Park University Announces Top 10 Events, Stories from 2021
January 14, 2022 — Park University celebrated another historic and noteworthy year in 2021 as the University and its students, employees and alumni garnered national media attention, and earned international, national and local honors.
Park’s Office of Strategic Communications compiled the University’s biggest events and stories of the year, and asked five members of the University’s staff to pick their top 10 moments from 2021. The voting was tight as only two of the 38 events/stories on the poll were named on all five ballots and two others appeared on four ballots. In fact, 22 of the 38 events/stories were named on at least one ballot.
Here are the top 10 Park University stories/events from 2021:
1. — In December, Park University’s Board of Trustees announced that it selected Shane B. Smeed to become the school’s 18th president, effective Jan. 1, 2022.
2. — Kenny Broberg, a graduate student in Park University’s International Center for Music and one of the most highly decorated pianists in the world under the age of 30, was announced as the winner of the American Pianists Association’s 2021 American Pianists Awards on June 27 in Indianapolis.park.edu/news/crows-nest-july-6-2021
3. — Carneysha Mendoza, a 2016 Park University graduate and a U.S. Capitol Police captain, testified on Feb. 23 in front of the U.S. Senate Rules and Administration Committee and the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee as part of a joint oversight hearing on security failures during the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. She was on the frontlines of the attack. Her testimony appeared on C-SPAN, CNN, MSNBC and other news outlets across the country. In addition, The Kansas City Star published a story on Mendoza’s speech.
4. — The Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center and School of Business officially opened in August on the University’s Parkville Campus.
5. — Park University Parkville Campus women’s volleyball senior Nada Meawad was selected to the 2021 NAIA Women’s Volleyball All-America first team for an unprecedented fifth time. In addition, Meawad was named the 2021 NAIA Player of the Year and Attacker of the Year. It was the third time she was selected as the NAIA Player of the Year (2018 and 2020). Meawad was also named as the national American Volleyball Coaches Association NAIA Player of the Year as well as the AVCA Midwest Region Player of the Year.naia.org/sports/wvball/2021-22/Releases/AA
6. — Stanislav Ioudenitch, associate professor of music/piano and artistic director of Park University’s International Center for Music, was inducted into the 2021 class of the Steinway & Sons Teacher Hall of Fame. Ioudenitch was among those honored on Sept. 29 during a ceremony at the Steinway factory in New York City. The Steinway & Sons Teacher Hall of Fame is a prestigious designation recognizing the work of North America’s most committed and passionate piano educators.
7. — Park University Board of Trustees member Cyprienne Simchowitz, who served as honorary consul of the Consulate of France in Kansas City, Mo., from 2014-19, was recognized by the country on Sept. 21 as she was promoted from knight (chevalier) to officer within the National Order of Merit, France’s second-highest honor. She was one of six individuals worldwide promoted to the rank of officer and the only one living in the United States.
8. — Edna Martinson, a 2012 Park graduate and recipient of the 2021 Park University Alumni Association’s Park Promising Young Professional Award, was selected by a Google for Startups program focused on high potential ventures from Black entrepreneurs to receive $100,000 in funding. The Black Founders Fund will also provide Boddle, the company that Martinson co-founded with her husband, with up to $120,000 in donated search ads from Google and up to $100,000 in Google Cloud credits. A story about Martinson and the funding appeared on the Startland News website on Sept. 22.
9. — Donna Jean, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry, was honored by Wiley’s Academic and Professional Learning Organization on Aug. 26 as part of its Woman’s Equality Day celebration as she was named to Wiley’s STEM Hall of Femme. The Hall of Femme highlights women who are making a difference in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, and blaze a trail to enable future success for women in STEM. Jean was chosen for her commitment to leveling the playing field for all students by providing them the individualized attention and personalized learning path needed for success.
10. — Park University Parkville Campus women’s volleyball head coach Mike Talamantes was tabbed as the NAIA Coach of the Year after leading the Pirates to a 34-3 record and runner-up finish at the NAIA national tournament in December. He was also selected as the AVCA Midwest Region Coach of the Year.
Voting was completed by Erik Bergrud, chief strategic communications officer; Brad Biles, director of communications and public relations; Nathan Marticke, chief advancement officer; Michelle Myers, Ed.D., provost; and Kena Wolf, interim chief operating officer.