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MAGAZINE Spring 2016


Vol. 8, No. 1


CONTENTS 1 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 21 22 26 28 30 32 34 36 41 42 45

Letter from Park's president A legacy of leading by example It's not about me Five-star success Seizing opportunities for change Welcoming risk Learning to fly Welcome Greg Gunderson, Ph.D., Park University’s 17th President Welcome Douglas Fiore, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Park takes the lead in nursing education Heeding the call Creating a climate for success University news Advancing Park In academia Alumniad Call, text, link, share Alumni Weekend 2015 recap Park proud (Alumni Association awards) Rare graduate made a world of difference Class notes Park mourns

Park University Magazine Spring 2016 Vol. 8 No. 1 Greg Gunderson, Ph.D. President | (816) 584-6202

Photo by John Roushkolb

Laurie McCormack Vice President for University Relations and Development | (816) 584-6210


Erik Bergrud, M.P.A. ’94 Associate Vice President of Alumni, Constituent and Employer Relations | (816) 584-6412

With 140 years of outstanding history and more than 71,000 living alumni, Park University has many great stories to tell. As part of the University’s 140th anniversary celebration, the Office of University Relations and Development is looking to preserve and share these stories for the next 140 years. We’d love to hear your story!

Brad Biles Director of University Communications | (816) 584-6888

Visit to share your story and preserve the memories of Park for the next generation.

Park University Magazine is published for Park alumni and friends by the Office of University Relations and Development. Send your comments and/or address corrections to the Office of University Relations and Development, Park University, 8700 NW River Park Drive, Box 65, Parkville, MO 64152, e-mail or call (816) 584-6200. Visit for more information.

Go green with Park Park University Magazine is available online. To opt out of receiving a printed version of the magazine, please e-mail the Office of Alumni Relations at If you receive more than one copy in the mail, please let us know. Thank you for supporting Park’s efforts to be more eco-friendly. Park University Magazine is created by Kathy Winklhofer, and Vanessa Bonavia,

DEAR FRIENDS, I am honored to serve as the 17th president of a special university which meets students from wherever they start in life, helps them see their potential and prepares them to achieve their dreams. My first priority as president has been to get to know the Park University community. Since I arrived in January, I’ve enjoyed meeting with many of the dedicated students we serve who motivate me with their goals, ideas and enthusiasm for the future. It’s also been a delight to meet with Park’s friendly faculty and staff who are exceedingly dedicated to Park’s proud heritage of academic excellence. One hundred-forty years ago, three determined and idealistic individuals set out to establish a college guided by a shared vision: that everyone should have access to an affordable college education. In this issue of Park University Magazine, we celebrate the fulfillment of that promise made 14 decades ago — a promise that has continued to flourish throughout the ensuing 140 years, well beyond the founders’ greatest hopes and dreams.

Finally, we can all stay connected 24/7 on Twitter where I hope you will follow and tweet me — @PiratePres You epitomize Park’s purpose and its very — as I share beginnings — to educate those who will serve my adventures others with integrity, energy and passion. meeting with Park Pirates and friends.

This issue, which is centered on relaying stories of change, challenge and accomplishment for our alumni, has inspired me, as I hope you will be too. You, our alumni, have experienced professional success, given back to others and made a real difference in the communities in which you live and work.

Park’s 140-year heritage is distinguished by the highest ideals — academic excellence, tenacity, integrity, resilience, flexibility and an unwavering spirit of innovation — defining values that will continue to guide the University toward an even brighter future. As we look ahead, I want to hear your ideas about how Park can reach even greater heights and better serve a new generation of students. I plan to visit communities across the United States this year and look forward to welcoming alumni to Homecoming/Alumni Weekend 2016, Sept. 15-17 on the Parkville Campus.

It’s truly an exciting time for Park University. I look forward to working with you to support and celebrate Park students and alumni as we map out the next 140 years of success. Sincerely,

Greg R. Gunderson, Ph.D. President Park University

Park University’s Executive Leadership team — (front row from left): Laure Christensen, special assistant to the president; Dr. Greg Gunderson, president; Dr. Doug Fiore, provost and vice president for academic affairs; Courtney Goddard, vice president and general counsel; (back row from left): Laurie McCormack, vice president for university relations and development; David Whittaker, chief information officer; Shane Smeed, vice president of enrollment and student services; and Roger Dusing, associate vice president and chief human resource officer. Not pictured: Matthew Van Hoesen, chief financial officer.

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My priority was to be successful in my studies when I came to Park. With all the accomplishments on the volleyball court, I’m most proud of my studies and overall success, both as a student and as an athlete.” — Wanessa Siqueira Wanessa Siqueira’s legacy at Park University is one for the record books. Literally. As a volleyball superstar, Siqueira,’14, hauled in awards and top honors for her fierce play on the court and capped off her career as the captain of Park’s NAIA women’s national volleyball championship team — the first in Park’s history — during the team’s 2014 undefeated 40-0 season. Off the court, she graduated with a 3.9 grade point average with a double major in business administration/finance and business administration/management, and is continuing her studies at Park as a graduate student in the Master of Business Administration program. She recently landed a coveted internship through Park at Pro Athlete Inc. in Kansas City, Mo., an opportunity that blends her athleticism and business savvy. And along the way she got engaged to marry her high school sweetheart and fellow Park graduate Matheus Roham, '13, M.B.A. '16. Wanessa Siqueira's family traveled from Brazil to attend her graduation. From left to right: Edna Lopes da Silva (grandmother), Wagner Silva (uncle), Leir Siqueira, (father) Luísa Lopes Siqueira (sister), Wanessa Siqueira, Brenda Lopes Siqueira (sister), Gláucia Lopes Siqueira (mother) and Matheus Roham (fiancé).


But Siqueira’s story is about more than accolades, accomplishments and good fortune in love. It’s about character, drive, commitment — and leading by example. Anyone who’s followed Siqueira’s studentathlete career at Park is familiar with her litany of achievements. She attended Park on a full athletic scholarship. Twice she earned All-American honors and was named the 2014-15 Capital One Academic All-American of the Year in volleyball during the national championship season. She’s also a four-time academic all-conference honoree and two-time DaktronicsNAIA Scholar-Athlete. Perhaps her greatest honor — demonstrating her breadth of ability, intelligence and leadership —was earning the NAIA’s Dr. LeRoy Walker Champions of Character Award for the 2014-15 academic year. The

award annually recognizes a junior or senior student-athlete for outstanding academic achievement, campus and community leadership, athletic achievement and future ambition. (See related story on page 23.) But high achievement has come with its share of challenges. Siqueira is from Rio de Janeiro, where her first language is Portuguese. She admits that college life in the United States took some getting used to as she was 12 hours away by plane from home, family and everything she had ever known. “When we arrive as international students, we’re greeted by a different culture, different language and different customs. You adjust and embrace it over time, but at first it’s overwhelming,” she said. “You just want to fit in and be the same as everyone else. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what color you are. Still, some people see foreign students through a different lens.” But she was grateful to find a warm and friendly welcome at Park. “At Park, I didn’t feel defined or treated as a ‘foreigner’ or ‘different.’ Many Park students are from different places. Everyone was interested in getting to know who I was, not just where I was from,” she said. While an undergraduate student at Park, Siqueira helped bridge language gaps between students speaking primarily Portuguese, teaching English and helping others achieve academic success on the University’s flagship Parkville Campus.

focused on playing our best.” “It was an important learning experience for me. I knew it was important for me to lead by example. I had to stay calm, use diplomacy, resolve differences and keep my perspective at all times,” she said. Siqueira’s calm and even-handed leadership paid off. “Sometimes, we faced heckling from other teams about our diversity, which was unsettling. Because everyone is so welcoming at Park, it was unusual for the team to experience these kind of negative comments,” Siqueira said. “People would actually yell things during the games like, ‘Go home; you’re not from here’ or they’d try to rattle us some other way for not being born in the U.S.” On those occasions, Siqueira would gather her teammates, defuse any anger and lift their spirits with a simple reminder: “We’re here to play volleyball, be a team, represent Park proudly — and win. We show who we are by the way we play and by the way we live.” As she leaves behind a legacy of leadership in the classroom and on the court, Siqueira is focused on completing her MBA to pursue a career in finance. Recounting her Park experience, she explained, “My priority was to be successful in my studies when I came to Park. With all the accomplishments on the volleyball court, I’m most proud of my studies and overall success, both as a student and as an athlete.”

When asked how she would like to use her leadership, drive and diplomacy in the Being an international student proved business world, Siqueira said she plans to valuable during her college career, especialcontinue leading a life that sets a good ly as captain of the volleyball team. “We had example for her family, friends and anyone student-athletes who attended Park from who crosses her path. “I don’t think about around the globe. We had Americans, of striving to become a chief executive officer course, and we also had student-athletes from or something like that. My future isn’t about Egypt, Venezuela and several other counlabels and accolades,” she said. “I just want tries,” she said. “On any team, conflicts arise, to do the best I can, always striving toward especially with talented people with strong success in whatever the future holds for me.” personalities and different backgrounds. I knew as captain I needed to keep the team

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It’s not about me Under a perfect blue Kansas City sky last fall, Javier Centonzio, ’09, stood proudly, surrounded by his four beloved godchildren — Amaya, Analysia, Jake and Nadia — in front of a packed stadium during a “Salute to Troops” event sponsored by Park University prior to a Major League Soccer match hosted by Sporting Kansas City. For his courage and commitment to his country, Centonzio was celebrated by waves of applause that followed his name read over the stadium public address system. Centonzio managed a smile and waved to the crowd. Yet he brushed off the attention. “It’s not about me. It’s never about me,” he said. “It’s about them — the veterans. The more we focus on them, the more we understand their issues — homelessness, legal issues, family issues — the more we can serve them. That’s the mission.” Overcoming obstacles And what a mission it’s been — a zigzagged line from life as a high school dropout to life in the military, to this proud moment — as a decorated veteran, an accomplished attorney, a successful advocate for veterans’ rights and a proud graduate of Park University, who overcame obstacles to achieve a dream to serve others that was seeded by his mother years ago. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Centonzio moved to the United States early in life and spent most of his formative years in the Argentine neighborhood of Kansas City, Kan. “It was mostly my mom and me growing up,” he said. “She’s my role model. She was a nurse who worked hard and instilled in me the importance of education and volunteering.” Despite their best efforts, Centonzio and his mom struggled. The American dream receded from their reach, as Centonzio remembers. By 10th grade, he left high school and ultimately entered the Job Corps program, where he learned a couple different trades and ultimately earned a GED diploma. Then came life in the U.S. Marine Corps. “Part of it was my mother’s influence — to focus on service. I wanted to serve my country. As a first generation American, I didn’t want people to say that my family and I did not belong in this country. That was the biggest reason why I joined.” Honoring sacrifice After serving his first enlistment in the Marine Corps, Centonzio returned to Kansas City and began working for Union Pacific Railroad. He missed the camaraderie of serving in the military and joined the Kansas Army National Guard. Soon after joining the Guard, his unit was deployed to Iraq. During training, Centonzio became friends with another former Marine, Sgt. Jessie Davila. Not long before their unit was scheduled to leave for Iraq, Davila was moved to another squad and stationed in a different part of the country than Centonzio. Three months into their tour, the reality of war hit Centonzio hard. An improvised explosive

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Javier Centonzio, ’09, stands with his godchildren — Jake Galvan, Amaya Carrillo, Nadia Galvan and Analysia Carrillo — during a “Salute to Troops” event sponsored by Park University prior to a Major League Soccer match hosted by Sporting Kansas City. Photo by Gary Rohman

device had detonated, killing Davila during a mission in Baghdad.

only one in the Midwest to earn the coveted grant.

“You realize that it could have been any of us — any member of my squad, his squad, any one of the men and women serving in Iraq,” he said. “It was that day — the day Jessie died — that I decided to honor his sacrifice by becoming a lawyer, something that I thought was impossible. Ultimately, I had to achieve this goal to become an attorney because to fail would betray those like Jessie who didn’t get that chance.”

