Farewell Letter

U-News Staff

As my presidency enters its final stages, it is not only appropriate but also imperative to personally recognize those individuals who have contributed to the success of this administration. As Cicero once said: “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”

Upon taking office unexpectedly in September, I was daunted by the challenges ahead and the responsibility this office holds with our Student Body.

These individuals have mentored, supported, galvanized, encouraged and even challenged this Executive board through countless obstacles these past two semesters; they deserve a heartfelt recognition for their dedication to student success on this campus:

First and foremost, our warmest regards to the celebrated Chancellor Leo Morton and Vice-Chancellor Mel Tyler, men driven by a passion for this institution and its students.

To the unforgettable Dean of Students Dr. Eric Grospitch, an icon of student advocacy, thank you friend for being an ear to our concerns and an open door for conversation.

Dr. Angela Cottrell, our advisor and committed mentor, thank you for your patience and the MSA and OSI office, with the resilient Richard Monroe and the welcoming LaNee Bridewell, for the continual guidance.

To my dream team, perhaps the best Executive Board in recent UMKC history: the enthusiastic and ambitious Ida Ayelew; my loyal friend and mentor Andrew Miller, this SGA’s Joe Biden; the understanding Jake Newstrom, and the visionary Alex Varon. SGA senators & SAFC Reps, congratulations on a job well done.

To my peer mentors, the wise and genius Bradley Hook, the incredible Mike Hardin—THE consultant among consultants; Rachel Jenkins, my close confidant, I am humbled by the care of your friendships; and finally the notable Caleb Michael-Files, the one who, through RooServe, set me on this Student Government track.

My deepest gratitude to my faculty mentors—Dr. Viviana Grieco, a scholar and a friend, I am forever indebted for your tireless dedication to my professional and academic success throughout these years; Ambassador Dr. Allan Katz, a beacon of civil dialog, thank you for reconnecting to revitalize the RFK Symposium and for our partnership with The Village Square; Dr. Shannon Jackson & Dr. James Sturgeon, for opening my eyes to the collegiate issues many student leaders have unperceived; and Dr. Jim Sheppard for not giving me an answer when in fact I wanted one; for prompting me to challenge my reality. A special acknowledgement to Dr. Alberto Villamandos, Dr. Norma Cantú, Dr. Louis Imperiale, Dr. Alice Reckley, Dr. Carla Klausner, and, Dr. Diane Mutti-Burke for influencing the formation of my character in and outside the classroom.

Last but not least, to my family (Amá, Apá, & Danny), and to friends who have been by my side with unconditional support and care all these years: my brothers of ΛΘΦ (my LB Eric and PM Tony, George, Adrian, Mark, and Gio, my Big); my friends Maggie Scanlon, Stephanie Marquez, Stephanie Dueña, Luke Abouhalkah, Diego Barra, Lexi Merrell, Stephen Ray, Chad King, Quoc Mai, and my partner, the darling Holly Grimwood.

Thank you all for making this past year one of the most memorable in my short time here on earth. Thus far, it has been my life’s honor to have served as Student Body President of the institution We proudly call home.


Your humble servant,

Juan José Bettancourt-García