Max Skidmore: A UMKC historian

Dr. Max Skidmore’s office is a fire hazard. 

Bookshelves cover the walls from ceiling to floor, not an inch of shelf space is wasted and there seems to be a book for any question one might have about American politics. At least two dozen of these books have something in common: they were all penned by Skidmore as a testament to his research and passion for American politics.

Skidmore has taught at UMKC for almost 35 years, served as dean of Eastern New Mexico University and the political science department at Missouri State University, taught at the University of Alabama and worked as program review director for the U.S. Department of Education. 

Skidmore’s career is one marked by excellence. In India, he served as a distinguished Fulbright lecturer and served as senior Fulbright scholar in Hong Kong. 

Skidmore is an experienced traveler, recalling trips to South America and even Antarctica. The funds from his Thomas Jefferson award stipend funded his voyage to the south of our globe, an adventure many only dream of. 

When asked what cultural practices he would bring to America, Skidmore didn’t hesitate.

“All other advanced industrial countries take care of everyone’s healthcare,” Skidmore said, choosing his words carefully as he told the story of an old colleague who dreamt of becoming the president of his alma mater but was forced to turn the job down because he needed a specific health care provider. In a country that prides itself on freedoms, Skidmore said our healthcare system does not truly allow us to be free. 

Skidmore is full of these anecdotal stories; he always finds a way to use his rich life experiences to teach invaluable lessons. The opportunity to take a course taught by Skidmore is one no one should pass up. When asked if there was a course that students of all majors could benefit from, Skidmore offered one of his own, Presidential Politics, which he believes can help us all become more politically savvy in a contentious political cycle.

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