Crow’s Nest – Aug. 31, 2018

Homecoming Weekend 2018 planned for Sept. 13-15

Park University alumni from across the country and their families will converge on the University’s Parkville Campus for Homecoming Weekend 2018, Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 13-15. While a number of activities during the weekend are reserved for Park alumni and their families, many events are open to the public. Among the notable events:
Thursday, Sept. 13
          •  Ed Bradley Sports Medicine Center Dedication and Tour, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Park Avenue, within the Mabee Learning Center/Academic Underground
          •  Women’s volleyball match vs. Ottawa University, 7 p.m., Breckon Sports Center
Friday, Sept. 14
          •  Park University Alumni Association Awards Luncheon, 11:30 a.m., Courtyard by Marriott Kansas City at Briarcliff, Kansas City, Mo. Three Park alumni and one retired Park employee/community leader will be honored:
                 o  Javier Centonzio, ’09, J.D., LL.M., Park Promising Young Professional Award
                 o  Parisa Fetherson, ’06, Distinguished Alumnus Award
                 o  Joseph Geeter III, ’99, Marlowe Sherwood Memorial Service Award
                 o  Roger Hershey, J.D., LL.M., Torchlighter Award
          •  Special Observance of the Copley-Thaw Hall Centennial, 2 p.m.
          •  150th Anniversary Kickoff Event, 3:30 p.m., S.D. Strong Distilling (within the Parkville Commercial Underground)
          •  Park University Athletics Wall of Honor Induction Banquet and Unveiling, 6:30 p.m., Park Distance Learning Conference Center
Saturday, Sept. 15
          •  Pirate Storytelling, 10:30 a.m., Norrington Center
          •  Women’s soccer and men’s soccer matches vs. Lindenwood University-Belleville, Julian Field, noon/2:15 p.m. (Crowning of homecoming royalty at halftime of men’s match)

For more information about all of the events and the Alumni Association awardees, visit To purchase tickets for the Alumni Association Alumni Awards luncheon, Wall of Honor banquet and other events, and to see a complete schedule, visit or contact the University’s Office of Alumni Relations at / (816) 584-6209.

Shawver promoted to associate provost post

Park University has announced the promotion of Brian Shawver to the role of associate provost for teaching at learning. Shawver began his new duties on Aug. 1. In this role, he will work with academic departments on new program development and oversee the University’s McAfee Memorial Library and Learning Commons, which also includes the Academic Support Center. In addition, Shawver will foster innovative course design in conjunction with Park’s instructional design team and coordinate retention efforts that intersect with academic programs.

Shawver, who began his career in higher education in 2003, has been with Park University since August 2010 when he began as an associate professor of English. He now has the faculty rank of professor of English. Prior to his new position, Shawver served as a special assistant to academic affairs for the previous eight months. He has also held a two-year stint (2015-17) as associate dean of the School of Humanities within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and four years (2013-17) as chair the Department of English and Modern Languages. He was honored by the University in 2013 with the Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award which pays tribute to a faculty member who shows evidence of commitment to high standards of excellence in the area of scholarship. Read more about Shawver at

Park campus centers hold commencement ceremonies

Park University campus centers across the country have held commencement ceremonies for 2018 graduates. As these ceremonies continue through the year, we’ll include the link to the news releases announcing the list of graduates at each campus.
          •  Fort Myer (Va.) Campus / Headquarters Marine Corps/Headquarters Battalion Henderson Hall (Va.) Campus / Marine Corps Base Quantico (Va.) Campus Commencement
          •  Lackland Air Force Base (Texas) Campus / Randolph Air Force Base (Texas) Campus

Hauptmann Lecture to feature discussion on leadership in a fragmented society

A presentation on “Walls, Bridges and the Power of Empathy: Leading Effectively Within a Deeply Fragmented Society” will be the focus of Park University’s 26th annual Dr. Jerzy Hauptmann Distinguished Lecture Series event on Wednesday, Sept. 26. This year’s lecture will be held in the auditorium at the Lenexa (Kan.) City Hall (17101 W. 87th Street Parkway), home of the University’s Lenexa Campus, starting at 6:30 p.m. Admission to the event is free and open to the public, but attendees are requested to register at to ensure a seat.

