U.S. Ambassador to Portugal to be Honored at Mid-Year Commencement

Ambassador Allan Katz is a UMKC alumnus

December 12, 2012
      Contact: Kristin Pitts
 (816) 235-6678, pittsk@umkc.edu

 KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Ambassador Allan J. Katz, U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Portugal, will be honored at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s mid-year commencement ceremonies.
            The university will present Katz with an honorary degree, Doctor of Philosophy Honoris Causa, recognizing him as an outstanding alumnus of the university. The ceremonies will take place Friday, December 14, in Swinney Recreation Center, 5030 Holmes St., Kansas City, Mo.  A multi-school ceremony will begin at 1 p.m., followed by a College of Arts & Sciences ceremony at 4 p.m.
            Ambassador Katz will serve as the keynote speaker for both ceremonies. Katz graduated from UMKC in 1969, with a degree in History. Since then, Katz has established himself as an informed and caring world citizen.
            In 2009, Katz was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve the United States as Ambassador to Portugal. Katz’s appointment was confirmed by the President of Portugal, Aníbal Cavaco Silva, in April 2010.
            Katz calls his diplomatic post “the best job in the world,” but acknowledges that as an ambassador, he faces many challenges. Recently, he helped arrange conferences targeting childhood obesity, Holocaust education in Portugal, and strategies for improving American trade abroad. One program Katz helped launch—Access Africa—brings Portuguese and American companies together and helps them conduct business in Africa.
          He is also proud of establishing and leading the Village Square, an organization that promotes civil discourse and accurate, fact-based debate of divisive issues. Katz believes that such informed conversation is at the root of real democracy.
          Over the years, Katz has maintained close ties to the university. In a March 2012 visit, Katz credited UMKC for giving him a solid educational foundation.  
         “I often find myself in conversations where I surprise myself by knowing things…I ask myself, ‘How did I know that?’ And of course, the answer is that it comes from being a student of history here at this university. Your education provides you with context, and context is everything,” Katz said.  
         When he was a student at UMKC, Katz served as student body president and co-founded the Robert F. Kennedy Symposium. Then as now, the free symposiums explored the causes and possible relief of social ills such as poverty, homelessness, environmental degradation and inequality.

About the University of Missouri-Kansas City
The University of Missouri-Kansas City, 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 www.umkc.edu. You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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