Two Kansas City leaders, Tom Bloch and Dianne Cleaver, will be honored at the ceremonial kickoff to the William Jewell College school year.
The Opening Convocation ceremony will be held at 10:15 a.m. on Sept. 8 at John Gano Memorial Chapel and will feature an address by Jan Kreamer, retired president and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation and Affiliated Trusts.
The ceremony will include the recognition of two people with the William F. Yates Medallion for Distinguished Service, the highest non-degree award the college bestows. Past honorees include Luciano Pavarotti, “Buck” O’Neil, and Ewing and Muriel Kauffman.
This year’s recipients are Tom Bloch and Dianne Cleaver. Bloch is the son of the co-founder of H&R Block (Henry Bloch, 1981 Yates Medalist) and the company’s former CEO himself. Before becoming CEO, he led the automation of the company’s retail network and the electronic filings of tax returns. After retiring in 1995, he began a second career focused on inner-city education, including the founding of the University Academy, a public charter school in Kansas City. Cleaver has spent 30 years as a civic leader and community activist who is currently the executive director of the Urban Neighborhood Initiative, one of the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Big 5 ideas to help revitalize neighborhoods in the urban core. She serves on the Board of Trustees of the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the Jacob and Ella Loose Foundation. She is married to Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, 1987 Yates Medalist.
The Yates Medals are named after William F. Yates, an 1898 Jewell alumnus, longtime trustee and major benefactor to the university.
Kreamer, the retired president and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation and Affiliated Trusts, will deliver the keynote address. She is also the incoming chair of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Board of Kansas City and the board chair of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. She earned the Entrepreneurial American Leadership Award in 2005 and received the Yates Medallion herself in 1997.