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MAGAZINE Winter 2014

Vol. 5, No. 2

Park Makes It Possible Park University is opening up possibilities for students to achieve their dreams at 40 campus centers in 21 states and online globally

Contents 11 2

Features 2 6 8 10 11 12 14 16 18 20 22 27 28 30 32 33 34 36 41 44


The bigger Park picture Park makes it possible Keeping up with the Longorias The Longoria brothers: On a mission 50 is the new 40 Smarter than she thinks Compassion knows no boundaries Celebrating heroes in Hollywood Rising higher 14 Beating the odds University news Leading the way In academia Alumniad Connecting across generations and geographies Alumni benefits Alumni Weekend 2013 Celebrating success Class notes Park mourns

Park University Magazine is published for Park alumni and friends by the Office of University Advancement and the Office of University Marketing and Communications. Send address corrections to the Office of University Advancement, Park University, 8700 N.W. River Park Drive, Box 65, Parkville, MO 64152, call (816) 584-6200 or e-mail Visit for more information. The mission of Park University is to provide access to a quality higher education experience that prepares a diverse community of learners to think critically, communicate effectively, demonstrate a global perspective, and engage in lifelong learning and service to others. Core values that guide our actions Accountability, Civility and Respect, Excellence, Global Citizenship, Inclusivity and Integrity


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, Wink Creative Communications, Vanessa Bonavia, V Communications,

Park University Magazine Winter 2014 Vol. 5 No. 2

Dear Friends, Even as more than 4,000 American colleges and universities face rapidly changing standards in higher education, the reality is that Park University, in many ways, is far ahead of the national curve in addressing these fast-paced and monumental challenges. Affordable education remains the top national issue as students struggle to manage financial needs with educational goals. Park has been focused on ensuring affordable education since 1875, and it is that notable commitment to access that has brought numerous honors and multiple national rankings to the University. However, access is not solely defined by cost. Park shines as a national leader through its ongoing understanding and support of students who need alternative ways and times to attend class. Professional obligations and family commitments often mandate flexibility for many of Park’s learners, and we appreciate the opportunity to provide campus centers in 21 states and online worldwide, providing locations close to where students live and work. I could not be more proud of the hardworking men and women who attend and graduate from our distance learning options. Park’s heritage is rich and its structure nicely represents diversity in its locations, learning modalities and student nationalities. All of Park’s students from Alaska to Afghanistan are interconnected through Park’s assurance that they will receive an education steeped in excellence, and that each student and graduate remains the essence of this University. Best regards.

Michael H. Droge, Ph.D. President Park University

Michael H. Droge, Ph.D. President (816) 584-6202 Laurie McCormack Vice President for University Advancement (816) 584-6210 Rita Weighill, ‘90 Vice President for University Marketing and Communications (816) 584-6212 Brad Biles Associate Director for University Communications (816) 584-6888 Julie McCollum Director of Alumni Relations (816) 584-6206

Let us hear from you

Contact the Office of University Marketing and Communications with your comments about the Park University Magazine. (816) 584-6212 Office of University Marketing and Communications 8700 NW River Park Drive, Box 57 Parkville, MO 64152 Winter 2014 - 1

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The Bigger Park Picture The clock tower atop Mackay Hall stands as a symbol of possibility to more than 20,900 students every year. As the centerpiece of Park University’s flagship campus in Parkville, Mo., Mackay Hall is an impressive representation of a much larger picture. In fact, a majority of Park students have never climbed the 120 steps to breathlessly reach the grand entrance to Mackay Hall. Yet its iconic image is familiar to students enrolled at Park’s 40 campus centers nationwide and online worldwide. Through its extended campus system, Park offers access to an affordable, private liberal arts education to thousands of students — coast to coast and around the globe. In this issue of Park University Magazine, we’ll take you to just a few of Park’s campus centers across the country. You will be introduced to students and alumni who found new possibilities for their lives at Park, and many in turn, who are forging new possibilities for others.

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The Bigger Park Picture Park in Perspective

Many students, alumni and friends of Park University don’t fully realize that Park reaches students far from the rolling hills of Parkville, Mo. “Park is an extended campus system,” said Dean Vakas, associate vice president of finance and administration. “To put in perspective, more than 20,900 students are enrolled at Park University each year, but only about 1,800 of those students attend class at the flagship campus in Parkville. The balance are either taking courses online or face-toface at one of our 39 other locations around the country.” Park Distance Learning includes the University’s campus centers and Park’s online system. “More than 50 percent of Park’s online enrollments come through Park’s distance campuses,” Vakas said. “Park students can take a mix of online and face-to-face classes. This gives them the flexibility they need.” Park also offers a popular hybrid known as “blended courses” that combines both methods of instruction in one course. Of Park’s 40 campus centers, 34 are located on military bases. “Park has long-standing partnerships with the U.S. military,” Vakas said. “We’re recognized as one of the largest providers of higher education to the armed forces.” With a priority to serve active duty service members and their dependents at those locations, Park also extends its educational offerings to civilians off base. “Some of our campus

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centers have as many civilian students enrolled as military students because of the popularity of our programs,” he said. Vakas said that in most cases, the military seeks to foster close relationships with the local community. “The ability to provide higher education from a reputable university like Park is an enhancement to their community outreach,” he said.

Extending Park’s spirit

Displayed proudly in classrooms, on apparel and across social media, Park’s logo featuring Mackay Hall’s clock tower is ubiquitous at the University’s 40 campus centers. However, what do students in sunny California or in the heart of Texas — who have never been to Parkville —know about their alma mater? “Students tell us it gives them confidence to be connected to a university with a long history of academic excellence,” Vakas said. “They also find the picturesque flagship campus to be a point of pride.” The success of Park’s extended campus system is rooted in more than quality education. Both within and beyond the classroom, Park extends its positive culture. “Park’s campus center directors, administrative staff and instructors are beloved by students for their friendly and attentive support,” said Diana Boyd McElroy, Ph.D., dean of student life.

Expansion Plans

Expanding Access By the numbers: Park University serves more than 20,900 students at 40 campus centers in 21 states and online worldwide, including the flagship campus in Parkville, Mo. All seasons: There’s no need to wait for classes to get started at Park — classes start five times a year: twice in the fall, twice in the spring and in the summer. Get smarter, faster: Park students take classes when it suits them — days, evenings, weekends, face-to-face and anytime online. Courses can be completed in eight-week sessions rather than the traditional 16week semester. All welcome: Park’s campus centers serve all students. While a majority of the University’s campuses are located on a military installation, Park serves military members and their dependents, and also welcomes civilians in the surrounding communities.

Park University has been fortunate to establish a longstanding partnership with the U.S. military over the years. “As we look to the future, we’re identifying strategic opportunities to expand Park’s extended campus system beyond the military base to meet the growing demand for affordable undergraduate and graduate programs,” said Dean Vakas, associate vice president of finance and administration. Overall, Vakas has identified diverse avenues of growth for Park Distance Learning:

Beyond the Base The military limits what academic programs universities can offer on a military installation. To offer more of its academic offerings, Park is looking to expand beyond the base in key geographical areas. “For example, Park has a large alumni contingent surrounding the Fort Bliss Campus Center in El Paso, Texas,” Vakas said. “We’re looking to establish a second campus center off base in the greater El Paso area where we can roll out a full suite of Park’s academic programs.”

Natural Connections With a history of serving those who serve, Park is looking to expand educational partnerships with federal and government agencies. “There’s a natural connection for Park to extend its experience with the military to educational partnerships with federal agencies such as the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security, particularly the customs and border patrol,” Vakas said.

Expand Graduate Programs Park predominately offers undergraduate programs on military bases based on established memorandums of understanding. “As veterans transition to civilian life, we want to be able to offer more of our graduate programs,” Vakas said. “We’re identifying geographic areas to open campus centers where graduate programs are in demand and where Park has established brand awareness.”

Community College Partners Park is pursuing opportunities similar to its partnership with Barstow (Calif.) Community College. “Barstow students’ options were limited with the nearest four-year university more than 30 miles across the High Desert,” Vakas said. The partnership is part of a 2+2 program, with an associate’s degree from BCC satisfying requirements for the first two years of a bachelor’s degree from Park. “We’re looking for similar opportunities to embed a Park campus on a community college campus to create a natural path for students to advance their education.”

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Park Makes It Possible

In the following pages, you’ll meet Park University students and alumni from campus centers across the country. You’ll learn their stories and discover how they found new possibilities for their lives at Park.

Shelby Beck

Rene Victor Longoria, ’13 Rene Longoria Jr., ‘07 Victor Longoria Maria Ruiz, ’13

Monica Zavala, ‘12

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Campus centers Park University has 40 campus centers in 21 states. The flagship campus is in Parkville, Mo.

Jose Zavala, ‘12

Little Rock Air Force Base — Little Rock, Ark. Davis-Monthan Air Force Base — Tucson, Ariz. Luke Air Force Base — Glendale, Ariz. Barstow Community College — Barstow, Calif. Barstow Marine Corps Logistics Base — Barstow, Calif. Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base — Oceanside, Calif. Fort Irwin — Fort Irwin, Calif. Moody Air Force Base — Valdosta, Ga. Mountain Home Air Force Base — Mountain Home, Idaho Scott Air Force Base — Belleville, Ill. Hanscom Air Force Base — Bedford, Mass. Independence Campus — Independence, Mo. Downtown Kansas City Campus — Kansas City, Mo. Fort Leonard Wood — Waynesville, Mo. Wentworth Military Academy and College — Lexington, Mo. Whiteman Air Force Base — Knob Noster, Mo. Malmstrom Air Force Base — Great Falls, Mont. Holloman Air Force Base — Alamogordo, N.M. Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station — Cherry Point, N.C. Grand Forks Air Force Base — Grand Forks, N.D. Minot Air Force Base — Minot, N.D. Defense Supply Center Columbus — Columbus, Ohio Wright-Patterson Air Force Base — Dayton, Ohio Tinker Air Force Base — Midwest City, Okla. Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station — Beaufort, S.C. Charleston Air Force Base — North Charleston, S.C. Naval Support Activity Mid-South — Millington, Tenn. Austin Campus — Austin, Texas Fort Bliss — El Paso, Texas Goodfellow Air Force Base — San Angelo, Texas Lackland Air Force Base — San Antonio, Texas Laughlin Air Force Base — Del Rio, Texas Randolph Air Force Base — Universal City, Texas Hill Air Force Base — Ogden, Utah Fort Myer — Arlington, Va. Henderson Hall Headquarters Battalion — Arlington, Va. Quantico Marine Corps Combat Development Command — Quantico, Va. Fairchild Air Force Base — Spokane, Wash. Francis E. Warren Air Force Base — Cheyenne, Wyo.

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From left: Rene Longoria Jr., ’07, Marisol Longoria, Rene Victor Longoria, ’13, and Victor Longoria.