This year’s Hauptmann Lecture featured speaker will be Reggie Robinson, J.D., vice chancellor for public affairs at the University of Kansas. Robinson’s talk will focus on the idea that society’s collective capacity to engage in a persuasive argument as its objective has been lost. He will explore this idea as a way to consider the difficult challenge of providing effective leadership in the current environment, arguing that an enhanced capacity for empathy is an essential tool for leadership in an environment characterized by increased fragmentation and “tribalism.” Read more about the event at

University to present Year of Engagement series of documentaries

During the 2018-19 academic year, Park University and the National Archives at Kansas City are partnering to commemorate the University’s Year of Engagement, a year of conversation and action on its Kansas City area campuses and in the community. The Year of Engagement Documentary Series will include films that reflect Park’s core values (accountability, civility and respect, excellence, global citizenship, inclusivity and integrity) and inspire community engagement. The first documentary in the series, “Two Trains Runnin’,” will be screened on Monday, Sept. 24, starting at 6 p.m. in the Jenkin and Barbara David Theater inside Alumni Hall on the University’s Parkville Campus. Admission is free, but attendees are requested to RSVP at or (816) 584-6214.

“Two Trains Runnin’” pays tribute to a pioneering generation of musicians and cuts to the heart of our present moment, offering a crucial vantage from which to view the evolving dynamics of race in America. The documentary was nominated for a 2018 Grammy Award for Best Music Film and it was named one of the “Best Music Docs of 2017” by Rolling Stone. For more information about the film, as well as the other films in the Year of Engagement Documentary Series, visit

University hosting event on using math in everyday life

Park University’s Math Club is hosting a panel discussion on “How to Use Math in Everyday Life” on Thursday, Sept. 6, starting at 6 p.m. in the Jenkin and Barbara David Theater inside Alumni Hall on the University’s Parkville Campus. Panelists will discuss how math can be applied to a range of careers, including cartography, financial services, law enforcement and logistics. Samuel Chamberlin, Ph.D., associate professor of mathematics at Park University, will serve as the discussion moderator. For more information, visit

Engaging students in local politics the focus of panel event on Sept. 12

Park University and the Park Student Government Association are hosting a panel event that will address the engagement barriers between students and local politics on Wednesday, Sept. 12. The discussion, “Students Engaging Missouri Politics,” will be held in the Jenkin and Barbara David Theater inside Alumni Hall on the University’s Parkville Campus starting at 5:30 p.m. Admission to the event is free and open to the public, but attendees are encouraged to register at

The event will be moderated by Kay Barnes, senior director of university engagement at Park University and former mayor of Kansas City, Mo. (1999-2007). Participants will include current elected officials and individuals campaigning for the seats in the Missouri Legislature from both major political parties. The discussion will focus on the barriers experienced while engaging with high school and college students during the campaign process and/or during the time of their elected office. Co-sponsors of the event are the League of Women Voters of Kansas City/Jackson/Clay/Platte Counties, Mo., which will provide an opportunity for voter registration, and the Parkville branch of the American Association of University Women.

Park University to host workshop for nonfiction writers

Park University’s Dorothy Harper Watson Literacy Center, in conjunction with the University’s Office of Continuing Education and Overland Park, Kan., based The Little Fig, is taking applications for its Nonfiction Writers Intensive workshop series to be held during the University’s Spring 2019 semester. The purpose of the NWI is to build a collection of career pathway success stories that showcase subjects of cultural, linguistic, ethnic and gender diversity. The workshop, which is conducted entirely online, is open to authors worldwide, published or not, and will focus on creating inspirational picture book biographies that depict diverse stories of entrepreneurship. Applications to the NWI workshop series are being accepted through Monday, Oct. 15. For more information about the Nonfiction Writers Intensive workshop series or to apply to the program, visit or e-mail

Faculty, staff, student news

Park University President Greg Gunderson, Ph.D., served as the grand marshal of the Parkville (Mo.) Days Parade on Aug. 18. A large number of Park students, faculty, staff and alumni joined in walking in the procession.

An article co-authored by Alla Adams, Ph.D., assistant professor of healthcare administration and director of the Master of Healthcare Administration program, and James Vanderleeuw, Ph.D., professor of public administration, was published in the July issue of the International Journal of Business and Applied Social Science. The article, “City Websites and Accidental Strategy in Local Economic Development,” found that such websites had a strategic element, but they were underdeveloped, underutilized and not fully recognized by surveyed city leaders.

