UMKC honors outstanding alumni

The 17 distinguished graduates will be honored in April 2010

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) has named its 17 outstanding alumni for 2009-10. UMKC’s Alumni Association will highlight the recipients’ stories and accomplishments through speeches, video presentations and classroom visits, sharing their experiences with students.

One alumnus is chosen from each of the University’s 12 academic units to be recognized for distinguished professional accomplishments and for outstanding community service. In addition, five alumni receive awards for their uncommon achievements and exceptional leadership and a family with multigenerational ties to the university receives the legacy award.

Specialty Awards:

Douglas Enderle, Alumnus of the Year, M.F.A. ‘81 – A senior costume designer for Walt Disney Entertainment, Enderle’s displays are showcased at Disney properties around the world and in Disney television productions. Figures from pirates to princesses wear Enderle-inspired clothing in keeping with their characters and the seasons of the year.

Cameron Lindsey, Bill French Alumni Service Award, Pharm.D. ’98 – The Jackson County Free Health Clinic benefits from Lindsey’s time and talents, as she treats between 50 and 85 patients each week. Dr. Lindsay and her team of UMKC pharmacy students provide counseling and recommended health regimens to uninsured patients, in addition to helping them secure needed medications.

Rita Blitt, Spotlight Award, B.A. ’52 – Although her predominant medium is dynamic, often outsized sculpture, Blitt urges artists to “dance on paper” and express their creative forces through united disciplines. She uses film, painting, music and dance to produce art pieces. As a patron, she and her family foundation have contributed to numerous groups in metropolitan Kansas City.

Paul Levy, Defying the Odds Award, B.A. ’71 – Levy, founder of the Whole Person – the Coalition for Independence and the Universal Housing Project – has transformed his personal struggle with multiple sclerosis into a victory for a community of challenged individuals. With books and poetry, counseling and published articles, Levy encourages people to be productive and pursue their possibilities rather than be defined by physical conditions.

The Cleveland Family, Legacy Award – National leaders in the field of chiropractic care, three generations of the Cleveland family have attended UMKC. •Carl S. Cleveland, Jr., (d.) briefly attended the University of Kansas City in the 1940s before establishing the Cleveland Chiropractic College

  • His wife, “Dr. Millie,” (d.) a former UMKC student
  • Dr. Carl S. Cleveland, III, B.S. in Biology, 1970, and past UMKC instructor
  • Elizabeth Cleveland – wife of Dr. Carl S. Cleveland, III – M.S.W., 2004
  • Son, Carl S. Cleveland, IV, attended School of Biological Sciences.
  • Daughter, Dr. Ashley Cleveland, M.A., Sociology, 1998, UMKC guest lecturer
  • Daughter, Alexandra S. Cleveland, M.S.W., 2004

Alumni Achievement Awardees (by academic unit):

Janet Vaughan, College of Arts & Sciences, M.A. ’81 – A love of history prompted Vaughan to seek an advanced degree at UMKC, where faculty helped direct her attention to museum studies. She is currently senior director of membership services for the American Association of Museums. Vaughan’s book, “The Kansas City Monarchs,” was a source of renewed public interest in this piece of Kansas City history.

Diane M. Beatty, School of Biological Sciences, B.S. ’87, Ph.D. ’94 – As Vice President of Pharmaceutical Sciences for Beckloff Associates, Inc. – A Cardinal Health Company – Beatty develops products promoting healing and pain relief for cancer patients and those with infectious diseases, psychiatric and rheumatoid problems. Part of her responsibility is ensuring that products meet FDA and other global oversight group requirements.

Lt. Col. Brian D. Birdwell, Henry W. Bloch School of Business and Public Administration, M.P.A. ‘96 – The terrorist attack on the Pentagon left Birdwell covered with burns over 60 percent of his body. But out of that came an organization to help burn victims, wounded service personnel and their families – Face the Fire Ministries. Birdwell is the recipient of a Purple Heart and the Legion of Merit award.

Harold Sprague, School of Computing and Engineering, B.S.C.E. ’80 – Sprague designs structures that are created to withstand blasts or seismic shocks. Recognition of his work resulted in Sprague’s inclusion as “Outstanding Scientist of the 20th Century” and in “Who’s Who In Engineering and Science.”

James Jordan, Conservatory of Music and Dance, B.F.A. ’00 – Jordan choreographed and taught new works to the Conservatory of Music and Dance students and helped the faculty create a dance reunion, attracting former students to campus for an evening of renewing old friendships. A past president of the Conservatory’s Alumni and Friends Society Board of Directors, Jordan is ballet master for the Kansas City Ballet.

Ray Storm, School of Dentistry, D.D.S. ’78 – A general practitioner since graduation, Storm founded Give Kids A Smile in 1994. It is now the primary outreach arm of the American Dental Association and is the largest dental outreach in the United States, treating more than a million indigent children a year. Storm also is active in PATCHES, a non-profit dental missionary project.

Caren Barnes, School of Dentistry, Division of Dental Hygiene, M.S. ’74 – Barnes, professor and researcher at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry, consults and develops dental products and procedures. Her journal and textbook writing appear in the most authoritative dental care and hygiene publications, including “Mosby’s Dental Hygiene” and “Wilkin’s Clinical Practice”.

Paul Rutherford, School of Education, Ph.D. ’99 – After a lengthy teaching career, he founded and taught in the Summit Technology Academy, a Lee’s Summit engineering program. The National Science Foundation awarded him the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, the profession’s equivalent of a Nobel Prize. Currently, Rutherford directs professional training and development for the Kansas City Missouri School District’s elementary science instructors.

Robert Larsen, School of Law, J.D. ’73 – Judge Larsen’s public service career spans his entire professional career, including working in the U.S. Attorney’s office and serving on the federal magistrate bench. In service to his school and its students, Larsen teaches and advises participants in practice trial programs. He is author of “Navigating the Federal Trial.”

Marianna Martin Sockrider, School of Medicine, M.D. ’83 – Dr. Sockrider is a recognized leader in the prevention, care and management of chronic pediatric asthma and other pulmonary disorders. An instructor in the Baylor School of Medicine, Sockrider has received both a Fulbright and a Jaworski Excellence in Teaching award.

Lois Hopson, School of Nursing, B.A. ’74, B.S.N. ’83, M.S.N. ’98 – Trained at Kansas City’s General Hospital in the 1950s, Hopson came to UMKC after General Hospital closed and earned psychology, sociology and nursing degrees. She is deeply involved with nursing alumni programs, including the multicultural committee and the alumni association board.

Benjamin Bluml, School of Pharmacy, B.S.P. ’84 – As Vice President for Research of the American Pharmacists Association Foundation, Bluml is involved in the study and treatment of osteoporosis, depression and diabetes. His development of new technology for diabetic self-management earned him a place on a White House roundtable. Bluml instructs students in ways to avoid medication error and is an expert in the maintenance of patient confidentiality.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 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.

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