View photos from the 2016 Alumni Awards Celebration

UMKC Alumni Award Recipients

Each year, UMKC honors some of the best in its alumni ranks. The UMKC Alumni Association Governing Board and the campus have announced the winners of the 2016 Alumni Awards. The 2016 Alumni Awards luncheon was held on April 21st, at which time the campus and community recognized these individuals - and the Legacy Awardee family - for their accomplishments and service.

Campus-Wide Award Recipients

Alumnus of the Year - Alexander Garza (’90 Biological Sciences)
As Chief Medical Officer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from 2009-13, Dr. Alex Garza (B.S. ’90) led the nation’s health and security efforts in combatting both natural disasters and terror threats. His office led DHS programs including the BioWatch program and the National Biosurveillance Integration Center. He served as the DHS lead in response to the H1N1 pandemic, and the health lead for multiple disasters including the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the Haiti earthquake. Today, he serves as Associate Dean for Public Health Practice and Professor in Epidemiology at the Saint Louis University College of Public Health and Social Justice.

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Spotlight Award - Darrel W. Stephens (’74 Arts & Sciences)
Darrel W. Stephens has transformed American policing and has earned a lifetime national reputation for progressive law enforcement. He is Executive Director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association and is a member of the faculty of the Public Safety Leadership Program at the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University. He served as chief of police for multiple cities, including Charlotte-Mecklenburg, St. Petersburg, Fla., Largo, Fla., and Newport News, Va. Best known for advancing innovative approaches to policing, he was inducted into the “Evidence Based Policing Hall of Fame” by the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University in 2010.



Bill French Alumni Service Award - Julia M. Wilson (’84 Management)
Teamwork is a value Julie Wilson wields daily in her role as Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer at Cerner Corp. That central focus characterized her time as a UMKC athlete and describes the volunteerism and dedication Wilson has shown to UMKC and, specifically, to UMKC athletics. Following an exciting basketball career including two NAIA Honorable Mention all-American selections and three NAIA all-District 16 selections and the NAIA Frank L. Hesselroth Award, Wilson became a central supporter of the UMKC Athletics program.



Defying the Odds Award - Judy G. Jacobs (’77 Management, ‘86 Education)
After Germany occupied Hungary in 1944, Judy Jacobs and her family were placed in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp when she was seven years old. She lost many loved ones in the gas chambers of Auschwitz. When she and her parents were freed, she was sent off – young, alone and scared – to boarding school while her parents attempted to rebuild their lives. In 1946, Jacobs and her family moved to the United States. Despite everything they had experienced, her parents passed on their belief in the importance of education and Jacobs went on to college. Jacobs came to UMKC to earn her MBA and a Ph.D. in higher education administration and finance and completed her degrees while working and raising a family. Today, Jacobs utilizes her education and her experiences during WWII to teach others about the Holocaust and makes every possible effort to accept every speaking engagement she can.



Legacy Award - The Armacost Family
The Armacost family’s Kangaroo tradition began with the University of Kansas City (UKC), the predecessor to the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Lucille Cahill Armacost graduated from UKC in 1938 and her husband, the late Don R. Armacost, Sr., former owner of Peterson Manufacturing Company, graduated in 1940. Their son, Don R. Armacost, Jr., CEO of Peterson Manufacturing Co., graduated from the Henry W. Bloch School of Management in 1966 and received that school’s 1990 Alumni Achievement Award. Other graduates of the Armacost family include Jarrett Bertoncin (B.A. ’94, M.F.A. ’96, Arts & Sciences) who is an active member of the College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Board and current board president. In 2010, Lucille Armacost created the Don & Lucille Armacost Scholarship, one of the largest and most prestigious scholarships at UMKC.  (Pictured top row l-r: Lucille, Don Sr., bottom row l-r: Don Jr., Jarrett)



School-based Award Recipients

College of Arts & Sciences
Jim Caruso (B.A. ’89, M.A. ’90)

CEO of Flying Dog Brewery, Jim Caruso got his start in the restaurant business as a busboy with Denny’s and eventually became the corporate Vice President.


School of Biological Sciences
Bernard Beall (B.S. ‘82, M.S. ‘85)

Bernard Beall, Ph.D., heads the Streptococcus Laboratory within the Division of Bacterial Diseases’ Respiratory Diseases Branch in the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.


Bloch School of Management
Doug Baker (M.B.A. ’95)

Doug Baker is  Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer for Discovery Networks International, a division of Discovery Communications, the leader in global entertainment reaching 3 billion cumulative subscribers.



School of Computing & Engineering
Fareed Adib (B.S. ’00)

Fareed Adib is the Chief Technology Officer at Vista Equity Partners, a leading private equity firm that invests in software and technology-enabled businesses. Previously he was the global head of Telecom Business Development and Partnership for Android at Google, where he was responsible for furthering efforts around the Android ecosystem with global Telecom and OEM partners.


Conservatory of Music and Dance
Charles Bruffy (M.M. ’88)

Artistic director of the Kansas City Chorale since 1988 and the Phoenix Chorale since 1999, Charles Bruffy’s recordings have been honored with a total of nine Grammy nominations and five Grammy wins.


School of Dentistry
Charles F. Squire (D.D.S. ’68)

During his career, Squire was a periodontist and served patients in Wichita, KS, who also served on the State Board of Dentistry in Kansas and participated in a variety of local and national roles.


School of Dentistry - Dental Hygiene
Ashley Grill (B.S.D.H. ’99)

A speaker, writer and leader in the field of oral health, Ashley Grill is an adjunct clinical assistant professor at New York University and has served in numerous leadership roles including the New Hampshire Dental Hygienists’ Association, New Hampshire Public Health Association and the American Dental Hygienists’ Association. She is currently the president-elect of the New York Dental Hygienists' Association.


School of Education
Scott Harlan Brownlee (M.A. ’04)

With more than 30 years of experience in the arts as an educator, performing artist and administrator, Harlan Brownlee has served as president and CEO of ArtsKC Regional Arts Council and as executive director for Young Audiences. Today he is the CEO of the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, an organization that brings dance to people across Kansas City.



School of Law
Jean Peters Baker (J.D. ’98)

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker has earned recognition in her role for a number of leadership and community safety initiatives, including Kansas City’s No Violence Alliance (NoVA), which received significant a national award from the FBI.


School of Medicine
Karen Remley (M.D. ’80)

In 2015, Dr. Karen Remley was named executive director and CEO of the American Academy of Pediatrics – the first woman to serve in that role. She previously served as Commissioner of Health for the Commonwealth of Virginia, leading during the time of the H1N1 outbreak.


School of Nursing and Health Studies
Cathy L. Young (M.S.N. ’92)

Dr. Cathy Young is an associate professor at Texas Christian University and has served as president of the Northeast Arkansas Nurse Practitioner Association, and in 2015, was one of 168 leaders to be inducted into the American Academy of Nursing.


School of Pharmacy
Deborah Kavanaugh (B.S.P. ’85)

Debbie Kavanaugh’s pharmacy career has included positions at Roche and as regional sales director at Novartis and Pfizer as well as practicing and preceptoring students at the Kansas City VA Medical Center; she is also past president of the Missouri Society of Health System Pharmacists.