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K-State Today

November 3, 2023

College of Business Administration presents an 'Evening of Gratitude'

Submitted by Ruthie Gergeni

Kevin Gwinner, Edgerley family dean of the College of Business Administration, presents the Business Leader Award to Michael Upchurch at the recent "Evening of Gratitude" event.

The College of Business Administration at Kansas State University and the KSU Foundation recently co-hosted an "Evening of Gratitude" in the Business Building atrium. Alumni, friends and supporters came together to celebrate the profound impact of philanthropy on the college and its community.

The event, hosted on Oct. 20, was a testament to the generosity and commitment of those who have helped shape the future of the College of Business Administration. Attendees had the privilege of hearing directly from students, faculty and staff about how philanthropy has made a significant difference in their lives and the institution.

A highlight of the event was the presentation of the Distinguished Business Leader Award and induction into the college's Business Leaders' Hall of Fame to Michael Upchurch, who earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from K-State.

He became a certified public accountant and began his career with Price Waterhouse, where he worked for seven years. Upchurch then moved to Sprint, where he spent 16 years developing the skills that prepared him for a role as chief financial officer at Kansas City Southern.

He held the role of chief financial officer and executive vice president at Kansas City Southern from October 2008 until his recent retirement. Called "one of the Kansas City area’s most high-stakes mergers ever" by the Kansas City Business Journal, Upchurch oversaw the merger of Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern to create the first U.S.-Mexico-Canada Rail network. This merger was approved by U.S. federal regulators in March 2023, resulting in the new company, Canadian Pacific Kansas City. During his tenure at Kansas City Southern, the Kansas City Business Journal named him CFO of the Year in 2011, 2019 and 2022.

"We are so honored to present Mike with the Distinguished Business Leader Award this year," said Kevin Gwinner, Edgerley family dean of the College of Business Administration. "In addition to his renowned accomplishments on the job, he is also devoted to community service. He is a board member of the College of Business Advisory Council and the Department of Accounting Advisory Board and was inducted into the K-State Accounting Hall of Fame in 2018. Mike served on the boards of Boy Scouts of America Heart of America Council and the Mid-America Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society. He has invested his time, treasure and talent to impact his community and advance the goals and objectives of the college and K-State."

To view past recipients or learn more about the College of Business Administration Distinguished Business Leader Award and Hall of Fame, visit cba.k-state.edu/alumni-partners/hall-of-fame/.