Keeping up with the Longorias Father and sons find the path to their future at Park’s Camp Pendleton Campus Center

California Winter 2014 - 8

Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base Campus Center Oceanside, Calif. Connie Guzman, Director

“I’m just trying to keep up with my kids,” said Rene Victor Longoria, ’13. Longoria watched his eldest son, Rene Jr., graduate from Park University’s Camp Pendleton (Calif.) Marine Corps Base Campus Center in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in social psychology, and go on to earn a master’s degree. His younger son, Victor, is on track to graduate from Park in 2014 with a degree is social psychology from the Camp Pendleton Campus, and his daughter, Jordana, has also earned a bachelor’s degree. “I remember thinking, ‘I can do this, too,’” Longoria said. Different goals. Different directions. But father and sons found the pathway to their future at Park University at Camp Pendleton. Spanning the ages of 23 to 51, their story is one of mutual admiration, encouragement and a shared value for education across the generations.

Right on time at age 51

Longoria took his first college course 20 years ago while stationed in Okinawa, Japan. But it wasn’t until he saw the difference education was making in the lives of his children that he decided to make it happen for himself. At 51 years old, Longoria’s decision was right on time.

Protecting presidents

Since joining the U.S. Marine Corps at age 18, Longoria has traveled the globe to more than 30 countries, including two tours in Iraq. The majority of his military career was spent serving with the Marine Security Guard Battalion stationed at American embassies in Bolivia, Costa Rica, Germany, Ireland and Nicaragua. MSGs provide security at more than 120 U.S. embassies and consulates around the world. Longoria proudly protected

dignitaries such as former President Bill Clinton and Jean Kennedy Smith, former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland. Following his retirement from the Marine Corps in 2005, Longoria worked as a security officer at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station near Camp Pendleton. In 2007, Longoria decided to “go for it” and pursue a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Park University.

Mutual admiration

Longoria was recognized as the Camp Pendleton Campus Center’s Outstanding Graduate, a surprise honor presented during the base’s commencement ceremony in September 2013. His son remembers proudly taking pictures that day. “My dad always talked about how proud he is of his kids going to college and how he should have done what we were doing when he was younger. But we always told him that it’s never too late,” said Victor Longoria, the youngest of Longoria’s sons. “Watching my dad graduate motivated me to stay on course to finish my degree.”

experience, I was a ‘triple threat’ and would move up fast in the company,” Longoria said. Within a month of graduation, Longoria moved to Texas to begin his new job with G4S, an international security solutions company. “My military experience is valuable, but employers are looking for a college degree,” Longoria said. “I know my degree will be the tipping point when it comes time for promotions.” No doubt, Longoria is “catching up” with his kids. “It feels good to know my family is proud of their dad, the college graduate,” he said. To students of all ages, Longoria passes along the encouragement he received from his family. “It took me 20 years, but I finally graduated,” Longoria said. “Anything is possible. Just hang in there and never give up.”

Encouragement flooded in from his eldest son, too. “I told him to go for it. I knew he could do it,” said Rene Jr. “We assured him we were there for him. In fact, I brushed up on statistics to help him with homework. My dad is smarter than he thinks he is.”

Triple threat

Rene Victor Longoria, ’13, with former President Bill Clinton.

As he was rounding the finish line to his Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice/law enforcement, Longoria got word that the nuclear plant where he worked was closing and all employees would be laid off. Fortunately, Longoria found himself in a good position to face his unknown future. Soon after graduating, Longoria realized the impact of his degree in a job interview. “The hiring manager pointed to the degree on my résumé and said that with my degree, my military experience and my work

Rene Victor Longoria, ’13, with Jean Kennedy Smith, former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland.

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The Longoria Brothers: On a Mission

“Watching my dad graduate motivated me to stay on course to finish my degree.” — Victor Longoria

The path to the future seems to be covered in a mysterious fog for some students. They change majors. They change schools. They change majors again. Sometimes it takes a change of scenery — and purpose — to find the clarity they seek. Rene Longoria Jr., ’07, and his younger brother, Victor, a senior at Park University’s Camp Pendleton (Calif.) Campus Center, both struggled to find their calling. It wasn’t until they traveled thousands of miles to serve others in remote villages that they discovered two surprising career paths. Rene wanted to get through college quickly. It wasn’t because he knew what he wanted to do, but he knew where he wanted to go: a mission trip. He didn’t care where he went so much as it was somewhere he could get a fresh perspective. “My life was all about me and I wanted it to be about serving others,” he said. Victor Longoria (left) and Rene Longoria Jr., ’07. Winter 2014 - 10

His parents said he could go only if he finished his degree. “Fine, it’s a deal,” he told them. When his father’s military career brought the family to Camp Pendleton, Rene heard about Park University and its accelerated program. “I knew Park could help me finish my bachelor’s degree in social psychology at a faster pace,” he said. Within a month of graduating, Rene was on his way to Pohnpei, a remote island of the Federated States of of Micronesia, located in the South Pacific approximately 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii. There, he found what he was searching for. “We have a ‘me’ culture in America. What I found there was an ‘us’ culture,” Longoria said. He also discovered a surprising new path for his life. “Before this experience, I had no idea where my life was going. I would have laughed if anyone suggested I’d be a teacher.” After six months teaching English in Pohnpei, Rene knew what

he was meant to do. He returned home, and in 2011 completed a master’s degree in elementary education. He’s now in his second year teaching seventh and eighth grade at Oceanside (Calif.) Adventist Elementary. “I know this is where I’m supposed to be.”

“They needed all the help they could get. I was trained fast and started to have my own patients,” Victor said. “They’d ask where was ‘Dr. Vic,’ and I realized I can do this. I can become a doctor.”

Victor, inspired by his brother’s mission trip, made plans of his own to travel to Peru. “I was attending another college taking a lot of science classes. I was just a number to them and I didn’t know why I was there, really,” he said. Maybe it was the transformative experience Rene had on a mission trip that gave Victor his parents’ permission to take a semester off from school and travel into the jungles of Peru in 2011.

When he returned, Victor wanted to quickly finish his bachelor’s degree so he could pursue medical school. He knew where he could do it fast and be warmly welcomed. “My brother had graduated from Park’s Camp Pendleton Campus and my dad was about to graduate there, so I wanted to be a part of the Park family,” he said. “Not until I came to Park did I ever have a professor who wanted to know my name, let alone ask me to stay in touch because they were interested in my future.”

“My brother’s trip was definitely more adventurous than mine,” Rene said. At 21 years old, Victor was suturing wounds, extracting teeth and delivering babies in a medical clinic.

A future that is bright, indeed, for the Longoria brothers.

50 is the new 40

Rene Victor Longoria, ’13, jumped from a plane over Lake Elsinore in Southern California to celebrate his 50th birthday.

Listening to rapper Pitbull sing a line in one of his hit songs about how “40 is the new 30,” Rene Victor Longoria, ’13, said he hears it differently. “For me, 50 is the new 40. I feel like new doors are opening for me like never before.” On his 50th birthday last year, Longoria decided to do something adventurous. His experiences with special patrol insertion/ extraction rigging from helicopters “like

in the James Bond movies” and parasailing hadn’t been enough. He decided to do something he’d never attempted before: skydiving. After just six hours training in June 2012, Longoria successfully leaped from a plane over Lake Elsinore in Southern California. “It was a rush,” he said.

TV shows and two Spanish soap opera pilots.” Longoria is now an official member of the Veterans in Film and Television. Longoria is not sure what’s next, but said he’s open to the exciting possibilities life in his 50s has in store.

At 51 years old, Longoria did a tour of duty in a new field of endeavor: acting. “I’ve been in three television commercials, two court

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Malmstrom Air Force Base Campus Center

Great Falls, Mont. Alaina Barrow, ’07, Director Winter 2014 - 12

Malmstrom Millennial — Shelby Beck didn’t think she was “college material” or that an affordable education was available to her at Park University’s Malmstrom Air Force Base Campus Center in Great Falls, Mont., where the senior social psychology major is on the Dean’s List.

Smarter than she thinks

Students born between the early 1980s and early 2000s sometimes get a bad rap in popular media. Known as the Millennial Generation, or “Gen Y,” individuals in this group are often maligned as lazy and entitled. Those who harbor this skewed disdain have never met Shelby Beck. At 22 years old, Beck is a senior social psychology major at Park University’s Malmstrom Air Force Base Campus Center in Great Falls, Mont. Some might presume this young college student is living up the college life — napping between classes and partying every night. Think again.

Persistence pays Beck’s determination kicked into high gear in her senior year of high school, dedicating herself to scholarship applications. “Every night I spent hours researching and writing applications,” Beck said about applying for more than 25 scholarships. “I didn’t think I’d receive even one.” But her persistence paid off. Beck was awarded 10 scholarships to help cover tuition and books toward her associate degree at a community college. She then began pursuing her bachelor’s degree at Park using grants that assist lowincome students.

Many students like Beck, who is scheduled to graduate this year, work full-time jobs and struggle to make ends meet. Lazy is not a word to describe Beck who works 38 hours a week while taking a full load of classes. As for entitled? Not even close.

College is for other people Beck didn’t think college was in the cards for her. “No one I ever knew went to college,” Beck said. “I thought college was for people who had money or were somehow smarter than me.” College was not a consideration until a favorite teacher encouraged her to at least consider the possibility. Facing many personal upheavals, Beck said she was a “mad at the world” teen. “I had fallen into the wrong crowd in high school. I saw my friends’ lives spiraling into drinking and drugs; many were dropping out,” Beck said. “I summoned the courage to start moving in a different direction. I focused on school and started making straight As. That’s when I started to vaguely see new possibilities for my life.” A teacher took notice of this shift and persisted in getting Beck on the college track, suggesting she consider scholarships. It was the idea of scholarships that offered hope to Beck, who couldn’t rely on any family resources to fund college. “If I was going to college, it was up to me,” she said.

“I keep a file cabinet full of my applications,” Beck said. “When I graduate, I’m sending a second round of thank you notes; most will go to people I’ve never met. I want them to know the difference their support made in my life.” But scholarships didn’t cover her living expenses. Unlike many 20-somethings, living in a dorm or at home wasn’t an option for Beck. Working nearly 40 hours a week is necessary for Beck to cover rent, utilities, food and other basic needs. “I save everything I possibly can and budget my expenses down to the tiniest things,” Beck said. “I don’t care if I have to pawn my TV, I’m graduating college.” For the past five years, Beck has been a family support assistant at Youth Dynamics, a nonprofit organization in Great Falls, where she works with children with behavioral issues. “I started to realize how a degree could help me with my dream of

helping others.” With a goal to become a counselor, Beck searched online for a bachelor’s degree program in psychology and found tuition at most universities unreasonable — until she read about Park University.

