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University of Central Missouri
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UCM Alumnus Lucas Boyce Reminds MLK Dinner Audience that “The Dream Still Matters”

Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG, MO (Jan. 21, 2015) – “The dream still matters” was the message that UCM alumnus Lucas Boyce brought to those attending the annual Dr. Luther King, Jr. Freedom Scholarship Dinner Tuesday, Jan. 20, in the Elliott Student Union.

Lucas Boyce at 2015 MLK dinner
UCM alumnus Lucas Boyce was the keynote speaker at the 2015 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Scholarship Dinner, bringing his message that "the dream still matters."

Boyce, who received a bachelor’s degree in political science from UCM in 2003 and a master’s degree from Rollins College in 2013, currently is director of business development affairs for the Orlando Magic. However, his career path also has taken him to the White House in Washington, D.C., prior to his work with the NBA, meeting goals that he set for himself before he entered college in 1999.

Boyce told the audience of nearly 300 attendees about his premature birth to a drug-addicted mother and his placement into foster care with a woman who would adopt him and raise him with 12 siblings.

“My mom is a dreamer,” he said. “Because she adopted me and taught me I could achieve my dreams, I also could dream. I’ve couldn’t have had a better coach in life than my mom.”

Referencing the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that America could become a just society, Boyce urged the members of his audience to believe in what is possible, regardless of injustice and those who seek to limit opportunity. He also noted that successfully reaching goals not only requires the effort to make it happen, but the creativity to see what might be.

Boyce crediting faculty at UCM, particularly Greg Gunderson, Jim Staab and Sharlene Bax, with encouraging him and helping him find the opportunities to reach his dream, including an internship in the White House during the semester following Sept. 11, 2001.

That internship afforded him a chance opportunity to meet President George W. Bush, which led to his job monitoring regional political activity in the Office of Political Affairs. It also afforded him the opportunity to attain another of his pre-college goals—that of flying on Air Force One.

2014 MLK Scholarship recipients at 2015 dinner
Keynote speaker Lucas Boyce, left, and UCM President Charles Ambrose, right, congratulated 2014 Freedom Scholarship recipients, left to right, Aimee Ekstrom, Brandy Chaidez, Elexus Edwards, Aubrey Winn, Danielle Moore and Madison Saunders.

Boyce followed his five years at the White House with his current position with the Orlando Magic, fulfilling another of his goals of working with an NBA organization.

According to Boyce, five characteristics make a dreamer.

“You have to encourage and empower each other, believe in what’s possible, give more to get more, focus on the basics, and make character king,” he said. If we want to be dreamers, we have to encourage and empower each other—we have to believe that all things are possible.” He added that “many of the students who have gone or will go to this university have dreams that matter. What we do affects many.”

Following Boyce’s presentation, six of the nine 2014 Dr. Martin Luther King Scholarships recipients currently attending UCM were recognized. Those in attendance were Brandy Chaidez of Mesa, Ariz.; Elexus Edwards of Kansas City, Mo.; Aimee Ekstrom of Lake Ozark, Mo.; Danielle Moore of Kansas City, Kan.; Madison Saunders of Liberty, Mo.; and Aubrey Winn of Columbia, Mo. Unable to attend were Jocelynn Burnett of Advance, Mo.; Michael Pierson of Plattsburg, Mo.; and Anastasia Chaky of Warrensburg.

Attendance at the annual Freedom Scholarship Dinner, sponsorships and individual contributions through the UCM Foundation generate the funds to support the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Scholarships. The scholarships, which are awarded each spring to students who will attend UCM in the fall, are available to current UCM students and high school seniors from the Warrensburg and metropolitan Kansas City areas, as well as across the state of Missouri. During the past 17 years, $182,200 has been raised, providing 194 Freedom scholarships for area high school and UCM students.