After graduation, Centonzio attended law school on a full scholarship. He graduated in the top third of his class at Stetson University College of Law, and went on to earn a Master of Laws degree in elder law to assist a growing population of aging veterans. Today, in addition to his work as a lawyer, Centonzio volunteers and supports the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Project Homeless Connect and the Veterans Pro Bono Consortium. He founded the “Heroes Weekend” event honoring veterans in Gulfport, Fla., and he created the Sgt. Jessie Davila Memorial Veterans Scholarship to provide scholarships for veterans pursuing a law degree at Stetson.

After returning from Iraq in 2006, Centonzio followed through on his commitment. First came an undergraduate degree, which he achieved in two years at Park University, graduating summa cum laude and serving one year as president of the Park Student Government Association. While at Park, Centonzio expanded the University’s veterans’ support programs, worked tirelessly for veterans’ rights, spoke often on their behalf and was instrumental in helping Park earn a $100,000 Success for Veterans Award from the American Council on Education and the Walmart Foundation for the educational needs of transitioning veterans. Park was one of only 20 universities in the country and the

“I feel I’m so fortunate to have made it back home,” he said. “I want to make sure we don’t neglect veterans’ issues. Before we commit to sending troops to fight and defend our nation, we need to know that it’s going to cost more than just bullets and bandages. We also have to be willing to take care of veterans and their families when they return. In some cases, for a lifetime.”

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Anthony Melchiorri, ’90, continues to prove that nothing is impossible. Throughout his meteoric hotel career, Melchiorri is known for recognizing opportunities — and inspiring others to achieve them. “The only limitation in business, and in life, is a lack of imagination,” Melchiorri said. In fact, it’s his imagination that led to one of the Travel Channel’s most popular shows. Melchiorri — who pitched the idea for “Hotel Impossible,” a hotel turnaround show now in its seventh season — is the creator and host of the reality series that revives struggling hotels to put them on a fast-track to success. “The hotel business is very misunderstood, and I wanted to educate people by taking them behind the scenes,” he said. “I felt that I had the experience to teach people — one at a time — or I can have an audience of millions.” With candor and wit, Melchiorri empowers hotel owners to correct their most pressing issues, from outdated amenities to subpar guest services. “My show is about saving people’s businesses and livelihoods. I’ve turned around a lot of hotels in my career and I wanted to help save theirs,” he said. Melchiorri is ultimately driven by the pursuit of excellence. “In the hospitality and travel industry, everything matters. No details are small. When it’s right, you can feel it,” he said. No excuses His “no excuses” mantra for hotel managers on and off the show can be traced to his military service as a protocol officer in the U.S. Air Force. Melchiorri, who earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration at Park University’s Whiteman Air Force Base (Mo.) Campus Center, credits Park for making his education goals achievable. “I was fully loaded between working full-time on base and weekends at the Embassy Suites in Overland Park (Kan.). It was incredible to me that Park made classes available for service members right on the base,” he said. “I can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t take advantage of this opportunity. For me, it was invaluable. When I left the military, I had my degree and was able to get going on my career.”

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And what a career it’s been. Beginning as the director of front office operations at The Plaza Hotel in New York, Melchiorri has repositioned some of the finest properties in the country. At age 29, he was appointed general manager of the Lucerne Hotel in 1997. Under his management, the Lucerne was developed into a top New York hotel, and selected as The New York Times Travel Guide’s Best Service Hotel.

In 2005, he became general manager of New York’s historic Algonquin Hotel, which at the time was a shell of its glory days. The Algonquin was famous in the 1920s as hangout for celebrities such as actor Harpo Marx and poet Dorothy Parker who regularly gathered for lunch at what became known as the Algonquin Round Table. “It was the epicenter of New York culture, the conversation piece of America,” he said. “After convincing the owners to close the Algonquin for 29 days, Melchiorri led a $15 million renovation of the building and its image. “It’s not only come back, but it’s now one of the leading hotels in New York.” In 2010, Melchiorri founded Argeo Hospitality, a hotel management and consultation company. And his imagination continues to whirl with the recent launch of his new line of Anthony Melchiorri branded hotel products. For his hotel turnaround success both on and off screen, Melchiorri has captured national media attention for his hospitality and travel industry expertise and advice — from Forbes, The New York Times and USA Today to guest appearances on "The Today Show," "The Rachel Ray Show" and "Nightline." To extend his expertise to growing businesses, Melchiorri has a book in the works tentatively titled, How to Run Your Business Like a FiveStar Hotel. With Melchiorri’s continued high ratings, he’s now hosting two new shows for the Travel Channel. In “Hotel Impossible: Five-Star Secrets," Melchiorri visits world famous luxury hotels to find out what makes them truly exceptional. In “Hotel Impossible: Showdown,” Melchiorri challenges four independent boutique properties in a competition to prove they have the best amenities, accommodations and guest experience. Find your passion Known for his candid and inspiring advice, Melchiorri offers words of wisdom on success for Park students and graduates. “No matter what you do, go for it with passion. I succeeded in the military because I wanted to do it well. I succeed in getting my education because I wanted it and was grateful for the opportunity. I succeeded in the hotel business because I wanted to achieve excellence. So many people have opportunities but don’t see them and don’t do the work to really take advantage of them,” he said. “Take advantage of your Park education. Do the work. Find your passion and the universe will conspire for your success.”

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Seizing opportunities for change Tenacious, determined and unstoppable. Easily the best three words to describe Alissia Canady,’08, who, over the past two decades, shifted her hard-charging work ethic into overdrive to achieve big dreams. Canady was elected to serve a four-year term on the city council for the Kansas City, Mo., 5th District in June 2015. She’s also an accomplished attorney. But her route to law and public service wasn’t exactly part of a master plan. She just followed her uncanny ability to seize opportunities and deploy her incredible work ethic. “I didn’t always see the possibilities for myself,” Canady said. “I just knew I wanted something better and was willing to work hard for it.” Someone who “works hard” is an understated description of Canady who worked full-time and started two businesses while completing her bachelor’s degree in management/finance. Beginning her degree in 2000, Canady graduated eight years later — the first in her immediate family to graduate college — during which time she opened a hair salon, became a licensed realtor and worked full-time as a recovery specialist for Wells Fargo. Education is the key “People would often compliment my work ethic and offer suggestions of opportunities that I had never considered,” she said. “I’ve always looked for the next rung on the ladder and I’ve always done everything I could to reach it. But I knew that without education, my opportunities would be limited. I knew education was the key.” Canady enrolled at Park while balancing the challenges of a hectic life with grit, perseverance and little sleep. She said the University enabled her to complete her undergraduate degree because of its flexible schedule and a convenient campus center just around the corner from her job in downtown Kansas City, Mo. “I didn’t attend consistently during those eight years. I would start and stop; the recurring eight-week terms permitted breaks to address issues as life happened,” she said. “Park was perfect for someone like me who

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wanted an education, but also needed to work and manage a demanding lifestyle during the process.” While at Park, Canady said she benefited from personal relationships with her professors and advisers who instilled in her a belief that achieving even bigger dreams — including becoming a lawyer – was, in fact, realistic. Realizing a far-fetched dream Being a lawyer was something that interested Canady since high school. She considered it an honorable profession — one that came with the power to effectuate change, a mission she’s adopted over the years. But becoming a lawyer felt like a dream she’d defer — one ladder rung too high to reach. The high cost of law school seemed daunting. “The idea of law school was just so far-fetched to me,” she said. “I had no role model or road map on how to get there. However, the educational experience at Park helped shift my thinking. My professors urged me on and with their guidance, I began to realize law school was attainable.” Canady entered the University of South Dakota School of Law in the fall of 2008 where she graduated a semester early in fall 2010. While studying for the Missouri Bar Exam, Canady worked fulltime doing tax law research at H&R Block. After a stint in Jefferson City, Mo., as an administrative hearing officer, Canady became an assistant prosecuting attorney in Jackson County, representing the state of Missouri. Refusing the status quo With her driving mission to forge real change, Canady became increasingly interested in going beyond battling crime in the courts to directly addressing its root causes — subpar education, blighted housing and neighborhoods in desperate conditions. “If that’s all people see, that’s what they duplicate. These environments breed crime. With my experience and perspective, I realized the way I could make a more direct impact was by working at the neighborhood level. That’s when I decided to run for city council.”

Canady announced her candidacy for the Kansas City, Mo., City Council, campaigned effectively across her district and won, beginning her term on Aug. 1, 2015. Kansas City Mayor Sly James has appointed Canady to serve as chair of the Neighborhoods and Public Safety Committee, and vice chair of the Ethics and Legal Review Committee. “I’ve never been one to accept that ‘this is just the way it is.’ I refuse to accept the status quo and am always looking for new ways to address challenges,” she said. And now, Canady is extending her can-do attitude to benefit thousands of Kansas Citians. “At every level — from running businesses to earning a degree at Park to going to law school to serving as a prosecuting attorney to today, as a councilwoman, I’ve always wanted to do meaningful work. The ability to create opportunities — for myself and for others in Kansas City — would have been the ladder rung that proved too high to reach without my education.”

My educational experience at Park helped shift my thinking. My professors urged me on. With their guidance, I began to realize law school was attainable.” — Alissia Canady

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WORK, STUDY, REPEAT Born in Jackson, Mich., in 1934, Curtis moved around the world with his military family, attending high school in Germany. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics while doing odd jobs on the Parkville Campus as part of Park University’s work-study program. He also worked 30 hours a week at a local lumber company while attending class and training in the U.S. Marine Corps. He married his high school sweetheart, Jean, in 1952, and the two attended Park together. Jean remembers working the switchboard and performing various cleaning duties to pay for her Park tuition before the birth of their first child in 1954. Not unlike many Park students today, the couple struggled to juggle their many responsibilities. “I think we were odd in those days. Most of the students weren’t married and starting a family while going to school like us. It was a challenging time,” Jean said. NAVIGATING NASDAQ Following graduation, Doug served as a captain in the Marines for three years. He then joined General Electric where he worked for 11 years before becoming vice president of finance at Franklin Electric Co. in Fort Wayne. While at Franklin, he led the company to become one of the first issuer members to join the National Association of Securities Dealers. After serving on the NASD committee to oversee regulations and operations for the NASDAQ stock market system, Curtis was among the first to be elected to the NASD Board of Governors where he served for three years.

From the Marines to the corporate world, NASDAQ and the Inc. 500, Doug Curtis,’56, always welcomed good ideas and smart risks throughout his six decades of business success. Sometimes, it can be a good thing when you don’t get the job.

trajectory of his already impressive career to become a celebrated entrepreneur.

Curtis remembers being well-prepared for an executive interview in the staffing industry — one that was poised for lucrative growth. He didn’t get the job. But he did get an idea.

Yet, when he started in business in the 1950s, he hadn’t even heard of the word “entrepreneur.” “I simply liked the opportunity to try my own ideas,” Curtis said.

With all he learned through the interview process, Curtis decided to go after the staffing industry on his own. The decision shifted the

In 1986, he brought his ideas to the staffing arena as the founder and chief executive officer of Flexible Personnel, based in Fort

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Wayne, Ind. The company quickly grew and was ranked among Inc. magazine’s 500 fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. in 1992 and again in 1995. In 1991, he also founded HR America, a staffing company that also made the Inc. 500 list in 1998. For his tremendous success, Curtis was inducted into Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Hall of Fame with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.

