Attorney Maurice Watson: ‘I think there is a great excitement surrounding MCC’

With 16 offices across the U.S. and in London, Husch Blackwell has a heritage of nearly a century of legal service.

Maurice Watson became chairman of Husch Blackwell in 2012. In this role, he is responsible for developing and communicating the firm’s strategic direction.

He serves as the firm’s visible leader and public ambassador. As a member of the firm’s Healthcare, Life Sciences and Education industry team, Watson brings significant board membership and community leadership experience.

Watson joined the Metropolitan Community College Foundation board of directors in 2011. He’s active with the board’s finance committee.

MCC Foundation board member Maurice Watson
MCC Foundation board member Maurice Watson

“One of the things that is very dear and near to my heart is education,” Watson says. “I believe it is critical to providing the kind of support we need in order to have vibrant and successful businesses and organizations in our community and throughout the country. In order to have those organizations well led and well supported at all levels, we need very educated employees and workers.

“I don’t think the success of Kansas City can be sustained without the commitment of all of us in building very strong organizations.”

He went on to give other reasons he chose to volunteer his time to support MCC.

“David Disney has been on the (Board of Trustees) at MCC and has chaired the board for a number of years,” Watson notes. “He works for JE Dunn, which has a long history here in Kansas City and with our firm. I have worked with David Disney in a professional capacity and also through community matters, so his reputation and the reputation of others who sit on the board is one of the things that drew my interest.

“I also had a number of friends I had served with in the past who have served on the board of directors and in fact are MCC alums. They asked me if I would be willing to serve, and with all of those different forces at play, it wasn’t a hard sell.”

Because education is so important to him, Watson wants students to know they have opportunities.

“We really can be viewed as a budding entrepreneur. We are pursuing a new vision of how to meet the needs of post-secondary students. Affordability in higher education is a huge challenge that our country is facing. Community college, and MCC in particular, is a wonderful, affordable option. It provides an opportunity for students to really conserve their resources, it reduces their necessity for burdensome debt. And the quality of the educational program and especially for the first two years is a great alternative to going to a four-year college. And we have great feeder relationships with many four-year colleges all over the community and all over the state, so students can start at MCC and then transfer.”

As a Foundation board member, Watson spends countless hours working to spread MCC’s story and even more potential opportunities.

“The MCC story is a story that is evolving. All of us who are involved are committed to making sure that story will be known throughout our community and our country. I think the 100th year anniversary (in 2015) has provided a great opportunity to spread the word.

“The success of the many alums like Mr. (Ewing) Kauffman and many others including Mayor (Sly) James, who have been students and scholars at MCC — that is the story that when it is widely told and widely understood will create much more support and much more understanding of MCC. For that reason it is an exciting time to be a part of the organization.”

He is enthusiastic about MCC’s future.

“I think there is a great excitement surrounding MCC,” Watson says. “In many cases we cannot even conceive of the extraordinary opportunities a place like MCC can experience over the next 100 years.

“I think MCC will have a role in preparing employees and the workforce to meet the needs of the future, and I think because of that MCC has a great and bright future. I know that MCC is positioned to take advantage of the opportunities to serve the new economy.”