us the strength of our community, and our hope for the future.”

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