Down to the penny “I spoke with someone at the Parkville Campus who told me Park had a campus at Malmstrom Air Force Base near where I lived in Great Falls,” she said. “I didn’t realize I could take classes on the military base.” Another call to Park’s Malmstrom Campus led her to meeting “the most supportive people you could imagine.” “I had a million questions and was nervous about my ability to achieve a bachelor’s degree,” she said. Beck relied on the personal encouragement of the Malmstrom Campus staff. “They helped me with everything. One time I hadn’t budgeted shipping costs for a book,” she said. “They understood that sometimes my budget is so tight that little things — down to the penny — can mess it all up for me. I was grateful when the staff quickly helped me find a used book.” With scholarships, a full-time job and affordable tuition at Park, Beck is on track to graduate this spring. “I never took out a loan, so I’m proud to be graduating debtfree,” she said. And what happened to the young woman who doubted her smarts for college? As a student consistently on the Dean’s List, Beck was recently selected as a member of Park University’s chapter of Alpha Sigma Lambda — a national honor society recognizing adult working students who achieve academic excellence. While she continues to save toward her master’s degree in counseling, Beck volunteers to help high school students with scholarship and college applications. “I’m constantly encouraging them,” Beck said. “If I can do it, they can too.”

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Bringing Hope — Maria Ruiz, ’13, feeds thousand of children in one of the most dangerous cities in the world.

TEXAS Fort Bliss Campus Center

El Paso, Texas Donna Zumwalt, ’94, Director Winter 2014 - 14

Compassion knows no boundaries

fter seeing thousands of starving children, Maria Ruiz, ’13, went straight home to cook. “I couldn’t turn away and pretend I didn’t see anything. I had to do something,” Ruiz said. “When I saw the poverty, my heart was broken. Just by crossing the border less than 30

minutes from my home, I was in a Third World country.” In 1996, Ruiz attended a family funeral in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, just a few miles from the comforts of her home in El Paso, Texas. There, she witnessed the suffering and sorrows of a completely different world. Ruiz visited a school in Juárez where there was no running water or electricity. Teachers told her many children were hungry. But what could one woman do to help relieve the overwhelming suffering of thousands? Ruiz started by cooking. “The first thing that came to mind was to bring food because it’s a basic need,” she said.

Driving into danger Ruiz prepared food in her small kitchen for more than 1,200 children in Juárez. Nearly every day, she filled her car with food and crossed the border to feed them. With long lines at the border crossing, the 30-minute trip from El Paso can take up to three hours. Not to mention that Ruiz was driving toward Juárez — one the most dangerous cities in the world. A wave of violence associated with the drug trade and gangs has led to more than 5,000 murders since 2008 and worldwide media attention. Despite warnings in the news, Ruiz persisted in bringing food to many in need. Scott Graves, ’99, former executive director at Park University’s Fort Bliss Campus Center in El Paso and adjunct instructor of criminal justice, said the dangers are extreme. “I’ve seen a lot in my career as a homicide detective, but I would not want to confront the dangers facing Maria in Juárez.” “I know well that Juárez is dangerous, but I am called to help those who can’t help themselves,” Ruiz said about the mission to help others — a mission she shares with her husband, Jesus, and children, Elizabeth and Jesus Jr. “We pray for protection before we go.”

Since 1996, Ruiz has crossed the border thousands of times and said she’s always excited to see the happy faces. “When they see me coming, their faces light up. They see hope. They see someone cares and they’re not forgotten. That is my reward,” she said.

A different dream Helping others became her family’s priority, but it meant neglecting construction they had started to achieve their dream home. However, their dream had changed. Ruiz started JEM (Jesus es Mana) Ministries in 1996. With her husband’s paycheck and donations from El Paso businesses, JEM Ministries began with a feeding program. Despite a woefully inadequate kitchen, their home became headquarters for their mission to feed thousands; the living room an overflowing warehouse filled with clothing and toy donations.

Ruiz and her husband decided to stop work on their home mid-construction to focus on their charitable work, devoting all of their resources to their ministry. Over time, cracks in walls and exposed plywood floors jeopardized their home and ability to serve others.

Move that bus In 2009, the El Paso community nominated the Ruiz family to receive a home transformation from the ABC television show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” During a week in January 2009, nearly 3,000 volunteers, led by the show’s host Ty Pennington, helped construct a new home for the Ruiz family in place of the old one. Surrounded by the El Paso community, Ruiz and her family joined in the show’s signature shout to “move that bus” blocking the view of their new home. Amid tears and hugs, the Ruiz family saw their gorgeous new home.

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“When they see me coming, their faces light up. They see hope. They see someone cares and they’re not forgotten. That is my reward.” — Maria Ruiz, ’13 The new home includes two kitchens, one for the family and a second kitchen with commercial grade appliances for their ministry. The design team covered the kitchen walls with letters and photos from children thanking the Ruiz family. “That is my favorite room in the house,” Ruiz said.

Expanding her vision Since starting JEM Ministries, Ruiz has expanded her vision. “I know I can do more,” she said. And she most definitely is. On donated property from the Mexican government, JEM Ministries is expanding

to include an orphanage for 100 children, community kitchen to feed 500 people, vocational training center, warehouse, medical clinic, place of worship, gymnasium and playground. To manage her growing nonprofit organization, Ruiz knew she needed greater business knowledge. Yet she didn’t think it was possible to go back to school, until she discovered Park’s Fort Bliss Campus Center. Ruiz earned an associate degree “way back when” from a community college. “It’s been a dream of mine to finish my college education, but I couldn’t afford it.” But with

affordable tuition, a scholarship and the work-study program at Park, Ruiz was able to make her dream come true. Ruiz started classes in 2009, and in June 2013, she donned a cap and gown to receive a bachelor’s degree in management. “My business education is helping me improve our ministry’s operations,” Ruiz said. “I know my college education is being transferred to future generations to help them have a better life.”

Celebrating Heroes in Hollywood From more than 4,000 nominations in 75 countries, Maria Ruiz, ’13, was named one of the top 10 finalists for CNN’s Hero of the Year in November 2008 for her ministry in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. The “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” honors ordinary citizens making a world of difference in their communities. The annual event is hosted by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Calif., and aired globally. Finalists were selected by a panel of judges including Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu; Jane Goodall, Ph.D.; Queen Rania Al Abdullah, founder of the Jordan River Foundation; and Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Unite, the not-for-profit foundation of Virgin Group. Selena Gomez introduced Ruiz as one of the Top 10 CNN Heroes during the gala event: “Here is one woman who saw children in need and decided to feed them. One woman working hard to bring hope to this world; one woman connecting two very different cities with her compassion,” Gomez said. “It is kind, it is hard work and it is why Maria Ruiz is a hero.”

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Monica Zavala, '12, found much more than a degree at Park University’s Austin Campus Center where she is now pursuing an MBA and encouraging other Hispanic professionals to do the same.


Rising Higher ust out of high school, Monica Zavala, ’12, went straight to work. It would be more than 20 years before she pursued her bachelor’s degree — a decision that opened possibilities she never imagined for her life.

Austin Campus Center Austin, Texas Yvonne Moduno, Director Winter 2014 - 18

While working full-time at State Farm, Zavala started classes at Park University’s Austin (Texas) Campus Center in 2007. That’s where she met Jolene Lampton, Ph.D., assistant professor of accounting and management.

“Dr. Lampton told us about Park’s Model United Nations program and her travels in Denmark. Her excitement was contagious, and from that moment, I wanted to experience it all,” Zavala said. “I wasn’t sure how, but I was going to find a way to make it happen.” Lampton connected Zavala to the University’s Parkville Campus where she met Angela Peterson, director of global education and study abroad, who helped Zavala join Park’s Model UN team. With students from Park campus centers across the country, Zavala flew to New York City to participate in the annual National Model United Nations Conference in 2008, and again in 2009 and 2010. The weeklong conferences opened her eyes to a world bigger than the great state of Texas. “I didn’t even know Moldova was a country,” Zavala said. “Now I have friends from Moldova, Austria, Mongolia, Morocco and Russia.”

Seeing for herself Zavala was ready to see the world for herself, but not without hesitation. “I came from the small town of Tyler, Texas, so the idea of traveling abroad was overwhelming,” she said. There was also a matter of money to make it happen. “Angela introduced me to scholarships I didn’t know existed that made it possible for me to go.” Not only did Zavala find her way to Denmark with Park’s Study Abroad program in 2011, she also traveled with Park to Caen, France, in 2012. It was all made possible with assistance from competitive scholarships from the Danish Institute for Study Abroad and the John Patton Scholarship. Like most students who push past their comfort zones, Zavala reaped the immeasurable benefits. “My Park experiences completely changed my perspective about the world and what is possible for me.”

Now what? In 2012, Zavala graduated from Park with a Bachelor of Science degree in management/ marketing. “But I wanted to keep growing and help others do the same,” she said. The chance to do that started when she worked on State Farm’s marketing outreach to build relationships in the Hispanic community and met representatives from the National Society of Hispanic MBAs.

Today, Zavala is the vice president of corporate relations for the Austin chapter of NSHMBA and co-chair of the annual Texas Leadership, Education and Diversity professional development conference. “Our mission is to encourage Hispanics to seek higher education to advance their careers,” Zavala said. “There are many efforts to get Hispanics into college, but as the Hispanic demographic grows, we can’t afford to stop there as a culture.”

Stepping up Stepping up as a role model, Zavala enrolled in Park’s Master of Business Administration program at the Austin Campus in 2013. “I never dreamed I’d pursue an MBA,” Zavala said. “But I’ve become passionate about education and about not putting limits on what I’m capable of achieving.” Through NSHMBA, Zavala is inspiring the Hispanic community to reach higher. “The Hispanic culture is very hard working, and taking care of family is a priority,” Zavala said. “But Hispanics now realize the power of working hard on their education and the shift it can make in their lives. Through NSHMBA, I help raise the bar higher for our culture.” With her MBA degree scheduled to be completed in 2015, Zavala hopes to connect the dots of her education, work, travel and nonprofit experiences. “Ultimately, I hope to teach in higher education and give to future students all that Park has given to me.”

World Affairs

As a member of the Park University’s Model United Nations team, Monica Zavala, ’12, attended the Model UN national conference in New York City where Park’s delegation represented Peru in 2008, Kenya in 2009 and the Republic of Djibouti in 2010. Model United Nations is an authentic simulation of the UN General Assembly, Security Council and other UN committees, which places students in the world of diplomacy and negotiation.

Hispanic Enrollment Spikes

Hispanic enrollment in colleges rose 15 percent from 2011 to 2012 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The number of Hispanics in the U.S. enrolled in college or graduate school in 2012 was 3.4 million — an all-time high.

MBA Arrives in Austin

Park University recently rolled out face-to-face classes at its Austin (Texas) Campus Center for students seeking a Master of Business Administration degree. “In the Austin area, more than half the population has a bachelor’s degree, so there’s a great demand for Park’s graduate programs,” said Yvonne Moduno, Austin Campus Center director.

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Beating the odds Jose Zavala, ’12, (second from right) with his wife and three sons.


