The Crow’s Nest — January 4, 2022

Shane SmeedPark University Appoints Smeed as 18th President

Park University’s Board of Trustees selected Shane B. Smeed to become the school’s 18th president, effective Jan. 1.

Vince Clark, chair of the board, said, “The Board unanimously approved Shane’s appointment to lead Park University into the future. Shane distinguished himself as the interim president with his deep understanding of Park’s culture, challenges and opportunities for growth. He embodies the temperament, skills and focus to chart the path forward for Park’s continued success and future.”

Prior to his appointment as president, Smeed had served as the University’s interim president since late November 2020. Before his recent role, Smeed served as Park’s vice president and chief operating officer since September 2015.

“I am honored and humbled to be chosen to serve as president of a special University that has been transforming students’ lives since 1875,” Smeed said. “I look forward to collaborating with Park colleagues and the Board of Trustees in positioning the University for future success, and to celebrate Park’s 150th anniversary in 2025.”

Smeed maintains a strong commitment to a “Park United” and leading a University that celebrates diversity, serving a growing student body and earning recognition from its faculty and staff as an employer of choice. Smeed believes that Park’s motto, Fides et Labor (Latin for faith and work), can inspire students, faculty and staff to achieve all their goals. Read more about Smeed at

Parkville Campus Women’s Volleyball Team Loses Heartbreaker in NAIA National Title Match

The Park University Parkville (Mo.) Campus women’s volleyball team’s dream season ended in heartbreaking fashion on Dec. 4 as the Pirates lost a back-and-forth five-set match to Missouri Baptist University in the championship of the NAIA national tournament in Sioux City, Iowa. The Pirates fell to the Spartans, 3-2 (25-18, 20-25, 25-15, 14-25, 15-8) as Park ended the year at 34-3. Read more about the match at

After starting the season with three wins, the Pirates lost back-to-back matches in early September, but entered the title game on a 31-match winning streak. During the streak, Park only dropped five sets and won 18 of their last 21 matches via three-set sweeps, including a sweep of No. 1 University of Jamestown (N.D.) in the national semifinals. Seniors Nada Meawad and Noura Meawad, and freshman Debora Bernardi, were all named to the All-Tournament Team, while Nada Meawad was selected as Attacker of the Tournament. In the six matches as part of the national tournament, Meawad recorded 119 kills, hitting .326.

Nada MeawadPark Volleyball Player Earns Unprecedented Honor

Park University Parkville (Mo.) 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). She 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. Read more at

Mike TalamantesParkville 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.

Meawad’s sister, Noura, earned second team NAIA and AVCA All-America honors, while Parkville Campus freshman Debora Bernardi and Gilbert (Ariz.) Campus sophomore Amanda Jonovich were both NAIA and AVCA honorable mention selections. Noura Meawad (Midwest), Bernardi (Midwest), Jonovich (Southwest) and Gilbert Campus senior Miranda Bacon (Southwest) were all named to their respective AVCA All-Region first teams.

Steve Wilson Amy ReifFormer Park Softball Coach, Athletics Administrator to be Inducted into Park Athletics Wall of Honor

Park University’s athletics department will honor its Class of 2021 inductees into the Park Athletics Wall of Honor — Amy Reif, former softball head coach, and Steve Wilson, former athletics administrator — on Saturday, Jan. 8, at approximately 1:45 p.m. in Breckon Sports Center on the University’s Parkville (Mo.) Campus between the women’s and men’s basketball games against Mount Mercy University.

Reif served as softball head coach from 2006-15, becoming Park’s all-time winningest head coach with a 268-169 record. Wilson was with Park for 12 years, beginning as its sports information director before moving up the ranks to serve as the inaugural director of athletics for the University’s Gilbert (Ariz.) Campus. Read more about Reif and Wilson at

Robb Centre Logo“More Than a Medal” Documentary on Valor Medals Review Project to Premiere in March

A documentary exploring the work of the Valor Medals Review Project by Park University’s George S. Robb Centre for the Study of the Great War will debut on Thursday, March 24, at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Mo., at 6:15 p.m. The 18-minute documentary, “More Than a Medal,” produced by Lame Deer Films in cooperation with the Robb Centre, interweaves the efforts of the researchers working against time, untold heroic stories of courage on the battlefields of France and the experience of modern-day descendants as they maintain cautious hope of recognition. You can watch a two-plus minute trailer of the film at

University Hosts First In-Person Commencement Ceremony in Two Years

Park University held its first in-person commencement ceremony in two years on Dec. 11 with the December 2021 Kansas City Area Commencement at the Community of Christ Auditorium in Independence, Mo. Adelaida Severson, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Bushtex Inc., an international satellite communications firm based in Gilbert, Ariz., presented the keynote address.
          •  Read Severson’s keynote address
          •  Watch the December 2021 ceremony
          •  Commencement Program