With success in the corporate world, Curtis ultimately found an ideal fit as an entrepreneur. In addition to building and selling many of his own businesses, Curtis helped others to succeed by investing in their ideas. When he met two brothers who were building outdoor steelcoated furniture, he learned they were struggling to get financing. With his help, their business exploded to include customers such as Disneyland, as well as college campuses and even prisons, before the company was sold for a handsome paycheck. “I was always frugal and hesitant when Doug invested money in new business ideas. But he was always comfortable with risk,” Jean said. “I never met an investment I didn’t like. But I always did my homework to make sure I understood what was going on in the market. You don’t want to go upstream. Look for growth and quality.” After more than six decades in business, Curtis said it also helps to keep good company. “I hung around with a lot of successful risk-takers.” Jean acknowledges another trait that has been key to his success. “Besides being courageous, Doug is generous and kind. When he sold Flexible Personnel, all of his employees told me how much they adored him. I hear this everywhere he goes.”

MILITARY MAKES SENSE Curtis also credits his military heritage. “My upbringing in an Army family and my training to become a Marine was, without a doubt, instrumental to my success in business. The discipline and structure of delegating authority and responsibility in the military just makes sense to me,” he said. Education makes sense to Doug, too. With his financial capabilities, he made it a top priority to pay for the education of more than 20 family members — including four children, 13 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and his wife, who after raising their family, returned to complete her degree at Park in 1957. “It’s one of my greatest accomplishments to make sure my family has the foundation of a college education,” he said. Today, Doug and Jean are appreciating the fruits of their commitment to education and embracing risk in business. They’ve traveled around the world and when they’re not welcoming family visitors to their West Palm Beach, Fla., home, Jean enjoys tap dancing while Doug hits the golf course and rides his bike every day. “We’re living a dream life,” Jean said. “Knock on wood, what more could we want?”

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Learning how to fly requires discipline and leadership, qualities critical to success in college and competitive career fields.” — Sandy Martin

Sandy Martin, ’92, M.P.A. ’95, has been enamored with flying ever since she first sat shotgun in a small plane during her courtship with her now husband, Richard. “It’s been a great way to see the world,” Martin said about a lifetime of flying with her pilot husband of 47 years. “Richard introduced me to flying and his passion for it was contagious.” The couple bought their first private plane in 1974 after Richard came home from the Vietnam War where he was the crew chief of a UH-1 Huey helicopter. “I’ve always preferred being the navigator,” Martin said. “I never wanted my pilot’s license, even though Richard proudly tells everyone I got a higher score on the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) exam than he did.”


Though adept at guiding a pilot through billowing clouds, it was Martin’s navigational skills on the ground that led to the creation of the Aviation Education Foundation of Colorado Inc., a nonprofit co-founded by the Martins. Getting off the ground It began where most good ideas begin: around the kitchen table. “A group of pilots would meet regularly with my husband in our home to talk about starting a nonprofit to help kids learn how to fly. They’d spend hours sifting through piles of paperwork needed to create an educational program that had no previous model,” Martin said. “Of course, I listened in, and one day walked up

to the group, and said, ‘Just give me the darn paperwork; I’ll make this thing work.” In 2001, Martin helped lift AEFCO off the ground. “The ability to fly opens a world of career opportunities for young people,” she said about starting the only nonprofit of its kind in the country that helps guide high school students with highflying aspirations on the runway to careers in aviation and aerospace. “If we would have waited on the group to make a decision, it would have never happened,” Richard said. “Sandy’s management skills gave us the swift kick we needed to start the program.” As the development director, Martin brings to AEFCO more than two decades of experience in information technology as a project manager and team for companies including MCI, Sprint and FedEx, from where she retired in 2014. Each year, AEFCO sponsors the Aviation Summer Flight Experience for teenagers, ages 15 to 19 years old. For eight days in June, students spend time split between the cockpit and the classroom learning about aircraft systems, flight procedures, aerodynamics, weather and navigation. Guest speakers share their experiences as aerospace engineers, shuttle commanders, military pilots and other aviation-related career paths. Students are also given the opportunity to fly with volunteer pilots to experience orientation flight maneuvers. Students from the summer program who want to become private pilots apply for AEFCO’s Pilot Prep Course. The schoolyear-long, free “ground school for teens” prepares students to pass the FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Test. Those who pass the

exam are eligible to apply for flight training matching scholarships. AEFCO scholarships help families offset flight training costs that average $8,500. High expectations AEFCO’s training is rigorous. “We require students to pass three consecutive practice tests with a score of at least 95 before we will endorse them to take the actual FAA exam, even though a score of only 70 is required to pass,” Martin said. “We raise the bar to ensure their success.” Attracting the best and the brightest, AEFCO has become a top-flight summer experience for teens, most of whom are student leaders with an average grade point average of 3.7. Many AEFCO participants have gone on to fly commercial airplanes or pursue careers in aviation. Nearly a dozen AEFCO graduates attend or have graduated from the U.S. Naval and Air Force academies. Regardless of their career direction, AEFCO stresses the importance of a college education and sets high expectations for students. “Learning how to fly requires discipline and leadership, qualities critical to success in college and competitive career fields,” Martin said. Of course, AEFCO also encourages young people to develop a skill that will expand their personal horizons. “I remember flying over New Mexico and as I looked down in the valley, I saw a herd of wild horses running. It was spectacular,” Martin said. “It’s these types of life experiences that learning to fly opens up. Flying is a great adventure and it invites young people to experience the world from new perspectives.”

Richard and Sandy Martin Spring 2016 - 12

Photo by Nicole Omohundro

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I look forward to building on Park’s national leadership and extraordinarily proud heritage.”— Greg Gunderson, Ph.D.

“It’s exceedingly clear that for 140 years, Park University has embraced a willingness to innovate that has positioned it ahead of the curve in higher education in a manner its peers should envy,”said

Gunderson, who became Park’s 17th president on Jan. 15. “I look forward to building on Park’s national leadership and extraordinarily proud heritage.”


Greg Gunderson, Ph.D. Park University’s 17th President

Photo by Dan Videtich

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The appointment by the University’s Board of Trustees came after a nationwide search led by EFL Associates Inc., and a search committee led by Park University trustee Julie Wilson, representing a diverse crosssection of University stakeholders, including trustees, alumni, faculty, staff and students. “Dr. Gunderson’s experience and leadership — along with his enthusiasm to create an environment of achievement for students, faculty, staff and alumni — positioned him well to be our next president,” said Michael Collins, ’04, chair of the University’s Board of Trustees. “Besides being extraordinarily welcoming, Park’s faculty and staff have impressed me with their absolute commitment to meeting the needs of students,” Gunderson said. “Park is a true open-enrollment institution that welcomes all learners, with support services meeting students where they are. Whether entering college after high school, returning mid-career, proudly serving in the military or transitioning as a veteran, every student is valued for who they are and given the support they need to reach their goals. That has been Park’s mission since 1875 and it will continue to be our guiding priority.” Gunderson brings a strong combination of education and business experience to the University. Before joining Park, Gunderson

served nearly five years as the vice president and chief financial officer of Webster University in St. Louis, leading its accounting, purchasing, accounts payable, bursar, internal audit, public safety, strategic planning, facilities and treasury units, and directed the financial processes for Webster’s 68 campuses around the world. Prior to his service at Webster, Gunderson spent nine years at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln — six years (2005-11) as assistant vice chancellor for business operations in the Office of Academic Affairs and three years (2002-05) as director of financial resources and budget operations. Gunderson also has experience in the private sector as project controller and chief of staff at ConAgra Inc., in Omaha, Neb.; director of finance for inbound operations at APAC Customer Services in Omaha; senior revenue accountant and tax accountant at Cray Research Inc., Eagan, Minn.; and tax accountant at Arthur Anderson and Co., St. Paul, Minn.

Selected “CFO of the Year” by the St. Louis Business Journal in 2014, Gunderson earned his doctoral degree in educational leadership in higher education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He received a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, Minn.) and a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. A native of Omaha, Gunderson’s family includes his wife of 27 years, Laurie, and their two sons, David, 19, and Jack, 17. In his spare time, Gunderson makes writing pens with a wood lathe and enjoys restoring cars. In addition, he is a lifelong curler (the sport of sliding stones on a sheet of ice). “My family is excited to become a part of the dedicated Park family,” Gunderson said. “Everyone — from Park students, faculty, staff and administration to our cherished alumni, partners, funders and friends — should feel a sense of great pride to join in celebrating Park’s 140 years of success.”

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Welcome Douglas Fiore, ph.d.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs “I’m honored to be entrusted to uphold the values and traditions that have guided Park University’s proud 140-year history, said Fiore, Park’s new provost and vice president

for academic affairs. “This is an exciting time to be a Pirate, and under the leadership of Dr. Gunderson, I am honored to be chosen to collaboratively lead the academic functions of the University.” Fiore, who has spent his entire career in education, previously served as interim provost at Ashland (Ohio) University, a position he held since August 2014. He began his duties at Ashland just two months earlier as the dean of the Dwight Schar College of Education. Prior to joining Ashland, Fiore spent nearly seven years at Virginia State University, Petersburg, Va., most recently as associate provost for extended education for one year. Other stints at VSU included: assistant provost for general and continuing education, and professor of education (2009-12); dean and professor of educational leadership, and special assistant to the provost (2008-09); and dean of the Doctor of Education program and associate professor of educational leadership (2006-08). Fiore also spent one year (2012-13) serving a fellowship with the esteemed American Council on Education. Fiore said he has enjoyed a warm Park welcome since his official arrival in February. “I’ve been impressed by so many facets of the University, but mostly by the faculty, administration and friends who exude extraordinary optimism and dedication to the success of Park students.” Fiore earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in educational administration from Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Ind. He also received a Master of Science degree in education from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., and a Bachelor of Arts degree in education/speech arts and sciences from Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y. Fiore was recently married to Julie Dotson, and he has three adult daughters, Meagan, Amy and Katherine. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, cooking and writing.

Dr. Fiore (second from right) talks to students in the Copley Quad courtyard on the Parkville Campus. Spring 2016 - 16

Photo by Dan Videtich

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Park takes the lead in nursing education

Photo by Kenny Johnson

Kellee Sander, Hilary Prentzler and Sonja Burris, all pursuing an Associate Degree in Nursing, work with an adult computer operated mannequin. The mannequin has a heartbeat, blinks, can breathe, talk and simulate a wide-range of medical conditions.

There’s never been a greater need for nurses. By 2025, a shortage of 260,000 registered nurses is projected in the United States. Yet many prospective nurses are stranded on nursing program waiting lists. Spring 2016 - 18

Last fall, Park University took the lead in meeting the urgent need for highly trained nurses when it expanded its Ellen Finley Earhart Department of Nursing into a 40,000 square-foot location in the new Academic Expansion Space on the University’s Parkville Campus. “With the commitment of Park’s Master Plan, we now have the space to house a truly state-of-the-art nursing education facility,” said April Haberyan, Ph.D., chair of Park’s nursing program and associate professor of

nursing. In addition, the department received approval from the Missouri State Board of Nursing in November 2015 to begin its new Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program. “We’re fortunate to have the administration’s support to begin offering the program at Park and eagerly anticipate accepting the first class of pre-nursing students this fall.” Diagnosing demand Since 2013, Park’s nursing program has received an exponential increase in inquiries

— more than 1,700 calls annually — from prospective students seeking placement in the pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

Nursing degree at Park. In August 2014, Park’s Board of Trustees voted to approve the new program.

“In 2014, there were 204 students who were qualified for admission to a nursing program in the Kansas City metropolitan area who were not able to pursue their education simply because all the established area programs were full,” said Gerry Walker, D.H.Ed., associate professor of nursing.

In addition, Park was awarded a $75,000 grant from the Victor E. Speas Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee, for technology upgrades for the Ellen Finley Earhart Department of Nursing to support program expansion. The University is grateful for the continued support of the Speas Foundation, which partnered with Park in 1985 to start the Associate Degree in Nursing program.

And despite a widely recognized nursing shortage, health care providers are rapidly implementing the BSN as a hiring requirement. The Institute of Medicine has set a goal that by 2020, 80 percent of RNs at the bedside will be BSN-qualified. Hospitals must comply to earn Magnet status, a quality designation.

