Tom Gerke, senior vice president and general counsel for H&R Block Inc., has received State Fair Community College’s 2011-2012 Distinguished Alumni Award.
Gerke, of Leawood, Kan., was honored Friday night at the college’s commencement ceremony in the Fred E. Davis Multipurpose Center on campus.
A record 775 degrees and professional certificates were awarded to 704 candidates for graduation, including 379 Associate of Arts degrees, 294 Associate of Applied Science degrees, 27 Associate of Arts in Teaching degrees, six Associate of Science degrees, 64 Professional Certificates, and four Skills Certificates.
The number includes students who attended SFCC-Lake of the Ozarks, SFCC-Clinton and SFCC-Whiteman AFB. About 375 students were expected to participate in the ceremony.
Gerke, 55, has years of executive and legal experience. Before joining H&R Block at its Kansas City headquarters, he served as executive vice chairman for CenturyLink, president and chief executive officer of Embarq Corporation and executive vice president and general counsel for Sprint Corporation. Gerke also was a corporate partner for nine years at the law firm of Smith, Gill, Fisher & Butts.
Gerke is a graduate of Tipton High School and received an Associate of Arts degree in 1976 from State Fair Community College.
He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Missouri, a Master of Business Administration from Rockhurst University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri School of Law in Kansas City.
Gerke serves on several boards, including at Rockhurst University and for the Kansas City Local Investment Commission. Photo courtesy SFCC.