UMKC to Present Honorary Doctorates to Outstanding Kansas City-Based Authors

Celebrated non-fiction authors David Von Drehle and Candice Millard to be honored at mid-year commencement

Celebrated Kansas City-based non-fiction authors David Von Drehle and Candice Millard will be honored with honorary doctorates at mid-year commencement ceremonies Dec. 16 at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Millard is the author of three books, each of which was a New York Times bestseller and named a best book of the year by several publications. Her first book, The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey, was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and a Book Sense Pick, and won the William Rockhill Nelson Award. Her second book, Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine & the Murder of a President, won the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime, and the PEN Center USA award for Research Nonfiction. Her most recent book, Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape and the Making of Winston Churchill, was an Indie Next pick, a top ten critics pick by the New York Times and named Amazon’s number one history book of 2016.

Von Drehle’s books include two award-winning bestsellers. Triangle: The Fire That Changed America is the story of New York’s deadly Triangle shirtwaist factory fire and its seismic effect on American society. Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America’s Most Perilous Year examines the 16th president in the moments when he nearly lost—and bravely saved—the Union. Von Drehle’s Among the Lowest of the Dead was called, “perhaps the finest book ever on the death penalty” by the Chicago Tribune.

The two writers will be honored with the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Honoris Causa, at mid-year commencement exercises for UMKC’s College of Arts and Sciences. The ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. December 16 in Swinney Recreation Center on the UMKC campus.

“David von Drehle and Candice Millard are richly deserving of such an honor from a College of Arts and Sciences, not just for the quality of their work, but also for the way their books demonstrate the importance and value of a broad-based liberal arts education,” said Wayne Vaught, Ph.D., Dean of the College. “Their meticulously researched stories draw from history, political science, medicine, law, criminology and other disciplines to draw riveting accounts of the way complex forces and factors intertwine over many years to create the world we live in today – and will live in tomorrow.”

Von Drehle now writes a twice-weekly opinion column for The Washington Post, where he previously served in a number of senior writing and editing roles. A Boettcher Foundation Scholar at the University of Denver and Marshall Scholar at Oxford University, Von Drehle is married to former White House correspondent Karen Ball. They live in Kansas City with their four children.

Millard’s work has also appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Washington Post Book World, the Guardian, National Geographic and Time magazine. She lives in Kansas City with her husband and three children.

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