Greg Claycomb, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry and chair of natural and physical sciences, presented a session at the Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, in South Bend, Ind., on July 30. Claycomb’s session, “Providing Context for the Undergraduate Chemistry Degree in an Upper Level Elective Course Titled ‘History of Chemistry: A Materials Perspective,’” was presented as part of a symposium on Finalizing Education of Chemistry Majors: How Do We Better Prepare Chemistry Graduates for Careers in Industry and Graduate School.”

Brad Kleindl, Ph.D., professor of marketing, was elected chair of the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs’ Board of Commissioners for Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees for the next year at the ACBSP’s recent international conference. In this role he will serve on the ACBSP’s Board of Directors.

Debra Olson-Morrison, Ph.D. assistant professor of social work and Master of Social Work program director, and Ashley Phillips, ’18, presented a session on “Common Sense Trauma-Informed Care: Essential Components for Agencies and Organizations” at the National Association of Social Workers-Missouri Conference in St. Louis on Aug. 17. The presentation was based, in part, on their research in New Zealand, which was made possible by a Park University internationalization grant.

Patricia Ryberg, Ph.D., associate professor of biology and director of Park’s Honors Academy, presented findings and results from her fossil collection trip to Antarctica last winter at a pair of recent conferences. At the European Palaeobotany and Palynology Conference in Dublin, Ireland, Aug. 12-17, she presented on “Late Triassic Floral Diversity of the Central Transantarctic Mountains: Reinvestigating the Fossil Flora of ‘Alfie’s Elbow’”; “Revealing the Intricacies of a Permian High Latitude Peat Swamp Forest;” and Glossopterids Last Gasp? A Reinvestigation of a Late Permian Permineralized Flora from Antarctica.” She also co-chaired a session on Palaeozoic Palaeobotany. In addition, Ryberg co-presented a session on “A Latest Permian High-Latitude Glossopteris Flora” at the Botanical Society of America’s conference in late July.

Park In The News

Shane Smeed, vice president and chief operating officer, appeared on the KCUR-FM program “Up To Date” in Kansas City on July 27 for a live, in-studio interview related to Park University’s new varsity esports program.

Park University’s new Gilbert (Ariz.) Campus was featured in the July 30 issue of the Arizona Republic. The article included comments from Jeff Ehrlich, executive director of the Gilbert Campus.

Kay Barnes, senior director for university engagement, was quoted for a trio of Kansas City Star “Influencer Series” reports on gun control and gun rights, the cost of health care and transparency to political donations.

Park University was well-represented in the Aug. 4 issue of The Independent, Kansas City’s journal of society. The University’s “Night at the Helm” event in June was highlighted in a two-page photo spread featuring 12 pictures of Park’s executive leadership, Board of Trustees, students, alumni and special guests. In addition, Greg Gunderson, Ph.D., president; Erik Bergrud, associate vice president for university engagement, and his wife, Kimberlee Ried, ’16, and Rudy Harper, ’12, were pictured in a photo spread related to the “reLish for reStart” event, a celebrity waiter dining experience in June.

Matt Harris, assistant professor of political science, was interviewed for a story that aired on KSHB-TV in Kansas City on Aug. 6 related to President Donald Trump’s endorsement of Kris Kobach in the Kansas Republican gubernatorial race.

Harris also did live, in-studio interviews on KSHB-TV on Aug. 8, the morning after the primary election to provide insight into the election results on both sides of the state line. In addition, Harris participated in a similar live interview that aired on KMBZ-FM.

In addition, Harris was interviewed for a story on KCTV in Kansas City on Aug. 8 for comments on possible “what if” outcomes related to the Kansas Republican gubernatorial race when the final results of the election are announced and how it will affect the November general election.

Harris was interviewed on Aug. 26 for a story that aired on KSHB-TV about Arizona Sen. John McCain upon his death.

John Hamilton, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of criminal justice administration, was interviewed for a story that aired on KSHB-TV on Aug. 7. Hamilton provided comments for a story related to recent officer-involved shootings in the area.

Aaron “A.J.” Lyman, ’12, was featured in a story that aired on KMA-AM/FM in Shenandoah, Iowa, on Aug. 8. Lyman, who had served the past three years as an emergency management specialist with FEMA in Colorado, was recently appointed as the city administrator in his hometown of Shenandoah beginning Sept. 4.