With four new laboratories featuring expanded patient simulators, Park’s nursing program now equips future nurses with the latest advances in nursing education. To prepare students for the realities of patient care in a safe learning environment, the program utilizes:

Expanding opportunities Park has proudly served nurses in the Kansas City region for the past 30 years, offering an Associate Degree in Nursing program for licensed practical nurses to become registered nurses. In spring 2012, Park expanded its reach beyond the University’s Parkville Campus with the addition of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree Completion Program (RN to BSN) — a fully online program— to offer associate degreed and registered nurses the career mobility path they need to remain competitive in evolving health care environments.

• Four adult and two pediatric computer operated mannequins (patient simulators) that have heartbeats, blink, can breathe, talk and simulate a wide-range of medical conditions and biological responses to treatment. • Two birthing simulators birth a baby (including the possible complications of pregnancy and childbirth).

• A control room where instructors can remotely operate the simulators to create both common and uncommon high-risk clinical situations. • A digital audio-visual system that records scenarios in simulated environments to facilitate learning. Debriefing after a simulation allows students and instructors to discuss what occurred, both positive and negative. “Simulation will no longer be a once or twice a semester experience for our students,” Haberyan said. The expansion of Park’s simulated patient training will give students weekly opportunities to make clinical judgments and test their skills while building competence and confidence. Haberyan and the expert nursing education staff at Park are always encouraging nurses to position themselves for greater success. “Not only is nursing among the fastest-growing occupations, but a bachelor’s degree in nursing opens up tremendous possibilities for diverse growth and leadership opportunities in health care. It’s truly a great time to enter or advance in the profession. ”

To find a way for Park to expand opportunities for students seeking advanced nursing education, Walker joined forces with Emily Sallee, Ph.D., dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Scott Hageman, associate dean, School of Natural and Applied Sciences, and associate professor of geology. Together, they researched internal and external indicators that clearly demonstrated it was the right time for the University to invest in offering the full, prelicensure Bachelor of Science in

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Leading the way Park University Magazine continues this special series to highlight members of Park’s Board of Trustees and various advisory boards who provide support and counsel to the University. Park is grateful for their invaluable commitment of time, expertise and financial support to lead the way to Park’s continued success.

Creating a climate for success Michael Collins, '04 Chair, Park University Board of Trustees Photo by Alicia Abla

HEEDING THE CALL “It may seem cliché, but it’s true what they say,” said Laura McFadden, ’96, ’14. “Nursing is a calling.” But she admits to considering other options.

in this field. And there’s no reason to ever be burned out. There’s always something new to learn,” she said. “Nurses have many choices about where they work — from hospitals, clinics and schools to rehabilitation and longterm care facilities — as well as the type of work they want to pursue within a wide array of specialties.”

While working as a licensed practical nurse, McFadden earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice administration from Park University in 1996. “I worked as a paralegal and was seriously considering a law degree. Ultimately, I realized that once a nurse, always a nurse. I decided to follow my natural inclination to care for others,” she said.

Over the years, McFadden became increasingly interested in working with memory care patients. To expand her skills, she became a certified Alzheimer educator and the only certified Positive Approach to Care trainer in Missouri. “Dementia care has become my passion,” she said. “Today, I’m dedicated to educating nurses, patients’ families and the community about better ways to support those struggling with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.”

In 2004, she returned to earn an Associate Degree in Nursing from Park’s Ellen Finley Earhart Department of Nursing, and in 2014 she became the first graduate of the department’s online Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree Completion Program. McFadden said her decision has opened diverse career opportunities during her more than 30 years in nursing. “The demand for nurses continues to expand so there’s never a reason to be without a job

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Her career trajectory is also testament to the leadership and management opportunities in nursing. Previously the memory care manager at John Knox Village in Lee’s Summit, Mo., McFadden was recently named the director of nursing at the Villages of Jackson Creek Memory Care in Independence, Mo., where she has introduced changes in dementia care for residents. She embraces a positive

approach to what have been considered negative behaviors in memory care patients. “We’re making big strides in reducing the need for psychotropic medications that often have horrible side effects,” she said. “It’s truly amazing what we are able to do to improve their quality of life.” McFadden has managed many nurses over the years and said she’s always proud to work with nurses who graduated from her alma mater. “Park is known for preparing nurses to succeed with a sincere dedication to quality patient care.” As a member of Park’s Nursing Advisory Board, McFadden is excited about the expansion of the nursing program. “I’m glad to see Park taking the lead to meet the demand for nursing education and thrilled to see the significant expansion of the department with the latest learning technologies, particularly the new clinical laboratory space,” she said. Nursing may be a calling, but McFadden recognizes it’s one of today’s fastest growing professions. “For those looking to advance in the field, I always tell them to take the initiative to advance their education, explore their particular interests, and never, ever stop learning.”

President and Chief Executive Officer, Port KC

Michael Collins remembers evenings on Park University’s flagship campus in Parkville, Mo., when he was 12 years old. “I used to wait outside the classroom where my mother, Brenda (Collins) Jackson, ’94, was taking an exam. She’s always been a role model to me, especially when it comes to the value of a college education,” he said.

Soon after graduation, his dream came true when he was invited to work in Bond’s office in Washington, D.C., as a legislative correspondent in 2005. He was quickly promoted to legislative assistant and then senior advisor where he worked on policies related to transportation, economic development, commerce, appropriations and labor. In 2008, Collins returned to Kansas City to run Bond’s regional office and start a family. “My D.C. experience was phenomenal. But I wanted to be more connected to the people, companies and communities directly affected by policy decisions,” he said. “I was always the K.C. guy in D.C. I wore it proudly, but I wanted to be back home. I love this town.”

After a stint in 2010 as vice president at Swope Community Enterprises, Collins was named president and chief executive officer of the Port KC. In 2010, he reconnected with his alma mater by serving on Park’s Civic Advisory Council before joining Today, Collins is dedicated Park’s Board of Trustees and then being elected board chair in 2015. to ensuring the value of “The landscape of higher education has definitely changed since Park opened its an affordable college doors 140 years ago. Delivery methods have changed. Economics have changed. education for future students. “This is an exciting time for Park as we celebrate a Yet Park has never wavered in its commitment to provide access to an affordable proud 140 years and make way for an even brighter future,” he said. liberal arts education,” Collins said. “We understand every student has different He knows firsthand the value of a Park education, particularly the small classrooms circumstances, and Park strives to meet their changing needs. It’s our job to make sure we are creating a climate where students feel comfortable to learn in a diverse and personal support. While earning a bachelor’s degree in political science, he developed many friendships, including one with his political science professor, Ron environment — no matter their age, race, color, creed or ethnicity — and that we provide the support and encouragement they need to achieve their goals. Brecke. Ph.D. “We didn’t see eye-to-eye on policy, but he’s had a lifelong influence on me,” Collins said. “He always told students that we could believe whatever policy we want to believe — we didn’t have to agree with him — but we must be able to clearly articulate our point of view. That has guided my thinking throughout my career.” It was Brecke who connected Collins to a pivotal internship. In 2002, Collins began working in former Missouri senator Christopher “Kit” Bond’s office in downtown Kansas City — an internship he held for only one week before being offered a job as a staff assistant. “I was so excited. My goal was to get to Capitol Hill, and this was exactly the experience I needed to get there,” he said.

When he’s not leading Park or Port KC, Collins enjoys spending time with his wife, Molly, and their three children, 9-year-old Isabella, 6-year old Olivia and 3-year old Landon. “On weekends, we enjoy lunch and visiting the shops in downtown Parkville — and the kids always love to stop and admire the beautiful Parkville Campus.”

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o o l h c s e u l B e st Va Park Ranked Among Top Colleges in the Country According to the 2015 PayScale College ROI Report, Park University is again among the top-ranked private colleges/ universities in the country for annual return on investment percentage. Among students who live on campus, not including financial aid, Park is ranked No. 2 among all private colleges/universities in the country with a 9.5 percent annual ROI (behind only Brigham Young University). When financial aid is included for those living on campus, Park ranked No. 15 (tie) among private

colleges/universities with a 12.7 percent ROI (just behind schools such as Harvard, Stanford, BYU, Rice, MIT, Yale, Princeton, Cal Tech, Duke, Dartmouth and University of Pennsylvania).

Park was also highly ranked for some specific majors. Among business majors living off campus, not including financial aid, Park is ranked No. 2 among private colleges/ universities with a 12.7 percent annual ROI and is ranked No. 21 (tie) overall; among Among students who live off campus, not computer science/mathematics majors living including financial aid, Park is ranked No. off campus, not including financial aid, Park 3 among private colleges/universities with again ranked No. 2 among private colleges/ a 9.7 percent ROI; including financial aid, universities with a 15.5 percent annual ROI Park is ranked No. 4 among private colleges/ and is ranked No. 22 (tie) overall. universities with a 13.1 percent annual ROI.

Park University Selected Top Best for Vets” Private School in the Country Park University is the No. 1 “Best for Vets” private college/university in the country, as announced by Military Times in its “Best for Vets: Colleges 2016” rankings. The ranking is a reflection of the services and support the University provides to active duty military, veterans and their families. Military Times, an independent source for news and information for the military community, and its associated newsweeklies, Air Force Times, Army Times, Marine Corps Times and Navy Times, ranked Park as the top private college/university in the country and No. 2 overall in the “online and nontraditional” category (schools that serve military students primarily online or through a network of campuses). Read more at

School of Business Ranked No. 2 “Best for Vets” Private School in the Country Park University’s School of Business is the No. 2 “Best for Vets” business school in the country among private colleges/universities in the country, according to Military Times, an independent source for news and information for the military community, and its associated publications, Army Times,

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Navy Times, Air Force Times and Marine Corps Times. Park ranked behind only Syracuse (N.Y.) University on the list of private colleges/ universities and was No. 12 overall, which includes public and for-profit schools. In

addition, as a part of the rankings, Park was one of only eight schools nationwide to receive four stars out of a possible four in both staff support and academic support. Read more at

Wanessa Siqueira

Photo by Dale Grosbach /

Siqueira Named NAIA National Champions of Character Award Winner Wanessa Siqueira, who had an unparalleled career for Park University’s women’s volleyball program, was selected as the NAIA’s Dr. LeRoy Walker Champions of Character Award winner for the 2014-15 academic year. Siqueira earned consideration for the award by winning the American Midwest Conference nomination last spring, shortly after being named the 2014-15 Capital One Academic AllAmerican of the Year by the College Sports Information Directors of America for all sports at the college division.

“Wanessa’s success spans far beyond the volleyball court,” said Claude English, Park University athletics director. “She is one of the most genuine, caring people you will ever meet, and as good as she was for Park on the volleyball court, she’s a better person. She’s the model student-athlete and the definition of the kind of person we want at Park University. She’s someone you want around your program for life.”

has demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, campus and community leadership, athletic achievement and future ambition. Siqueira, who graduated in December 2014 from Park University with a double major in business administration/ finance and business administration/ management, is continuing her studies at Park as a graduate student in the Master of Business Administration program.

The award annually recognizes a junior or senior student-athlete who has embraced the five core values of the NAIA Champions of Character program, and

Read more about Siqueira’s accomplishments on and off the court that led to her being the Champions of Character award-winner at

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UNIVERSITY NEWS Park Social Work Program Part of $30 Million Kansas City HUD Grant Students and faculty in Park University’s Department of Social Work are among the key community partners for a $30 million grant that was awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to the Housing Authority of Kansas City, Mo., and the city of Kansas City, Mo. The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative Implementation Grant is intended to transform distressed public and assisted housing into sustainable, mixed-income housing with access

Park University Designated Military Friendly Institution for Seventh Straight Year For the seventh consecutive year, Park University has been honored by Victory Media as a 2016 Military Friendly School. The military friendly designation by Victory Media, which publishes G.I. Jobs, STEM Jobs and Military Spouse magazines, provides service members and their families with transparent, data-driving ratings about post-military education and career opportunities. The honor is awarded to the top colleges, universities, community colleges and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students, and also dedicate resources to ensure their success in the classroom and after graduation. Read more at military-friendly-designation-2016.html.

to community assets and services, and to support positive outcomes for families living in the development and in the community. Kansas City’s project will focus on redeveloping an isolated 134-unit public housing project which sits on an old landfill into a 360-unit mixedincome community. According to Walter Kisthardt, Ph.D., professor and chair of social work, and director of the Master of Social Work program, the Department of Social Work will provide all the training and technical assistance for case managers housed at the partner provider agencies. A field practicum unit will be developed for social work students to work directly with service participants, and an evaluation of social/behavioral outcomes realized by participants in education, employment and permanent housing will be conducted.