Quantico Marine Corps Combat Development Command Campus Center Quantico, Va. Jennifer Ehrlich, Regional Director

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Jose Zavala, ’12, remembers his first night Making the decision Zavala’s military experience helped him land a job working as a at boot camp after joining the United States Marine Corps. “It was the first time technician on computer simulators used for training at the U.S. Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Va. He moved his family to Stafford, I ever had my own bed.” Va., and once they were settled in, he went to the education office Soon after arriving in America from Mexico as a child, Zavala’s dreams for a better life turned into nightmares. His parents separated and his father returned to Mexico, leaving his mother to struggle alone with three children. Ultimately, she abandoned Zavala and his siblings. “I felt afraid, confused and uncertain of what tomorrow might bring.” Moving from relative to relative, Zavala doesn’t remember a place to call home, and certainly doesn’t remember a real bed. “I just grabbed blankets and slept wherever I could find a spot on the floor,” he said. For many immigrants, the U.S. represents opportunity. “It’s the place where dreams come true,” he said. “Unfortunately, many people believe success is guaranteed when they arrive.” Zavala said he quickly realized there are no guarantees in life. “I had to learn to fight for what I wanted.” As in any hard fight, Zavala took many punches. Ultimately, he learned the best defense on his road to victory: “Knowledge is the most powerful weapon in life,” he said.

Everything has a cost Looking back, Zavala said he stood down all the statistical odds that threatened his success: a broken home, homelessness, the lure of gangs, drugs and the constant thought of giving up. Growing up in Arlington, Texas, he had many friends who were gang members. “I thought it was cool, but for some reason I never joined. I saw the drugs, but never tried them,” he said. “Somehow, I gathered enough credits to graduate high school.” With a diploma in hand, Zavala said he rushed to join the Marine Corps in 1997. “That’s where I realized everything had a cost.” Soon, he began to pay with sweat and time — time away from his young wife and his first newborn son.

on the base and decided to do more than take a class. “I made the best decision in my life: to go for my college degree at Park,” he said. His post-military life also included the pursuit of his calling as a United Pentecostal Church International minister. Now with three children, a full-time job and a ministry, the list of courses to earn a degree was daunting. “I remember thinking, ‘My goodness, how many classes do I have to take? Will I ever finish? Am I really college material?’” Despite his fears, Zavala said he decided to keep moving forward. His motivation? “I want to be an example to my three sons,” Zavala said.

Knowledge is power His children saw his struggles when he stayed up late studying and working on papers. “I never told them I’m doing all of this to get a job,” Zavala said. “I told them I’m doing this to be an example to them. To show them that education is important. To show them that education is the way to success in life. To show them that knowledge is power and it can never be taken away from you.” In December 2012, Zavala graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social psychology and brought the crowd to their feet with these closing words from his inspiring commencement speech in September 2013: “I stand here as an example to my boys, my community, other immigrants and Americans alike, that through dedication, perseverance and self-drive — any dream can come true.”

In 2005, Zavala started his first online class with Park University aboard a ship en route to Iraq from Camp Lejeune, N.C. “At the time, I just wanted to take a class. I had no real plan to get a degree. I didn’t think it was possible for me,” he said. In 2006, Zavala deployed again to Iraq where he met others taking Park classes. That’s when he started to consider the real possibilities to advance his education. In 2008, after 11 years in the Marines, Zavala left military service. “My eyes were open when I got out of the military,” Zavala said. “For most jobs, I needed a degree just to knock on an employer’s door, and for some, just to peek through the window.”

Jose Zavala, ’12, and Park University President Dr. Michael Droge.

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UNIVERSITY NEWS Park offers Alternate Fall II term for students affected by tuition assistance delays Due to the federal government shutdown in October 2013, many students, primarily active duty military and veteran students, were unable to enroll in college classes throughout the country. In response to the suspension — and in support of the military student population — Park University offered an alternate 8-week term from Nov. 11, 2013, to Jan. 12, 2014, which allowed students to complete a variety of accelerated courses they were denied. Park’s Fall II term began in mid-October, but Park University President Michael H. Droge, Ph.D., said the University was proud to offer the alternate fall term, which provided students additional time to secure needed financial aid, obtain textbooks and attend the first day of class. “As always, Park’s focus is upon student success and doing whatever is needed to assist students with their educational goals,” said Droge. “We are deeply proud to serve multiple student populations, which at Park University include many active duty military service members, their families and veterans.”, a website that provides freelancers across the United States with a platform to share their knowledge and expertise through informative and entertaining content, said of the University’s responsiveness, “Too bad college rankings and ratings don’t reflect institution responsiveness to solve campus problems. Recognizing issues, brainstorming solutions and flexibility moving quickly makes a difference to help students. When students compose their personal college list, they can add college responsiveness as one of their factors.”

Park launches “Pirate Insider” blog Park University has launched its latest venture in social media with the debut of the Pirate Insider blog. Available at, the publication offers an in-depth look at all things Park. Among the featured posts are student profiles, the outstanding cultural opportunities available to the community, commentary on current events with a tie to Park faculty research and expertise, a look at the benefits of membership in the Park University Alumni Association and the occasional glimpse into the unique culture of Park University.

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University garners honors, top rankings BEST FOR VETERANS Military Times, an independent source for news and information for the military community, released its “Best for Vets: Colleges 2014” list this past fall, ranking Park No. 5 among all private colleges/universities in the country and No. 8 overall in the “online and nontraditional” category (schools that serve military students primarily online or through a network of small campuses). The rankings are based on the services and support offered to active duty military, veterans and their families.


DISTINCTION For the third year in a row, Park University was selected in July 2013 as one of 300 colleges and universities across the country to the 2013-14 Colleges of Distinction list. The designation is given to select schools to honor their excellence in student-focused higher education. Park was found to excel in all four distinctions: engaged students, great teaching, vibrant communities and successful outcomes.

AFFORDABLE The University was ranked as the seventh-most affordable private university/college in the nation — and first in the Midwest — for tuition and fees, according to a report by U.S. News and World Report. Park’s total cost for the 2013-14 academic year (tuition and fees) is $10,600, compared to the national average of $30,500., a resource of college affordability and financial aid information, ranked Park University on its list of the nation’s “Most Affordable Online Colleges.” Park ranked No. 2 among the nation’s private colleges/universities and No. 24 overall on the list, which identifies colleges across the country with distance learning options, affordable tuition and fees, and alumni who earn top dollar immediately after graduation. Park was also ranked by the website No. 3 among colleges in Missouri with the greatest lifetime return on investment.

Park was honored by G.I. Jobs magazine on its list of Military Friendly Schools for the fifth consecutive year. The list recognizes the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools doing the most to embrace America’s military service members and veterans as students. Schools on the 2013 Military Friendly Schools list offer additional benefits to student veterans, including on-campus veterans’ programs, credit for service and military spouse programs. In addition, schools on the list were recognized for their efforts to recruit and retain military and veteran students, results in recruiting military and veteran students, and academic accreditations.

SAFEST Park was ranked among the safest four-year universities in the United States, according to, a directory of U.S. colleges and universities that provides comprehensive information on all institutions of higher learning. Park ranked No. 35 among all schools in the country and No. 29 among all private universities nationwide. Park is considered the safest school in the Kansas City metropolitan area and No. 3 in Missouri.

HEALTHIEST The Daily Beast, a website dedicated to breaking news and sharp commentary, ranked Park University as the 16th healthiest college in the country as a part of the website’s “Down + Dirty Guide to the Best Colleges.” The Daily Beast analyzed nearly 2,000 four-year, degree-granting colleges and universities in the U.S. It used publicly available data collected and published by College Prowler, an online guide created by students that ranks thousands of colleges on everything from the intelligence of professors to attractiveness of students.

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UNIVERSITY NEWS Malmstrom AFB student honored as Key Spouse of the Year Valerie Acevedo, a sophomore management/finance major at Park University’s Malmstrom Air Force Base (Mont.) Campus Center, was recognized with the Key Spouse of the Year Award for 2012 at MAFB. She was presented the award by 341st Missile Wing Commander Col. Robert Stanley this past fall. The primary purpose of the award is to recognize the critical role key spouses play in a wing/unit/organization’s mission success. In her endorsement letter of Acevedo, former 341st Civil Engineer Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Sarah Christ said that Acevedo had excelled to strengthen the CES Key Spouse program and had held active board positions with a number of base and community organizations, culminating in more than 1,000 volunteer hours in 2012. “She has a proven track record of immeasurable commitment to our Air Force and always puts the welfare of Malmstrom’s spouses, their families and airmen at the forefront of her priorities,” Christ said.

Park mourns loss of former women’s basketball coach Joe C. Meriweather, M.P.A. ’02, former Park University women’s basketball coach and 10-year NBA veteran, died unexpectedly on Oct. 13, 2013, in Columbus, Ga. He was 59. Meriweather is the winningest coach in Park University women’s basketball history with 128 wins, and he led Park to its only NAIA National Championship tournament appearance following the 2005-06 season. Meriweather, who coached Park’s women’s team from 1997-2010, guided the Pirates to a 19-12 record in 2005-06 and for his efforts was named the 2005-06 NAIA Division I Independent Region Coach of the Year. He was also named the 1998 AMC Coach of the Year and his 2003-04 squad posted a school-record 22 wins. Meriweather played 10 seasons in the NBA as a member of the Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Jazz, New York Knicks and Kansas City Kings. He also played two seasons internationally in the European League in Bologna, Italy, and Barcelona, Spain. A graduate of Southern Illinois University, Meriweather is in the Salukis’ athletics hall of fame after posting 1,536 points and 1,005 rebounds in his collegiate career. In 1975, he was the 11th pick (Houston Rockets) in the NBA Draft. Read more about Meriweather at Winter 2014 - 24

Christopher appointed to academic affairs post Kenneth Christopher, D.P.A., was appointed Park University’s associate vice president for academic affairs in July 2013. Christopher previously served the University as the associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences since 2009, and he was an associate professor and chair of the Department of Criminal Justice Administration. “Ken brings excellent leadership experience, both academic and non-academic, to this important position at Park University,” said Jerry Jorgensen, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president. “His knowledge of higher education issues in general, and of Park University in particular, makes him a great asset in this role.” As associate vice president for academic affairs, Christopher leads the University’s academic administrators, faculty, staff and programs. In addition, Christopher is responsible for facilitating quality academic planning and implementation, and overseeing the University’s curricular initiatives and review processes for its 21,000 students.

UNIVERSITY NEWS Park receives Hobsons Choice Award Park University, which has partnered with Hobsons Connect for a customer relationship management system within the Office of Enrollment Services, received the Hobsons Choice Award at the Hobsons University Conference in late July 2013. The Hobsons Choice Award is an award that highlights Hobsons higher education clients who have utilized both technology and marketing products in harmony to accomplish institutional enrollment goals and objectives. Park was nominated for the award by Hobsons client success manager Dan Hollis who said, “I believe Park does a fantastic job of using the VIP page and sending e-mails from Connect to highlight the microsite and personalized video. Only clients who have devoted lots of time and effort are even considered for this award, and I value the ongoing communication I have with everyone on the Park team.”

Park University President Dr. Michael Droge with Harvest Fest royalty Kirby Appollis and Arthur Vollbrecht.

