Photo by Rob Hill
Jim and Leslie Whitaker are proud members of the Kansas City community, and they also are proud Missouri Tigers through and through. Both Jim and Leslie earned their undergraduate degrees from the University of Missouri, as did their three daughters. In addition, Jim earned his doctorate of medicine at MU and played football under Coach Dan Devine. For Jim and Leslie, their education and experiences at MU not only shaped their lives and their daughters’ lives, but it also has shaped their community.
“Attending MU has had a great and successful impact on our family, careers and community. From leadership in the professional field to volunteerism, MU has made us more well-rounded and involved citizens,” says Leslie.
An active volunteer in the Kansas City community, Leslie has served as president of the United Way of Johnson County; board chairman of Head Start of Shawnee Mission, board president of the Children’s Place; co-chairman of Jazzoo 2000 for the Kansas City Zoo and president of the Junior League of Kansas City. In 2003, she received the Junior League of Kansas City’s Community Service Award. Leslie also served on the Jefferson Club Board of Trustees.
Jim serves his community as senior partner at Kansas City Bone & Joint Clinic, one of the leading orthopaedic groups in the Kansas City area. He also has served on MU’s National Campaign Steering Committee. In addition, Leslie and Jim have been actively involved in the Kansas City Jefferson Club regional dinner committee and both are members of the Chancellor’s Society.
When asked why it is important to give back to their alma mater, their response was as passionate as their pride for MU. “With the consistent decrease in state funding, we believe that financial support from MU alumni and friends is more important than ever if MU is to retain its status as one of the world’s leading research universities,” says Leslie. “As Jefferson Club members, we are connected with other committed University supporters who share our pride and passion for MU, and our common goal of continuing a legacy of excellence in education.” Jim and Leslie support the University by giving to the College of Education, School of Medicine, Intercollegiate Athletics, and the Chancellor’s Fund for Excellence. They support the areas at MU that have been important in their lives.
The Jefferson Club is a donor recognition society that exists to encourage philanthropic support of the university. Membership is for alumni and friends whose cumulative gifts to the university are $25,000 or greater. For more information, contact Ashlee Smith, coordinator of donor recognition at 573-884-9110 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More stories: Donor profiles