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American Democracy Project

Dr. Shari Bax
Administration Building 214
Warrensburg, MO 64093

Pursuit of Happiness

Pursuit of Happiness Day

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Every year at University of Central Missouri an award is given on Pursuit of Happiness Day to a faculty or staff member that goes beyond the call of duty to make others happy. Below you will find features on a few of our recent award recipients.

Previous Award Winners

Kristie Brinkleyphoto

"Being thankful for each day, no matter what may happen. Each day is a gift and we can always find something positive to focus on! Knowing the fact that I can help others makes me happy!", said Kristie Brinkley when asked what happiness means to her. Kristie is the Assistant Director of Student Activities for Volunteer and Non-Traditional Student Services at the University of Central Missouri and has worked in the office for the past 16 years. Her position includes advising three student groups, organizing University blood drives, planning service events for the UCM community, being a resource and referral for UCM’s Nontraditional Students and networking with the Warrensburg community to facilitate volunteer opportunities.


Kristie has served on the Johnson County CLIMB and ECHO Board of Directors and is also a former board member with Johnson County Habitat for Humanity and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Johnson County. Kristie enjoys spending time with her husband, Bill, and 2 sons, Billy age 14 and J.P. age 11. She also enjoys cooking, watching movies and entertaining friends and family at her home.She is proud to be a part of the UCM and Warrensburg communities and plans to keep her family in this area for years to come.

John Culpphoto

John Culp won the Pursuit of Happiness award in 2013, and in that same year was recognized by the Royals for his efforts to create awareness and promote legislation to combat eating disorders. John practices the Pursuit of Happiness by giving a smile or encouraging word to people he meets throughout his day, and is always looking for ways to help people of the campus and the community. He believes strongly in the 3 Fs which are faith, family and friends.


John is in his 12th year as the program development and retention coordinator for UCM Athletics where he is tasked with making sure student athletes stay on track to graduate. He is a proud alumni of UCM and has a rich history with the university that spans decades. John has previously served on the Warrensburg City Council, the Alumni Board and currently serves on the board for Survival House.

Trish Hubbardphoto

For Trish happiness means “being able to enjoy and appreciate what you have and to encourage the strengths within each person and watch them bloom”. Trish Hubbard has been an Office Professional for the Department of Communication Disorders and Social Work since July 1, 2011 and worked in the Department of Chemistry and Physics for 13 years before that. She loves working on campus with the friendly students and kind and caring faculty.


In Trish’s off time, you will find her enjoying her family, which includes four amazing grand kids, or cooking for youth age kids. She and her husband have the privilege of going with their church high school seniors on their senior trip each year to Florida or California. Trish gets to cook and her husband helps with the transportation. There are also retreats and events like "I Love Odessa" that Trish cooks for, along with a great team of helpers. She lives in rural Odessa and loves the country life.

About Pursuit of Happiness Initiative:
In 1776, Thomas Jefferson pinned these words in the Declaration of Independence, proclaiming all people had the unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Pursuit of Happiness Day is a day to reflect and celebrate happiness and our right to pursue it. The Pursuit of Happiness Day occurs each year on April 13, Thomas Jefferson's birthday.

UCM will celebrate the Pursuit of Happiness Day to promote the mission of the national Happiness Initiative. The goals of the Happiness Initiative are to work for a just, healthy and resilient society where all people have the opportunity to pursue happiness.

Photos from Pursuit of Happiness Day 2016:

Kristie Brinkley
Pursuit of Happiness Day award to Kristie Brinkley

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