Park University E-News -- September 2013

Friday, September 6, 2013

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News from July/August 2013


University earns numerous awards, rankings this summer

Colleges of DistinctionPark earns Colleges of Distinction accolade for third year in a row --- For the third year in a row, Park University was selected as one of 300 colleges and universities across the country to the 2013-14 Colleges of Distinction list. Park is one of just six colleges/universities based in Missouri to earn the honor this year. 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.,-2013.html

Affordable Colleges OnlineUniversity ranked second-most affordable private college for online learning ---, a resource of college affordability and financial aid information, ranked Park University No. 2 among the nation’s private colleges/universities and No. 24 overall on its list of “Most Affordable Online Colleges.” The list identifies colleges across the country with distance learning options, affordable tuition and fees, and alumni who earn top dollar immediately after graduation.

In addition, ranked Park No. 3 among all colleges and universities based in Missouri with the greatest lifetime return on investment.,-2013.html

Park earns high ranking among safest four-year universities in the country --- Park University is 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 is 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.

Park ranked among service members using tuition assistance --- Park University earned high marks among service members using tuition assistance across all branches of the Armed Forces, according to a report released in the July 15 issue of Military Times, an independent source for news and information for the military community, and its associated newsweeklies, Air Force Times, Army Times, Marine Corps Times and Navy Times. Park was ranked No. 10 in the country among all colleges/universities and No. 2 among all private universities. Among Air Force/Air National Guard members, Park ranked No. 4 nationally and No. 1 among private colleges/universities, and among members of the Marine Corps, Park ranked No. 5 nationally and No. 1 among private colleges/universities.

Diverse RankingsUniversity ranked for conferring bachelor’s degrees to minority students --- Diverse Issues in Higher Education ranked Park University among the top 100 universities/colleges in the country for conferring bachelor’s degrees to minority students, according to rankings the magazine released in its July 4 issue. The University ranked No. 79 in the country for all bachelor’s degrees conferred to African-American students, and No. 82 for all bachelor’s degrees conferred to Hispanic students. In addition, Park earned five top 10 rankings for specific degree programs/majors and a total of 33 top 100 rankings.

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. The Hobsons Choice Award recognizes Hobsons higher education clients who have utilized both technology and marketing products in harmony to accomplish institutional enrollment goals and objectives.,-2013.html

Best BuyPark online degree programs ranked as “best buys” by consumer group

Three Park University online degree programs have been ranked as “best buys” by the national editorial review team at, a consumer group that reviews and ranks online college/university degree programs for cost, quality and credibility. Park’s Bachelor of Science in Information and Computer Science was ranked No. 33 in the “Best Affordable Online Bachelor’s Degree – Computer Science” category, and Park’s Bachelor of Science in Social Psychology and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology were ranked No. 33 and No. 36, respectively, in the “Best Affordable Online Bachelor’s Degree – Psychology” category.,-2013.html

School of Business recognized by national human resources association

Park University’s School of Business has earned recognition for curriculum alignment from the Society of Human Resource Management, the largest human resources professional development association worldwide. Park is one of only two Kansas City area-based schools to earn this recognition.


LaGarce earns Gilman scholarship for study abroad

Hayley LaGarce, a senior communication arts/public relations major, was named a recipient of a 2013-14 Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. This nationally competitive scholarship, funded by the U.S. Department of State, provides money for students to study abroad. LaGarce received a $3,000 scholarship to spend the Fall 2013 semester studying Spanish language and culture at Universidad de Belgrano (University of Belgrano) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is the second student in Park University history to receive the scholarship.


Park faculty, staff recognized with awards

Greg RoseRose receives leadership award from instructional technology organization --- Greg Rose, director of online operations for 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 on Aug. 1 at the Summer Institute on Distance Learning and Instructional Technology conference in Overland Park, Kan. The award is presented to individuals who have “pushed the envelope” at any level in support of instructional technology.,-2013.html

M. Sue KuritaKurita honored with public service award --- M. Sue Kurita, J.D., adjunct instructor of criminal justice at the Fort Bliss (Texas) Campus Center, was honored as the inaugural recipient of the Daniel H. Benson Public Service Award by the Alumni Association of the Texas Tech University School of Law on June 20 in Dallas during the State Bar of Texas’ annual meeting. The award is presented to TTU alumni who have demonstrated significant and substantial contributions to furthering ideals of public service in the law. Kurita is the El Paso County (Texas) Court at Law 6 judge.,-2013.html

