Summer of Change

New people, new places, new things

It’s been a busy summer around here while you have been away. What might you have missed? Let us count the ways.

A national leader in online higher education, Dr. Devon Cancilla, became UMKC’s Vice Provost for Online and Distance Learning on Aug. 1. He previously served as dean, business and informatics, at American Sentinel University, an all-online college in Colorado. Cancilla previously served as director, Scientific Technical Services at Western Washington University in Bellingham. He also served as a tenured faculty member in the department of environmental science at WWU. Read more.

Dr. Ann Cary recently assumed her duties as dean of the School of Nursing and Health Studies. Cary previously served as director of the Loyola University New Orleans School of Nursing. She brings national recognition for online graduate nursing degree programs and healthcare education leadership in Louisiana. Read more.

Dr. Adrienne Walker Hoard, a professional artist and educator, will lead the UMKC Black Studies program. One of Hoard’s long-term goals is to establish an undergraduate major in Black Studies. She most recently served as professor of art and art education and affiliate professor in the Black Studies program at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She will begin her duties at UMKC on Sept. 1. Read more.

Allan J. Katz, former U.S. ambassador to Portugal, will teach public affairs at the Bloch School and political science at the College of Arts and Sciences. He graduated from UMKC in 1969 with a degree in history and received his law degree from the American University Washington College of Law. In 2012, UMKC presented Katz with an honorary degree, Doctor of Philosophy Honoris Causa, recognizing him as an outstanding alumnus. Read more.

There is not much greater honor than being invited to the White House – unless it’s being asked not just to visit, but to offer your opinion. Two UMKC people enjoyed that honor over the summer. Gloria Tibbs, UMKC librarian at the Miller Nichols Library, was one of 12 museum and library professionals named Champions of Change. She was asked to the White House to participate in a panel discussion on the topic of “Creating Lifelong Learners.” Read more.

And UMKC student Riddhiman Das was one of 12 immigrant entrepreneurs honored as a Champion of Change. Das attends the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering, participated in the Entrepreneurship Scholars (E-Scholars) certificate program at UMKC’s Bloch School of Management, and launched one of his companies, Galleon Labs, out of the UMKC Innovation Center.


The Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (Bloch Executive Hall) is open for classes. The $32 million, 68,000-square foot building – a gift from Henry W. Bloch, long-time Bloch School benefactor – houses the graduate, executive and entrepreneurship programs, and some undergraduate classes.

Features include active learning classrooms designed for team and experiential learning, as well as traditional classrooms; a finance lab with simulated trading floor; an innovation lab for design simulation and prototyping; and a behavioral science research lab to study consumer behavior.

The UMKC Downtown Arts Campus got a $20 million boost in the form of a challenge grant from the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation. UMKC will have to raise $23 million to match the grant. Read more.

Miller Nichols Library and Learning Center is ready for use. The Center houses the Jeanette Nichols Forum and the Courtney S. Turner Hall and provides four new, state-of-the-art lecture-style classrooms. The building adds a total of 1,008 seats to Volker Campus.

UMKC is one of four partners in the proposed world-class Jackson County Institute for Translational Medicine. The collaboration – among UMKC, Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, Saint Luke’s Health System and the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute – is often referred to as “from bench-to-bedside” research. If approved, scientists at the institute will be taking basic scientific discoveries and converting them into treatments and cures for disease.  Read more.

(and) Things

The UMKC Foundation witnessed its third-best year in its history, raising more than $47.4 million and receiving more than 50,000 gifts. It received its second-largest gift in the amount of $20 million, seven gifts for $5 million and five $1 million gifts. The Foundation kicked off two significant campaigns – a $5 million retirees campaign and a $5 million faculty and staff campaign.

UMKC is instituting a new core curriculum model, the UMKC General Education Core. It will apply to all new undergraduate students, beginning with the incoming freshman class for Fall Semester 2013, and transfer students starting in Fall Semester 2014. The new requirements do not apply to students enrolled prior to August 2013. Read more.

UMKC is one of 155 colleges that made the Midwest’s best in The Princeton Review’s 2014 Best Colleges: Region by Region. UMKC was included because of its excellent academic programs, including the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation; the School of Medicine’s six-year program; and the Conservatory of Music and Dance. Read more.

UMKC’s basketball prospects are brightening, with the hiring of coach Kareem Richardson and the move to the Western Athletic Conference. Richardson, an assistant coach on Rick Pitino’s staff for last year’s national champion Louisville Cardinals, accepted the UMKC post in March. He has since signed a five-man recruiting class, solidified his coaching staff and done a whirlwind of public appearances around the Kansas City area. Read more.

Municipal Auditorium, considered by some as “the best arena in which to watch basketball,” is once again the home of UMKC men’s basketball. Located in the heart of downtown Kansas City, the auditorium upgrades include $3.5 million in renovations, including new arena lighting, new seating and enhanced locker rooms for players and officials. A playing court replacement was completed in 2006. Read more.

The university kicked off a new line of UMKC Roo Gear earlier this year. The gear is available at the Kansas Sampler, at the Rally House Plaza location and online. UMKC gear also will continue to be available through the UMKC Bookstore, the Athletics website and the Alumni Association website.

UMKC has partnered with Sporting KC and is the only university partner of the organization. This provides an opportunity to celebrate Kansas City’s university and its major league soccer team. Upcoming is the “Rally with the Roos” – a contest where 10 entrants will win prizes, including tickets to a Sporting KC home game in October – “UMKC Night at Sporting KC.” Read more.

The Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s  “Venice,” which was heralded in Time magazine as the best musical of 2010 during its run in Kansas City, completed a successful run in New York in May.

The Rep’s “A Christmas Story, The Musical!” had its world premiere at the Rep in 2009 and was recently nominated for three Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The additional Tony nominations are for Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score. Read more.


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