UMKC Hosts Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg

Secretary Buttigieg toured campus and talked to students while on his trip to oversee new MCI terminal opening


Rex Stickney

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg speaks to a group of students about a federal grant recently awarded to UMKC.

Bre Blankenship, Editor-in-Chief

  Students from the UMKC School of Science and Engineering had the opportunity to interact with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg on Monday while he was on campus to highlight a newly awarded $10 million federal grant.

  The highly competitive endowment will provide $2 million annually for five years and was awarded to only 34 applicant schools out of 230. UMKC will lead four other schools in creating environmentally responsible transportation centers that serve communities that have been historically overlooked.

  Secretary Buttigieg is the highest-ranking government official to visit UMKC since President Harry Truman in 1945. Buttigieg toured the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise and Research Center from roof to basement with a posse of UMKC administration, observing the variety of labs focused on transportation innovation.

  “What we saw [at UMKC] was a lot of teamwork and collaboration with partnered institutions and a focus on making sure the technologies that are developed aren’t just developed for their own sake, but bring real benefits like safety and sustainability,” said Buttigieg.

  University Transportation Centers will assist the next generation of professionals to make our avenues of transport safer, more innovative and more timely by conducting research for improvements.

  Earlier in the day, Secretary Buttigieg toured the future Panasonic battery center and attended the opening of KCI’s new terminal with Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver during his visit to the Heartland.  

  UMKC alumni and students lent a helping hand in the $1.5 billion project through consultancy and artistic contribution.

  In addition to transportation initiatives, Buttigieg spoke on current state legislation that directly affects the ever-growing, diverse and inclusive UMKC student population.

  With 30 pieces of legislation pertaining to LGBTQ+ rights circulating in the Missouri government, Secretary Buttigieg wants young people to know they are not alone.

  “It’s already hard to be young and know you’re different, your state shouldn’t be making it harder,” Buttigieg said. “I have their back, a lot of people in their community have their back, and their president has their back.”  

  UMKC Chancellor Mauwli Agrawal is hopeful that students from the School of Science and Engineering will make for innovative contributors in their field. 

   “I am just so proud,” Agrawal said. “You will all take this forward and make it happen.”

  Watch the full interview with Secretary Buttigieg on the RooTV broadcast.

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