Edwin JamesJames recognized with North Dakota VA Certification award --- Edwin James, director of Park University’s Grand Forks (N.D.) Air Force Base Campus Center, was honored with an award during the North Dakota Veterans Affairs Certifying Officials Conference on June 20 in Mandan, N.D. James was recognized with the 2013 School Certifying Officials Award of Excellence for keeping outstanding records, having a great attitude and providing excellent service to VA students.,-2013.html

Debra McArthurMcArthur novel named to Kansas Notable Books List

A book authored by Debra McArthur, director of academic support services, was selected by the Kansas Center for the Book on its Kansas Notable Books List for 2013. The KNBL is an annual recognition of 15 outstanding titles by Kansas authors or about Kansas. It is the only honor for Kansas books by Kansans, highlighting the state’s lively contemporary writing community and encouraging readers to enjoy some of the best writing of its authors. McArthur and her novel, A Voice for Kanzas, will be recognized during the Kansas Book Festival on Sunday, Sept. 15, at the Kansas History Museum in Topeka.,-2013.html

Faculty, staff appointed to positions within University

     Kenneth Christopher, D.P.A., was appointed to the position of associate vice president for academic affairs.
    Terrence Ward, Ph.D., assistant professor of public administration, was appointed associate dean of the Hauptmann School of Public Affairs.,-2013.html
     Lee Nordgren, D.Sc., was appointed as the Edward F. Lyle Professor of Finance and director of the graduate program in business (Master of Business Administration).
     Christopher A. Meseke, Ph.D., was appointed as director of academic assessment.
     Tess Surprenant was appointed as director of the Career Development Center.

Park Board of Trustees elect new members

Park University elected three new members to serve on its Board of Trustees earlier this summer. Elected to their first term were: Benjamin Elkins, ’09, ’12; Dennis Fisher, Ph.D., and Brent Miles.

In addition, five members of the Board were re-elected: Gayden Carruth, Ph.D., Katheen Dodd, Thomas Holcom, Danny Sakata and Richard Thode. The following were elected as Board officers: Ann Mesle, J.D., chair; Holcom, vice chair; Peter deSilva, secretary; Scott McRuer, treasurer.,-2013.html


Steve WilsonWilson tabbed to lead Park women’s golf program

Steve Wilson, assistant athletic director for sports communications, added the title of interim head coach of Park University’s women’s golf program.

Park athletic programs begin year ranked among NAIA elite

The Park University women’s volleyball team started the 2013 season as one of the hunted in the NAIA and in the American Midwest Conference, beginning the season ranked No. 14 in the 2013 Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll. Through the first week of the season, Park has a 4-1 record.
      Season preview:

Park’s cross country teams opened the 2013 season earning national recognition as the women’s program ranks No. 21 in the NAIA Women’s Cross Country Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 poll while the men received votes in its respective poll. The Pirates opened the season on Aug. 31 at the Bob Timmons Classic in Lawrence, Kan.
     Women’s season preview:
     Men’s season preview:

Park’s men’s soccer and women’s soccer teams have both began their respective seasons as well.
     Men’s soccer season preview:
     Women’s soccer season preview:


Alumni Weekend 2013 set for Sept. 20-21

Park University’s annual Alumni Weekend is set for Friday and Saturday, Sept. 20-21, on the University’s Parkville Campus. For those alumni who have never been to the Parkville Campus, this is a great time to visit Parkville in all its full fall glory. Events scheduled include alumni games, a party at the Power Plant, Alumni Association awards luncheon (see story below), parade, 5K run in English Landing Park, Park Family Fun Day (with bounce house, photo booth, face painting, etc.), soccer game, Pirate Tailgater hospitality tent, Harvest Fest royalty, kids soccer clinic, campus tours, reunion tables and an evening at the “Real Pirates” exhibit at Union Station. For more information and to register, visit

Alumni association hosting annual awards luncheon

The Park University Alumni Association will host its 65th annual awards luncheon on Friday, Sept. 20, as a part of Alumni Weekend 2013. The event honors alumni and friends of the University who have demonstrated notable contributions to their professions, communities and to the University. This year’s honorees are:
     Distinguished Alumni Award — Bob Kendrick, ’85, and Jeannette Prenger, ’09
     Park Promising Young Professional Award — Sarah Hopkins-Chery, ’07, ’09
     Torchlighter Award — Louise Morden


Katherine Springston, admissions counselor, was quoted in a front page story that appeared in the July 27 issue of The Kansas City Star. The article was about a Kansas City area high school which had all 47 of its 2013 graduates get accepted by a college or university.

