Chancellor Agrawal delivers the 2023 State of the University Address

As UMKC grows, its leadership encourages campus to keep striving for greatness

With much construction and change, UMKC continues to be recognized for its research and sustainability

Ellen Beshuk, Co-News Editor

  Chancellor Agrawal declared his desire for UMKC to be seen as the outstanding university it is on April 17 during the annual State of the University Address in the Student Union. 

  As the fiscal school year ends, UMKC looks ahead to renovation, research, campus changes and creating community. 

  “We’re experiencing too much success to allow the notion that UMKC is a quote-unquote hidden gem,” Agrawal said. “It’s time to remove the covers and reveal our excellence.”

Partnering with KC

  To keep UMKC in its hometown’s thoughts the Department of Strategic Marketing and Communications is teaming up with the Kansas City community.

  Last Friday, Agrawal showed the university’s connection with the KC Royals as he threw the first pitch at UMKC Night at the K, and he will start a new partnership with the local zoo on May 20 with the opening of an exhibit in the Australian section. 

  UMKC also increased enrollment and created a way for high school students to earn college credits by partnering with the Kansas City Boys and Girls Club, Kansas City Public Schools and the North Kansas City Public Schools.

  Everyone visiting Kansas City will see the campus’ prominence as they arrive at the KCI airport, which displays Professor Kati Toivanen’s artwork. In addition to the arts, the university also contributes to the future of science.

  In fact, UMKC is Kansas City’s only public research institution and is devoted to cutting-edge research techniques. This dedication attracted prominent national figures including Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg

UMKC’s Future


  By 2026, the School of Dentistry and Medicine will add two buildings. The first will be constructed in St. Joseph, Missouri, and provide training in rural healthcare for future doctors. The other will be a healthcare innovation and delivery building to increase capacity of the professional schools. 

  UMKC designated four million dollars to the Conservatory for renovations to Grant Recital Hall, study practice rooms and future facilities as enrollment increases. 

  Besides construction, campus will also have more spaces for pedestrians, as the chancellor works to close off traffic on 51st Street from Cherry to Rockhill. 

  “I can just imagine the transformation,” Agrawal said. “Plantings and greenery, string lights, places to sit and gather.” 

  This focus on community also initiated the future opening of a faculty lounge in Newcomb Hall and the transformation of the field next to Johnson Hall into a recreational soccer and cricket field this summer. 

  With the street car coming to campus in 2025, fewer students may have to drive, and the station could create a destination spot for concerts, retail, and athletics. Other climate conscience changes include converting all the lights on campus to LEDs over the next three years.


  First Generation Roo is a recent addition to campus that provides students with an early introduction to college and its community. The chancellor noted students in First Gen had a 22% higher GPA and a 10% higher retention rate than first-generation students that did not participate. 

  “​​People think the biggest part of First Gen is helping with academics and financial support,” said Megan Elsen, associate director for Academic Support and Mentoring. “It’s [actually] creating a safe space for first-generation college students to meet people and feel comfortable on campus”

  Agrawal also expressed a need for more full-time faculty and announced that university employees’ hourly rate will increase to $15 by the end of the calendar year. 

  Watch highlights of the chancellor’s speech on Youtube.

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