UMKC Volker Campus


UMKC is a beautiful campus on 93 acres with over 50 classroom, performance, research and administrative buildings situated on park-like lawns. First rate faculty, a user friendly campus, a rich history, gorgeous vistas, and a great urban setting combine offer student a unique and exciting learning environment.

UMKC was spawned by a city built at the origin of the Oregon and Santa Fe Trails. These roadways to the West began at Old Westport, just a few miles from the present UMKC campus.

In 1929, a charter for the University of Kansas City was granted. The dream became a reality when William Volker, a local philanthropist for whom the 93-acre Volker campus is named, presented the board with the 40-acre nucleus of the present campus site in Kansas City's Rockhill district. Volker also provided funds to purchase the former private home of Walter S. Dickey, a wealthy Kansas City manufacturer. The ivy-covered stone mansion, now known as Scofield Hall and situated in the center of the campus, the carriage house, now the Old Maintenance Building, and a greenhouse were the fledgling university's first main buildings.


The Dickey mansion, called the Administration Building and eventually named Scofield Hall for a former chancellor, had been prepared for classes. For several years it housed all the University classrooms, the library, a cafeteria, and the business and administrative offices. Only two years of coursework were offered during the first year, but soon the third and fourth years of classes were added. On June 9, 1936, Duncan Spaeth, president-elect, gave the first commencement address to an audience that included 80 graduates.

In the eventful decades since opening, the University has developed rapidly and gained strength. Impetus for growth was provided by the affiliation of several professional schools with the University - Conservatory of Music, Kansas City School of Law, Kansas City-Western Dental College, Kansas City College of Pharmacy - which added to the prestige already established by a strong College of Arts and Science.

On July 25,1963, the University of Kansas City became a part of the University of Missouri System, joining three other campuses located in Columbia, Rolla and St. Louis.

The University’s name was changed to University of Missouri – Kansas City, and since 1963, the Kansas City campus has experienced unparalleled growth.

UMKC, steeped in tradition and proud heritage of a private university, faces its role as a major educational institution with dignity and assurance.

The Epperson House, with its winding stone stairway and castle-like atmosphere, has been called Kansas City's most famous haunted house.

Epperson, a local millionaire, philanthropist and owner of the first automobile in town, hired flamboyant architect Horace LaPierre to design the mansion. Construction at 5200 Cherry Street began in 1914 and was completed in 1923. Built for the then staggering sum of $450,000, the home boasted 54 rooms, including a custum built organ, a billiard room, six bathrooms, a barbershop, a swimming pool in the basement and a tunnel between the east to west wing.

According to one legend, the ghost of Harriet Barse, an organ student at the Kansas City Conservatory of Music, walks the halls of the Tudor-style mansion. In the 1970s, students claimed they saw her dressed in an evening gown, as though ready for a recital. Campus security guards have reported strange lights and the sound of organ music at night. Barse, who was adopted in adulthood by Uriah S. and Elizabeth Epperson, died at age 47 before the organ was completed. However, the Epperson's never legally adopted Harriet, who was reportedly 10 years older than Elizabeth. According to the other legend, Epperson's daughter-in-law killed herself in the attic when she was banned from dating a man who worked on the docks.

Some believe Epperson himself walks the halls. In 1978, a campus policeman reported seeing an arm in a blue suit coat materialize and turn off a light. Epperson House, also known as Hawthorn Hall, was donated to the University in 1942. It is now home to the University's Architectural Studies program.

The Fine Arts Building was originally used for chemistry and biology classes when it was constructed in 1942. It now houses the department of Art and Art History, the UMKC Art Gallery and the Interactive Video Network.

As its name suggests, the Department of Art and Art History has strengths in both areas. Students majoring in studio or general art take art history courses to ensure an integrated and well-balanced program of study. Significant contemporary art exhibitions at the UMKC Gallery of Art, housed in the Fine Arts Building, feature work by internationally known artists, as well an annual student exhibition. The gallery also sponsors visiting artists, art historians and critics, in addition to lectures, workshops and symposia. Thus the gallery exhibitions and publications are an integral part of the instructional mission of the Department of Art and Art History.

The Interactive Video Network (UMKC-IVN) includes an IT conference room, IT class room and a television production studio. UMKC-IVN also provides programming to local cable channels (channels 17 and 18 on Time Warner Cable and soon on Jones Intercable). It also has the only Fixed Ku Band Earth Station available for non-network feeds in Kansas City.

Swinney Recreation Center, built in 1941, was designed to serve what was then a small liberal arts college of 1,200. The structure underwent a $14.5 million addition and rennovation to the old Swinney Gymnasium in 1988.

Swinney is located in the heart of the UMKC campus and provides students, staff and members with one of the finest fitness centers in all of Kansas City: five regulation playing floors, four racquetball courts, a squash court, a 200-meter running track, a 25-meter swimming and diving facility, locker facilities for faculty and staff, a weight room with free weights, the latest cardio-vascular equipment and selectorized equipment. Adjacent to the Swinney Building is the SRC Soccer/Track Complex. The facility boasts a 400-meter all-weather running track surrounding a collegiate regulation soccer field.



The University Center ("U-Center") serves as UMKC's student union and the hub for extra-curricular activities on campus.

The U-Center houses the Student Government Association (SGA), barber shop, Bookstore, a computer lab, Student Life Office, Campus Information Center, University Club, Welcome Center and cafeteria. The center also includes several meeting rooms and Pierson Auditorium, which seats up to 700 people.


