2015 Alumni Awards Celebration

On April 23rd UMKC alumni and friends celebrated the achievements of 17 individuals, one family and a dedicated husband and wife team at the 2015 Celebration Awards Luncheon.  Hosted by the UMKC Alumni Association Governing Board and event chair Ralph Reid (JD ’87), Swinney Recreation Center was once again transformed into a glittering ballroom for the over 650 guests who came to honor the accomplishments of the 2015 class of Award recipients.

The 2015 Awards Luncheon raised a total of $141,435 for scholarships. The portion collected during the event, $31,435, was twice as much as was raised live during the event last year. Over the years, the luncheon has raised more than $600,000 to support UMKC students across all the university’s schools and colleges.

Take a look at the accomplishments of our extraordinary class of awardees.


Alumnus of the Year
Nicholas Comninellis, M.D. ’82

Nicholas is changing the face of global health in the world’s poorest places. Under his leadership as resident and CEO, the Institute for International Medicine (INMED) has become a widely recognized leader in international health training. He has served the people of Honduras, China and the war-ravaged nation of Angola in Southern Africa. Upon his return to Missouri, he founded INMED to equip health care professionals and students to serve the forgotten.



Bill French Alumni Service Award
Annie Presley, M.P.A. ’95

An accomplished fundraiser, political consultant and entrepreneur, Annie is a tireless advocate for UMKC. She served as vice president of marketing and communications for the UMKC Alumni Association Governing Board, leading the refresh and rebrand of the Disney kangaroo. Annie also serves on the Bloch School’s Department of Public Affairs Advisory Council and on the UMKC Board of Trustees.



Defying the Odds Award
Eugene Agee, MBA ’98   

Gene says respect for people, regardless of their status in life, is his guiding principle. Enduring racism and gang violence during his young life in Chicago, he joined the Air Force at 17 and began his college career on the GI Bill. Today, Gene serves as vice president of procurement and real estate at Sprint, where he manages $17 billion in spending and 20 million square feet of commercial, retail and technical space. A 25-year Sprint veteran, Gene is a champion of small and minority-owned businesses and of minorities and women working within Sprint.



Spotlight Award
R. Andrew Lee, M.M. ’06, D.M.A. ’10 
David D. McIntire, D.M.A. ’09

Andy and David have garnered national attention in the world of classical music. Having met as graduate students at UMKC, the two formed Irritable Hedgehog Music in 2010 and quickly established their label as a significant voice in minimal and electroacoustic music. Several of their recordings have been   critically acclaimed around the world. Andy is associate university minister for liturgical and sacred music at Regis University in Colorado, and David is director of music technology studies at Missouri Western State University.



Chancellor’s Medal
Terry and Peggy Dunn
M.B.A. ’73 and B.S. ’72

As alumni, the Dunns have served in countless ways. They chaired the university’s capital campaign from 2000-2006, helping surpass a $200 million goal. This past spring, they funded the newly designated Terry and Peggy Dunn Family Classroom, an 80-seat, tiered classroom incorporating state-of-the-art technology. The space is used extensively for graduate and executive education for both Bloch School of Management students and for corporate leaders who receive leadership and entrepreneurship training from UMKC. “Terry and Peggy have been stalwart advocates for UMKC over the decades,” said Chancellor Morton. “It’s hard to find an area of campus that hasn’t benefitted from their involvement. We’re so pleased to be able to recognize them for their countless hours of service and dedication to this university.”



Legacy Award
The Fehr Family

Irene “Dolly” Fehr began the UMKC family legacy when she graduated in 1947 with a degree in economics, a field rarely chosen by women at the time. Her son, Donald, graduated from the School of Law and became one of the most prominent figures in professional sports law, serving first as the Major League Baseball Players Association executive director and later the director of the National Hockey League Players’ Association. With UMKC degrees in psychology and education, Don’s wife, Stephanie, is a New York state PTA consultant, advocating for families. In total, the legacy of 12 members of the extended Fehr family have been honored with this award.



William R. Ward, B.S. ’68
College of Arts & Sciences Alumni Achievement Award

Bill is an institute scientist at the Planetary Science Directorate of Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. A fellow of multiple societies, Bill was awarded both the Kuiper Prize in planetary sciences and the Brouwer Award in dynamical astronomy by the American Astronomical Society in honor of his lifetime achievements in advancing researchers’ understanding of planetary systems.