Park University 2015 Homecoming Royalty As a part of Park University’s Homecoming Weekend festivities, six students were selected as royalty during halftime of Park’s men’s soccer match against FreedHardeman University on Sept. 19. Students were nominated by the student body, and the winners were selected — by a committee comprised of students, faculty and staff — after writing an essay and how they represent Park University’s core values: accountability, civility and respect, excellence, global citizenship, inclusivity and integrity. • • • • • •

Queen — Anna Jahn, senior psychology major King — Steven Crooke, senior social work major Princess — Kellan Appollis, sophomore mathematics major Prince — David Jackson II, junior criminal justice/law enforcement major Duchess — Olivia Atkinson, sophomore business administration/human resources major Duke — Derek Braun, junior business administration/finance

Park University Selected as College Partner for Kansas City Teacher Residency Program The Kansas City Teacher Residency selected Park University as its college partner for its urban teacher residency program. The KCTR is the result of a direct response to the challenge of teacher shortages in urban cities such as Kansas City. The program recruits, prepares, develops and supports effective teachers in classrooms across the area with a goal of helping students achieve strong academic gains by retaining exceptional teachers that reflect the rich diversity of the region. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is supporting the growth, development and sustainability of the KCTR in its first year. As the KCTR’s only higher education partner, Park University will provide participants with graduate-level coursework in order to complete a Master of Education degree in early childhood education, elementary education or middle school education. Read more about the KCTR program at

Inaugural Park University Athletics Wall of Honor Class Inducted Park University inducted its inaugural class for the Park Athletics Wall of Honor, recognizing 14 individuals and two teams during an event on Oct. 12, 2015, in conjunction with the Park University Golf Scramble at The National Golf Club of Kansas City. Ten former student-athletes highlight the 2015 class of individual honorees, as well as two coaches and two meritorious contributors to the department. The two teams joining the individual honorees both made national news in NAIA championship matches — the 2014 NAIA national championship women’s volleyball team, which finished with a perfect 40-0 record, and the 1994 women’s soccer team (in adjacent photo), which went 24-3 and concluded the season as the runner-up in the NAIA national tournament. Read about all of the honorees at

University Earns Champions of Character Gold Award from NAIA Park University has long been recognized as a Champions of Character Five-Star Institution by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, but in 2014-15, the Pirates stepped up as an institution, going from the bronze level in 2013-14 to a gold award winner in 2014-15. The NAIA's Champions of Character program represents five core character values — respect, integrity, responsibility, servant leadership and sportsmanship. To earn gold status, an institution must total at least 90 of a possible 100 points. Coaches and staff are also expected to partake in code of ethics and coaches code training, as well as a series of online videos that help coaches teach the values of the Champions of Character program to their student-athletes. Park is one of just 29 NAIA institution to earn the gold level. Read more at

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Norrington Center transformed

PARK PRIDE AMPLIFIED National championships. Academic accolades. Innovative renovations. Pride for Park University is growing stronger than ever, and students, alumni and friends have been asking for more ways to show it. Just in time to celebrate 140 years of Pirate pride, the University has introduced new T-shirts, hoodies, hats and more, both online and in brick and mortar retail outlets.

From the “old library” to a state-of-the-art academic commons, Norrington Center on Park University’s flagship campus in Parkville, Mo., is undergoing a dramatic transformation.

University’s Academic Support Center and multiple tutoring services for students.

Built in 1908 and funded by Andrew Carnegie and the Carnegie Foundation, Norrington Center will house a cutting-edge multimedia classroom suitable for distance teaching, collaborative technology workstations, a new Campanella Gallery, team huddle room, a café and more. Park’s McAfee Memorial Library will be relocated to its original home in Norrington Center where reference librarians will be accessible to students across the country by e-mail, phone and an online chat room six days a week. It will also be home to the

To learn more, contact Nathan Marticke, associate vice president of constituent development, at or (816) 584-6844.

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Park alumni and friends are invited to help transform Norrington Center. In addition to opportunities for general support of the project, multiple naming opportunities are available to help reshape the foundation of the learning experience for every Park student.

Park has also forged an exclusive partnership with popular apparel design firm Charlie Hustle. The Kansas City, Mo., based company has gained national acclaim for creating collegiate and sports vintage apparel that bridges the gap between young and old, worn and reproduced, what was and what will be — an ideal fit for Park’s 140th anniversary celebration. To expand convenient shopping options, Park launched its new online Park Spirit Store earlier this year and is developing new partnerships with off-campus retail outlets, including The Middle KC in downtown Parkville, Mo. To learn how you can order from any of these vendors, visit

Mackay Hall Makeover Renovation of the iconic clock atop Mackay Hall on Park University’s Parkville Campus is complete, thanks to the support of Park’s Club 1000 members. Their generous donations paid the entire cost to preserve and maintain this treasured timepiece, originally a gift from Park’s Alumni Association in 1893.

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A book edited by Dong Hwa (Donna) Choi, Ph.D., professor of adult education and early childhood education, Amber Dailey-Hebert, Ph.D., professor of adult education, and Judi Simmons Estes, Ph.D., associate dean in the School for Education and associate professor of elementary and secondary teacher preparation, has been published. The book, Emerging Tools and Applications of Virtual Reality in Education, explores the potential and practical uses of virtual reality in classrooms with a focus on educational and instructional outcomes and strategies, with multiple projects from five different countries. The book includes experiments in the use of augmented reality in teaching and highlights the effects it has on students. The trio also authored the final chapter in the book, “Integrating Technological Innovations to Enhance the Teaching-Learning Process.” Julie Creek, Ph.D., assistant professor and area/program coordinator for international business, was elected second vice president for the International Trade Council of Greater Kansas City. As second vice president, Creek will serve as chairperson of the organization’s annual membership meeting and its Program Committee. She will also serve on the Educational Outreach Team, providing oversight on educational programming. The ITC-GKC’s mission is to promote international business through focused commercial education and networking to support individuals and businesses in the Greater Kansas City area. Michael Jeffress, Ph.D., adjunct instructor of communication arts and religion, had a book he authored published. The book, Communication, Sport and Disability: The Case of Power Soccer (Ashgate), tells the story of power soccer, the first competitive team sport specifically designed for electric wheelchair users. Beginning in France in the 1970s, today, more than 60 teams compete within the United States Power Soccer Association and the sport is actively played in more than 30 countries.

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An article written by Nicolas Koudou, Ph.D., professor of business administration and area coordinator of general concentrations in the Master of Business Administration program, was published in the Journal of Economics and Sustainable Development. The article, “Role of Freshwater Resources in Sustainable Economic Development in 21st Century: Exploratory Study,” envisions solutions to freshwater scarcity to promote viable economic development where needed and provides information to help prevent freshwater base conflicts among communities around the world.

AWARDS, APPOINTMENTS, AND RECOGNITIONS Shovkia Caldwell, a junior management major at Park’s Naval Support Activity MidSouth Millington (Tenn.) Campus Center, was selected Sailor of the Year for the U.S. Navy’s Installations Command Headquarters for 2015. Earlier in the year, Caldwell was selected Sailor of the Quarter among her peers at NICH at NSA Millington. Caldwell, as part of the Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor department, manages military pay, travel entitlements and deductions to assist enlisted personnel and their families with special problems or personal hardships. Vernal Cole, adjunct instructor of accounting at the Camp Pendleton (Calif.) Marine Corps Base Campus Center, was recognized by the North San Diego County (Calif.) Chapter of the NAACP with the organization’s 2015 Youth President’s Award. Cole received the award at the Blue and Gold Awards Gala in Carlsbad, Calif., in October 2015. Cole is active in numerous community based organizations, including the Vista Boys & Girls Club, where he serves as a board member, the Ocean Promise and the San Luis Rey Rotary.

Stephen Fant, adjunct instructor of management, was honored in August 2015 with a trio of accolades during an Installation Management Command quarterly town hall meeting at Joint Base San Antonio (Texas). Fant was recognized with the Global War on Terrorism Award and Medal, the Joint Civilian Service Commendation Award and the Non-Article 5 NATO Award and Medal, all for his work as a safety manager for U.S. Forces Afghanistan while deployed in Kabul in 2014. The Global War on Terrorism Medal symbolizes the honor and achievement of civilians with the Department of Defense to defend freedom against danger that may develop on foreign soil. The Joint Civilian Service Commendation was bestowed upon Fant for exceptional meritorious service during Operation Enduring Freedom, specifically for ensuring “synchronization of the overall safety program initiatives, goals and objectives, regulatory requirements and Department of Defense and Army level mandates.” The NATO Award was given to Fant for service with NATO in relation to the International Security Assistance Force. A book authored by Dennis Okerstrom, professor of English, received the Air Power History Best Book Reviewed Award from the Air Force Historical Foundation. Okerstrom and his book, Project 9: Birth of the Air Commandos in World War II (University of Missouri Press, 2014), were honored at the AFHF’s awards banquet in October 2015, in Arlington, Va. The book is a narrative of the Allied joint project to invade Burma by air and details the aspects of the covert mission, including the selection of American airmen, the procurement of the aircraft, the joint training with British troops and the dangerous nighttime assault behind Japanese lines by glider. Air Power History is a journal published by the AFHF that chronicles the great campaigns, leaders, successes and failures of air forces in history.

OFFICE OF UNIVERSITY RELATIONS AND DEVELOPMENT EARNS AWARD Park University’s Office of University Relations and Development received an Award of Distinction from Nonprofit Connect at the organization’s annual Philly Awards Celebration in November 2015 in Kansas City, Mo. The Award of Distinction was awarded to entries that scored in the 90th percentile, regardless of category. Park’s award was for the OURD’s overall marketing efforts for the School of Business and the Global Executive Master of Business Administration program.

MASTER OF SOCIAL WORK PROGRAM EARNS FULL ACCREDITATION FROM CSWE Park University’s Master of Social Work program, which officially began in Fall 2014, has been granted full accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation. Park’s MSW program, which has three areas of practice emphasis — military, children and families, and gerontological — is the home of one of the few accredited advanced practice concentration in behavior health in the U.S. In addition, Park is the only college/university in the Kansas City metropolitan area to have both an accredited MSW program and an accredited Bachelor of Social Work program.

PARK UNIVERSITY RECEIVES MILITARY FRIENDLY ACCOLADE Park University has been selected as one of the “2016 Top Military Friendly Online Colleges” by the Guide to Online Schools. Colleges and universities named to the list provide a strong military culture, exceptional online support to its military students, and earn high marks in financial aid and flexibility. Of the 78 schools selected, Park University is one of just eight schools to earn a perfect score (100 points) for both its military culture and online support.

Henry Roehrich, Ph.D., assistant professor of marketing/management and program coordinator for logistics and management, was appointed to serve a three-year term on the Board of Directors of the Marketing Management Association. The MMA is an academic association that showcases cutting-edge marketing thought, presented by practitioners and academicians.