Tom Scheckel, senior U.S. history major, provided advice for college freshmen for a commentary article that appeared in the July 31 issue of The Kansas City Star.

Jerry Jorgensen, Ph.D., senior vice president and provost, participated in a live on-set interview on KCTV in Kansas City on July 27 related to Park University’s selection to the 2013-14 Colleges of Distinction list.

An article about Ann Mesle, J.D., chair of Park University’s Board of Trustees, who recently retired as a Jackson County (Mo.) Circuit Court judge, appeared in The Examiner, an Independence, Mo., newspaper, as well as the Lee’s Summit (Mo.) Journal.
     The Examiner:
     Lee’s Summit Journal:

Brian Hoffman, Ph.D., professor of biology, was interviewed for a story that appeared on WDAF-TV in Kansas City on Aug. 6. Hoffman provided comments related to the discovery of skeletal remains at the Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport in Kansas City, Mo., on Aug. 5.

Michael Collins, ’04, a member of Park University’s Board of Trustees, was featured in a question-and-answer article that appeared in the August issue of KC Business magazine. Collins, the president and chief executive officer of the Port Authority of Kansas City, talked about a hydroponic greenhouse farm at the Berkeley Riverfront Development.

Park University was selected as the best university/college in the Northland (Kansas City area) by readers of the Kearney (Mo.) Courier, Liberty (Mo.) Tribune and Gladstone (Mo.) Dispatch. The announcement appeared in the newspapers’ “Best of the Northland 2013” special section published in late July.

Stephen Bell, Ph.D., J.D., professor of economics, was interviewed for a story that appeared on KCTV in Kansas City on Aug. 14. Bell provided comments related the economic impact of companies that move from one adjacent state to another.

Ann Mesle, J.D., chair of Park University’s Board of Trustees, and Vernon Scoville, adjunct instructor of criminal justice and management, who both recently retired from serving as circuit court judges for Jackson County, Mo., were highlighted in an article that appeared in The Kansas City Star on Aug. 14. The story was about changes in local courts with the retirements of judges.

Photos from Park University’s Activities Fair on Aug. 29 appeared in the “Mingle” section of The Kansas City Star’s website.

Behzod Abduraimov, senior applied music/piano major, was highlighted in a story that appeared in the Aug. 26 issue of The Kansas City Star. Abduraimov is scheduled to appear during the Kansas City Symphony's 2013-14 concert season Nov. 1-3 as a part of the Symphony's classical series of concerts.

Chris Loos, director of campus safety, participated in a live interview with KMBC-TV in Kansas City on Aug. 28 related to the recent safety ranking Park University received.

Cliff Ferby, associate director of academic services and lecturer of management at the Fort Bliss (Texas) Campus Center, was pictured in the “Spotlight” section of the Aug. 29 issue of the Fort Bliss Bugle. Ferby presented a session on Aug. 2 to more than 160 wounded warriors about Park University’s educational opportunities during a town hall meeting. In addition, he was presented with a “Coin of Excellence” from the battalion commander. (page 24A)

Park University was featured in a story about the increase of interest rates on federally subsidized student loans that appeared on WDAF-TV in Kansas City on July 1. Royce Skocny, senior business administration/human resources major, was interviewed for the story. Carla Boren, director of student financial services, was also interviewed for background information but did not appear in the story.

Jerry Jorgensen, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president, along with his wife, JoAnn, appeared in the “KC People” section of The Kansas City Star Magazine on June 30. The Jorgensens were a part of a photo spread related to the Buccaneer Bash at Kansas City’s Union Station that kicked off its summer exhibit, “Real Pirates.”

Steven Youngblood, associate professor of communication arts and director of Park University’s Center for Global Peace Journalism, was featured in a Kansas City Star commentary on July 3. The article focused on Youngblood’s work in peace journalism around the world.

