The University of Central Missouri Student Government Association recently bestowed its highest honor, the James C. Kirkpatrick Excellence in Governance Award, on Steve Arbo, city manager of Lee’s Summit.
Arbo is the 29th recipient of the annual award. He was recognized in an SGA resolution for “his dedication to education while serving his community as a crucial member of the Lead Facilitators Group for the UCM Innovation Campus and as city manager of Lee’s Summit.” The award is named for the late James C. Kirkpatrick, a UCM alumnus who served a record 20 years as Missouri’s Secretary of State.
In remarks during the presentation ceremony, UCM President Charles Ambrose noted that Arbo’s dedication and leadership was a key factor in the successful development of the Missouri Innovation Campus, a collaborative effort of the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, UCM, the city, Metropolitan Community College and Kansas City area corporate partners.
“Steve Arbo is committed to the growth of his community, and he recognizes the value of developing relationships,” Ambrose said. “He has fostered collaboration with educators and business leaders and developed an important relationship with his city council that has resulted in excellent opportunities for students.”
Arbo said he was honored to receive the award, which commemorates Kirkpatrick’s legacy of public service.
“High schools students with a sense of direction need to be given an opportunity to grow and be productive without incurring significant debt for higher education,” Arbo said, referring to the opportunities offered by the Missouri Innovation Campus. “The city of Lee’s Summit became interested because of the belief that the future depends on new thinkers. You don’t go through life without being in touch with your community. You have to be dedicated to making a difference.”
Arbo added that one of the accomplishments during his career of which he is most proud is the opportunity work with more than 20 student interns.
“Some of them currently are city administrators, and one is an administrator with the Smithsonian,” Arbo said. “My reward is the knowledge that I have had the opportunity to influence the futures of those I’ve worked with.”