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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


Distinguished Services Awards Announced

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (May 3, 2013) – The Nigro Brothers Auctioneers, a Kansas City area group who helps raise millions of dollars for charity, and Diane Petrie, an alumna from Raytown who dedicates her life meeting health care needs of families at home and abroad, will receive Distinguished Service Awards from the University of Central Missouri. They will be honored during Spring 2013 Commencement Exercises, which could include up to 1,655 graduate and undergraduate students who are eligible to participate.

The Nigro Brothers Auctioneers
The Nigro Brothers Auctioneers

Members of the Nigro Brothers Auctioneers, David and George Nigro, Ben Aldrich, Toby Tyler, and Ron Stricker, will be honored during the undergraduate ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 11, in the Multipurpose Building, and Petrie will be recognized at 2 p.m. The two-day commencement celebration also includes the graduate ceremony at 7 p.m. Friday, May 10.

The Nigro Brothers will receive their award from UCM President Charles Ambrose in a ceremony which includes new graduates of the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies and the College of Education. The presentation to Petrie takes place in a ceremony with new graduates of the College of Health, Science, and Technology and the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. Ambrose will present the commencement address during both events. Speakers at the graduate ceremony will be Kristen Chemay Merrell, candidate for the Education Specialist in School Administration/Elementary School Principalship degree, and Curtis Joseph Beasley, candidate for the Master of Arts in Accountancy.

Diane Petrie
Diane Petrie

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. The recipients of this award must be people of such integrity, stature, and ability that UCM faculty, staff, students and alumni take pride and are inspired by their recognition.

Nigro Brothers Auctioneers have served as volunteer auctioneers/fundraisers for UCM's Celebrating Central Missouri Athletics Auction for the past 11 years.  This group has volunteered their time and talents to UCM each August and their work has helped raise over $1.5 million dollars 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 for Distinguished Service.

Known for their western hats, matching ties and their enthusiasm in raising money for various charities in Kansas City area, their mission is to help generate support for as many charities as possible. They work approximately 150 charity auctions a year and raise in excess of $5.5 million annually. In fact, while donating their time and efforts to give back to the communities they serve, the Nigro Brothers Auctioneers have raised over
$200 million for charities since the 1980s, sometimes helping charitable causes for people such as actor John Travolta and baseball legend Johnny Bench.

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 inner-city Chicago working a safety net clinic that targeted homeless people and others lacking health care insurance.