The Student Life Office supplements the UMKC experience with events that provide relief from and support for the regular rigors of college—all at little or no cost to students. Through the campus’s student programming board, Activity & Program Council (APC), students may attend dozens of activities, such as ski trips, educational speakers, comedy shows, and free meals. The Student Life Office and APC also produce traditional programs like Court Warming Week and Disney Divein events. UMKC’s one-of-a-kind Communiversity offers classes in nearly all imaginable areas—in thirty years it has grown to be the largest all volunteer program to offer such a wide variety of classes in the world.

Student life begins the moment a student steps onto campus, and the Student Life Office is committed to integrating all students into campus life quickly and smoothly. Student organizations form one of the most important components of Student Life. The Student Life Office provides assistance and advising to more than 200 student organizations on campus, facilitating opportunities for involvement and leadership for nearly every perspective or interest. If student cannots find their niches among UMKC’s organizations, the Student Life Office will help them form their own.

The Student Government Association has nearly 250 student organizations and is highly active in university, local and state politics.


Conservatory of Music and Dance

The Conservatory is an active participant in mid-America's most important cultural center, Kansas City. This geographical setting provides students with the opportunity to hear and work with the Conservatory's own talented artist-faculty and internationally known artists who perform in the area.

The Conservatory of Music traces its lineage to a merger of two early Kansas City conservatories, the Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance and the Horner Institute of Fine Arts. A second merger in 1959 joined the Conservatory with the University of Kansas City. In 1963, the private University of Kansas City became a part of the state university system as UMKC.

The Conservatory of Music and Dance enrolls approximately 650 majors in a wide diversity of programs: Performance, education, performers certificates, composition, music therapy, music history and literature, music theory, jazz, dance, and the list goes on!

While the Conservatroy is currently housed in two buildings, the Performing Arts Center and Grant Hall, plans are currently underway for the construction of a new facility.


Grant Hall, formerly William Rockhill Nelson Public School, was purchased and renovated for use by the Conservatory of Music and Department of Theatre. Grant Hall, 5228 Charlotte St., is home to both the Conservatory and Theater Department. Wind, Brass, Piano and Vocal faculty studios are located within Grant Hall as well as the Conservatory's administrative offices, most Conservatory classes and all choral activities.


Grant Recital Hall is located on the second floor and used for many student recitals and theater productions as well as for guest master classes and recitals.




The Tuba and Euphonium studio is located on the first floor. The studio, which is large enough to comfortably rehearse a brass quintet and contains a full size concert grand piano, is the home for the euphonium and tuba students. All lessons, tuba-euphonium quartet coaching and brass chamber ensemble coaching are held within the studio.


Performing Arts Center

The Olson Center for the Performing Arts, better known as the PAC, is home to White Recital Hall, the percussion studio, rehearsal halls, composition and recording studios, instrumental conducting faculty, dance studios, string studios, the Conservatory Dean's Suite, Central Ticket Office and student practice rooms. This building also houses the Missouri Repertory Theater, a professional repertory company, and the UMKC Theater Department. While most of the music classes are held in Grant Hall, most all performance related activities are held within the PAC.

The main performance hall for the Conservatory of Music and Dance is White Recital Hall which is located inside the Olson Performing Arts Center. This 600+ seat auditorium is home to the Conservatory Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensembles, Opera, Choirs, Music Nova, Tuba Euphonium Ensemble, Faculty Solo and Chamber recitals, and select student recitals including degree required recitals. This hall is also home to the Conservatory's Signature Series, a concert series that brings nationally and internationally renowned musicians and dancers to campus to perform concerts and present master classes to Conservatory students.


Miller Nichols Library

Miller Nichols library collections include more than 160,000 volumes and houses several major special collections. Among them is the Marr Sound Archive. The Marr Sound Archives holds nearly 250,000 sound recordings in formats that include LPs, 78s, 45s, cylinders, transcription discs, instantaneous cut discs, and open-reel tapes.

The focus of the collection is the American experience as reflected in recorded sound, with substantial and significant holdings in the areas of: historic voices; American popular music; jazz, blues, and country; vintage radio programs; authors reading their own works; and historic classical and operatic recordings. The popular collection dates from the 1890's up to the 1980's.

The Music/Media Library is located on the ground floor of Miller Nichols. The collection includes videos, sound recordings, scores, and music books and journals. Visit the Music/Media Desk for help in locating materials, to borrow or return materials, or to check out Reserve items.

The Listening/Viewing Center is adjacent to the Music/Media Desk and offers compact disc players, turntables, VCR and DVD players for on-site use. The Listening/Viewing Center is available for use by anyone with a valid photo I.D.








The University of Missouri-Kansas City is a comprehensive, metropolitan university providing undergraduate, graduate, and professional education through more than 125-degree options.

To convey UMKC’s image, the University adopted a new institutional identity system in July 1998. The new UMKC logo system has a crisp, modern look that features a stylized torch and flame, symbolizing the light
of knowledge — key elements in the University’s very first logo in the 1930s.

These elements have been given a 21st century treatment. This modernization of traditional symbols of achievement and enlightenment through education emphasize UMKC’s innovative approach to education.

The flame’s centered placement further dramatizes UMKC’s centralized place in the Kansas City community. The use of traditional UMKC blue and gold, as well as the classical typography, illustrates UMKC’s longevity and history as an academic leader.


Thomas G. Stein
Associate Professor of Tuba and Euphonium

The University of Missouri - Kansas City
Conservatory of Music and Dance, 4949 Cherry St.
Kansas City, MO 64110
816.235.5949 fax: 816.235.5264