Dr. Linda Hood Talbott Presents Honors College Gift

Dr. Linda Hood Talbott, distinguished University of Missouri-Kansas City Honors Program alumna and community donor, presented the Honors College with a very special gift at the annual end of year banquet on Friday, April 21, 2017. Read the transcription of her presentation speech below.

Welcoming Remarks and Gift Presentation for the UMKC Honors College

by Dr. Linda Hood Talbott

April 21, 2017

It is my great pleasure to meet with all of you this evening to celebrate the benefits of the UMKC Honors College and its graduating class of 2017.

As a former student in the Honors Program at UMKC, as well as a major donor to endow the Honors College and to provide its first student scholarships, I am thrilled with the Honors College accomplishments to date (since its start in 2015). It has attracted diverse, gifted and talented undergraduate students with diverse backgrounds, diverse cultures, diverse ethnicity, diverse skills, and with diverse academic fields of major interest.

The UMKC Honors College has a fascinating demographic profile. By our Fall 2017 enrollment, we anticipate approximately four hundred participants – more than double our initial enrollment in 2015 (one hundred and eighty).

In the fall of 2016, almost thirty percent of the enrolled honors students represented diverse ethnic backgrounds (including Asian, African-American, Hispanic, and those who represented two or more races).

The initial fall 2015 enrollment of the Honors College included undergraduate students with fifty-five different academic majors. The top ten academic majors were as follows: (1) Biology, including many students seeking careers in the health professions; (2) Business Administration; (3) Chemistry; (4) Psychology; (5) Foreign Languages and Literatures; (6) Pre-Dentistry; (7) English; (8) Communication Studies; (9) Philosophy; and (10) Nursing.

The gender demographics of the Honors College are very significant regarding the future area workforce. The Fall 2016 enrollment was seventy-one percent female and twenty-nine percent male, suggesting that the Honors College is an attractive magnet for highly talented female students.

Academic excellence is the primary mission of the UMKC Honors College. The College promotes a climate that develops independent thinkers and challenges them to achieve their personal potential. The Honors College goal is to build a community of engaged lifetime learners who, through superior scholarship, ethical integrity, and community service engagement, substantially enhance the reputation of the greater University and the urban metropolitan area.

Through a broadly liberal and interdisciplinary general education, Honors College students can access challenging and memorable study abroad ventures and undergraduate research opportunities that enrich their intellectual foundation and problem-solving skills to become leaders and innovative thinkers in their major academic fields. While learning the specifics of their major field of interest, Honors College students learn how to write clearly, how to express themselves convincingly to diverse cultural audiences, and how to think analytically. Students who graduate from the Honors College will receive a degree from their major academic discipline and the University Honors designation on their UMKC diploma. Those students who complete a senior honors thesis will also receive the Honors Scholar designation.

My primary role in tonight’s program is to make a special presentation to celebrate the establishment of the Honors College at UMKC, to recognize the outstanding leadership of Dr. James McKusick as the College’s founding dean, and to congratulate the Honors College graduating class of 2017.

On this day of celebration, I’m giving to the UMKC Honors College an autographed Pablo Picasso lithograph called “Bouquet des Fleurs,” completed in 1958 as Picasso’s favorite artwork of congratulations. Here it is! It will hang in the Honors College and be visible to our students, faculty, staff and visitors.

A framed description goes with this artwork and it reads:

            “Bouquet des Fleurs” by Pablo Picasso, 1958

            Given to the UMKC Foundation in celebration of the establishment of the UMKC Honors College (in summer 2015) and its founding dean, Dr. James C. McKusick, who has provided leadership and vision for the College and its outstanding students. Given with appreciation by Linda Hood Talbott, Ph.D., former UMKC honors student, faculty member, development officer and community donor of the first Honors College Scholarship and Endowment.

I’m going to close tonight with a special word of advice from a famous UMKC professor – the American poet John Ciardi, who created a bit of memorable advice that was engraved above the Swinney Recreation Center. It reads: “Run hard, leap high, throw strongly, and endure.”

Thank you for your attention. My best wishes to each of you as you embark upon your life journey. I am confident that you will “run hard, leap high, throw strongly, and endure.”