After 46 and a half years of serving students at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Linda Lawrence, financial aid coordinator, is retiring on Nov. 15 to relax and enjoy time with family and friends full-time. A retirement celebration will be from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14 in Room 401 of the Student Union.
Lawrence began her career at UMKC on May 1, 1973, soon after she graduated with a sociology degree from UMKC in December 1972. Her tenure as a UMKC employee began in the Personnel Department, now known as Human Resources. Fifteen months later she transferred to the UMKC Financial Aid Office where she’s been helping students find solutions to the financial barriers to earning their college degrees. Her titles may have changed over the years, but her work and commitment to students has remained the same.
“I’ve always felt like this was my place and my school,” Lawrence said. “I wanted to make things better for students. I wanted to make UMKC a better place for students. My focus has always been the students.”
Lawrence was a UMKC student in the late 60s and early 70s, when everything was about student rights. She was part of that movement and continued with that mindset through her employment. As a financial aid coordinator, Lawrence has helped thousands.
Currently, Lawrence works with law students and student-athletes. She will miss the people she works with and she will miss the students. Even though Lawrence will not be coming to campus for work every day, she can still celebrate student success every year at commencement. She will be staying in Kansas City and won’t be too far away.
Lawrence has been eligible to retire for three years, but hasn’t been ready until now. She kept working because she enjoyed her job. But she said it’s time to let someone else take the reins.
“I’ve accomplished a lot and am proud of that,” Lawrence said. ” This job has been everything I’d ever wanted it to be.”
In 2016, Lawrence received the Chancellor’s Unsung Hero Award. It was a highlight for Lawrence – a personal and professional accomplishment.
“I’ve been extremely fortunate to do what I love at a place that I love.”