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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. Voted as the top three stories/events from 2017:

          •  1 — Kenny Broberg (right), graduate student in the Park 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.

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.


Park University’s Office of Academic Affairs has announced those students who have been named to the Dean’s List for the Fall 2017 semester. Students earn Dean’s List honors when the following conditions are met:
          •  Twelve or more graded undergraduate hours at Park completed in any combination of Fall 2017 semesters/terms (Fall semester/Fall I term/Fall II term), excluding basic skills courses.
          •  Must be a certificate or degree seeking student.
          •  Must have earned a grade point average of 3.6 or better in any combination of Fall 2017 semesters/terms (Fall semester/Fall I term/Fall II term).
          •  Must have received no incomplete grade(s) in any combination of Fall 2017 semesters/terms (Fall semester/Fall I term/Fall II term).
A student’s name may be removed from the Dean’s List for violations of the Student Conduct Code. To review the Fall 2017 Dean’s List, visit and select the appropriate campus center (the default is Parkville Campus). Questions about the Dean’s List should be referred to the Office of Academic Affairs at


Park University’s 2016-17 Report to Investors, titled “Building the Future, Honoring the Past,” has been published and can be viewed at The publication includes a look back at the major fundraising events from the 2016-17 fiscal year, statistics on funds raised and the list of donors during the year.


The 2017-18 Park University International Center for Music concert season resumes on Friday, Jan. 26, with a performance featuring the dynamic husband-and-wife duo of violinist Ben Sayevich and pianist Lolita Lisovskaya-Sayevich. The event, a part of the Park ICM Faculty Concert Series and Park ICM 1900 series, begins at 7:30 p.m. at the 1900 Building, 1900 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Mission Woods, Kan. Tickets for the concert are $30 ($15 for students) and can be purchased in advance at or in person the night of the concert. Read more about the concert here.

The internationally acclaimed Tesla Quartet, which features cellist and 2010 Park International Center for Music graduate Serafim Smigelskiy, will perform in concert on Saturday, Feb. 10, starting at 7:30 p.m. at the 1900 Building. The performance is a part of the Park ICM Distinguished Alumni Series and Park ICM 1900 Series. Tickets for the concert are $30 ($15 for students) and can be purchased in advance at or in person the night of the concert. Read more about the concert here.


Lynn Richardson, an adjunct instructor of fine art at Park University, is exhibiting a series of her art, titled “Different Views,” in the Campanella Gallery on the University’s Parkville Campus through Friday, Feb. 23. Admission to the gallery, located within Norrington Center, is free. A reception for the artist will be held Friday, Jan. 19, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Gallery.

The body of work in Richardson’s exhibit represents many different mediums, including graphite, ink, paint and photography, dating back to 2009. “My work is about finding the smallest detail in what I am creating,” Richardson said. “I like to explore interesting objects and then render the curious nuances that are contained on the surface. I accomplish this by blowing up the image of the object to more than five times its normal size and then complete in various mediums.”

For more information about the exhibit, including hours the Gallery is open, click here.


Eric Click, Ph.D., associate professor and program coordinator of public administration, presented a pair of sessions at the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance’s Alliance Management Institute in Kansas City, Mo., Jan. 3-4. Click presented “Why the Nonprofit Sector? Market Failure and Nonprofit Intervention,” and along with Suzanne Discenza, Ph.D., adjunct professor of public administration, co-presented a workshop on “Policy in Action: The Case of Medical Marijuana.”

Steve Youngblood, associate professor of communication arts and director of the Center for Global Peace Journalism, was selected by the U.S. Department of State to serve as the U.S. senior subject specialist for peace journalism in Ethiopia. Youngblood is spending the Spring 2018 semester in Ethiopia directing the project “Peace Journalism in Ethiopia: Applications and Practices for More Responsible Reporting.”


Park University was recognized by U.S. News & World Report in the magazine’s annual rankings of best online programs for 2018 on Jan. 9. Park’s online graduate business programs (not including the Master of Business Administration program) ranked No. 92 in the country in the “Business, non-MBA (Graduate)” category. The MBA program ranked No. 156 in its own category, and Park’s online graduate education programs ranked No. 213 in its category. In addition, the University’s online bachelor’s programs ranked No. 174, jumping 46 spots after ranking No. 220 a year ago.

Teeka Hodge, who began attending Park University at the start of the Spring 2018 semester, was interviewed on KSHB-TV’s “41 Action News Midday” newscast on Dec. 19. Hodge, who is majoring in social work, was one of the first two graduates of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s KC Scholars program.

A story focusing on Director of Marketing/Digital Aimee Patton and her continued fight due to a mold issue in a condo next to her unit, appeared on KSHB-TV in Kansas City on Dec. 21.

