On Aug. 29, the University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC) Foundation hosted “Dreams are Built on a Solid Foundation,” its annual donor dinner.
More than 100 guests gathered at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in midtown Kansas City to celebrate the legacy of first-generation college graduates at Kansas City’s urban-serving public research university.
During the program, Justice Horn, UMKC student government association president, introduced Mun Choi, president of the University of Missouri System and UMKC Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal. Chancellor Agrawal recognized honored guests, including Lee Wong Medina, Deputy Consul of the Mexican Consulate in Kansas City, and Peggy Dunn, mayor of Leawood.
Following a performance by the UMKC String Quartet, UMKC Foundation President Lisa B. Baronio shared a moving story detailing her father’s path to be the first in her family to get a college education, an opportunity that changed the course of generations.
“My father, Stuart, was the one who broke through and changed the trajectory of our family by being the first to earn a college degree,” Baronio said. “It became the family expectation for everyone who came after. That is the amazing power of public higher education.”
Myanmar immigrant and Thomas and Theresa Sullivan Scholarship recipient Ka Baw Say shared his journey from a Thailand refugee camp to his acceptance to the UMKC School of Education, where he pursues his dream of becoming a teacher.
“Ka, I have no doubt that your education will touch off a wave of generational change in your family,” Baronio said. “Support for scholarships and major initiatives changes lives – today and for generations to come.”