Video: Ewing Kauffman-MCC alumnus and Kansas City legend

100 Years, 100 Stories

Video: Mr. K’s passion for education began early on. His mother put an emphasis on education as she was an educated woman. That emphasis transferred to Mr. K’s love of education and willingness to be an avid reader and always wanting to learn.

Wendy Guilles, acting president and CEO of Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, thinks when Kauffman looked at his own life, he knew that having a good education was critical to success. He knew it was a pathway out of poverty for many people.

In the opinion of Mark James, chancellor of Metropolitan Community College, Ewing Kauffman has made an unmatched contribution to the city of Kansas City. Education, entrepreneurship, youth, the youth programs that his foundation funds.

The contributions live on long after Mr. K’s life itself through his legacy that he’s left in Kansas City. I think one thing that Ewing taught us is that people, deep down, want to be self-sufficient; that people
have the strive within themselves to create their own destiny and to make something out of their life.

We’re very proud of all the students that attended MCC, but certainly Ewing Kauffman, who graduated in 1936, only from the community college, was able to go on a create a business that has touched probably every person in Kansas City.

Mr. K really changed the landscape of Kansas City, and what’s amazing is his story started right here at MCC.

“I think the greatest satisfaction that I have had personally is helping others doing something that either inspires them or aids them to develop themselves, to help them in their future life so that they’ll be not only a better person but be a better productive citizen of the United States.”

Mr. K was a special person I think for a number of reasons. I think most people are familiar with his legacy as it relates to Marion Laboratories and the Kansas City Royals, and later on his foundation. But his impact was a lot more pronounced than that, in that he touched so many individuals, and a lot of that had to do with his basic tenant of treating people the way you wanted to be treated and also be willing to give back to the community, and equally important that those who produced should share in the rewards.

Mr. Kauffman’s character can be defined by a quote he made many, many years ago when asked what his most significant talent really was. He said, “Caring for people.”

Ewing Kaufmann’s spirit is alive today in the students that are formally in Project Choice and now Kaufmann scholars that are in college and getting out of college and are in successful careers. They are the living representatives of this man’s legacy.

Mr. K clearly inspires people to live up to their potential and to realize that we all have responsibilities

for the communities in which we live, work, and recreate. Mr. K’s presence is alive and well. In addition to the prominent institutions that have his name associated with them, there are literally thousands

of individuals are living their lives differently because they were touched by this man, Mr. K.

“All of the money in the world cannot solve problems unless we work together. If we work together there is no problem in the world that can stop us as we seek to develop people to the highest and best potential.”