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The mission of the Park University Alumni Association is to serve as a vital partner with Park University to inspire passion and pride, promote participation and foster meaningful lifelong connections throughout our global and diverse alumni community. Contact the Office of Alumni Relations with news, comments and questions about the Park University Alumni Association and its members. Phone: (816) 584-6412 or (800) 488-PARK (7275) Fax: (816) 505-5409 E-mail: Address: 8700 NW River Park Drive, Box 65 Parkville, MO 64152 Office of Alumni Relations Staff Erik Bergrud, M.P.A. '94 Associate Vice President for Alumni, Constituent and Employer Relations (816) 584-6412 Alisha Blackwelder, '03 Special Events Manager (816) 584-6420 Bobbi Shaw, '01 Administrative Assistant (816) 584-6200

Park University graduates walk from Mackay Hall down to Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel.

Old Kate was a beloved mule that hauled water to the Parkville Campus for more than a decade.

Students in the early 20th century striking a playful pose.

PARK UNIVERSITY COMMEMORATIVE BOOK NOW AVAILABLE Fides et Labor: 140 Years of Pioneering Education. The Story of Park University This 160-page book is filled with stories and photos covering the University’s 140 years as the institution grew from a small Presbyterian school, built on the banks of the Missouri River, with 17 students, into a world-class provider of higher education to nearly 18,000 students at 40 campuses face-to-face and online around the world. The price per copy is $39.95, and supply is limited. The book may be picked up on the Parkville Campus at Park House or shipped for an additional $6. Visit to order your copy. The Park University community posed for a photo in October 1959. Do you recognize anyone?

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Call, Text, Link, Share…

Park wants to know about you Throughout this 140th anniversary issue, readers have been introduced to Park University alumni who have pursued diverse paths to success. Yet we know these stories only touch the surface of the successful professional and personal lives of the nearly 73,000 Park alumni around the globe.

What brings Park alumni together?

Kathryn Phillips Hernandez, ‘83 Treasurer St. Joseph, Mo.

What I often hear from alumni is a need for assurance that the Park they graduated from is the same Park today. I believe the fundamental core values inherent in a Park education — whether it was earned in the 1950s or in the 1980s — are the same values embraced by Park students today.

Isn’t it challenging to bring us together?

Michael J. Badilla, ‘09 Fort Belvoir, Va. Robert M. Dandridge, ‘04 New Baden, Ill. Duane Davidson, ’00, M.P.A. ’03 Liberty, Mo. David Ehrlich, ’00 Dumfries, Va.

During our 140th year, we’re taking advantage of technology to connect alumni, regardless of geographic location, and share information in a timely manner. This year, we launched a new alumni newsletter, the Park Manifest, which provides upto-date University news meant to supplement the Park University Magazine. (If you haven’t received the newsletter, give me a shout and I’ll add you to the list). We’ve also expanded outreach to alumni on the redesigned Park website, through our enhanced social media platforms, on our new online store and in new off-campus merchandise outlets.

Jay Flaherty, ‘71 Kansas City, Mo.

How do I stay in touch and share my success story?

LaKeisha Johnson, ’08, M.P.A. ‘12 Independence, Mo.

In addition to Facebook and Twitter, we encourage alumni to connect with Park on LinkedIn. We believe focusing on career networking opportunities provides real value to a majority of Park alumni and recognize that more than half of Park’s nearly 73,000 alumni have LinkedIn accounts. We want to know about your career progress and accomplishments. Additionally, we want to help you pursue new opportunities and network with fellow alumni.

Michelle Gaiewski, ‘10 Cedar Park, Texas Justin Huttie, ‘05, M.B.A. ‘12 Overland Park, Kan.

Max Miller, ‘13 Gladstone, Mo. Elizabeth Weese Muncal, ‘05 Scottsdale, Ariz.

Through Park’s redesigned website, we also encourage you to create or update your alumni record. Simply go to to share your career and/or personal news directly with Park.

Derrick W. Quarterman, ‘03 Triangle, Va.

May I contact you?

Amber G. Steele, ‘10 Excelsior Springs, Mo.

Of course! You’re welcome to reach out to me through whatever way works best for you. Feel free to call me directly, send an e-mail, text or message me on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn — I’m all over the place and I want to hear from you and about you.

Photo by Kenny Johnson

Sarah Hopkins-Chery, ’07, M.A. ‘09 President-Elect Parkville, Mo. Jeff McKinney, ’81 Immediate Past President, Board of Trustees representative Round Rock, Texas

We recognize Park alumni have different experiences and relationships with the University. Some graduated 50 years ago from Park’s flagship campus in Parkville, Mo.; others just recently completed their degree at one of Park’s 39 other campus centers located in 21 states or online around the world.

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Toni Madeira, ’88 President Kansas City, Mo.

That’s why Erik Bergrud, M.P.A. ’94, associate vice president for alumni, constituent and employer relations, has been working to expand opportunities to connect with alumni as Park looks forward to the next 140 years.

We all have one thing in common: The pride in earning a degree from a University that has stood strong to meet the evolving needs of its students since 1875.

Kathryn Phillips Hernandez. '83 (Alumni Council Treasurer), Sarah Hopkins-Chery, ’07, M.A. ‘09 (Alumni Council President-Elect), Erik Bergrud, M.P.A. '94 (Associate Vice President for Alumni, Constituent and Employer Relations) and Elizabeth Weese Muncal, ‘05 (Alumni Council member).

Alumni Council

Erik Bergrud Associate Vice President for Alumni, Constituent and Employer Relations Park University, 8700 NW River Park Drive, Parkville, MO 64152 / Office: (816) 584-6412 / Cell: (816) 686-3480

Charles K. Williams, ‘96 Trotwood, Ohio Monica Zavala, ‘12 Cedar Park, Texas

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ALUMNI/HOMECOMING WEEKEND 2015 RECAP Alumni/Homecoming Weekend 2015, which took place Sept. 17-19, offered fun and activities for alumni representing multiple generations, ranging from “Park Sing� to rock and roll, from plated luncheons and dinners to hospitality tents and a wine tasting, from formal presentations to casual conversations, and from Homecoming collegiate matches to alumni athletic games. Mark your calendar to join the fun for Alumni/Homecoming Weekend 2016, Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 15-17.

Members of the Class of 1965 pause for a group photo following the Golden Diploma ceremony. Steve Strong (far right), owner of S.D. Strong Distilling, a business within the Parkville Commercial Underground on the University's Parkville Campus, gives an introduction to the Class of 1965 before a plant tour.

Pirate Carly Marticke is the daughter of Crystal and Nathan Marticke, M.A.C.L. '10, associate vice president of constituent development.

Dr. Jeff Ehrlich, who served as interim president during the second half of 2015, and Alumni Association President-Elect Sarah HopkinsChery, '07, M.A. '09, present a Golden Diploma to Paul Gault, '65, M.P.A. '88.

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Dr. Emily Sallee, dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dr. Gerry Walker, associate professor of nursing, and Dr. Jeff Ehrlich, interim president (from left), cut the ribbon to officially open the University's new Academic Expansion Space on the Parkville Campus. Bandage scissors were used for the ribbon-cutting to pay homage to the nursing profession as classrooms, simulation labs and faculty/staff offices for the Ellen Finley Earhart Department of Nursing are now located in the AES.

Homecoming 2016 royalty stand with Dr. Jeff Ehrlich (far right), interim president during the second half of 2016. From left: Duchess Olivia Atkinson, Queen Anna Jahn, King Steven Crooke, Princess Kellan Appollis and Prince David Jackson II. (Not pictured: Duke Derek Braun).

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PARKPROUD Each year, Park University honors a few of its outstanding alumni and friends. We beam with pride for their career and civic achievements, and look to them as guiding examples of leadership, innovation and commitment as they continue to proudly improve the lives of others.

JACK FOWLER, ’54 Owner, Fowler Real Estate, Boulder, Colo.

The Distinguished Alumnus Award recognizes Park University alumni who have distinguished themselves through career, service or community achievements. If you ask Jack Fowler about his success in the real estate business, he’ll tell you it’s no big secret. “I’ve always put in a lot of hours, but it didn’t hurt me much.” Born and raised in Iowa, Fowler came to Park University in 1950 to work in exchange for his tuition as part of a work-study program. “I had the option to milk cows at 4 a.m. or work the equipment to pasteurize the milk. I chose the latter so I didn’t have to get up early.” He also started a silo and concrete repair business in Parkville and hired only Park students.

With a degree in chemistry, Fowler decided to give working as a chemist “a whirl” at a small company. When his boss realized his construction abilities, he was assigned extra projects on the company’s property. “I decided to take advantage of my experience building things and get my real estate license,” he said. In 1957, he moved to Colorado and opened Fowler Real Estate to develop single-family homes and condominiums in Boulder. As a leader in his industry, Fowler is the past president of the Boulder Area “I’ve always put in a lot Realtor Association and past chair of the of hours and long, hard Colorado Realtors Legislative Committee. working days. But it In 1974, he was recognized as the Colorado didn’t hurt me much.” Realtor of the Year.

— Jack Fowler, ’54

The house that Jack built Fowler is highly regarded in the Boulder community, particular by his church. Next to the Pine Street Church is Pine Street Commons, a former school building built in 1968 under his leadership. The congregation warmly refers to it as “the house that Jack built.” Today, Fowler is helping the church renovate the building to house the Off Broadway Preschool of Fine Arts. He also contributes time to help remodel the 100-year-old church.

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At 83 years old, Fowler continues to put in long hours. “I have so many projects in the works that my days are still very full,” he said. Fowler is fairly certain he’s had a real estate license longer than anyone in Boulder — and may be the oldest realtor in town — but there’s no doubt he’s still among the most successful and hardest working.

Photo by Kenny Johnson


Chemistry to condominiums While greeting the incoming freshman class in 1951, Fowler helped carry the luggage for Barbara (Hays) Fowler, x55. “It was the custom to welcome new students at the campus entrance, and in my mind at the time, to look over the new crop. I knew right away that Barbara was the one,” he said. Fowler married Barbara in 1953 and moved off campus while he finished school and managed his concrete business. Their first son, Tom, was born in 1954 and attended Jack’s graduation. “He was just a squirmy little thing during the commencement ceremony,” Fowler said.

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The Marlowe Sherwood Memorial Service Award recognizes Park University alumni volunteer service to community and/or civic organizations.

The Torchlighter Award is given to honor individuals who have made significant, long-standing contributions and commitments to Park University, whether alumni, faculty or friend. Recipients of this award who are not graduates are bestowed the honor of honorary alumnus.

Tim Decker remembers being cautioned about a degree in social work. “My adviser told me I’d spend long hours working with some of the most difficult children and families, often in challenging environments, and would give a lot of myself to help others — many who likely wouldn’t appreciate me,” he said. It was that conversation that sealed his decision. “The more I heard about social work, the more excited I got,” he said. “Without a doubt, I had found my calling: to uplift others and make a difference through a career in social work.”


Influential role models Growing up in a family of seven children, Decker worked in his father’s grocery store where he watched his dad go out of his way to help customers. His mother was involved in church, school and Girl Scouts. “My parents modeled doing kind things for others in need. They were influential role models,” he said. While working in a summer camp during high school, Decker discovered his own ability to help others. That’s when his future began to crystalize.

