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Kauffman Scholars Inc. graduation ceremony, June 2018.

Lasting legacy. Continued impact.

As college and KSI program grads donned caps and gowns, 120 diverse young professionals begin to create their own legacies.

Kauffman Scholars Inc. graduate 2018

Dallas Parker, a Class 5 Kauffman Scholar, presents her mortar board as a graduate of the University of Missouri – Columbia. Parker was also a featured speaker at the 2018 Kauffman Scholars Inc. graduation event June 9. | Photo courtesy of Dallas Parker

It’s funny how a moment to celebrate what is completion – the accumulation of years of programming, coaching, learning, struggle, perseverance, and hard work – feels like a beginning.

The mission of Kauffman Scholars Inc. (KSI) is to help scholars become college and career ready in order to achieve postsecondary success. As graduates donned the iconic KSI stole, 120 new college and program graduates fulfilled that mission. Yet the vision of the program sees far beyond the graduation ceremony.

These diverse, college-educated, young professionals are now in position to contribute to the improvement of Kansas City. There are now more than 400 members of the KSI Alumni network – many of whom choose to return to their hometown to begin their careers.

“As our newest inductees into the Kauffman Scholars Alumni Association, you now share in the creation of the lasting legacy and continued impact this program will leave on Kansas City,” Solissa McKay, KSI alumni relations manager, said at the graduation event June 9.

In the years to come, KSI’s growing alumni base will impact Kansas City as engaged citizens who work, serve, and lead in their communities. “Now it’s time for each of us to create our own legacy,” said Dallas Parker, Class 5 Scholar and recent University of Missouri gradate. “We must go out into the world, exude positivity, and work hard to build ourselves up. Maybe one day we too will be able to send a few kids to college.”

And this is just the beginning. The diverse talent pipeline KSI has cultivated will double in the coming years. This group is now a network and KSI will continue to provide support with community service outreach, social networking, and ongoing career and professional development to empower the next generation of engaged citizens and community leaders in Kansas City and beyond.

“If you haven’t learned already, you might soon realize that service and success are often intertwined,” McKay said. “As Kauffman Scholars alumni, we challenge you to make time to give back, connect, and embrace the possibilities of service in this new chapter of your life. Just lead with love, gratitude, and generosity and you will find it. Continue to find work that makes you proud and don’t settle for anything less than what makes you come alive.”


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