It was an amazing, historic year at Park University in 2017, one filled with individual accomplishments and honors, recognitions and awards for the University, and events that brought speakers and performing artists from all around the globe to the Parkville Campus.
Park University’s Office of External Relations compiled the biggest stories of the year and asked six selected members of the University’s staff to pick their top 10 moments from 2017. The voting was tight as just three events/stories were named on all six ballots and four others appeared on five ballots.
Here are the top 10 (actually, top 11 due to a tie for 10th) Park University stories/events from 2017:
• 1 -- Kenny Broberg, graduate student in the International Center for Music, was selected as the silver medalist of the prestigious 15th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.
• 2 -- For the fifth time in program history, Park's men’s volleyball team captured the NAIA Men’s Volleyball National Invitational Tournament championship.
• 3 -- A record number of first-time freshmen, 293, began classes on Aug. 14. Park’s fall enrollment totaled 9,510 students, a 5.2 percent increase since last year.
• 4 -- Park opens a campus in Lenexa, Kan., the University’s 41st campus in the country, for the start of the Fall 2017 semester.
• 5 -- With a 3.4 percent increase in credit hours for the Fall II 2017 term, combined with Park’s Fall I results, the University experienced the largest percentage of year-over-year credit hour growth in the fall semester since 2003.
• 6 -- Park University’s Department of Athletics announced the return of the men’s golf program after being dormant for more than 30 years, as well as the addition of seven developmental (junior varsity) athletics programs, starting in Fall 2017.
• 7 -- Men’s basketball player Xavielle Brown became a three-time NAIA Division I All-American, after landing on the NAIA’s first team following the 2016-17 season.
• 8 -- Nearly 100 years had “eclipsed” since a total solar eclipse was visible across the entire contiguous United States, but on Aug. 21, Park University’s Parkville Campus experienced a nearly 75-second total eclipse.
• 9 -- The Robert W. Plaster Foundation of Lebanon, Mo., made a substantial seven-figure gift toward a new building to house the University’s School of Business, to be known as the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center.
• 10 (tie) -- Park University was ranked by Military Times as the No. 4 private college/university in the country on the publication’s “Best Colleges 2018” list (formerly known as “Best for Vets”).
• 10 (tie) -- Park University alumna Casi Joy McCall, ’12, who goes by the stage name of “Casi Joy,” was featured on NBC’s “The Voice.”
Voting was completed by Greg Gunderson, Ph.D., president; Laurie Gunderson, Park University first lady; Erik Bergrud, associate vice president for external relations; Brad Biles, director of communications and public relations; Bridget Locke, manager of strategic communications; and Steve Wilson, associate athletic director for media relations and compliance.