Park University recognized by Platte County EDC

Park University was honored by the Platte County (Mo.) Economic Development Council on Dec. 3 during the organization’s annual Business Excellence Luncheon. The University received the PCEDC’s Education Partner Award, which recognizes businesses that are investing in their future by interacting with school districts and students. According to the PCEDC, the University is a popular choice for many Park Hill (Mo.) School District graduates and has been a supporter and sponsor of the district for many years. In addition, Park invests in the PHSD’s professional studies program and hosts mock interviews with students on campus. Tim Hanrahan, Ph.D., dean of Park’s College of Education and Health Professions, accepted the award on behalf of the University.

Frank Hamilton Photography Featured in Campanella Gallery

An exhibition of photography by Frank Hamilton, Park University adjunct instructor of fine art and communications arts/photography, will be on display from Wednesday, Jan. 5, through Saturday, Feb. 26, in the Campanella Gallery within Norrington Center on the University’s Parkville (Mo.) Campus. The exhibit is titled “Found: Sticks and Stones.” A reception for Hamilton and the exhibit will be held on Friday, Jan. 21, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Gallery.

park alert logoRegister to Receive ParkAlerts

Park University students, faculty and staff are encouraged to sign up for ParkAlert, a mass notification system that can alert the University community with time-sensitive messages via text, voice, e-mail and social media. ParkAlert will be used to notify the University community with important/urgent/emergency messages and/or weather-related alerts and updates; it is not used for advertising or other unsolicited content.

To register and/or for more information, visit If you registered prior to August 2020, you must re-register as all previously registered accounts were purged from the system last year. If you registered after August 2020, it is suggested that you verify your information and options by signing in to your account at

Faculty, Staff, Student News

Park University President Shane Smeed has been appointed to the 2022 Kansas City Area Development Council’s Board of Directors, effective with the board’s first meeting on Jan. 12.

Dr. Kathy HoweKathy Howe, Ph.D., assistant professor of literacy education, co-authored the article “Missing Pieces and Voices: Steps for Teachers to Engage in Science of Reading Policy and Practice,” that was recently published in the Michigan Reading Journal. The article previews the implications of legislation that narrowly focuses on “science” and disregards unique individual reader profiles, and it encourages teachers to get involved with policy that impacts their practices and provides suggestions to ensure their voices are included in this and future initiatives.

William Simkulet, Ph.D., adjunct instructor of philosophy, authored an article on “Spontaneous Abortion and Inaction” for the Swedish magazine Filosofiska Notiser. According to Simkulet, the article discusses the philosophical discourse surrounding abortion ethics.

Nada Meawad, ’21, and a member of Park University’s Parkville (Mo.) Campus women’s volleyball team, is featured in the recently published book, You Go Girl!: Naiya & 99 Muslim Female Trailblazers. Meawad is highlighted in the book with Doaa Elghobashy, her Egyptian beach volleyball teammate at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Park in the News

John Hamilton, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of criminal justice administration, was interviewed for a story that aired on KSHB-TV in Kansas City on Dec. 1 related to audio of a deadly police shooting.

Behzod Abduraimov, International Center for Music artist-in-residence, was a part of a “variety and virtuosity” performance that aired on KWJC-FM in Kansas City on Dec. 1.

Nada Meawad, Park University Parkville (Mo.) Campus volleyball player, was featured in the Sioux City (Iowa) Journal on Dec. 3 during the Pirates appearance in the NAIA Women’s Volleyball National Championship. Meawad was also interviewed for an 11-minute segment that appeared on Midwest Sports Net on Dec. 11.

Matt Harris, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science, was interviewed for a story that aired on WDAF-TV in Kansas City on Dec. 4 related to the death of former Kansas Senator Bob Dole.

Harris also provided comments for a story that aired on WDAF-TV on Dec. 22 related to Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly proposing a tax rebate for Kansas taxpayers.

A story on Ashley Simien, ’15, and her mother, Dorothy, appeared in The Southern Illinoisan on Dec. 9. Both graduated together from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, on Dec. 11, earning both a Master of Health Administration degree and a master’s degree in health informatics and information.

Maria Ioudenitch, a former student in Park University’s Youth Conservatory for Music and daughter of Stanislav Ioudenitch, associate professor of music/piano and artistic director of the International Center for Music, was featured in The Independent, Kansas City’s journal of society, on Dec. 11. Maria won the Joseph Joachim International Violin Competition in October and the Tibor Varga International Violin Competition in September.

Kristin Shaw, instructor of communication studies, was interviewed for stories that aired on KMBZ-FM in Kansas City on Dec. 14 related to social media trends, including one involving people watching videos of funeral home methods on TikTok.

