Park University Alumni Association Reveals Honorees of 2020 Annual Awards

Sept. 17, 2020 — The Park University Alumni Association has announced the 2020 honorees of its four annual awards. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the ceremony was held virtually on Sept. 17. Following is the list of awardees.

Distinguished Alumnus Award
Vlatko AndonovskiThis award, which recognizes Park alumni who have distinguished themselves through career service or community achievements, was presented to Vlatko Andonovski, 2008 graduate.

Andonovski, a resident of Kansas City, Mo., was appointed head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team in October 2019. He played four seasons with the Kansas City Comets, where he was a two-time Major Indoor Soccer League (now Major Arena Soccer League) All-Star. He began his professional career playing six seasons in his home country of Macedonia. In addition, he coached FC Kansas City to back-to-back National Women’s Soccer League titles in 2014 and 2015, as well as the Comets to the MISL championship in 2014. Andonovski also led the USWNT to the SheBelieves Cup title in March prior to the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, Andonovski has coached Kansas City area youth leagues and served as the Sporting Blue Valley elite club director, as well as head coach of the girls Olympic Development Program for Missouri. As a youth coach, he won four Missouri championships and a youth national championship.


Park Promising Young Professional Award
JT DanielsThis award recognizes a Park University alumnus/a who graduated from Park within the last 10 years, is under the age of 40 and shows exceptional leadership promise in his or her profession and community. This year’s recipient is JT Daniels, 2011 graduate and resident of Kansas City, Kan.

After graduating from Park, Daniels rented a studio space in the KC area to focus on commissioned work. He was preparing to move out of the studio when he got a phone call that changed the course of his career. A scout was looking to photograph Midwest artists in their studios for a marketing campaign. Afterward, a New York advertising firm noticed his colorful, fluid style and invited him to be one of 10 artists to submit designs for iced tea labels. Daniels’ vibrant, streamlined designs are now featured on bottles of Brisk iced tea. His uplifting murals can also be seen all over the Kansas City metro area, from the walls of local businesses to Kansas City Streetcar stops to the historic 18th and Vine District. His colorful, expressive murals have also been commissioned by numerous clients in the Kansas City region. Daniels’ portfolio continues to grow nationally in original works, collaborative projects and murals that address socially relevant topics.


Marlowe Sherwood Memorial Service Award
Lisa RayThis award is presented to Park University alumni in recognition of volunteer service to community and/or civic organizations. The award is named in honor of Marlowe Sherwood, 1963 graduate, who exemplified the school motto of Fides et Labor (Faith and Labor). This year’s recipient is Lisa Ray, 2013 graduate.

Ray, a resident of Lee’s Summit, Mo., is a highly sought-after mentor, coach, trainer and inspirational leader. She has a relentless passion to assist others, spending countless hours of her personal time assisting youth through mentoring and coaching, providing scholarships, and supporting organizations and initiatives such as March for Babies, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, Black Achievers, 2020 Leadership of South Kansas City and Honeywell Black Employment Network. She is also an active member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, serving as her chapter’s vice president, and is an engaged member of Park’s Alumni Council.


Torchlighter Award
Blanche SoslandThis award is given to honor individuals who have made significant, long-standing contributions and commitment to Park University, whether alumni, faculty or friend. The recipient of this year’s award is Blanche Sosland, Ph.D., Kansas City, Mo., resident.

A lifelong ambassador for education, Sosland spent most of her teaching career at the college and university level, including 21 years at Park, where she also served as chair of the Department of Education (now the School of Education). Sosland is a staunch advocate for children, having taught in early childhood, middle school and Head Start classrooms. Her areas of expertise include diagnosis and remediation of ready problems in the classroom and the identification, evaluation and intervention for twice-exceptional children (those who are both gifted and learning disabled). In 2019, she authored Banishing Bullying Behavior: A Call to Action from Early Childhood through Senior Adulthood. The book is an in-depth exploration of the various types of bullying: physical, verbal, emotional, cyber and electronic, and the devastating, lifelong effect they have on their victims.


Photo credits: ISI Photos (Vlatko Andonovski); Silvia Beatriz Abisaab (JT Daniels)



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Park University is a private, non-profit, institution of higher learning since 1875.