David Oliver ’70 - Distinguished Alumni Award
Congratulations to David Oliver '70 who will receive this year's Distinguished Alumni Award.
After graduating from Pembroke-Country Day, David attended Haverford College where he earned a bachelor of arts degree with honors in history. At Haverford, he was also elected to Phi Beta Kappa. David then attended Boston University School of Law.
He is an attorney with the Kansas City law firm Berkowitz Oliver LLP where he chaired the firm's management committee for 13 years. He has handled a variety of business disputes in state and federal courts. His consulting practice helps companies diversify and strengthen their boards and implement best practices in board/management relations. David's particular interest is in issues of diversity, inclusion, belonging and equity in building a better community in our region. He is also a partner in PLX CORP - “Plan. Lead. Execute.” - a think tank offering innovation and tools to improve governance, recruitment, accountability, process, visioning, internal controls, risk management, leadership development and analytics.
Involved in Kansas City civic activities, David has focused primarily on pediatric health, urban education from early learning through higher education and the arts. He currently serves as a:
- founding board member of AlignED, a non-profit, non-partisan coalition of business leaders committed to improving education in Kansas and Missouri;
- board member and board chair of MRIGlobal, an applied scientific and engineering research institute;
- board member and chair of the enrollment and marketing committee of William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo.;
- board member and board chair of DeLaSalle Charter High School;
- board member of Tesseract Ventures LLC, a company based in Kansas City that invents, engineers, licenses and sells highly specialized 21st Century cyber-physical systems to industry 4.0 verticals;
- board member of The Beacon, a bi-state Missouri/Kansas non-profit online news venture;
- a UMKC Trustee;
- board member of Teach for America – KC;
- a founding board member of DIBS for Kids;
- board member of the Missouri Advisory Board for Educator Preparation;
- advisory board member of the Spencer Art Museum at the University of Kansas;
- advisory board member of the AUP+D Department at UMKC;
- member of the UMKC Enactus Business Advisory Board;
- member of the advocacy committee of ArtsKC;
- member of the advocacy committee of Nonprofit Connect; and
- advisory board of Startland, a community building nonprofit activating a thriving and inclusive culture of innovation in Kansas City through stories, experiences and talent.
Additionally, David is on the board of The Francis Family Foundation; the board of The Cross Foundation; and is a trustee of the Murphy Charitable Fund. He is an emeritus trustee of Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics. David is also a member of the board and chaired the education committee of The Civic Council of Greater Kansas City.
David is also senior fellow at the Center for Nonprofit Leadership at the Bloch School of Management at UMKC.
Aaron Rahsaan Thomas ’95 - Young Alumni Award
We congratulate Aaron Rahsaan Thomas '95 for being selected for the Pembroke Hill Young Alumni Award.
Growing up in Kansas City, Kan., Aaron developed a love for storytelling after completing a fifth grade assignment to create his own original Greek myth from scratch. As time passed, Aaron developed his passion for storytelling visually and attended Morehouse College.
Aaron graduated from the University of Kansas, earning honors in English Literature. After college, Aaron moved to Los Angeles and attended graduate school at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. Following his graduation from USC, Aaron was selected for the prestigious CBS Writers Mentoring Program.
He began his professional career as a writer’s assistant on Soul Food: The Series and went on to work on the staff of such TV series as NBC’s Friday Night Lights, for which he received a Peabody Award, as well as CBS procedural dramas, such as Numb3rs and CSI:NY. Aaron has also served as a co-executive producer on TNT’s SouthLAnd, Fox’s Sleepy Hollow and Netflix's The Get Down.
Two of Aaron's screenplays have been produced as feature films: Cover, directed by Bill Duke, and Assassination Games, starring Jean Claude Van Damme. He has also directed an ESPN 30 for 30 film about the USC football team during the Pete Carroll era, entitled, Trojan War.
Aaron is currently co-creator and executive producer of the procedural series reboot of S.W.A.T., which airs on CBS.