Saturday, May 13, 10 a.m.
Community of Christ Auditorium
1001 W. Walnut, Independence, MO 64050
The Kansas City Area May 2017 Commencement ceremony will be held at the Community of Christ Auditorium, 1001 W. Walnut, Independence, Mo., on Saturday, May 13, at 10 a.m. (NOTE: This is an hour earlier than previous ceremonies.)
Students are asked to arrive no later than 9 a.m. to register and prepare for the ceremony. There are no restrictions as to the number of guests you may invite. Please note that the ceremony usually lasts about two hours.
View a map of the Independence, Mo., area.
Graduates, family and friends should review the May 2017 Commencement Handbook for a general schedule of events (noting events will now be one hour earlier), information on the ceremony, caps and gowns, photographs, directions to the auditorium, live broadcast and other pertinent information.
For family/friends of graduates who are unable to attend Commencement, the ceremony will be live streamed for free via the University's video portal.
John Fierro, a member of the Kansas City, Mo., Public Schools Board of Directors, and the president and chief operating officer of the Mattie Rhodes Center, will present the keynote address.
Fierro, who earned a Master of Public Affairs degree in 2001 and a Bachelor of Science degree in business in 1998 from Park, was elected to the KCMO school board in 2016 representing Sub-District 3, and he serves as chair of the board’s government relations committee. Professionally, he serves as the leader of the Mattie Rhodes Center, a Kansas City, Mo., nonprofit agency that provides a holistic approach to individual and family well-being through social services, behavioral health counseling and the arts for those living in poverty.
Fierro has served in a number of government appointed positions, including as the first Hispanic-American president of the Kansas City, Mo., Parks and Recreation Board of Commissioners. During his career, Fierro has distinguished himself as a civic leader, consensus builder, fundraiser and tireless advocate for Hispanics in Kansas City. He helped begin the Latino Civic Engagement Collaborative which supports the delivery of education, health care, mental health care, business development, housing, economic development and social services. He also led the expansion of the Mattie Rhodes Center, growing the agency to a nationally accredited organization supporting 15,000 participants annually, as well as leading the efforts to build a $2 million soccer park in Kansas City’s historic Northeast neighborhood.
In 2013, Fierro received the Director’s Community Leadership Award from FBI director James Comey, which honors individuals and organizations for their efforts in combating crime, terrorism, drugs and violence in America.