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UCM Honors Nigro Brothers Auctioneers, Diane Petrie for Distinguished Service

The Nigro Brothers Auctioneers, a Kansas City area group who helps to raise millions of dollars for charity, and Diane Petrie, a 2012 alumna from Raytown who dedicates her life to meet health care needs of families at home and abroad, received Distinguished Service Awards from the University of Central Missouri during spring commencement ceremonies May 11. The university also presented diplomas to 1,655 graduate and undergraduate participants.

The Distinguished Service Award was established by the UCM Board of Governors to recognize individuals who have rendered exemplary and extended service to their communities, the state and sometimes, throughout the world. Recipients must be people of such integrity, stature and ability that UCM faculty, staff, students and alumni take pride and are inspired by their recognition.

President Chuck Ambrose presents the Nigro Brothers Auctioneers with the university's Distinguished Service Award.


The Nigro Brothers Auctioneers are David and George Nigro, Ben Aldrich, Toby Tyler and Ron Stricker. They have served as volunteer auctioneers and fundraisers for UCM’s Celebrating Central Missouri Athletics Auction for the past 11 years. The group has volunteered their time and talents to UCM each August, and their work has helped raise more than $1.5 million for UCM's athletic programs. In addition, the Nigro Brothers have served as goodwill ambassadors for the university, with many family members and friends now attending UCM. In 2007, the Nigro Brothers Auctioneers were inducted into the UCM Athletic Hall of Fame. Known for their western hats, matching ties and enthusiasm in raising money for various charities, they work some 150 charity auctions and raise more than $5.5 million annually. Since the 1980s, they have raised more than $200 million helping charitable causes for people such as actor John Travolta and baseball legend Johnny Bench.

President Chuck Ambrose with UCM Alumna Diane Petrie
President Chuck Ambrose presents UCM alumna Diane Petrie with the university's Distinguished Service Award.

With a strong religious faith and a desire to help promote holistic health care and health education for underserved populations, Diane Petrie has served patients at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City and across the globe. She completed her master's degree in rural family nursing from UCM in May 2012 and earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Cedarville University in Ohio in 2007.

After graduating from UCM, she became a certified family nurse practitioner and has worked as a critical care advanced practice nurse at Children’s Mercy Hospital since July 2012. Her previous work in nursing includes posts at St. Luke's Hospital and St. Joseph Medical Center in Kansas City, in addition to serving as a critical care staff nurse in the emergency department at Children’s Mercy Hospital.

Petrie's desire to advance her credentials so she could help others led to her international public health certification, following a mission trip to Nalerigu, Ghana, in October 2012, where she focused on patients and public health in a resource-limited community. There, she spent five weeks teaching and training in a neonatal resuscitation program known as Helping Babies Breathe.

Petrie and her husband, Sean, a youth pastor, have also served international communities in places such as Mexico, where they erected a building, and the Bahamas, where they worked with children. Closer to home, they spent a summer in innercity Chicago, working a safety net clinic that targeted homeless people and other people without health care insurance.