Park University has selected Greg Gunderson, Ph.D., to become the school’s 17th president, effective Jan. 15, coinciding with the start of the University’s Spring 2016 semester.
“Dr. Gunderson’s experience and thought leadership with the challenges and opportunities in higher education, along with his enthusiasm to create an environment of achievement for students, faculty, staff and alumni, positioned him well to be our next president,” said Michael Collins, chair of Park University’s Board of Trustees
and a 2004 Park graduate.
The appointment by the University’s Board of Trustees
comes after a nationwide search, led by EFL Associates Inc., an executive search firm based in Kansas City, Mo.., and a search committee representing a diverse cross-section of University stakeholders, including trustees, alumni, faculty, staff and students. Gunderson assumes the presidency as Park, established in 1875, is in the midst of celebrating its 140th anniversary.
“I look forward to the important work of leveraging a liberal arts education in transforming the lives of Park students, and in turn, transforming society as well,” Gunderson said. “Park University is a special place; anyone visiting its flagship campus in Parkville can see the commitment of its trustees, students, faculty, staff and administrators. Together, we will continue Park’s 140-year-old commitment to accessible education for those we serve.”
Before joining Park University, Gunderson served nearly five years as the vice president and chief financial officer of Webster University in St. Louis, leading its accounting, purchasing, accounts payable, bursar, internal audit, public safety, strategic planning, facilities and treasury units, and directed the financial processes for Webster’s 68 campuses around the world. Prior to his service at Webster, Gunderson spent nine years at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln — six years (2005-11) as assistant vice chancellor for business operations in the Office of Academic Affairs and three years (2002-05) as director of financial resources and budget operations.
Gunderson also has experience in the private sector as project controller and chief of staff at ConAgra Inc., in Omaha, Neb.; director of finance for inbound operations at APAC Customer Services in Omaha; senior revenue accountant and tax accountant at Cray Research Inc., Eagan, Minn.; and tax accountant at Arthur Anderson and Co., St. Paul, Minn.
Selected “CFO of the Year” by the St. Louis Business Journal in 2014, Gunderson earned his doctoral degree in educational leadership in higher education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He received a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, Minn.) and a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
Gunderson has been active in the St. Louis community. He has served as a trustee on the Frank Lloyd Wright House Park Board since 2011; the Old Orchard Taxing Authority as a City of Webster Groves, Mo., appointed member since 2012; and the St. Louis Contractor Loan Fund board member. In addition, he has been the co-chair of Webster University’s United Way campaigns since 2012.
A native of Omaha, Gunderson’s family includes his wife of 27 years, Laurie, an attorney who has been a stay-at-home mother since the family moved to St. Louis, and their two sons, David, 18, a student at Webster University, and Jack, 17, a high school junior. In his spare time, Gunderson makes writing pens with a wood lathe and enjoys restoring cars. In addition, he is a lifelong curler (the sport of sliding stones on a sheet of ice).
Gunderson replaces Jeff Ehrlich, Ed.D., who has served as interim president since July 1. Ehrlich was appointed interim president to replace David Fowler, who assumed the role of president in July 2014 for a one-year term.