Park University’s Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel on the Parkville (Mo.) Campus was the backdrop for the filming of a Christmas television special for the Kansas and Western Missouri Division of the Salvation Army. The 30-minute program aired in Kansas City area in November and December. The program can be viewed at

Skye Glenn-Whitford, senior psychology major, was featured in a story that appeared on the Flatland website on Dec. 16 and CuriousKC website on Dec. 27. The stories focused on the problem of food insecurity in the Kansas City area.

Joe Pizzillo, adjunct instructor of accounting and finance, was appointed mayor of Goodyear, Ariz., on Dec. 17, following the death of the previous mayor. He has been on the Goodyear City Council since 2009.

An article authored by Katie Ervin, Ed.D., associate vice president of strategic alliances, “Be the Leader Your Team Needs, Not the One They Think They Want,” was posted on the Forbes website on Dec. 21 as part of her membership on the publication’s Human Resources Council.

A story on Dev Bachani, who has committed to play men’s soccer at Park University’s Gilbert (Ariz.) Campus starting in the Fall 2022 semester, appeared in the Saipan Tribune on Dec. 27.

Park University Parkville (Mo.) Campus baseball player Trevor Guzzo was honored by the Ban Johnson Collegiate Baseball League with its Hustle Award during the league’s awards banquet on Dec. 28, according to an article that appeared in The Kansas City Star on Dec. 30. announced its 2022 national college and degree program rankings. In all, Park University was included on 30 rankings. Park’s top 25 rankings were:
          •  Best Logistics Degree Programs, No. 4, and mentioned as the Best Online Program
          •  Best Online Bachelor’s in Internet Marketing Programs, No. 6, and mentioned as Best Synchronous Program
          •  Best Online Bachelor’s in Public Administration Programs, No. 8, and mentioned as the Best Grad School Preparation
          •  Best Construction Management Degree Programs, No. 12, and mentioned as the Best Associate Degree Program
          •  Best Online Associate in Computer Science Programs, No. 12, and mentioned as the Best Concentration Options
          •  Best Online Master’s in Adult Education Programs, No. 13, and mentioned as the Best Multidisciplinary Curriculum
          •  Best Online Master’s in Reading and Literacy Programs, No. 13, and mentioned as the Best Master of Education degree
          •  Most Affordable Online Computer Programming Degrees, No. 15, and mentioned as the Best Specializations
          •  Best Supply Chain Management Degree Programs, No. 15, and mentioned as the Best for Certification
          •  Best Interior Design Degree Programs, No. 17, and mentioned as Best for Veterans
          •  Best Online Bachelor’s in Information Systems Security Programs, No. 19, and mentioned as Best Internships
          •  Best Online MBA in Information Technology Programs, No. 20, and mentioned as Best Blended Program
          •  Best MBA in Information Technology Degree Programs, No. 21, and mentioned as Best Networking Opportunities
          •  Best Human Resources Degree Programs, No. 22, and mentioned as Best Behavioral Science Emphasis
          •  Best Online MBA in Information Systems Management Programs, No. 23, and mentioned as Best Entrepreneurship Focus
          •  Best Online Finance Degree Programs, No. 24, and mentioned as Best Liberal Arts School
          •  Best Probation Officer Degree Programs, No. 25, and mentioned as Most Accessible

The University was also ranked No. 10 on’s “Best Online Graduate Certificate in Project Management 2022: Top Picks” list.

Upcoming Events

(All events are Central time)
          •  January 5-February 26 — Frank Hamilton Photography Art Exhibit — “Found: Sticks and Stones,” Campanella Gallery (Norrington Center); Reception: Jan. 21, 2-4 p.m.
          •  January 8 — Park Athletics Wall of Honor Induction, approximately 1:45 p.m. (between Parkville Campus women’s and men’s basketball games), Breckon Sports Center
          •  January 10 — Spring Semester / Spring I Term Begins
          •  January 17 — Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday (all University offices closed; Parkville and Gilbert daytime classes cancelled; Spring I classes held as scheduled)
          •  January 17 — Martin Luther King Jr. Unity March, 10 a.m., Thompson Commons
          •  January 29 — International Center for Music Concert: Violinist Elmar Oliveira, 7:30 p.m., 1900 Building, Mission Woods, Kan.
          •  February 3 — International Center for Music Concert: ICM Strings Students, 7:30 p.m., 1900 Building, Mission Woods, Kan.
          •  February 17-18 — Board of Trustees Meeting, San Antonio, Texas
          •  February 21 — President’s Day Holiday (all University offices closed; Parkville and Gilbert campuses daytime classes cancelled; Spring I classes held as scheduled)

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.