The UMKC Retirees Association (UMKCRA) has named the recipients of its annual retirement awards: Jakob Waterborg, Ph.D., Excellence in Retirement – Faculty; and Patricia Hovis-French, Ph.D., Excellence in Retirement – Staff.
The awards are normally presented at the association’s spring luncheon. However, the event was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, the association donated $2,000 to the UMKC Student Emergency Relief Fund.
Jakob Waterborg is no stranger to UMKC as many individuals from virtually all the university units know him. Waterborg is one of the 11 founding members of the Emeritus College and currently serves on its board. His contributions are wide-ranging — from maintaining the college’s website to serving as both secretary of the board and membership chair of the college. Waterborg also monitors the finances of the college. Waterborg was chair of the Emeritus College Committee that developed the new Early Career Faculty Award that provides travel funds to faculty just starting their careers. The workload that Waterborg took on to facilitate the success and growth of the Emeritus College has been substantial. Additionally, he served as chair of the UMKC Institutional BioSafety Committee (without pay) after he retired in 2014 until August 2018. He remains a member of this committee. Waterborg is regularly seen at campus events. He is a regular at the weekly seminar series where he actively participates, asking questions and making observations on the guest speaker’s work.
Patricia Hovis-French retired in 2001 and has been involved both in the School of Graduate Studies and UMKCRA. Hovis-French excelled at implementing education programs for international students on American culture in the classroom. She would individually counsel international students on teaching techniques in the context of our culture. She developed the Preparing Future Faculty Program and the certificate program in college teaching. The program has since grown, and she developed an online version. The latter has resulted in a surge of enrollment in the program. In retirement, she has worked tirelessly on advocating for underrepresented students in terms of the fellowship and scholarship now in the School of Graduate Studies. Hovis-French is always available as a retiree in advising graduate students in their programs of study, their research and career goals using her own life experiences as a model. She has also become very active in UMKCRA, serving as secretary and president of the Association. Many times, she was called out of retirement to help the School of Graduate Studies in developing policy and serves as an “institutional memory” of the division.