Parkville Campus students crown 2013 Harvest Fest royalty Park University students at the Parkville Campus crowned Harvest Fest 2013 royalty at the annual Harvest Fest Dance in September. Junior Kirby Appollis, a legal studies major and vice president of the Park Student Government Association, was crowned queen, and senior Arthur Vollbrecht, a biology major and member of Park’s cross country team, was crowned king. The royalty court also included junior Paul Bilanzic, business administration/finance major and member of Park’s men’s volleyball team, prince; junior Dani Li, business administration/international business major and first year experience mentor, princess; sophomore Pierre Tang-Taye, business administration/international business major and member of Park’s men’s volleyball team, duke; and sophomore Mikayla Fisher, graphic design major and member of Park’s women’s soccer team, duchess.

Nordgren appointed to lead Park’s MBA program Lee Nordgren, D.Sc., was appointed as the Edward F. Lyle professor of finance and director of the graduate program in business this past summer. Nordgren, who has more than 20 years’ experience in both higher education and industry with expertise in finance and management, oversees the University’s Master of Business Administration program. She previously served Park as visiting assistant professor of management in the School of Business, teaching strategy, international business, small business/entrepreneurship and international finance. “Dr. Nordgren is a tremendous addition to the faculty at Park University,” said Brad Kleindl, Ph.D., dean of Park University’s School of Business. “She brings a depth of management experience in finance with firms and organizations around the world.”

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UNIVERSITY NEWS University Advancement announces 2012-13 fundraising efforts The 2012-13 fiscal year was a very good year for the Office of University Advancement and thus, for Park University. The total raised in cash gifts, in-kind gifts and all pledges was $1,685,754 or 40 percent more than the preceding year. Included in that total were several unrestricted estate gifts which, thanks to the foresight of Park President Michael Droge, Ph.D., have been put to use for specific priorities of the University. For example, Park received a nearly $200,000 estate gift from Pauline Murphy, ’57. Given her affection and appreciation for the social work profession, Droge determined to use the gift for scholarships for social work students as well as current operating expenses to support the marketing and promotion of the new Master in Social Work degree program. Another example is the $41,000 estate gift from A. Hugh and Joyce, ’88, Kensler, who were interested in architecture, gardening and interior design. That gift will be used for specific capital improvements to the Parkville Campus upon recommendations from the Office of Facilities Services. In addition is a gift from Thom, ’42, and Ruth Rinehart Hunter, ’44. Spending their life in missionary and religious affairs, their estate gift was used, along with gifts totaling $45,000 from Rear Adm. Joe Schoggen, ’43, in honor of his wife Charlene Schwenk Schoggen, ’43; Park Board of Trustees member Col. Danny Sakata, in honor of his wife Susan Ditmars Sakata; and Dean Larrick, ’53, in honor of his friend and former roommate at Park, Robert Warriner, ’53, to replace the Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel doors with new and environmentally stronger doors. A dedication service with the donors was held in September 2013 and a plaque that provides details of this gift has been placed outside the front doors in the landscaping.

The new doors of the Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel.

Park alumnus establishes endowed scholarship for School of Business students Clint Blithe, ’71, has endowed a scholarship for students in Park University’s School of Business in honor of his parents with a generous gift of $100,000. Blithe has established the Clinton R. Blithe Sr. and Anna M. Blithe Scholarship, which will be awarded annually to an undergraduate student in the School of Business, beginning this fall. “When I received news that I was becoming a grandparent, I was excited to think about my grandchild’s future,” said Blithe. “This new grandchild sparked memories of my father sending me off to Park and I knew that I wanted to help provide an opportunity for another student to receive an education.” Blithe was encouraged by his parents to attend college, which was a pivotal decision in his life. He has gone on to own and operate Blithe Sales Co. LLC, a manufacturer’s representative of pool and spa equipment, located in North East, Md. Nathan Marticke, M.A.C.L. ’10, associate vice president for constituent development, who worked with Blithe, said, “This is a very generous gift to Park and it is exciting to see alumni like Clint reflecting on their time at Park and being moved to invest in a significant way in our future students.”

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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.

Scott McRuer

Park University Board of Trustees Scott McRuer is the first among four generations to not attend Park University. Yet, he honors his family’s legacy as a member of the Park University Board of Trustees. “From my great-grandparents on, nearly everyone in my family attended Park,” McRuer said. Unfortunately, when it was time for McRuer to consider colleges in the 1970s, Park was considering bankruptcy, so he went a different direction to earn his degree. With Park’s full recovery and bright future, McRuer now brings his 30 years of accounting expertise to Park as the Board of Trustees treasurer.

Ed Bradley

Park University School of Business Advisory Council Chair Working behind the scenes at Park University are business leaders like Ed Bradley. As the former president and CEO of Patriots Bank (now Bank Liberty), Bradley brings more then 40 years of experience to Park as a founding member of Park’s School of Business Advisory Council. “Park’s highly professional, academic environment is warm and inviting,” Bradley said. “It’s a treat to work with the University to forge positive connections with the local business community.”

“My grandparents and their siblings were Scottish immigrants and migrant farm workers. Through its work-study program, Park made it possible for my family to earn an education and advance their lives,” McRuer said. “I’m proud to honor the my family’s legacy by serving Park’s commitment to keep college affordable.”

Bradley recently helped Park’s School of Business secure accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. For his service, Bradley was recently inducted as an honorary member of Park’s Mu Chi Chapter of the Delta Mu Delta, an international honor society for accredited business programs.

With nearly 30 years of experience in public accounting, McRuer is the founder and managing member of McRuer CPAs, ranked among The Kansas City Business Journal’s top 25 accounting firms. Recently, McRuer was selected to join the prestigious Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program.

For Bradley, his connection to Park is also personal. His son, Luke, is a 2007 Park graduate. And as a lifelong athlete, Bradley is an avid fan of Park Athletics. “The Pirate’s home games are all on my calendar.”

McRuer regularly opens the doors to his Kansas City area firm to Park students. “We’ve hired more than two dozen accounting interns,” McRuer said. “I enjoy our ongoing partnership with Park to provide students with the business experience they need to succeed.”

With an impressive list of community leadership roles, Bradley offers this career advice to Park students and alumni: “Be a good judge of character, and be a good character.” To cultivate character, Bradley said he’s always encouraging students and young professionals to get out from behind their computer screens to make real connections in service to their communities.

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In academia Publications


A book written by Joan Aitken, Ed.D., professor of communication arts and program coordinator of organizational communications, was published. The book, Cases on Communication Technology for Second Language Acquisition and Cultural Learning provides educators with insight into methods and opportunities for using technology to teach students learning a foreign language.

Shannon Cuff, Ph.D., assistant professor of education, presented a poster session at the National Council of Teachers of English convention in Boston in November 2013. Cuff ’s poster, “Using Literature to Connect to Community: The Role of Service-Learning in Developing Reflective Teacher Candidates,” showed how Park University pre-service teachers become more reflective teacher candidates by engaging in a service-learning opportunity.

The third edition of a book written by Richard Box, Ph.D., visiting distinguished professor of public affairs, was published. The book, Public Administration and Society: Critical Issues in American Governance, is designed for students in public policy, affairs and administration. The book develops two themes: the historical development of institutions and practices, and issues of democracy, citizenship and self-governance. An article co-authored by Amber DaileyHebert, Ph.D. professor of adult and continuing education, was published in the January 2013 issue of the journal Teaching and Teacher Education. The article, “Essential Knowledge for Academic Performance: Education in the Virtual World to Promote Active Learning," makes recommendations for course designers and course developers to improve students’ performance. A paper co-authored by Penelope DeJong, Ph.D., associate dean of the School of Business and associate professor and program coordinator of marketing, was published in the Journal of Promotion Management in August 2013. The paper, “Consumer Readings of Green Appeals in Advertisements,” evaluates consumers’ interpretation of green advertisements. A book written by Linda Moore, Ed.D., Hauptmann School of Public Affairs distinguished fellow in leadership, was published. The book, What’s Wrong with Me? Maybe not that Much, helps readers quiet negative questions, ask healthy ones, and head in a direction to problem solve and embrace a positive and powerful direction in life. An article written by Patty Ryberg, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology, was published in the July 2013 issue of the journal Palaios, a publication of the Society for Sedimentary Geology. Ryberg’s article, “Antarctica: Enhancing the Links Across Time and Space of the Permian Glossopterids,” covered the diversity within the group of plants that made up 90 percent of the Antarctic landscape 200 million years ago. Winter 2014 - 28

Melissa Geier (left), assistant registrar, and Kimmon Halloran, graduation assistant, presented a session on “Expedited Diplomas” at the Missouri Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers in October 2013 in Lake Ozark, Mo. Their presentation discussed a new system for processing diplomas in Park University’s Registrar’s Office to reduce wait time and improve customer service via the aid of automation and an in-house printing system. Teresa Mason, Ph.D. (left), associate professor of psychology and chair of the Department of Psychology and Sociology, and Marthann Schulte, Ph.D. (right), associate professor and program coordinator of adult education, presented a session at the American Evaluation Association conference, in October 2013 in Washington, D.C. The session, “Online Faculty Evaluation Evolution: How Training, Mentoring and Resource Allocation Foster Instructor Success,” exposed attendees to implemented faculty evaluation programs grounded in research literature and how they can be replicated in different online college environments. Jutta Pegues, Ph.D. (left), assistant professor of history, program coordinator of anthropology and online academic director, and Walton (Dees) Stallings, Ph.D. (right), associate professor of English and program coordinator for professional writing, presented the paper, “The Federal Plain Language Act of 2010 and Corporate Styles, Part II: Responses to a Communications Sea Change by Corporations, Government and Universities,” at the International Organization of Social Sciences and Behavioral Research fall conference in October 2013 in Las Vegas. The session provided responses to the federal government and other standards put in place to cope with information overload, and summarized research findings documenting the causes, costs and risks of unclear writing in certain professions.

In academia Henry Roehrich, Ph.D., assistant professor of marketing/management, presented a paper at the Society of Business Research conference in Nashville, Tenn., in October 2013. Roehrich’s paper, “Creating Learning Activities from a Real World Experience that Demonstrates Teamwork Through Effective Leadership,” focused on the effective application of modern adult learning theory and student-centered teaching techniques. Steven Youngblood, associate professor of communication arts and director of the Center for Global Peace Journalism, presented a session on “Grab Their Attention: Making Your Writing Engaging,” at a joint meeting of the Heart of America and Westport chapters of the International Association of Administrative Professionals in September 2013 in Kansas City, Mo. Youngblood focused his discussion on writing more effectively, including how to reach specific audiences, how to grab readers with a compelling lead and how to use fiction writing techniques to tell nonfiction stories.

Awards, appointments, and recognitions Kay Barnes, distinguished professor for public leadership and founding director of the Center for Leadership, was honored in October 2013 by Kansas City’s Shepherd’s Center Central as a Prime Time Champion. The honor recognizes individuals older than 60 who have made significant contributions to the Kansas City community. Erik Bergrud, M.P.A. ‘94, associate vice president of constituent engagement, was inducted as a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration during the NAPA fall meeting in November 2013 in Washington, D.C. Chartered by Congress, NAPA is a nonprofit, independent coalition of top public management and organizational leaders who tackle the nation’s most critical and complex challenges. Virginia Brackett, Ph.D., associate professor of English and director of the Honors Academy, was elected vice president and president-elect of the Great Plains Honors Council, an organization that serves collegiate honors programs in six states.