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Decker came to Park University on a track scholarship from his hometown in St. Louis. At Park, he met his wife, Laurie (Hendry) Decker, ’81, and the two were married in Park’s Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel on the Parkville Campus. With a bachelor’s degree in social work and psychology, Decker began his 30-year career in social work to become a nationally recognized leader in the field with a focus on protecting children and youth from abuse and neglect. Protecting children from abuse and neglect Decker was appointed the director of the Missouri Division of Youth Services in 2007 and transitioned to director of the Children’s Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services in 2013. During his tenure in the MDYS, Decker led the agency to earn the Harvard Innovations in American Government Award for Child and Family System Reform in 2008. Under his leadership, the agency increased educational completion rates by more than 87 percent, reduced recidivism and safely reduced the number of young people in state custody. As part of the award, Missouri hosted site visits from more than 20 states. “I’m proud of this honor because it advanced the work we were doing in Missouri throughout the country to enable more kids to benefit from services we knew actually worked.” Decker has shared his experiences as a guest lecturer, including at the John F. Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Law School. Though he’s received many accolades, Decker said helping others each day is his greatest reward. “The opportunity to change lives is tremendous. The chance to influence so many lives in my 30-year career in social work is amazing to me.” Photo by Kenny Johnson

Park University Volunteer

Working behind the scenes at Park University are business leaders like BankLiberty’s Ed Bradley who brings more than 40 years of experience to Park as a founding member and chair of Park’s School of Business Advisory Council. “In the banking world, you need to know as much as possible about your customers to better serve them. That’s why I’m proud of our work on the Advisory Council to support the School of Business in reaching out to understand the diverse needs of students — many with full-time jobs, families and serving in the military.” Making connections Bradley helped Park’s School of Business secure accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. For his service, Bradley was inducted in November 2013 as an honorary member of Park’s Mu Chi Chapter of the Delta Mu Delta International Honor Society in Business. “Park’s professional, academic environment is warm and inviting,” he said. “It’s a treat to work with the University to forge positive connections with the business community.” Working in downtown Parkville, Mo., he drives by the University’s Parkville Campus every morning. “I’ve grown up playing and coaching sports all my life. I wanted to take advantage of being near such a beautiful campus and a great athletic program. The Pirates’ home games are all on my calendar,” he said. Bradley enjoys not only watching the games, but also taking the time to visit with Park’s student-athletes and coaches. “Park’s athletic director, Claude English, is among the finest gentlemen I know. He cares about his players, both for their athletics and scholarship,” he said. Cultivating character Bradley’s connection to Park is also personal. His son, Luke, is a 2007 Park graduate and now works as a child psychologist in Overland Park, Kan. His grandson, Andrew Parker, graduated in May 2015 and was on Park’s track and field team. With a degree in athletic training and Park’s job search support, Parker secured a position at Cerner to work in its corporate wellness program.


Director, Children’s Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services

Visiting with Park students and alumni, Bradley often enjoys sharing his career advice: “Be a good judge of character, and be a good character,” he said. To cultivate character, Bradley is always encouraging young professionals to get out from behind their computer screens to make real connections in service to their communities. By example, Bradley inspires others in Parkville and beyond to get out and take advantage of the many great opportunities the University offers. “I don’t know anyone who doesn’t realize how fortunate we are to have Park University at the center of our community in Parkville… certainly not me.” Photo by Kenny Johnson

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WAYNE E. WILBOURN II, ’10 Deputy Chief Information Officer, Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital Twentynine Palms

The Park Promising Young Professional Award recognizes a Park University alumnus/a who shows exceptional promise of leadership and contribution to his/her profession and/or community. The recipient of this award will have graduated from Park within the last 10 years and be under the age of 40.


When asked what he does for a living, Wayne Wilbourn II often casually replies “computer stuff.” But as the deputy chief information officer at the Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital Twentynine Palms (Calif.), it’s hardly that simple.

“There is always something to admire and respect in every individual you encounter.” — Alex Dorofeev, M.P.A. '11 (1985-2015)

In 2014, Wilbourn was appointed to lead a team of 20 to oversee network systems at the hospital to ensure efficient operations and services — from admissions to electronic health care records, lab equipment, surgery, clinics and the pharmacy. “It’s important to ensure military members and their families receive proper care and their health records are secure and accurate, particularly as they are relocated and deployed around the world,” Wilbourn said. Classified computers Born and raised in Alabama, Wilbourn entered the U.S. Marine Corps in 2002 and was stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Though stationed in the sunny West Coast, he spent most of his five years of service with a Marine expeditionary unit, traveling the globe — including three deployments to Iraq.


It was during his military service that he was exposed to computer network, working as a technician on combat and tactical communications systems. “If you’d have told me when I was in high school that I’d work in computers, I’d have said there’s no way,” he said. Yet Wilbourn has been on an information technology career fast track since earning his Bachelor of Science degree in management at Park University and going on to earn a Master of Business Administration degree.

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Wilbourn attributes his career growth to a fundamental desire to learn. “I’m constantly learning, which is critical in the IT world. My career in the computer field is ultimately rooted in my business education,” he said. “Working in IT should not be considered an isolated expertise. It’s critical to understand how computer systems support business processes and goals.” Adapt to change He brings to his deputy CIO role a wealth of diverse experience. After the Marines, he worked for several government contractors, including QinetiQ North America, one of the world’s leading defense and security technology companies. He then served as a network engineer for the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Center at Fort Irwin, Calif. As an IT operations officer at the Barstow (Calif.) Marine Corps Logistics Base, he supervised unclassified and classified networks. When he’s not leading hospital operations, Wilbourn enjoys spending time with his wife of seven years, Samantha, and their growing family of three children. Looking to the future, Wilbourn considers himself a perennial student. “Whatever I know today probably won’t be relevant five years from now,” he said. “If you don’t adapt to change, it’s nearly impossible to survive in this industry. Being open to change and always learning is the key to success.” Photo by Kenny Johnson

Rare is someone like Alexey “Alex” Dorofeev. The 2011 graduate of Park University’s Master of Public Affairs program was a leader, humanitarian and student of the world — all from a young age. Born in a small town in Russia in 1985, Dorofeev came to this country by way of a scholarship and exchange program. While pursuing his postgraduate work at Park, Dorofeev devoted himself to public pursuits — ones that kept him deeply rooted in understanding the world around him. He was a leader in Park’s chapter of People to People International. He took an active role in Operation International Children helping deliver school supplies to children in war-torn countries. He represented Park at Model United Nations conferences and, as a nonprofit professional, he led summits on diplomacy in Saudi Arabia and China, worked for the World Bank Group and was last employed with Development Gateway, an international nonprofit, where he was a highly regarded guest speaker in world forums. His sister Sveta recalled Dorofeev’s smaller acts of humanity — chatting up strangers on world events and any other subject his eclectic mind meandered to, explaining later to his sister the things he admired in each person. Family and friends remember Alex saying, “There is always something to admire and respect in every individual you encounter.” And he frequently shared his vision for professional and personal success. “The most meaningful fairy tale for me would be to help others, those whom I love, so that they have more opportunities and more joyful moments.”

Dorofeev’s most meaningful fairy tale ended when he died on Nov. 7, 2015, in his homeland of Russia. He was 29 years old. But with his passing, Dorofeev’s Park friends are working to keep his vision alive. Fellow Park graduates Rachel Dryden, ’13, and Charif Hamidi, ’11, have established The Alex Dorofeev Memorial Scholarship to benefit graduate students in Park’s Hauptmann School of Public Affairs. “It was a natural and intuitive reaction to Alex’s passing. What better way is there to honor a beautiful mind than with a scholarship?” Hamidi said. “Both Rachel and I are grateful to Park’s Office of University Relations and Development staff for their encouragement and help to set up a donation portal, and to current and former members of Park’s Board of Trustees for their generous donations.” “Those who had the pleasure of knowing Alex would agree that he was the epitome of academic excellence and an inspiration,” Dryden said. “The scholarship fund donation page on Park’s website shines a bright light on Alex’s life. It includes a direct online giving form. We hope you will join us in continuing his legacy by sharing it with Park alumni and friends to help us meet our $30,000 scholarship goal. We kindly ask you for your pledge — no matter how big or small — to help pass Alex’s torch to future generations of public affairs scholars at Park who will continue his life’s mission to make the world a better place through public service.”

“What better way is there to honor a beautiful mind than with a scholarship?” — Charif Hamidi, ’11 To contribute to The Alex Dorofeev Memorial Scholarship, visit

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WHAT'S GOING ON IN YOUR LIFE? WE WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT! Submit your news for inclusion in Class Notes to the Office of Alumni Relations: or Park University, 8700 NW River Park Drive, Parkville, MO 64152.

CLASS NOTES 1950s Florence Byham Weinberg, ’54, recently had her 10th novel published, a “nonfiction historical novel” about the life of Etienne Dolet, a 16th century French publisher and Latin scholar who was persecuted by the Inquisition for daring to publish his ideas on theological matters. Jim Cooke, ’56, was the focus of a story that appeared in the Hastings (Neb.) Tribune on Nov. 11, 2015. Cooke, who served as a chaplain in the military during the Vietnam War, earned a Purple Heart for helping rescue three men stuck in an armored personnel carrier while under enemy fire.

1970s Mike Newburger, ’70, was honored by the Southern Platte County (Mo.) Fire District on Jan. 13 for his 45 years of service.

Sonny Gibson, ’74, was featured in an article that appeared in the Dec. 8 issue of the Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal. The article, as part of a “Freedom’s Struggle” series, provided firsthand accounts of blacks who survived segregation. SuEllen Fried, ’75, was honored as one of 10 L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth. Garrome “Jerry” Franklin, ’76, is vice president, chief safety officer for Dallas Area Rapid Transit.

Tyler C. Grossman, ’00, is executive director of the El Paso (Texas) Firemen and Policemen’s Pension Fund.

1980s Gregory S. Robinson, ’87, is chief executive officer of Genesis OB/GYN PC in Tucson, Ariz.

Teresa Loar, ’94, (left) and Alissia Canady, ’08, (right) are serving four-year terms on the Kansas City, Mo., City Council.

Stephen Shay, ’87, is vice president of a customer experience solutions company, Touchpoint Metrics Inc.

Anteco Cross, ’95, is senior consultant at Businessolver.

A story about Maj. Robert Lewis, ’86, appeared in the Piqua (Ohio) Daily Call on Nov. 11. Lewis, a chaplain in the U.S. Army Reserve, was the featured speaker at the Piqua Veterans Day event.

1990s Cynthia Cassel, ’90, authored an article that appeared in the Environmental Protection Agency’s “The Big Blue Thread,” a blog for spatial science and the environment in America’s heartland. Cassel, a senior environmental employment program grantee with EPA Region 7’s Wetlands and Streams Protection Team, wrote a story related to National Wetlands Month. Phillip Greer, ’90, is superintendent of the Northeast Regional Corrections Center in Saginaw, Minn.

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Candace Moon, ’78, was elected to the Centennial, Colo., City Council.

Michael Brendel, ’91, M.H.L. ’11, is chief operating officer of Littleton (Colo.) Adventist Hospital. Rick D. Napper, ’91, is president of the St. Joseph Regional Health Center in Bryan, Texas. Shane Creel, ’94, Ph.D., received the New England College of Business’ Outstanding Faculty Member Award, given to an outstanding contributor and role model who helps advance student-learning outcomes through outstanding teaching, student mentorship and contributions to the overall quality of NECB.

Steve Hester, ’95, is fire chief for the City of Great Falls, Mont. Tom Dailey, M.P.A. ’96, who serves Independence, Mo., as its chief of police, was honored with the Clarence M. Kelley Award from the Kansas City Crime Commission on Oct. 15, 2015. Donna Wyatt, ’96, has joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Montana office in Bozeman as an area specialist with BusinessCooperative Services. David Brown, ’98, is assistant city manager for the City of Claremore, Okla., a town of about 19,000 residents about 25 miles northeast of Tulsa. Rev. Bryan Cox, ’98, M.P.A. ’00, was featured in a story that appeared in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Oct. 25, 2015. Cox is a case manager for the Bethlehem House homeless shelter in Conway, Ark. Marquita Miller, ’98, has joined the Metropolitan Community College Foundation Board of Directors. Her nomination was approved Dec. 17, 2015, by the MCC Board of Trustees. Frank Elmore, ’99, is chief information officer of Gwinnett County (Ga.) Public Schools. Gary Majors, ’99, is director of safety and security for Liberty (Mo.) Public Schools.

