Kansas Citian of the Year Award

The Kansas Citian of the Year Award is the highest honor the KC Chamber can bestow.

Presented at the Annual Dinner in November, the award is given “only to those persons whose civic contributions and achievements have reflected the insight, creativity and consciousness necessary to build and maintain a quality urban community.”  The Kansas Citian of the Year Award is now recognized as the most significant honor bestowed upon a single individual by any organization in the metropolitan area.

The announcement of the award is a surprise – and each year presents a different challenge in making sure the unsuspecting award winner is, in fact, in the audience to receive it!

An indication of how times have changed: when the award was first presented in 1960, it was called the “Mr. Kansas City Award.”

Since that time, the list of award winners has grown to include dozens of men and women who have made a lasting and positive impact on their community. 

Past Kansas Citians of the Year

Chancelor Leo Morton2014 Kansas Citian of the Year
With a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, a master’s of science degree from MIT and almost 15 years of high-level experience in the corporate world, Leo E. Morton brings a diverse range of experience and expertise to his role as UMKC’s chancellor.

Leo was named UMKC’s chancellor on Dec. 15, 2008. Prior to assuming the chancellorship, Leo worked at Aquila Inc., joining the firm in January 1994 as vice president, performance management. He was named senior vice president in 1996 with responsibility for re-engineering, corporate procurement and environmental services. Morton assumed additional duties for the management of human resources in 1997 and information technology in 1998. He was named senior vice president and chief administrative officer in 2000 as he also assumed responsibility for additional corporate services. Before he joined Aquila, Leo’s management career spanned 41 years in a wide range of engineering and manufacturing positions with AT&T Microelectronics, Bell Laboratories, General Motors, Rust Engineering Company and Corning Glass.

Morton has been a UMKC Trustee since 2000 and was in his third year as chairman of the Trustees Board when he stepped down to serve as the university’s interim chancellor. Previously, he was a member on UMKC’s Center for the City board and chaired the community relations committee of the Trustees.

In addition to his day-to-day role as chancellor, Leo is active in the Kansas City community. He is chairman of the advisory board of Prep-KC, a major regional youth educational development organization. Morton is also co-chair of the Kansas City Area Development Council. In addition, he is on the MRIGlobal, Union Station and Truman Medical Center's Board of Directors, the Economic Development Corporation, Starlight Theatre, Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Kansas City Business Leaders for Education, the independent advisory commission on racial profiling for the Overland Park Police Department and the Advisory Committee for the National Association of Corporate Directors, Heartland Chapter.

Morton has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Tuskegee University, and a master’s of science degree in management from MIT.