Casi Joy (McCall) Lankford, ’12, who goes by the stage name of Casi Joy, made an appearance on KSHB-TV’s “Kansas City Live” program on Dec. 22 to talk about her New Year’s Eve concert and to perform the song, “Hallelujah.”

Park University’s International Center for Music was featured in the winter 2017 issue of The Steinway Chronicle, a publication that features stories on Steinway & Sons’ institutional customers. The article highlighted the ICM’s award-winning pianists, Stanislav Ioudenitch, associate professor of music/piano, Behzod Abduraimov, artist-in-residence, and Kenny Broberg, graduate student, and included comments from ICM Director Roger Kugler, D.M.A.

Kevin Vicker, senior director of international education, was interviewed for stories that aired on KMBZ-FM in Kansas City on Jan. 4 related to dropping enrollment rates for international students across the country and how Park University’s bucks the trend with its retention efforts.

Christine Grossman, instructor of music/viola in the Park International Center for Music and principal violist with the Kansas City Symphony, was featured in a story in the January/February issue of KC Studio as the magazine’s “Artist to Watch.” Grossman also appeared on KSHB-TV’s “Kansas City Live” program on Jan. 11 for an interview and she performed a selection of music. Grossman was a featured soloist as part of the Symphony’s concerts Jan. 12-13 that presented Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra” at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

A feature story on Rick Grayson, ’76, who will be enshrined into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame as part of the 2018 class on Jan. 28 in Springfield, Mo., appeared in the Springfield News-Leader on Jan. 10.

A story related to an agreement between Park University and Northwest Community College in British Columbia, Canada, appeared in The Northern View on Jan. 10. The agreement will provide NCC students guaranteed admission to Park to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in management upon the completion of a two-year business diploma at NCC.

Rick Smith, ’97, who was appointed chief of police in Kansas City, Mo., in August 2017, was featured in an article that appeared in the January issue of 435, a Kansas City lifestyle magazine.

Former Major League Baseball player and former Park University baseball assistant coach Brian McRae, who plans to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in social psychology this spring, was highlighted in an article that appeared in the Times Colonist, a newspaper in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. McRae is the head coach for the Victoria HarbourCats, a summer wood bat league for college-eligible student-athletes.

A story about Abbey Idalski, ’17, appeared in the Presque Isle County (Mich.) Advance on Jan. 11. Idalski, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps for five years, left for Kenya earlier this month to volunteer in an orphanage for three months.

Laurel Gagnon, ’17, and a current graduate student in the Park International Center for Music, was featured in a pair of stories that aired Jan. 17 and Jan. 18 in Kansas City. Gagnon, who will be competing in the Singapore International Violin Competition Jan. 28 through Feb. 8, was highlighted in a story on WDAF-TV (included interviews with Gagnon and Roger Kugler, D.M.A., director of the ICM), and on KMBZ-FM (included interviews with Gagnon and Ben Sayevich, professor of music/violin).

More Park University online degree programs have been ranked by various websites:
          •   Bachelor of Science degree in marketing ranked No. 4 by on its “15 Best Online Marketing Degree Programs” list.
          •   Bachelor of Science degree in education studies ranked No. 11 by on its “Best Online Early Childhood Education Degrees” list.
          •   Bachelor of Science degree in education studies ranked No. 13 by on its “Most Affordable Online Early Childhood Education Degrees” list.
          •   Bachelor degree programs in criminal justice administration ranked No. 27 by on its “Best Online Criminal Justice Degrees” list.


(All events are Central time)
     •  Through February 23 — Lynn Richardson “Surfaces” Two-Dimensional Art Exhibit, Campanella Gallery (Reception: Jan. 19, 2:30-4:30 p.m.)
     •  January 26 — Park International Center for Music Concert: Violinist Ben Sayevich / Pianist Lolita Lisovskaya Sayevich, 7:30 p.m., 1900 Building, Mission Woods, Kan.
     •  February 2 — Board of Trustees Meeting, Parkville Campus
     •  February 10 — Park International Center for Music Concert: Tesla Quartet, 7:30 p.m., 1900 Building, Mission Woods, Kan.
     •  February 12-13 — Higher Learning Commission Site Visit/Evaluation, Parkville Campus
     •  February 19 — President’s Day Holiday (all University offices closed nationwide; Parkville Daytime classes cancelled; Spring I classes held as scheduled)
     •  February 26 — Spencer Cave Black History Month Lecture: “From Bandana Land to No Man’s Land” – James Reese Europe’s Musical Journey” by Michael Dinwiddie, 7 p.m. Gem Theater, Kansas City, Mo.
     •  March 2 — Park International Center for Music Concert: ICM Orchestra, 7:30 p.m., Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel
     •  March 5-April 26 — New Works Faculty Art Exhibit, Campanella Gallery
     •  March 11 — Spring I Term Ends
     •  March 12-18 — Spring Recess
     •  March 19 — Spring II Term Begins

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

Park University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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