University of Missouri-Kansas City Spring 2011 Commencement Ceremonies

UMKC graduates more than 2,200 students in Class of 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Each May, the University of Missouri-Kansas City honors and celebrates the accomplishments of our graduates. The first commencement ceremony at the University of Kansas City was held in 1936; 80 students and their guests attended the first commencement exercises. This year, an estimated 2,238 students will graduate at 12 different ceremonies. Following are the dates, times, locations and featured speakers for this year’s ceremonies:

Thursday, May 5

School of Nursing

5 p.m., Swinney Recreation Center

Commencement Address: Joni Walton, R.N., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Carroll College (Helena, Mont.)

Dr. Walton received her Ph.D. in nursing from UMKC in 1997. She is certified as a clinical nurse specialist in medical-surgical nursing and is a registered Respiratory Therapist. She has an active practice in nursing research, with a special interest in spirituality in people with chronic and acute illnesses.

Friday, May 6

School of Computing and Engineering

10 a.m., Swinney Recreation Center

Commencement Address: Leonard J. Graham, P.E., President, Taliaferro & Browne, Inc.

A native of Kansas City, Mr. Graham received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree from UMKC.

College of Arts and Sciences

1 p.m., Swinney Recreation Center; and

4 p.m., Swinney Recreation Center, UMKC Volker Campus

Commencement Address: Douglas Enderle, M.F.A., Walt Disney Entertainment

As a senior costume designer for Walt Disney Entertainment, Enderle received two Emmy awards nominations and won an Emmy for Innovative Costume Design. He was UMKC’s Alumnus of the Year in 2010.

Henry W. Bloch School of Management

7 p.m., Swinney Recreation Center, UMKC Volker Campus

Commencement Address: Thomas M. Hoenig, President, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

Mr. Hoenig joined the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in 1973 as an economist in the banking supervision area. In 1991, he took office as the eighth chief executive of the Tenth District Federal Reserve Bank at Kansas City.

Saturday, May 7

School of Education

10 a.m., Swinney Recreation Center, UMKC Volker Campus

Commencement Address: Etta R. Hollins, B.S., M.Ed., Ph.D., Professor and Ewing Marion Kauffman Endowed Chair for Urban Teacher Education

An expert on multicultural education, urban schools and curriculum design, Dr. Hollins currently serves as Vice-President of DivisionK-Teacher Education of the American Educational Research Association.

Conservatory of Music and Dance

10 a.m., White Recital Hall, James C. Olson Performing Arts Center, UMKC Volker Campus

Commencement Address: Michael Stern, director of the Kansas City Symphony

The Kansas City Symphony has been applauded for its remarkable artistic growth and development during Mr. Stern’s six years as music director. He also will receive an honorary Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Commencement Ceremony.

School of Pharmacy

1 p.m., Swinney Recreation Center

Commencement Address: Dale E. Smith, B.S., M.A., R.Ph., Missouri Board of Pharmacy Board Member, Adjunct Clinical Instructor, UMKC School of Pharmacy and Pharmacy Consultant

Mr. Smith is a 1975 graduate of the UMKC School of Pharmacy. He is a Fellow in the American College of Apothecaries and has received two Preceptor of the Year awards from UMKC, having mentored close to 100 students over the last 35 years.

School of Biological Sciences

1 p.m., White Recital Hall, James C. Olson Performing Arts Center, UMKC Volker Campus

Remarks: Lawrence A. Dreyfus, Ph.D., Dean, UMKC School of Biological Sciences

Dr. Dreyfus became Dean of the School of Biological Sciences in 2003 and is also a Professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Biophysics. The focus of his research is to define a better understanding of how bacterial toxins function as virulence factors.

Master of Science in Anesthesia

2 p.m., Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak Street

Commencement Address: James Gibbons, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor, UMKC School of Medicine

Dr. Gibbons is director of Education for the Department of Anesthesiology at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center in St. Louis and vice president of Professional Affairs for Western Anesthesiology Associates, Inc.

School of Law

4 p.m., Swinney Recreation Center, UMKC Volker Campus

Commencement Address: Jay Nixon, Missouri Governor

Elected in 2008, Mr. Nixon is the 55th Governor of the State of Missouri. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he began his political career in 1986 when he was elected to the Missouri Senate. In 1992, he was elected Missouri Attorney General, serving four consecutive terms.

School of Dentistry

7 p.m., Swinney Recreation Center, UMKC Volker Campus

Remarks: Marsha A. Pyle, D.D.S., M.Ed., Dean, UMKC School of Dentistry

Dr. Pyle joined the dental school in 2009, coming to UMKC from the School of Dental Medicine at Case Western Reserve University. She has held numerous board and leadership positions on national, state and local organizations and has been recognized for her work in curriculum innovation.

Thursday, May 26

School of Medicine

4 p.m., Kansas City Music Hall, 301 W. 13th St.

Remarks: Betty Drees, B.A., M.D., F.A.C.P., Dean and Professor of Medicine; and Warren K. Erdman, Chairman of the University of Missouri Board of Curators

Dr. Drees was named Interim Dean of the School of Medicine in 2001 and appointed as Dean in 2003. Under Dr. Drees’ leadership, research funding for the school grew by more than 250 percent with an increased focus on translating new discoveries into patient care.

Mr. Erdman is executive vice president of administration and corporate affairs for Kansas City Southern, an international transportation holding company. In addition to serving on the UM Board of Curators, the governing body of the University of Missouri System, he is a member of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Trustees.

About the University of Missouri-Kansas City

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), 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 You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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