Keynote Luncheon - Sports ETA Symposium

Keynote Luncheon

 Wednesday, May 10, 2023
  - (Central Time)
 Kansas City Convention Center, KCCC Ballroom

While you sit back, relax, and eat a delicious lunch, help us congratulate the most recent class of Sports Tourism Strategist (STS) graduates and your 2023 award winners! 👏

Enjoy a conversation between Bob Kendrick, President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and Vahe Gregorian, Sports Columnist for the Kansas City star as they discuss the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, the importance of Buck O’Neill and ties to Kansas City Culture. They will highlight the impact of baseball in civil rights history, it’s international impact, and why both are more relevant than ever before.  You will also get a peak into the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum’s future endeavors including the new Video Game, MLB The Show 2023 and a new home for the Negro Leagues baseball Museum.

Check this out -- The Star sat down with Bob Kendrick to play MLB The Show. The video game features Kendrick' narration of a new Negro Leagues Storylines mode. Click HERE to read or watch.

Bob Kendrick was named President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) in March 2011. Founded in 1990, the NLBM is the world’s only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich history of African-American baseball and its profound impact on the social advancement of America.

Kendrick’s appointment as President marked a celebrated return to the NLBM after a 13-month departure. He became the museum’s first Director of Marketing in 1998 and was named Vice President of Marketing in 2009 before accepting the post as Executive Director of the National Sports Center for the Disabled-Kansas City in 2010. Kendrick is responsible for the museum’s day-to-day operations and the development and implementation of strategies to advance the mission of the 501 c3, not-for-profit organization. Since rejoining the NLBM in 2011, he has helped orchestrate a nearly $20 million turnaround that has helped the NLBM regain its vitality and financial stability.

Kendrick began his association with the NLBM as a volunteer during his 10-year newspaper career with The Kansas City Star. As senior copywriter for The Star’s Promotions Department, he won, or was part of a creative team that won, numerous local and regional advertising and marketing awards. He developed the advertising concept and campaign that helped attract more 10,000 people (in less than 30 days) to see the debut of the Museum’s first traveling exhibit in the summer of 1993. The success of that promotion led to an appointment to the museum’s Board of Directors in the fall of ‘93.

In his nearly five years on the Museum’s board, Kendrick served as Secretary/Treasurer and chaired the Membership and Event Planning committees. He was co-chairman of the Museum’s grand-opening gala celebration that attracted nearly 2,000 people to Bartle Hall in November of 1997. The event raised more than $500,000 in support of the NLBM.

Kendrick has been responsible for the creation of several signature museum educational programs and events including the Hall of Game which annually honors former Major League Baseball greats who played the game in the spirit and signature style of the Negro Leagues.

And while he doesn’t fashion himself to be a historian, Kendrick has become one of the leading authorities on the topic of Negro Leagues Baseball history and its connection to issues relating to sports, race and diversity. He has been a contributing writer for “Ebony Magazine” and the national Urban League’s “Opportunity Magazine.”

In 2006, the Greater Kansas City Black Chamber of Commerce awarded him the Mary Lona Diversity Award and he was named “Citizen of the Year” by the Omicron Xi Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. In 2009, The Kansas City Globe named Kendrick to the paper’s list of “100 Most Influential African-Americans in Greater Kansas City.” In January 2014, Kendrick was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. The Kansas City Call newspaper named him the “Person of the Year” in 2020. In 2021, the Beta Lambda chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity named him “Business Person of the Year,” and he was bestowed honorary doctorate degrees from Judson University and William Jewell College, respectively in 2021.

A native of Crawfordville, Ga., Kendrick received a basketball scholarship to attend Park College (Parkville, Mo.) in 1980 and earned a B.A. degree in Communications Arts in 1985.

Vahe Gregorian joined The Kansas City Star staff as a sports columnist in 2013 after 25 years at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He has covered 20-plus Final Fours and numerous college football national title games and 10 Olympic Games.

He is a 1983 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was an English major and a seldom-seen wide receiver on the 1982 Ivy League co-champions. He earned his master’s degree in journalism at the University of Missouri in 1988, and he spent 2003-2004 in Ann Arbor as a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan.

Vahe has co-authored books with Michigan State’s George Perles and then-Northwestern coach Gary Barnett. His work has been featured in The Best American Sportswriting. Among his honors and awards, he has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the No. 1 sports columnist in the nation in 2018. He also was inducted into the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame in April 2022.

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