By Shannan Henderson
UMKC is often referred to as Kansas City’s university because of the rich connections forged between the business and civic communities and the university. This is exemplified by the UMKC Trustees’ Scholar Program.
The Trustees’ Scholars Program brings the best students to UMKC campus and connects them with community sponsors. Through internships, mentoring and ongoing networking, the scholars develop strong relationships with Kansas City’s business and civic leaders.
Many local companies, such as Kansas City Southern, sponsor scholarships and take an active mentorship role with the recipient of their award. As a Kansas City headquartered business, Kansas City Southern has many ties to UMKC and the UMKC Foundation; Warren Erdman, Executive Vice President of Administration and Corporate Affairs for Kansas City Southern, serves on the Foundation and Trustees’ Board.
Warren, along with Kevin McIntosh, Assistant Vice President of State and Local Relations for Kansas City Southern, worked to establish Kansas City Southern’s Trustees’ Scholarship. Kevin has taken the role of mentorship to the four students who have been sponsored by KC Southern. He also currently serves on the Henry W. Bloch School of Management Advisory Committee.
“I’ve always been an advocate of higher education,” Kevin says. “And certainly seeing the maturation of young students as they go through their college experience and become prepared for their professional life. These students are “the elite of the elite.”
For Kansas City Southern, their vision for their participation in the program has adapted over the years.
Originally “the vision that we had when we first started the Trustees Scholar, we wanted it to be very unique and provide an opportunity for kids of our sister company in Mexico, Kansas City Southern de Mexico,” Kevin says. “So it was a really a good thing to have an opportunity for a son or daughter of one of our employees in Mexico to have a rich educational experience in the United States. We did that for our first two trustees’ scholars.”
“We shifted a little bit of our focus,” he continued. “It just happened that our last two trustees’ scholars were from the United States and, more specifically, we were very fortunate that they were from the Kansas City area.”
Katelyn McAlister is the current Kansas City Southern sponsored Trustee Scholar and from Raytown, Missouri. She is studying Business Administration.
My favorite part of the program would be “the open-ended mentoring that I get with [Kevin McIntosh].” Katelyn says. “He has taken the initiative to act as my sponsor. We meet frequently and often discuss things that aren’t necessarily related to my degree program. It keeps our relationship more grounded, but more importantly, it shows me that he cares more about the grades that I make; he cares more about the experiences and resources that I’m collecting.”
Scholars in the program receive a full-ride scholarship, two years of on-campus room and board, a stipend for living expenses for the additional two years, internship opportunities and support from the UMKC Board of Trustees.
Additional benefits of the program are “the exposure to the business community and the exposure to being leaders,” Kevin says. “The folks that are in this are pretty much natural leaders, but they take on a different side and style of leadership -especially those who are immersed in campus life. They are high performers, they are involved in community and campus groups, and are immersed in other things other than their studies. I think that gives them a very rich experience.”
Kansas City Southern’s involvement in this program has been very beneficial to both the students sponsored and to the university.
“KC Southern has a deep respect for the Trustees Scholars for what they do,” Kevin emphasized. “We take great pride in our sponsorship and seeing the maturation and development of these students as they transition from student into young professional. We take great pride in supporting our local school.”
UMKC is proud of the Trustees’ Scholars Programs and its strong partnerships in the community, such as Kansas City Southern. If you would like more information on the UMKC Trustees’ and their Scholars Program, please visit https://www.umkc.edu/trustees/default.asp.