by Patricia O’Dell
Todd Newton makes pledge and estate gift provision to support scholarship
UMKC was not Todd Newton’s initial choice for college, but as a transfer student he became an ardent advocate of the university. Newton, BA, ’88, recently completed his term as treasurer of the UMKC Alumni Association and has committed $25,000 to the College of Arts and Sciences and is establishing a planned gift to endow a scholarship in political science.
Newton transferred from a larger university after his second year. He felt he was lost in the shuffle.
“I was just getting by – struggling – and I had no focus,” he says. “Some of my classes were larger than my graduating class in high school.”
One of his best friends was studying dentistry at UMKC and encouraged him to come to Kansas City. He considers his decision to transfer life-altering.
“I had always been interested in politics,” Newton says. “When I came to UMKC, I met with Dr. Dale Newman, who was my advisor. He gave me the opportunity to interview with the Kansas City, Missouri city council where I was assigned to several councilmen including Emmanuel Cleaver.”
Newton, who went on to work on former Kansas City Mayor Richard Berkley’s re-election campaign following his internships, believes that being able to develop strong ties with his professors was critical to his success.
“My grades improved and I became very passionate about what I was doing. UMKC is small enough that I was able to have personal relationships with my professors. We are still connecting.”
Newton’s mother was a college professor who instilled in him the value of education. She helped as much as she could, but he needed student loans to pay for college. He was interested in going to graduate school or law school, but as graduation neared, he felt he needed to start working to repay his loans. While he originally planned a career in politics, he was offered an opportunity to build his career in insurance – that eventually led to starting his own company. It’s not a decision he regrets.
“I felt that I was able to leap-frog professionally because UMKC provided an opportunity for real life experiences,” says Newton, who is currently chief marketing officer and partner with Resecō Insurance Advisors based in Phoenix, Arizona.
His connection to the university led Newton to accept a board position with the alumni association. His experience inspired him to continue to give back.
“I had to have loans to attend UMKC. A lot of the students I knew had loans, internships and jobs. I worked at a men’s clothing store while I was in school. Going to school and working puts you in the grown-up zone very quickly.”
Newton’s dedication to the university and his understanding of the pressure that student loans can bring led him to explore the possibility of establishing a scholarship for political science students.
“I would not be where I am today without UMKC,” Newton says. “I owe the university a lot.”