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University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG, MO (March 28, 2014) – The University of Central Missouri Student Government Association bestowed its highest honor, the James C. Kirkpatrick Excellence in Governance Award, on Steve Arbo, city manager of Lee’s Summit, Mo., Thursday evening in UCM’s James C. Kirkpatrick Library.
Arbo is the 29th recipient of the annual award. He was recognized in an SGA resolution for “his dedication to education while serving his community as a crucial member of the Lead Facilitators Group for the UCM Innovation Campus and as city manager of the city of Lee’s Summit.”
In remarks during the presentation ceremony, UCM President Charles Ambrose noted that Arbo’s dedication and leadership was a key factor in the successful development of the Missouri Innovation Campus, a collaborative effort of the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, UCM, the city of Lee’s Summit, Metropolitan Community College and Kansas City area corporate partners.
“Steve Arbo is committed to the growth of his community, and he recognizes the value of developing relationships,” Ambrose said. “He has fostered collaboration with educators and business leaders and developed an important relationship with his city council that has resulted in excellent opportunities for students.”
Arbo said he was honored to receive the award, which commemorates Kirkpatrick’s legacy of public service.
“High schools students with a sense of direction need to be given an opportunity to grow and be productive without incurring significant debt for higher education,” he said, referring to the opportunities offered by the Missouri Innovation Campus. “The city of Lee’s Summit became interested because of the belief that the future depends on new thinkers. You don’t go through life without being in touch with your community. You have to be dedicated to making a difference.”
Arbo added that one of the accomplishments during his career of which he is most proud is the opportunity work with more than 20 student interns.
“Some of them currently are city administrators, and one is an administrator with the Smithsonian,” he said. “My reward is the knowledge that I have had the opportunity to influence the futures of those I’ve worked with.”
Arbo was named city manager of Lee’s Summit in 2008 after serving as interim city manager in 2007 and deputy city manager from 2001 to 2007. Prior to joining Lee’s Summit city government, he was the city manager of Liberty, Mo.
He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from William Jewell College and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Kansas. He was named Public Administrator of the Year—Local: Mid-Size City Award from the Greater Kansas City chapter of the American Society of Public Administration in 2011. He has served as the president of the Missouri City Manager’s Association and is active in the International City/County Managers Association. Lee’s Summit Main Street named Arbo the 2011 Downtown Champion.
Since 1986 the UCM Student Government Association has presented the James C. Kirkpatrick Excellence in Governance award to individuals who have significantly contributed to effective government at all levels in the state of Missouri. The SGA Internal Issues Committee selects the recipient from nominees who promote good governmental procedures, efficiency and economy in government, and policies that are in the public’s best interest.
The award is named for the late James C. Kirkpatrick, a UCM alumnus who served a record 20 years as Missouri's Secretary of State. Past recipients of the award include Gov. Mel Carnahan, Gov. Matt Blunt, State Representative Deleta Williams, Sen. Claire McCaskill, Gov. Jay Nixon, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan and Missouri State Senator David Pearce.