Steinway & Sons welcomed Stanislav Ioudenitch, associate professor of music/piano in the International Center for Music and gold medalist at the 2001 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, as a Distinguished Steinway Artist in October 2013. The honor identifies renowned musicians based on their artistic and professional accomplishments. Debra McArthur, director of academic support services, and her book, A Voice for Kanzas, was recognized as one of 17 finalists for the Thorpe Menn Award by the Kansas City branch of the American Association of University Women in October 2013. The award recognizes literary excellence by a Kansas City area author. McArthur’s novel tells of a young girl coming of age in the 1850s in Lawrence, Kan. Daniel Pfeiffer, junior English literature major, was recognized for his courage to speak up and his ongoing advocacy for intellectual freedom as he was named the recipient of the 2013 NCTV/ SLATE Affiliate Intellectual Freedom Award by the Nebraska English Language Arts Council, an affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of English. The award, presented in Boston in November 2013, honors individuals, groups or institutions that merit recognition for advancing the cause of intellectual freedom. Greg Rose, director of online operations, Park Distance Learning, received the 2013 Jonathan Bacon Outstanding Leadership Award from Colleague-2-Colleague, a professional association of faculty, staff and administrators from institutions in Missouri and Kansas with a focus on instructional technology, online instruction and distance education. Rose received the award in August 2013 at the Summer Institute on Distance Learning and Instructional Technology in Overland Park, Kan. Timothy Westcott, Ph.D., associate professor of history, was selected by the Missouri Humanities Council as a speaker in the organization’s 2014 Show Me Missouri Speaker’s Bureau. Westcott’s topic, “Voices of Patriotism: Missouri’s FourMinute Men,” is a presentation that focuses on Missouri’s community and neighborhood movie houses becoming center stage during World War I for national propaganda efforts.

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Alumni Council Jeff McKinney, ‘81 President Round Rock, Texas Toni Madeira, ’88 President-Elect Kansas City, Mo. Kathryn Phillips Hernandez, ’83 Secretary/Treasurer St. Joseph, Mo. Susan Kensett McGaughey, ’74 Past President Olathe, Kan. David Barclay, ’53 Overland Park, Kan. Nick Casale, ’71 Parkville, Mo. Bob Dandridge, ’04 New Baden, Ill. Duane Davidson, ’00, M.P.A. ’03 Liberty, Mo. David Ehrlich, ’00 Dumfries, Va. Jay Flaherty, ’71 Kansas City, Mo. Karen Peters Frankenfeld, ’59 Bella Vista, Ark. Michelle Gaiewski, ’10 Cedar Park, Texas Sarah Hopkins-Chery, ’07, M.A.C.L. ‘09 Parkville, Mo. LaKeisha Johnson, ’08, M.P.A. ’12 Independence, Mo.

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.”

Edna Martinson, ’12 North Kansas City, Mo. Betsy Porter, ’62 Holiday Island, Ark.

Staff Liaison Julie McCollum Director of Alumni Relations (816) 584-6206 - office (800) 488-7275 (816) 505-5409 - fax

Contact the Office of Alumni Relations with news, comments and questions about the Park University Alumni Association and its members. Phone: (816) 584-6206 or (800) 488-PARK (7275) Fax: (816) 505-5409 E-mail: Address: 8700 NW River Park Drive, Box 37 Parkville, MO 64152

Alumniad News and notes for Park University alumni

Park Family Fun Day, during Harvest Fest/Alumni Weekend 2013

Winter 2014 Vol. 104, No. 1 Winter 2014 - 31

Connecting across generations and geographies Graduates making personal connections across generations and geographies are what make the difference for Park University’s Alumni Council. Here is an introduction to two of the newest Alumni Council members — Edna Martinson, ’12 and Betsy Streeter Porter, ’62.

Edna Martinson, ’12 Where do you live? I live in Kansas City, Mo., but I’m originally from Ghana in West Africa. What was your degree? I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with a focus on international business. I started my Master of Business Administration this January. What do you do? I work at Copaken Brooks, a commercial real estate company in Kansas City, Mo., as a tenant and corporate services assistant. I started as an intern after meeting my boss when I volunteered to work on the Park Summer Business Academy program. How did you find out about Park? My older brother, Douglas Martinson, ’13, went to Park and I decided to follow him in 2009. If you’re going to America for the first time, it’s nice to be with family. What did you think of America before you arrived? Let’s just say I watched a lot of “90210” on TV in Ghana, so I envisioned Laguna Beach! When I arrived in Parkville, Mo., everyone was so friendly. When I traveled to New York with Park’s Model United Nations team, I realized just how friendly the Midwest is. What do you most cherish about Park? I’ll never forget the first orientation week at Park. I felt so welcomed. What was your most valued school supply? Definitely, it was my laptop and a connection to Google. Why get involved in the Park University Alumni Association? It brings all Park alumni together regardless of when we graduated or where we live. It’s great to learn about everyone while supporting current students. Aside from a great social experience, it’s a great place to meet your next employer. Any hobbies? I play the guitar, both acoustic and electric. I take lessons twice a week and love it!

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Alumni Benefits Betsy Streeter Porter, ’62 Where do you live? Holiday Island, Ark., just north of beautiful Eureka Springs. What was your degree? I majored in biology. I also have a Master of Arts in Teaching from Harvard University and a Master of Library Science from the University of Denver.

Enjoy the benefits of belonging to the Park University Alumni Association as one of its 67,000 members. Visit to learn about such benefits as legacy scholarships, graduate school fee waivers, special license plates, tribute brick garden and more!

Liberty Mutual Auto and Property Insurance

Visit or call (800) 524-9400 to learn more.

UMB Visa Rewards Card

Travel to Exotic Lands. Next trip South Africa!

What do you do? I was an academic librarian most of my life. In 2002, I was ordained as an Episcopal priest and serve at Saint James Episcopal Church in Eureka Springs.

Park Alumni E-mail

What about Mr. Porter? I met my husband, Clifford Porter, ’64, at Park. We were married in Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel and had our reception in McCoy Meetin’ House on the Parkville Campus. We’ll celebrate our 50th anniversary on April 18. We have two sons and two grandchildren who were adopted from Korea. They are wonderful.

Alumni Career Services

What was your most valued school supply? It was my powder blue manual typewriter. Park let me make weekly payments at the bookstore. It was my prized possession.

Uploma — Customizable Graduation Recognition

What do you cherish most about Park? Park helped make it possible for me to get my education. I mopped floors and performed other jobs on campus to help pay tuition through Park’s work-study program back then. I also had scholarships and cleaned houses. When I graduated, I had no student debt. Why get involved in the Alumni Council? As I get older, I have more appreciation for all Park brought to my life. I want to do my part to help future students. I also love traveling, so I enjoyed the opportunity to see Alaska and Ireland with the Park University Alumni Association. Any hobbies? I love caring for the 38 varieties of daffodils in my yard. They’re beautiful, and deer don’t eat them. I also enjoy cooking meals twice a week for a food bank and visiting with everyone who comes.

Park University Merchandise

PirateLink Online Alumni Directory

Connect to Park alumni through social media Facebook: parkuniversityalumniassociation Connect to PirateLink through Twitter: LinkedIn: Join the “Park University Alumni” Group Flickr: You Tube: Winter 2014 - 33

Alumni weekend

HARVEST FEST/ ALUMNI WEEKEND RECAP A record number of Park University alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends joined the festivities during Harvest Fest/ Alumni Weekend 2013. Alumni from campuses across the country attended such events as the Alumni Association Awards Luncheon, “Party at the Power Plant,” Pirate Parade, alumni games, “An Evening with the Real Pirates” exhibit at Union Station, Family Fun Day and a barbecue dinner at Julian Field.

Past Harvest Fest royalty Carolyn McHenry Elwess, ’71, and David Hawley, ’69, met Mikayla Fisher, junior graphic design major and a member of the 2013 Harvest Fest court.

Plan to join the fun this fall — September 19-20, 2014.

Bobbi Stidham, M.A.C.L. ’13, and her son pose in the photo booth. Park’s “Little Pirates” had a great time at Harvest Fest.

Alumni play basketball in front of friends, family and fellow alumni at Breckon Sports Center.

Alumni joined Director of Athletics Claude English at the Friday night party.

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Charles Gormley, ’12, a graduate from Park's Fairchild Air Force Base (Wash.) Campus Center, traveled to Parkville from his home in New York for the weekend festivities.

Additional Summer/Fall 2013 Alumni Events El Paso Diablos Baseball Game — July 31

Softball alumni relax at the Power Plant in Parkville, Mo., after their afternoon game. Coach Amy Reif is second from the right.

More than 150 Park University alumni, students and family attended a get-together at Cohen Stadium in El Paso, Texas. Michael Becraft, D.Mgt., assistant dean of Park’s School of Business and assistant professor of management at the Fort Bliss (Texas) Campus Center, threw out the first pitch.

Park After Hours — Austin, Texas, Nov. 7 Alumni, students, staff and faculty in the Austin, Texas, area networked at Dave and Busters. Cynthia James Null , x58, waives as she walks across campus in the Park Pirate Parade.

Grad Day — Dec. 13 New alumni (Fall 2013 graduates) and their families, from online and campus centers across the country visited the Parkville Campus the day before the Kansas City Area December Commencement ceremony. They were treated to a luncheon with members of Park’s administration, faculty and staff, followed by tours of the campus.

Alumni, family and friends spent “An Evening with the Real Pirates,” the National Geographic exhibit at Union Station Kansas City. Photo credits: Frank P. Hamilton, Brianne Steffel, ’05, and Veronica Goodman.

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Success Each year, Park University honors a few of its outstanding

alumni and friends for their extraordinary achievements in their careers and communities, and for their commitment to Park. We celebrate their success and look to them as shining examples of all that is possible.

Jeanette Hernandez Prenger, ’09, Bob Kendrick, ’85, Louise Morden and Sarah Hopkins-Chery, ’07, M.A.C.L. ’09.

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Distinguished Alumnus Award

The Park University Distinguished Alumnus Award is given to Park alumni who have distinguished themselves through career, service or community achievements.

Bob Kendrick, ’85 Headin’ west

“I told my parents I was headed west to somewhere called Parkville,” said Kendrick about his basketball scholarship to Park University. “I chased that basketball all the way from Crawfordville, Ga. … and I’ve never looked back.”

Easier to love than hate

After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications, Kendrick worked in promotions for The Kansas City Star. While volunteering for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum — the world’s only museum dedicated to the history of AfricanAmerican baseball — Kendrick met the man who would change the course of his life. “I worked with one of the greatest human beings who ever walked the earth,” Kendrick said about Buck O’Neil, the beloved, unofficial NLBM spokesperson. O’Neil, who had been a first baseman and manager for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues, died at the age of 94 in 2006. Kendrick worked closely with O’Neil while serving on the NLBM’s board of directors before he joined the staff as the Museum’s marketing director in 1998, and promoted to vice president of marketing in 2009. “By example, Buck taught me his philosophy on life — that it’s easier to love than to hate.”

