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UCM Honors Kansas City Publisher, Community Leader During Commencement

By Jeff Murphy, December 6, 2017

WARRENSBURG, MO – In addition to honoring  more than 1,300 new graduates, the University of Central Missouri will recognize Kansas City newspaper publisher and active member of the Hispanic/Latino community, Jose “Joe” Arce, during 2017 Fall Commencement exercises Friday and Saturday, Dec. 8-9.

Commencement exercises take place in the Multipurpose Building and begin at 6 p.m. Friday with the graduate ceremony, followed by one morning and one afternoon undergraduate ceremony on Saturday. The first undergraduate commencement begins at 10 a.m. and is for new graduates of the Adrian and Margaret Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies and the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. Degrees will be conferred upon graduates of the College of Health, Science, and Technology, and the College of Education at2 p.m.

Charles Ambrose, UCM president, will present the commencement address at all three ceremonies. Special remarks by Tirth Raj Khaniya, vice chancellor professor, at Tribhuvan University in Nepal, also will be made during the Saturday afternoon commencement.

The honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, will be bestowed upon Arce during the 10 a.m. exercises Saturday. The honorary doctorate is awarded by the authority of the university’s Board of Governors and is presented to individuals who have distinguished themselves through outstanding service and exemplary achievements within their fields of endeavor in a way that make honorees an inspiration to others. Arce is a newspaper owner and civic leader in Kansas City who has extended his passion and love for the Latino/Hispanic community from his hometown to the halls and classrooms on the UCM campus.

Having grown up in the heart of Kansas City’s Latino community, Arce is a fervent advocate for opportunities to serve young people through education so that they can become tomorrow’s leaders. Consistent with this goal, he has worked with three UCM presidents since 2003 to ensure the university keeps an open door to opportunities to serve his community’s educational needs. His strong support for the university and persistence is evident in the overall growth of UCM’s Hispanic/Latino population which has climbed from 1.4 percent of the total undergraduate student population to 4.1 percent during this time.

An important factor related to the perception Latino/Hispanic students have toward UCM is an outcome of  Arce’s 15 years of service as founder and chair of the Cesar E. Chavez Committee, which has helped promote the university and support students through Cesar E. Chavez Scholarships. Three students were honored with $12,500 scholarships in spring 2017. This is a milestone since the scholarship’s inception, and more than $200,000 in scholarship funds have now been dispersed to benefit Latino students who are college-bound for UCM. Arce also has served the university and its students, faculty and staff in other capacities, including his participation on the Presidential Search Advisory Committee in 2010.

In his professional role, he has spent the last 45 years covering local news and mentoring young journalists, having begun his career as a photo journalist and reporter for WDAF-TV Fox 4. Proud of his heritage and the opportunity to provide members of the Latino community a voice regarding local activities and issues, he has spent the past 21 years publishing his own newspaper, “Kansas City Hispanic News.” When he is not gathering and reporting news, he is supporting his profession as the founder and president of the Hispanic Media Association of Greater Kansas City.

Arce’s personal touch and the care he shows others also is demonstrated through 40 years of involvement on numerous community boards and committees that have a strong impact on Kansas City and its citizens. Among them is the Guadalupe Centers, where he has served as a board member and vice president; membership in the Hispanic Chamber of Greater Kansas City; and service as a United Way Advisory Board member.  Additionally, he is the founder and chair of the Latino Advocacy Taskforce. This advocacy group provides educational services for families and victims of violent crime in the Kansas City Latino community on both sides of the state line.

Learn more about UCM’s 2017 Fall Commencement online at


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