Beth Monteiro, ’00, is vice president for development and alumni relations at Beloit College (Wis.). Randy Hopkins, ’01, is director of campus security at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Mo. A story about Maj. Martin Longoria, ’01, who was the keynote speaker for an Armed Forces Day event in Alice, Texas, appeared in the Nueces County (Texas) Record Star. Seth Marshall, ’03, is vice president and investment advisor for wealth management for PNC Financial Services Group Inc. in northern Indiana. Benay Shannon, ’03, and her husband Michael, were featured in a story that appeared in The Kansas City Star. The Shannons are two of three partners in Restless Spirits Distilling Co. in North Kansas City, Mo.

Jennifer M. Hewerdine, ’06, was awarded the 2015 Arizona Western College Foundation’s Distinguished Alumni Award in recognition of her outstanding commitment and service to the college and the Yuma, Ariz., community. Bradley E. Myers, ’06, is TMV, personal manager for the Illinois Department of Transportation’s District 9 Bureau of Administration. Merideth Parrish, ’06, M.P.A. ’08, is director of family services for the Independence (Mo.) School District. Sarah Hopkins-Chery, ’07, M.A.C.L. ’09, is the women’s basketball head coach at the University of California, Merced. Marco Rabello, ’07, was interviewed for a story that appeared on KCUR-FM in Kansas City on Oct. 30, 2015. The story focused on Kansas City Royals outfielder Paulo Orlando trying to get baseball to have more publicity in his home country of Brazil. Rabello, who also hails from Brazil, owns the Taste of Brazil market in the City Market area of Kanas City, Mo.

A story about Erin Thede, ’04, appeared on the Virtual-Strategy Magazine website on Nov. 3, 2015. Thede was honored by Hope for the Warriors at its Got Heart, Give Hope Celebration in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 4 for her service and leadership to the military community. Thede has served as the director of the private public partnership office of Chief Army Reserve since January 2011.

Heath Roberts, ’07, was named to the 2015 NextGen Leaders class by the Kansas City Business Journal. The program is designed to celebrate the accomplishments of those honored, as well as to provide exposure to the present generation of area leaders and help them build connections. Roberts is the director of medical administration at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo.

Alex Todorovic, ’04, is director of applications for Altru Health System, Grand Forks, N.D.

Nima Shaffé, ’07, is weekend morning anchor/reporter at WXYZ-TV in Detroit.

Gillian Ford Helm, ’05, was highlighted in a Kansas City Star article on Nov. 8, 2015. Helm, executive director of Literacy Kansas City, was featured in “The Interview” section about creative writing classes.

Vlatko Andonovski, ’08, coached FC Kansas City to its second consecutive National Women’s Soccer League title in 2015.

Donovan Williams, ’08, is an assistant men’s basketball coach at Princeton (N.J.) University. Jeanette Hernandez Prenger, ’09, and a member of Park University’s Board of Trustees, was inducted into the Junior Achievement Kansas City Business Hall of Fame on Nov. 5, 2015.

2010s Cristian Fatu, M.M. ’10, is assistant concertmaster of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Charles Hagen, ’10, is risk manager for the City of San Angelo, Texas. Scott Lokke, ’10, is senior vice president and general manager of Horseshoe Casino Cleveland. Paul Gamble, ’11, is police chief for the city of Gouldsboro, Maine. Jordon Sharp, M.A.C.L. ’11, is chief marketing and communications officer at Dixie State University, St. George, Utah. Sonia Campbell, ’12, executive assistant to the commander, 509th Operations Group, was recognized as the Civilian Associate of the Year at Whiteman Air Force Base (Mo.). Ben Zibers, ’11, M.P.A. ’14, was promoted to director for student engagement at Park University. Vinicius Baigan, ’12, M.B.A. ’15, is an assistant women’s volleyball coach at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Cory Brown, ’12, is vice president of Tnemec Company Inc.

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CLASS NOTES The book Best of Office Architecture and Design: Vol. II featured a photo of the work of Wanwan Hao, ’12. Hao, an interior designer at Box Studios in Chicago, was the lead designer for a project that was highlighted in the book. In his debut book, author Christopher Molleda, ’12, tells the Legend of the Gatorman, a narrative inspired by true events involving a serial killer in South Texas in the 1930s. Stella Tanner Pigago, ’12, was featured in a story that appeared in an issue of Ink, a publication of The Kansas City Star. She was highlighted in the “At Home With…” section, a bimonthly feature that takes readers inside cool and unusual apartments and homes in the Kansas City area.

Shokhrukh Sadikov, ’12, is director of orchestras at Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kan. Tech. Sgt. Shawn Avery, ’13, was featured in a story that appeared on the Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System website on May 7, 2015. Avery, an airman assigned to the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, was selected for Officer Training School.

MOURNS Kevin Jamison, ’14, was the focus of stories that appeared on KSHB-TV and KMBC-TV in Kansas City on Nov. 10, 2015. Jamison and a fellow veteran launched a new nonprofit, the Veterans Community Project, geared to ending veteran homelessness. David Radzynski, ’14, is concertmaster of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

Andi Enns, ’13, is a community manager for Woodruff Sweitzer. Bailie Berner, ’14, was selected as one of 35 Janet Steiger Fellows nationwide. The prestigious award provided her an opportunity to have a paid internship in the Kansas attorney general’s office. Berner, a law student at Washburn University, Topeka, Kan., is ranked fourth in her class.

Tracy Valero, ’14, was awarded a veteran assistantship at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The award, valued at approximately $36,000, will cover tuition and health insurance, plus a $12,000 stipend. The award requires students to aid professors in their departments with research and teaching. Elizabeth Zamora, '14, is vice president of compliance for Teachers Federal Credit Union in El Paso, Texas. Lt. Col. Jason Souza, M.A.C.L. ’15, was highlighted in a story that appeared on the Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System website on Oct. 16, 2015. Souza recently took command of the New York Army National Guard’s 501st Ordnance Battalion. Myles Whitehurst, ’15, has been playing professional basketball in Peru with Club Arletico Sebastian Barranca Ica.


Frances Woodbury Blair, ’41 Kansas City, Mo., Aug. 6, 2015 Florence Stout, ’41 Lyndon, Kan., March 19, 2015 Stuart H. Lane, ’42 Austin, Minn., Jan. 2 Harold M. Davis, ’43 Durate, Calif., Sept. 18, 2015

Joyce Wilson Loew, ’56 Globe, Ariz., April 21, 2015 Marilyn Faris Edwards, ’57 Whittier, Calif., Dec. 21, 2015


Dr. Manuchair Ebadi, ’60 Laguna Niguel, Calif., Jan. 19

Robert F. Shrimpton, ’43 Ozark, Mo., July 17, 2015

Dr. Wade V. Robinett, ’60 Kansas City, Mo., Sept. 22, 2015

Saranna Johnson Temple, x43 Platte Woods, Mo., Feb. 15

Edward “Ed” Ohl, ’65 Manning, Iowa, Feb. 9, 2015

Ardis Burnidge Driskill, ’45 Liberty, Mo., June 21, 2015

Anna “Kathy” Webb Perry, ’65 Greenwood, Fla., June 15, 2015

Margaret Worthington Winters, ’45 Pittsford, N.Y., Dec. 22, 2015

Virginia L. Lafferty, ’68 Brooklyn Center, Minn., April 12, 2015

Theodora Benson Duncan, ’47 Mesa, Ariz., July 2014 Elizabeth Knotter Clark, x49 Phoenix, Ariz., Sept. 19, 2015 Mary Catherine McFarland, ’49 Chesterfield County, Va., Jan. 24 Mary Phillips Miller, ’49 Lawrence, Kan., April 8, 2015 Richard Sejnost, ’49 Hilton Head, S.C., May 1, 2015 G. Ross Stephens, ’49 Leawood, Kan., July 22, 2015 Reatha Willett, ’49 Oklahoma City, Okla., April 18, 2015


Donald P. Arndsten, ’50 Barrington, Ill., Nov. 2015 See story at top Charles “Chuck” Eberly, ’50 Olathe, Kan., Oct. 26, 2015 Alvin Abbott, ’52 Joliet, Ill., March 28, 2015 Rev. David Barclay, ’53 Kansas City, Mo., Feb. 21, 2015 Dorothy Gamber Dietrich, ’53 Petaluma, Calif., Dec. 16, 2014

Spring 2016 - 44

Doris Houghton Pawley, ’55 Claremont, Calif., Sept. 22, 2015

April Wilber Hackathorn, ’69 Prescott, Ariz., May 29, 2015


Terry M. Harrington, ’70 Valparaiso, Ind., Jan. 1 Charles Jeffery Jr., ’71 Kansas City, Kan., June 3, 2015 James E. Graham, ’72 Cookeville, Tenn., Jan. 19 James W. Gore, ’73 Westerville, Ohio, Nov. 4, 2015 Charles Sanders, ’74 Clarksville, Tenn., Jan. 18 Lt. Col. Roger H. Lippold, USMC (Ret.), ’76 Independence, Mo., Feb. 12 David W. Shadden, ’76 Crossville, Tenn., July 3, 2015 Benson F. Goens, ’77 Farmland, Ind., Jan. 14 Catherine Ann Mailberger Rader, ’77 Columbus, Ohio, March 8, 2015 Emma Stout Wiar, ’78 Kansas City, Mo., Dec. 14, 2014 Sandra D. Layton, ’79 Santee, Calif., Oct. 1, 2014


Larry Jordan, ’80 Wenatchee, Wash., Jan. 25 Charles Sherman, ’81 Gladstone, Mo., June 19, 2015 Joe Robert Love, ’82 Idaho Falls, Idaho, Nov. 20, 2015 Marjorie Carol Schofield, ’82 Lee’s Summit, Mo., Oct. 23, 2015 Arturo Flores Jr., ’85 Porterville, Calif., Dec. 10, 2014 Shirley Ann Munsterman, ’85 Raytown, Mo., May 13, 2015 Lois Jane Gilmore Toxopeus, ’86 Kingsville, Mo., July 12, 2015 Judie A. Armington, ’88 Arlington, Va., July 12, 2015 Annette S. Brewer, ’89 Kansas City. Mo., Jan. 22

Anthony Benner, ’92 Austin, Texas, Sept. 11, 2015 Michael R. Feld, ’92 Phoenix, Ariz., Feb. 7, 2015 Kenneth D. Moncrief, ’92 Austin, Ark., Dec. 23, 2014 Evelyn Clayton Taylor, ’92 Glendale Heights, Ill., March 10, Jacquelyn Smith Malena, ’96 Kansas City, Mo., April 11, 2015 Linda Kautt Einfeld, ’97 Enon, Ohio, May 27, 2015 Harry W. Black, ’98 Independence, Mo., May 10, 2015 Amy M. (Hunziger) Ensz, ’99 Rosendale, Mo., Feb. 8


Gregory Hutchinson, ’00 Lexington, Ky., Oct. 2, 2015

William C. Roberts, ’89 Cabot, Ariz., Nov. 14, 2014

Earl H. Newsome III, ’02 Stafford, Va., March 23, 2015


Kyle R.J. Blett, ’04 Selinsgrove, Pa., April 5, 2015

Kimberly Brown Hendrix, ’90 Independence, Mo., Oct. 8, 2015 Cynthia Johnston, ’90 Dayton, Ohio, Oct. 3, 2015 Cara Todd Miller, ’90 Spring Valley, Ohio, Jan. 14 Christa L. Maddux, ’91 Holt, Mo., Jan. 25

Michelle D. Anderson, ’06 Bass Lake, Wis., Feb. 13 Cecil E. Chatman, ’06 El Paso, Texas, May 12, 2015


Marian Taylor Davis, ’10 El Paso, Texas, March 1, 2015 Alex Dorofeev, '11 Russia, Nov. 7, 2015

Spring 2016 - 45

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Profile for Park University

Park University Magazine - Spring 2016  

With 140 years of outstanding history and more than 71,000 living alumni, Park University has many great stories to tell. As part of the Uni...

Park University Magazine - Spring 2016  

With 140 years of outstanding history and more than 71,000 living alumni, Park University has many great stories to tell. As part of the Uni...