Leading the legacy

Kendrick is developing the NLBM’s Buck O’Neil Education and Research Center to be housed in the 100-year-old Paseo YMCA building in Kansas City, Mo. — one of the first YMCA facilities for African-Americans in the country, and the birthplace of the Negro Leagues, which operated between 1920 and 1960. “The Museum tells a story that is much bigger than the game of baseball,” Kendrick said. “We’re talking about an institution that played a pivotal role in the social advancement of America.” O’Neil would be proud of Kendrick’s success. Since Kendrick was named NLBM president in 2011, the Museum has achieved record attendance, sparking an August 2013 feature about Kendrick’s leadership of the NLBM in The New York Times.

Perks of the job

Kendrick enjoys the perks of his job touring with dignitaries and celebrities, including former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush, singer/actress Patti LaBelle, author/poet Maya Angelou and dozens of sports icons. His most memorable tour? “Hands down, it was my idol Hank Aaron,” Kendrick said. “When I was with Hank Aaron, I was reduced to an admiring 12 year-old.” Winter 2014 - 37

Distinguished Alumnus Award

The Park University Distinguished Alumnus Award is given to Park alumnus who have distinguished themselves through career, service or community achievements.

Jeanette Hernandez Prenger, ’09 Rising to the top 500

She started her technology and human resources consulting company in 1995 with just one client and one employee. Today, Prenger oversees 33 employes and more than 200 consultants as the founder, president and chief executive officer of Kansas City, Mo., based ECCO Select. Prior to launching her own business, Prenger headed up Internet technology teams for Trans World Airlines, the Federal Reserve Bank, DST Systems and Sprint. Despite her expertise and proven success, Prenger believed it was important to complete the college degree she started years ago.

Sibling rivalry

A friendly sibling rivalry also motivated her return to school. “I was the eldest of six siblings and the only one without a college degree,” Prenger said. Yet the demands of running a business and tending to the needs of her growing family made finishing her degree seem impossible, until she discovered Park. “The flexibility of Park’s online program made it possible for me to achieve my goal by fitting courses into my personal schedule,” she said. Returning to a virtual classroom offered Prenger more than a degree. “My business experience made all that I learned more relevant and immediately valuable.” In 2009, Prenger completed a Bachelor of Science degree in management/computer information systems.

Perseverance and fortitude

“I know firsthand how hard it can be to find the time and energy to persevere in getting a degree,” Prenger said. That’s why she particularly values a college degree on a candidate’s résumé for her human resource clients. “A college degree shows fortitude and a solid work ethic. It demonstrates that a perspective employee will bring these values to the workplace.”

Meeting the world at Park

Prenger makes it a priority to give back and advocates for education, having served as a member of the Park University Board of Trustees since 2011. “I’m proud to be a part of Park’s past and its exciting future,” Prenger said. “I live near the beautiful Parkville Campus and love that the University brings an international presence to the metro area — and around the world — while welcoming a diverse community of students that I enjoy meeting in my own neighborhood.”

Enterprising Woman of the Year

For her achievements and generosity, Prenger has received numerous awards. In April 2013, she was honored as a recipient of an Enterprising Woman of the Year award by Enterprising Women magazine. Other awards include the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Region VII Minority Small Business Champion of the Year in 2010 and CEO of the Year from the Latinos in Information and Science Technology Association in 2009.

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Torchlighter Award The Torchlighter Award honors those who have made a significant, long-standing contribution and a commitment to Park University. Recipients who are not Park alumni receive honorary alumni status as part of this award.

Louise Morden, Honorary Trustee Dedication defined

The name “Louise Morden” has become synonymous with dedication at Park University. “I enjoy meeting Park students, alumni and friends, and seeing their surprised faces when they connect my name with the Louise Morden Board Room on the Parkville Campus,” said Morden.

Marvelous gift

Fascinated with the development of the Parkville Commercial Underground in the 1990s, Morden enthusiastically shared stories of its progress with her late husband, Paul. For her birthday, Paul gave her a special surprise by underwriting the costs to build the board room and name it after Louise. “It was a most marvelous birthday gift,” she said.

Catching Park’s spirit

Park is grateful to Morden for her commitment to the University, a relationship that began in the 1970s when she and her husband were members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now known as the Community of Christ) during the brief time it managed Park. “I got swept up in Park’s school spirit,” said Morden, who travels from her home in Niagara Falls, N.Y., to attend Park events and Board of Trustees meetings. Morden was a member of the Park University Board of Trustees from 1979 to 1989, and again from 1992 to 2002. In May 2002, Morden was named an honorary trustee. With 20 years of wear and tear, the Louise Morden Board Room needed a facelift. Extensive renovations were completed in March 2012 thanks to Morden’s $100,000 gift to expand seating capacity and install state-of-the art presentation technologies.

International friendships

After visiting Madame Tussauds in London, Morden’s husband decided to build the Niagara Falls Wax Museum of History. Although she loved her career as a junior high school teacher, Morden decided to join her husband full-time. “I’ve traveled the world in my business meeting people in Hong Kong, Singapore and throughout Europe. I’ve built lifelong friendships around the globe,” she said. That’s why Morden especially admires Park’s focus on international education. Interacting with people from other cultures gives you an entirely different perspective,” Morden said. “All that Park is doing to create global connections for students is making a big difference for our future.” Learning that the Torchlighter Award makes her an honorary Park alumna, Morden said it was a great honor. “When I visit Park, I feel like I’m going home,” she said. “I felt the Park spirit more than 20 years ago, and I still feel it today.”

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Park University Promising Young Professional Award The Park University Promising Young Professional Award recognizes alumni who show exceptional promise of leadership and contribution to their profession and/or community. The recipient of this award will have graduated from Park within the last five years and is under the age of 35.

Sarah Hopkins-Chery, ’07, M.A.C.L. ’09 Proven potential

What do you want to be when you grow up? This hasn't always been a simple question for Hopkins-Chery. For now, she’s focusing on her top three choices: college professor, basketball coach and airline manager. Prior to joining Park University as an adjunct instructor of communication arts, Hopkins-Chery earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology (with honors) in 2007 and a Masters of Arts in Communications and Leadership in 2009. She is married to Park alumnus, Lenes Hopkins-Chery, ’09.

Champion athlete

The Essex, England, native was a three-time Daktronics/NAIA Scholar-Athlete honoree. As captain of Park’s women’s basketball team, she helped lead the Pirates to its first appearance in the NAIA national tournament in the 2005-06 season. She also ran cross country and track and field for the Pirates. Today, Hopkins-Chery is serving her second season as Park’s women’s basketball assistant coach. When she’s not teaching or coaching, Hopkins-Chery oversees 60 fleet service agents as a shift manager for US Airways — a promotion from customer service supervisor awarded soon after achieving her master’s degree.

Sporting discipline

Where does she find the discipline to pursue three demanding careers? Hopkins-Chery said it’s simple: sports. “At Park, my coaches taught me more than the game of basketball. I learned about time management, setting priorities and the consequences of my actions. Just as in sports, it’s important to stay focused on the goal no matter the circumstances.”

Taking the hard out of work

“Some people complain about hard work, but it’s not like that for me,” Hopkins-Chery said. “If you enjoy what you do, the work doesn’t seem so hard and success doesn’t seem so difficult to achieve.”

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CLASS NOTES Alumni 1950s Phyllis Dawson Cobb, ’58, authored the book, Elsewhere, using the pen name “Dawson Cobb.” The book is a collection of reflective poems on common experiences such as art, travel and make-believe.

Facility where she has volunteered since 1980. Her program, which teaches inmates to “reach out from within” to work with and be kinder to one another, has been adopted by the Kansas Department of Corrections and is spreading to other states. In addition, Fried was recognized by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce with its 2013 Athena Award for leadership. Fried is the founder of BullySafeUSA ( and is recognized for her advocacy for women and children in abusive relationships. Dean Frederick, ’77, is principal of ALPHA Academy in Magnolia, Texas.


1960s Wayne Rogers, ’64, is president and a founder of the new Eagle Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution in northern San Diego and southern Riverside counties of California. He was recently honored for his service in the military with a SAR Medal.

1970s Tim Pelton, ‘70, authored The Ultimate Family Gift: Peace of Mind Through Personalized End-of-Life Planning. The book provides the essential information needed and implementation steps to take before you pass away. SuEllen Fried, ’75, was featured on “CBS Sunday Morning” on Nov. 3, 2013. The show highlighted her work with inmates at the Lansing (Kan.) Correctional

Tim Decker, ’82, is director of the Children’s Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services. He is the former director of Missouri Division of Youth Services. George Rohrich, ’87, is the head administrator at River’s Edge Hospital, St. Peter, Minn.

1990s Ricky D. Napper, ’91, is president of Memorial Hospital, Chattanooga, Tenn. Napper has more than 18 years of health care leadership experience at several systems throughout the South, and he spent 21 years with the Army. He is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives. Jan Zimmerman, ’93, M.P.A. ’97, chief of police in Raymore, Mo., was featured in a story that appeared on KCTV on Oct. 17, 2013. Zimmerman is the only female police chief in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Ronald Reed, ’95, M.P.A. ’07, completed his doctorate degree in leadership from Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga. Laurie DiPadova-Stocks, Ph.D., dean of Park’s School of Graduate and Professional Studies and the Hauptmann School of Public Affairs, was a member of his dissertation committee. The title of his dissertation: “Transformational Leadership Analysis of a Christian School Band Director: A Case Study.” Brian O’Neil, ’97, is the author of Don’t Forget Your Swimsuit: A Tale of Time Management. He is president and chief executive officer of Sales Empowerment Group, Sales University Group and Sales Athletes Group in Chicago, a business consultancy firm specializing in sales training and recruiting. Shelley V. Murphy, ’98, earned a Doctor of Management in organizational leadership. Her dissertation was titled “Perceptions of Bullying in the Workplace: A Phenomenological Study.” She is director of program services at Piedmont Housing Alliance, Charlottesville, Va. Matt Lyons, ’99, was named the Oceanside, Calif., Police Department’s 2012 Officer of the Year. He was recognized for his exemplary work patrolling the community on foot and interacting directly with gang members to help fight crime. Lyons retired from the U.S. Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton, Calif., after 22 years of service. Carol McIntyre, ’99, is support services coordinator for the State of Utah’s Second District Court in Ogden. She was named the 2013 Court Terminal Agency Coordinator of the Year by Utah’s Bureau of Criminal Identification. She was recognized for her contributions to the system that accesses state and federal criminal information via the Utah Criminal Justice Information System.