A story about Megan Palmer, ’16, and the Sedalia (Mo.) Smith-Cotton High School softball team she inherited after being recently promoted to head coach appeared in the Aug. 9 issue of the Sedalia Democrat.

Mark Taylor, senior information and computer science/software engineering major, was featured in the summer issue of TEN, a publication of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Taylor was highlighted as part of a cover story on men aged 25-54 who are increasingly leaving the labor force. Brad Kleindl, Ph.D., professor of marketing, provided comments for the story.

Park University was featured on Kansas City television stations WDAF-TV, KMBC-TV and KCTV on Aug. 10. All three news outlets did stories related to move-in day on the Parkville Campus with a focus on the University’s use of the Amazon Alexa skill, “Ask Park….” WDAF also did four live shots from the Copley Quad residence hall, featuring interviews with Greg Gunderson, Ph.D., president, Shane Smeed, vice president and chief operating officer, and James Nelson, associate vice president of information technology services, and both KMBC and KCTV aired stories that included an interview with Karie Fields, director of residence life.

Kay Barnes, senior director for university engagement, appeared on the KCUR-FM program “Up to Date” on Aug. 10. Barnes, who was mayor of Kansas City, Mo., from 1999 to 2007, was interviewed about politics and her new role at Park. In addition, KCUR featured Barnes in a separate story on Aug. 10 as she reflected on her time as mayor.

A guest commentary authored by Steve Youngblood, associate professor of communication arts and director of the Center for Global Peace Journalism, was published in The Kansas City Star on Aug. 20. The title of the opinion column was “Media Attacks Reverberate Across the Globe.”

Youngblood was a guest on “Radioactive Magazine” on KKFI-FM in Kansas City on Aug. 28 to discuss the Center for Global Peace Journalism and the Greater Kansas City Peacebuilding Conference in October.

A story about Shokhrukh Sadikov, ’12, and a concert he will be performing with his NAVO Chamber Orchestra in Kansas City, Mo., on Sept. 1, appeared in The Kansas City Star on Aug. 26. Sadikov co-founded the group.

Park University was recognized by U.S. Veterans Magazine in its summer issue as part of the publication’s “Best of the Best 2018.” Park was among those listed on the “Top Veteran-Friendly Schools” list.

Upcoming Events

(All events are Central time)
          •  September 3 — Labor Day Holiday (all University offices closed nationwide; Parkville Daytime classes cancelled; Fall I classes held as scheduled)
          •  September 6 — How to Use Math in Everyday Life Panel Discussion, 6 p.m., David Theater (Alumni Hall)
          •  September 7 — Camp Pendleton (Calif.) Campus Commencement, noon, Pacific Views Event Center
          •  September 12 — Students Engaging Missouri Politics Panel, 5:30 p.m., David Theater (Alumni Hall)
          •  September 13-15 — Homecoming Weekend 2018, Parkville Campus
          •  September 19 — International Talk Like A Pirate Day
          •  September 21 — International Center for Music Concert: Pianist Vladimir Viardo, 7:30 p.m., 1900 Building, Mission Woods, Kan.
          •  September 24 — Year of Engagement Documentary Series: “Two Trains Runnin’,” 6 p.m., David Theater (Alumni Hall)
          •  September 26 — Dr. Jerzy Hauptmann Distinguished Guest Lecture Series: Dr. Reggie Robinson, 6:30 p.m., Lenexa (Kan.) City Hall
          •  September 28 — International Center for Music Concert: ICM Orchestra, 7:30 p.m., Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel
          •  October 5 — Fort Leonard Wood (Mo.) Campus Commencement, 10 a.m., Nutter Field House
          •  October 7 — Fall I Term Ends
          •  October 8-14 — Fall Recess
          •  October 8 — Park University Golf Scramble, 8:30 a.m., The National Golf Club of Kansas City
          •  October 9 — River Read Children’s Literature Festival, all day, Parkville Campus
          •  October 11 — International Center for Music Concert: Violinist Shmuel Ashkenasi, 7:30 p.m., 1900 Building, Mission Woods, Kan.
          •  October 15 — Fall II Term Begins

Note: To view a comprehensive schedule for all events, including athletics and student life, visit



Park University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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