Vernon Scoville, adjunct instructor of criminal justice and management, was highlighted in an article that appeared in the “Neighborhood News” sections of the Cass and Jackson counties (Mo.) editions of The Kansas City Star on July 3. The article was about Scoville announcing his retirement as associate circuit court judge after serving Jackson County for 22 years.

Carolyn Elwess, university archivist, was quoted in a story that appeared in the July 4 issue of The Kansas City Star. Elwess was interviewed for an article about Kansas City area Fourth of July parades and spoke about the Parkville, Mo., parade’s history.

Luke Lewis, ’11, was featured in an NBC News Investigations story about small towns that have taken a financial downturn after betting on an innovative coal-fired plant just before the current domestic oil and natural gas boom hit its stride. Lewis is the city manager of Marceline, Mo.

John Hamilton, Ph.D., associate professor of criminal justice, provided expert commentary for a story that appeared on KCTV in Kansas City on July 3. Hamilton provided comments for a story related to a man claiming his wife was mistreated based on a dash camera video from an area police department.

Derek Gordon, a junior business administration major and a pitcher on Park University’s baseball team, was featured in a story that appeared on WXOW-TV in LaCrosse, Wis., on July 5. Gordon, whose brother is Kansas City Royals All-Star outfielder Alex Gordon, played for the LaCrosse Loggers in the Northwoods League, a summer baseball league comprised of the top college baseball players in North America.

Park University was featured throughout a special section of The Kansas City Star on May 10. Park’s Master of Business Administration program was highlighted throughout the “MBA & Education” publication. Lee Nordgren, D.Sc., Edward F. Lyle professor of finance and director of the graduate program in business, was quoted in articles related to prospective students possibly having misconceptions about MBA programs, social media use in MBA programs, and teaching ethical management and leadership in MBA programs.

Clarinda Creighton, associate vice president for student affairs, was featured in a higher education section for the June 27-July 3 edition of The Kansas City Globe. Creighton was highlighted in a half-page question-and-answer interview.

Keith Nelson, ’12, was highlighted in the Evansville (Ind.) Courier and Press on July 13. Nelson is the track announcer at Ellis Park, a thoroughbred horse racing facility just across the state line from Evansville in Henderson, Ky.

Park University’s new Honors Academy was featured in the Fall 2013 “Education” section, a supplement to the July 18 Kansas City Star. Virginia Brackett, Ph.D., Honors Academy director and associate professor of English, was interviewed for the full-page article.

Jerry Jorgensen, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president, was a part of an Ingram’s (Kansas City’s business magazine) panel that discussed the outlook of higher education in early July. Jorgensen provided comments and was photographed for an article that appeared in the July issue of Ingram’s. In the same Ingram’s edition, Park University’s Master of Business Administration program was ranked No. 6 among colleges/universities in Missouri and Kansas, based on Fall 2012 enrollments, moving up five spots from the previous year.

Mike Talamantes, head men’s volleyball and women’s volleyball coach, provided comments and was pictured for an article that appeared in the Johnson County (Kan.) editions of The Kansas City Star on July 19. Talamantes coached the Asics Mavs 16 Blue team to win the USA Volleyball Junior National Championships in the 16-open division held in Dallas.

Brian McRae, assistant baseball coach, was featured in an article that appeared in the July 22 issue of the Joplin (Mo.) Globe. This summer, McRae is serving as an assistant coach of a summer high school age baseball club in Kansas City.


View a comprehensive schedule for all events, including athletics, at

2013 Golf ScrambleGolf scramble to benefit Park University athletics

The 2013 Park University Golf Scramble, a four-person tournament that benefits the University’s athletic programs, is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 26, at Tiffany Greens Golf Club in Kansas City, Mo. The scramble begins with registration and a continental breakfast at 7:30 a.m., followed by a shotgun start at 9 a.m. Tournament registration is $125 per golfer or $500 per four-person team, and includes 18 holes of golf with a cart, continental breakfast and lunch, driving range access prior to the event, on-course games, contests and refreshments. In addition, a variety of sponsorship packages are available, ranging in price from $1,000 to $5,000. To register for the tournament or for more information, visit

Media Contact

Brad Biles
Director of Communications and Public Relations


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