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CLASS NOTES 2000s Betsy Baird, M.P.A. ’00, is senior juvenile intake and assessment specialist at the Johnson County (Kan.) Department of Corrections Juvenile Services Division. Jacqueline Clark, M.P.A. ’00, was elected to a two-year term on the State Government Affairs Council Board of Directors. SGAC is a national association for multi-state government affairs professionals. Daniel Glover, ’00, is chief operating officer of Advanced IT Concepts Inc., an Orlando-based information technology company, which has been recognized by the Florida Business Journal as one of the top 100 fastest-growing companies in the state. Jonathan Heeringa, ’00, is business underwriting manager at United Federal Credit Union, St. Joseph, Mich. Heeringa oversees the Business Underwriting Center for UFCU’s business lending programs and is responsible for the risk management of the business loan portfolio. Benjamin N. Comer, ’01, Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper, was promoted to the rank of corporal and designated as assistant zone supervisor of Zone 16, which serves the public in Benton County. Leah Predum, ’01, is a certified physician assistant at Borgess ProMed Family Practice in Portage, Mich. She received a Master of Science in physician assistant studies from Western Michigan University, and she served as a U.S. Navy Corpsman in California and Japan. Eric “Rick” Gammon, ’03, is the first full-time police officer at the University of HoustonVictoria. The position was created through a grant from the U.S. Department

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of Justice to help prevent sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking on campus. Gammon formerly was an El Paso County, Texas, constable. Thom Hanrahan, ‘04, is managing editor of the Brownwood (Texas) Bulletin. Hanrahan manages the editorial and advertising staff, and is responsible for the operation and content of the daily newspaper in the town of approximately 20,000. Sarah F. Montz, ’04, authored Our Wild Card: A Parent’s Perspective of Pervasive Development Disorder on the Autism Spectrum. Montz tells her own personal story of life with a child diagnosed with this disorder. Christy Roten Collins, ’06, M.B.A. ’07, is the girls’ varsity basketball coach at Bishop Ward High School in Kansas City, Kan. She also runs the Kansas City Athletes Continually Training basketball program with her husband, Albert, and his parents. Marco Rabello, ’07, and Cristian Maciel, ’07, opened Taste of Brazil Market in the River Market area of Kansas City, Mo. Their store sells Brazilian beverages, chocolates, coffees, gifts, clothing, jewelry and art. Vlatko Andonovski, ’08, is head coach for both FC Kansas City, a team in the National Women’s Soccer League, and the Missouri Comets, a team in the Major Indoor Soccer League.


John Gephart, ’11, received the U.S. Air Force Command’s Award for Valor for using CPR and an automated external defibrillator to save the life of a man in January 2013, in Centerville, Ohio. He also received recognition from the Centerville police chief and the city council. Luke Lewis, M.P.A. ’11, city manager of Marceline, Mo., was featured in an NBC News Investigations report about small towns that took a financial downturn after betting on an innovative coal-fired plant just before the domestic oil and natural gas boom hit its stride. Raymond Mott, ’11, earned licensed safety professional certification for construction through the National Association of Safety Professionals. He is president of Armour Consulting Enterprise LLC, in Sahuarita, Ariz., and was previously a weapons safety manager with the U.S. Air Force. Amanda DeVriese-Sebilla, ’12, is the director of marketing and business development for Davidson Architecture and Engineering, Overland Park, Kan. Charles Gormley, ’12, is a quality engineer at Kerns Manufacturing Corp., Long Island City, N. Y. Gormley retired from the U.S. Marine Corps after 27 years.

Jeff Goth, ’10, is customer support adviser for Murphy Tractor and Equipment Co., Kansas City, Mo. He services customers in northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri.

Rudy Harper, ’12, is a reporter at KOAM-TV, a CBS affiliate in the Pittsburg, Kan./Joplin, Mo., market.

Charles Rhodus, ’10, was appointed to a four-year term on the Kansas Fire Service Training Commission by Gov. Sam Brownback. Rhodus is fire chief for the City of Lenexa, Kan.

Kelly McCumber, ’12, is an account executive at KCFX-FM (101 The Fox) and Sports Radio 102.5 FM, based in Mission, Kan.

CLASS NOTES Keith Nelson, ’12, is the track announcer at Ellis Park, a thoroughbred track in Henderson, Ky. He commutes from his home in Kansas City during the season. Jerad Nun, ’12, is associate creative director at Sullivan, Higdon and Sink, an advertising agency in Kansas City, Mo. He manages on-lot and point-of-purchase materials for the Sonic Drive-In account.


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.

Erik Bergrud, M.P.A. ’94, married Kimberlee Ried on Nov. 15, 2013, in Kingsville, Mo. Erik is associate vice president of constituent engagement at Park University. Kimberlee is public programs specialist for the National Archives at Kansas City. The couple resides in Kansas City, Mo.

HARVEST FEST Park’s Homecoming and Alumni Weekend September 19-20 Parkville Campus Highlights • Men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball matches • Class reunions for classes ending in 4 and 9 • 50th reunion dinner for Class of 1964 • Alumni Association Awards Luncheon

Births Amy Lewis Van Wagner, ’10, and her husband, Michael, welcomed daughter, Madelyn Marie, on June 1, 2013.

• Visit to Park President Dr. Michael Droge’s home

Send a birth or adoption announcement and receive a “Baby Pirate” bib or T-shirt.

• Campus tours and Park Family Fun Day • Alumni athletic games • Alumni parties, mentoring and networking events • Special reunions for: The Stylus, Ellen Finley Earhart Nursing Program and the Men of Chesnut and friends

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Upcoming Alumni Events

MOURNS 1930s William Addison Small, x36 Billings, Mont., Oct. 28 Margaret Stansell North, ’39 Lee’s Summit, Mo., Sept. 5


Russell Proffitt, ’55 Cedar Rapids, Iowa, June 14

John B. Waymack, ’83 Cabot, Ark., Oct. 27

Sue Snyder Cobb, x56 Des Plaines, Ill., July 6

Dauton O. Carter, ’88 Lorton, Va., Aug. 26

Carolyn Ledgerwood Schroeder, ’57 Greeley, Colo., Aug. 29

Mary Sharon Wessar, ’88 Cape Coral, Fla., July 13

Ray H. Keenan, ’40 Austin, Texas, Sept. 23

Hazel Lum Petrie, ’57 Utica, Miss., March 22

Frances Helen Bechtold Lyon, ’41 Raytown, Mo., July 27

Alexander T. Patience, ’59 Monterey, Calif., July 18

Kathryn Bruce Lutes, ’42 Keizer, Ore., June 23


Barbara Ann Washler Curry, ’43 Lawrence, Kan., July 16 Marjorie Barton White, ’44 Newport News, Va., Oct. 18 Willard Sullenberger, ’45 Canon City, Colo., Oct. 3 Robert Wheeler, ’45 San Antonio, Texas, June 4

Robert Mellott, ’61 Kansas City, Mo., June 29 Leila Avernian Lomdardini, ’64 Lubbock, Texas, Feb. 2 John A. Michaels Sr., ’64 Overland Park, Kan., Oct. 3 Wanda Croasdale, ’65 Parkville, Mo., June 21

Eliot Wirt, ‘45 San Jose, Calif., April 1

Col. (Ret.) Charles W. Norton Jr. ’67 McLean, Va., Nov. 16

Rosemary Albertson Richter, ’48 Atlanta, Ga., July 16


Dorothy Appel Price, ’49 Bloomington, Ind., Aug. 2

Rev. Edwin Shackelford III, ’73 Salem, Ore., July 16


Marvin C. Noll, ’74 Kansas City, Mo., Nov. 8

David H. Metheny, ‘50 Lee’s Summit, Mo., Dec. 22

William Lewis, ’75 Gladstone, Mo., Sept. 4

Rev. Jay Arnold Miller, ’50 Marion, Iowa, Aug. 7

Ann Cleveland, ’76 Aztec, N.M., Dec. 6

Virginia L. Green, ’51 Lodi, Calif., July 9

Carrol Libby, ’76 Wichita Falls, Texas, June 27

Mary Jo Jacobs, ’51, M.D. Glenwood Springs, Colo., Sept. 1

James B. Wilson, ’78 Kansas City, Mo., June 12

William W. Abbott, ’52 Leawood, Kan., Sept. 5

Bobby Haralson, ’79 Little Rock, Ark., Sept. 17

James H. Naylor, ’52 Phoenix, Ariz., Sept. 21


Steven Angell, ’55 Ozark, Mo., Dec. 15

Robert W. Teller, ’81 Alamogordo, N.M., Sept. 18

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1990s Bryan Thomas Palmer, ’93 Savannah, Mo., Aug. 11 Bette Lu Martin, ’94 Lathrop, Mo., Oct. 11 Leanne M. Calhoon, ’98 Blue Springs, Mo., Aug. 20 Michael Oberhelman, ’98 Kansas City, Mo., Sept. 1 Kenneth Watras, ’99 Goodyear, Ariz., May 7

2000s Joe C. Meriweather, M.P.A. ’02 Columbus, Ga., Oct. 13 Guy D. Stanger, ’02 Reynoldsburg, Ohio, Aug. 12 Linda Mitchell, ’03 Woodbridge, Va., Dec. 24, 2012 Senior Master Sgt. (Ret.) Mary L. Murphy, ’04 Shiloh, Ill., Oct. 29 Paul D. Walter, ’04 North Haledon, N.J., Aug. 9 Lisa Melton Unfred, ’07 Kansas City, Kan., Sept.30 James Katajwa, ’09 Parkville, Mo., Sept.5

2010s Michael Ofria, M.E. ’11 Kansas City, Mo., Oct. 31 Dwight Machael Jr., ’12 Barstow, Calif., Oct. 6

Great Wolf Lodge Weekend — Kansas City, Kan., Feb. 7-8 Enjoy a discounted price for a weekend of family fun at this favorite hotel and indoor water park.

Park After Hours — Washington, D.C., March 13 Alumni, students, faculty and staff are invited to this networking reception at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel, 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Ballyhoo 2014 – April 4 This newly named event (formerly Founders Day), a benefit for Park University’s International Center for Music and the Presidential Honors Scholarship, will be held at Webster House in Kansas City, Mo., at 5 p.m. The fundraising goal for this event is $400,000. Guests at Ballyhoo will receive tickets to the Van Cliburn Tribute Concert, held that same evening at 7:30 p.m. at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. This event will be a touching homage to one of the greatest American artists who inspired generations of musicians, including Park’s artistic director of the International Center for Music and gold medalist of the 2001 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Stanislav Ioudenitch. See ad on back page for details.

Harvest Fest/Alumni Weekend 2014 — Sept. 19-20 Save the date! See page 43 for details.

South Africa 2015 — Feb. 10-22, 2015 Join Park University President Michael Droge, Ph.D., and his wife, Molly, on this unique trip led by Park alumnus David Monchusie, ’00, who will guide a trip that will include stops in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Kruger National Park and the Winelands. See ad on the next page for details.

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Non Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Kansas City, Mo. Permit No. 6112

8700 NW River Park Drive Parkville, MO 64152

Profile for Park University

Park University Magazine, Winter 2014  

Park University Magazine for alumni, faculty, staff and friends, published Winter 2014

Park University Magazine, Winter 2014  

Park University Magazine for alumni, faculty, staff and friends, published Winter 2014