Opportunity Defined

UCM Foundation Annual Report FY 2008

Joe Kremer has first-hand appreciation for the word, "opportunity." He encounters proof of it every day. It's why he and his family moved 1,200 miles and across seven states in July to make a new home in Warrensburg.

"My wife and I both grew up in the South, lived in the Northeast after we were married and were excited about the chance to introduce our children to another part of the country," he says.

As the university's new assistant vice president for major gifts, Kremer has come to know UCM's faculty, students, alumni and friends. And the word he's come to associate with all of them is "opportunity."

"Opportunity is a powerful force," he says. "It's why our students come here. The time they spend here at the University of Central Missouri can provide them with the opportunity to expand their horizons, the opportunity to challenge preconceived notions of themselves and others and the opportunity to gain the confidence and skills necessary to make a difference in their lives and in the lives of those around them."

Joe Kremer"The UCM Foundation's role is to support Central Missouri's aspirations. That's why instead of producing a traditional annual report, we have chosen instead to apply the resources toward the university's new magazine. We believe this publication adds great value to the institution and hope our donors, alumni and friends appreciate the investment."

- Joe Kremer

Kremer, who has built a successful career around higher education fundraising, also is interim executive director of the UCM Foundation. He hears from donors that "opportunity" is the reason why many of them choose to contribute to the university.

"Unfortunately, these opportunities are becoming less frequent for students here in Missouri and across the country," he notes. "The current financial crisis continues to eat away at college savings and to dry up lending sources. Many students and their families are having extended conversations about the affordability of college. We know the role a college education can play in the overall educational, professional and personal success of young people, and we are acutely aware of the economic and social impact state-supported college and universities have in their communities.

"The University of Central Missouri Foundation was created 30 years ago to serve a noble purpose," Kremer says, "to provide assistance by way of charitable support to the people, programs and facilities that make UCM special. Now more than ever, we need everyone's help to ensure we continue to thrive."

Kremer believes that this is a special time - an opportunity to rise to a significant challenge.

"We need our alumni and friends to work with us to make a Central Missouri education available to all qualified students who may need financial assistance to meet tuition costs," he says. "We need help to ensure the university has the resources to attract and retain inspiring and committed faculty and who will work with us to build outstanding educational, social and athletic spaces."

"Opportunity is a powerful force," he says. It's why our students come here."

- Joe Kremer

Kremer has faith that within the university's 78,000 alumni, there are people who want to create greater opportunities by sharing the type of financial support that helped to put them through college or who want to help shape a strong future generation to guide the nation. People such as Jim and Ginger Young, who started a scholarship to honor his parents and their life-long commitment to service, help UCM students achieve their professional goals and support the institution where they both taught.

During his 30 years as a faculty member at Central Missouri, Young developed a reputation for teaching not-to-be-missed courses. Students hankered for his courses on constitutional law, citizen rights and the judicial process. Such was his popularity that when he retired in 1998, he received the Byler Distinguished Faculty Award, the university's top faculty honor.
Students and faculty described the attributes that garnered him both popularity and respect.

"Willingness to give of himself." "Enthusiasm for his field." "First-rate scholar." "Constantly keeps his students in mind as he prepares for each class he teaches. As a result of his thoroughness and demonstrated competence, students are very aware of the choice opportunity they have to be in his classroom."


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