Jonathan M. White, B.S. ’98
School of Biological Sciences Alumni Achievement Award

Jon is a principal investigator on three National Cancer Institute (NCI) programs at MRIGlobal, one of the nation’s leading research institutes. An expert in his field, he has been responsible for several multimillion-dollar grants in the area of drug repositories and chemistry support for research being conducted through the NCI.



Karen Daniel, M.S. ’81
Henry W. Bloch School of Management Alumni Achievement Award

Karen serves as CFO and a member of the board of directors of Black & Veatch, a global engineering,  consulting and construction company. She is passionate about developing and mentoring future leaders. She has served as a key member of several boards in Kansas City and led the $80 million restoration of the Liberty Memorial.



Steve Edwards, B.S.E.E. ’78
School of Computing and Engineering Alumni Achievement Award

Steve is chairman and CEO of Black & Veatch, a multibillion-dollar engineering and construction company. His 36-year career includes experience in energy projects in North America, Southeast Asia, Australia and India. Steve contributes to his alma mater by serving on the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering Executive Advisory Council.



Narong Prangcharoen, D.M.A ’10
Conservatory of Music and Dance Alumni Achievement Award

A 2013 Guggenheim Fellow, Narong is recognized as one of the “national” composers of Thailand. His music, which bridges the East (Thailand) and the West, has been performed around the world. He founded and runs the Thailand International Composition Festival and is a composer-in-residence for the Pacific Symphony in California and the Thailand Philharmonic.



Bert W. Oettmeier, Jr., D.D.S. ’78
School of Dentistry Alumni Achievement Award

Bert currently serves as the national vice president of the American College of Dentists. He was president of the Kansas Dental Association, recognized as Dentist of the Year and received an award for his Kansas legislative efforts supporting patient rights. Bert has contributed as a UMKC Trustee and also as chair of the School of Dentistry’s Rinehart Foundation.



Toni Erickson, B.S.D.H. ’93
School of Dentistry, Dental Hygiene Alumni Achievement Award

Toni is a clinical assistant professor and clinical examiner for several research studies at the School of Dentistry. Faculty and students, who chose her as the Clinical Instructor of the Year, recognize her enthusiasm and commitment to teaching. She started HealthStaff Dental Staffing Solutions, which specializes in the permanent and temporary placement of dental professionals in the Kansas City area.



Larry Long, Jr., Ph.D. ’97
School of Education Alumni Achievement Award

Larry is the senior director of counseling and educational support services at KU Medical Center. There, he coordinates education, psychological, psychiatric, writing and career services for more than 3,000 health students. He developed the Position in Counseling Centers (PICC), a first-of-its-kind website that informs students and professionals about employment openings in counseling centers around the country.



Raymond T. Wagner, Jr., J.D. ’85
School of Law Alumni Achievement Award

Ray is the vice president of government and public affairs at Enterprise Holdings and an adjunct professor at Washington University School of Law. After his eldest son developed a staph infection while being treated at a hospital, Ray turned that difficult time into action by working on a significant piece of legislation called the Missouri Hospital Infection Control Act.  The bill, passed by the Missouri General Assembly as “Raymond’s Law,” aims to reduce the incidence of infection by requiring hospitals to keep track of their rates of infection and submit that information to be publicly posted by the Missouri Department of Health.  In the ten years similar bills have passed in more than 35 states.



Kimberly Wiele, M.D. ’81
School of Medicine Alumni Achievement Award

Kim, a radiologist and assistant professor of radiology at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at Washington University, has dedicated her career to breast cancer imaging and awareness. She is described as one of the best breast imagers in the country for her ability to detect malignancy on a screening examination, evaluate findings with diagnostic imaging and perform multi-modality breast procedures.



Jacquelyn Boan, M.S.N. ’95
School of Nursing Alumni Achievement Award

A nurse practitioner for more than 17 years, Jackie is known for her expertise in advanced nursing practice in geriatrics. She networks with area universities, providing guest lectures and a clinical practice setting for mentoring students. Jackie has presented at the national level and worked with state and federal regulatory agencies to improve the quality of long-term care in northwest Missouri.



Timothy G. Mitchell, B.S.P. ’96
School of Pharmacy Alumni Achievement Award

Tim was one of the first pharmacy responders on-site after the Joplin, Mo., tornado, dispensing many medications from his own supply. He owns four health-care businesses and is a strong supporter of independent pharmacy. He is a past president of the Missouri Pharmacy Association and received the 2005 Distinguished Young Pharmacist Award and the 2013 UMKC School of Pharmacy Alumni Service Award.