By Jeff Murphy, January 12, 2022
During a luncheon at Matthews-Crawford American Legion Post 131 in Warrensburg, Dr. Mary McCord, center, professor emerita at the University of Central Missouri, receives the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 2022 Community Service Award from Jamie Brisbin, left, chair of the 2021-2022 Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and Dr. Lover Chancler, assistant professor of child and family development and director of the Center for Multiculturalism and Inclusivity at UCM.
WARRENSBURG, MO – The 2022 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration was kicked off Jan. 12 with the annual MLK Community Service Awards presented during a luncheon co-sponsored by the Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce at Matthews-Crawford American Legion Post 131. University of Central Missouri Professor Emerita of Business and Social Enterprise Dr. Mary McCord was one of two individuals honored during the brief award ceremony, which was presented with the theme “Living the Dream: Live and In Color.”
The announcement of awards was made by Dr. Lover Chancler, assistant professor of child and family development and director of the Center for Multiculturalism and Inclusivity at UCM. She was joined in making presentations to honorees by Jamie Brisbin, chair of the 2021-2022 Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. McCord received the Community Service Award recognizing a member of the local community. Also honored was Cooper Hamlin, a Centerview resident and senior at Crest Ridge High School, who received the High School Community Service Award.
The awards were presented jointly by the Chamber and UCM Office of Student Experience and Engagement, and selections were based on nominations of individuals who demonstrated humanitarianism, leadership and service. Chancler read excerpts from nomination letters that recognized the honorees.
While introducing McCord, Chancler noted that her leadership has had numerous direct and indirect impacts on the community. This includes a commitment to service through initiatives such as the Integrative Business Experience (IBE) program, development of non-profit organizations through Social Entrepreneurship, and dedication to the establishment of Journey Home.
Recently retired from full-time teaching, McCord devoted more than 20 years serving UCM, and consistently demonstrated servant leadership both in the classroom and in the community. Among such efforts, she dedicated at least 18 years to IBE, a program which was founded on campus with Professor Emeritus Larry Michaelsen. In this program, students create their own businesses, establish a business plan, and obtain and repay a loan for startup capital. Each student-led company also chooses a non-profit organization that they will help support through the volunteerism and contributions of profits earned from the sale of their products. Since the program’s inception, IBE students have contributed nearly 27,000 volunteer hours to community non-profits and $407,399 from their businesses' profits.
McCord also founded the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise, which encourages students to create businesses that can affect positive changes in society. The program’s Social Enterprise course resulted in the creation of, or helped inspire non-profit opportunities that included: the Early Childhood Hunger Organization (ECHO); the UCM Food Pantry: and It Suites You, a campus professional clothes closet for students, faculty and staff, which is now part of UCM Career Services. It also led to the Start-up Center, an incubator that has resulted in more than two dozen for-profit businesses created by McCord’s students.
In cooperation with other members of the Warrensburg community, McCord in November 2020 helped establish Journey Home, a shelter for people who are homeless. More recently, she wrote a grant proposal that secured approximately $234,000 to help support this shelter via an Emergency Solutions (ESG-CV) grant. Among many other volunteer tasks, her involvement with Journey Home has also included picking up individuals who are homeless and taking them to the shelter.
In further discussing what makes McCord a strong candidate for this award, the nomination letter added, “She has lived her life in service to others. Her commitment to social justice issues and her work to solve these problems is unwavering. Dr. Mary McCord walks the talk and is deserving of this recognition via the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award.”
In introducing Hamlin, Chancler said he “consistently demonstrates humanitarianism, leadership and service within the Crest Ridge community.”
The nomination on his behalf described him as selfless with a desire to help and lead others. It stated that “nearly every student in our school (Crest Ridge High School) has probably had at least one positive encounter with him over time. He is an advocate for students as a whole, serving on our leadership team, bringing ideas to enhance the environment and well-being of our student body on a consistent basis.”
Hamlin is active in the National Honor Society, Future Farmers of America, and has demonstrated high ethical standards and engaged in leadership activities. This has included helping to organize a blood drive to bring community members together for a good cause.
He said his goal after graduation is to attend State Fair Community College and then continue his higher education at the University of Missouri or UCM, where he hopes to pursue a degree that would prepare him for a career in agri-business.
The award presentations were followed by remarks from guest speaker Willie Arthur Taylor, a UCM alumnus and former student in the IBE program, United States Air Force veteran, entrepreneur and owner of All-Starz Barbershop.
The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration is continuing throughout January. Learn more about the Community Praise and Worship Service Jan. 17; Freedom Scholarship Fundraiser, Jan. 18; Community Service Blood Drive, Jan. 25-26;, and other opportunities on the Warrensburg and Lee’s Summit campuses by visiting ucmo.edu/offices/center-for-multiculturalism-and-inclusivity-cmi/mlk-celebration/index.php. Also contact Chancler at 660-543-8049 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.