Crow’s Nest — July 27, 2018

Park University approved to open new campus in Gilbert, Ariz.

Park University, which has supported students from around the globe in pursuing their higher education dreams since 1875 from its flagship campus in Parkville, Mo., will open a campus center in Gilbert, Ariz. The University has been approved by the Higher Learning Commission and the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education to begin offering classes in Gilbert commencing with Park’s Fall II 2018 term, which begins Monday, Oct. 15. Park University’s home in Gilbert is in heart of the town’s Heritage District at the University Building, 92 W. Vaughn Ave., encompassing 11,000 square feet.

During the first year of operations, Park plans to serve adult learners in accelerated, eight-week evening classes. By the end of year three, the University projects an enrollment of more than 300 students with plans to add traditional 16-week classes during the day. Students will be able to pursue a variety of degree offerings in face-to-face settings at the Gilbert Campus or through Park’s online programs. Park also expects to have 12 intercollegiate athletics programs beginning in Fall 2019 to include: men’s and women’s basketball, soccer, volleyball, golf and cross country, as well as baseball (men) and softball (women). The University plans to use existing community sports venues for practices and home contests. Read more about the Gilbert Campus at

Ehrlich, Wilson appointed to lead Gilbert Campus

In conjunction with the announcement of the Gilbert Campus approval, the University has appointed Jeff Ehrlich, Ed.D., as the executive director of the campus, and Steve Wilson as its director of athletics.

Ehrlich has been with Park since 2011, serving in a variety of roles, including a stint as the University’s interim president from July 2015 to January 2016. Most recently (since February 2016), Ehrlich was the director of special projects and strategic initiatives, a project-based incubator that strategizes and implements innovative ideas across Park’s campuses nationwide. In addition, Ehrlich’s wife, Donna Ehrlich, Ph.D., has been appointed to serve as the academic director of the Gilbert Campus.

Wilson, who began his career at Park in 2007 as the Pirates sports information director, has served the University as its associate director of athletics for media relations and compliance since February 2017. Prior to his most recent role, Wilson was the assistant director of athletics for sports communications and he served a stint as the head coach of the women’s golf program from 2013-17. Wilson’s wife, Juli, will also join the Park University team in Gilbert as a campus center coach. Read more about the Wilsons at

Park offer first collegiate varsity esports program in the Kansas City area

Park University has announced its intentions to offer a varsity esports program starting in Spring 2019. According to the Kansas City, Mo., based National Association of Collegiate Esports, Park is the first college/university in the Kansas City area to offer a varsity esports program. Initially, when Park’s coed esports program begins, it will compete in one of seven currently offered esports through NACE, League of Legends, with additional esports games to be offered in Fall 2019 along with scholarship opportunities. Teams typically consist of seven individuals from each school for each game.

In addition to competitive gaming, Park’s esports program will provide support for educational and intramural opportunities not only for students at the University’s flagship Parkville Campus, but also for Park students at the University’s 40 other campuses nationwide and online worldwide. Tie-ins to for-credit courses and leveraging connections for professional play will also be possible. The University plans to build a state-of-the-art gaming area — “Parkade” — in the University’s Mabee Learning Center/Academic Underground. Parkade will serve as the home for the varsity esports program for matches and practices, as well as provide a central location for students to watch and participate in gaming-related activities. Park is also in the midst of a national search for its first esports coach.

Park University’s Board of Trustees adds two new members

The governing body of Park University — its Board of Trustees — has elected two individuals to serve as members of the Board. W. Ann Hansbrough, J.D., and retired Col. Andrew Shoffner were both elected to serve a three-year term on the board, effective July 1.

Hansbrough is an associate circuit judge in the Circuit Court of Platte County, Mo., where her docket responsibilities include felony criminal, civil and juvenile cases. She was appointed to the position in 2014 by then Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, becoming the first appointed female judge in Platte County. She is also a member of the Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Realignment Task Force and has been on the board of directors for the Missouri Association of Probate and Associate Circuit Judges since 2015. Shoffner, a retired U.S. Army colonel, serves as a senior consultant for CGI Federal in Leavenworth, Kan., and is a seminar leader at the University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. At the UFMCS, he teaches Red Teaming, which provides commanders an independent capability to fully explore alternatives in plans, operations, concepts, organizations and capabilities in the context of the operational environment. Read more about both Hansbrough and Shoffner at

Iconic Mackay Hall now bathed in LED lights

As the fireworks finale of the Parkville (Mo.) Fourth of July Celebration came to an end last week, Park University’s historic Mackay Hall was lit up in LED red, white and blue lights to honor “Old Glory.” The lights, permanently installed by DuraComm Lighting, a Kansas City, Mo., based business led by Chief Executive Officer Benny Lee, a past member of Park’s Board of Trustees, will allow the University to showcase the iconic building during the overnight hours every day. The default lighting on Mackay Hall will be white, but Park will light the building with appropriate colored lighting for holidays and traditions, such as Christmas and Halloween; canary and wine (Park’s official school colors) for special University occasions; and Kansas City Chiefs games (Park is the Chiefs official higher education partner) and other community partners. Park’s Office of University Engagement will oversee the system. Read more about the new lights at

Office of University Engagement announces staff changes

Park University’s Office of University Engagement (previously known as the Office of University Relations) has announced two staff updates that were effective on July 1. Former Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Kay Barnes, who had been serving Park as its senior academic ambassador and liaison, has been appointed as the University’s senior director for university engagement. In this new role, Barnes will represent the University as an ambassador in its government relations and business development initiatives. In addition, she will deliver public presentations and connect colleagues across the University with external stakeholders. Read more about Barnes at

In addition, Bridget Locke has been promoted to the position of director of strategic communications. Locke, who previously served as manager of strategic communications, is charged with developing and executing strategic communications that promote the University, including a comprehensive communication plan for the Office of the President, and delivers communications pieces to other units of the University. Read more about Locke 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.
          •  El Paso (Texas) Campus / Fort Bliss (Texas) Campus
          •  Goodfellow Air Force Base (Texas) Campus
          •  Holloman Air Force Base (N.M.) Campus
          •  Laughlin Air Force Base (Texas) Campus
          •  Minot (N.D.) Air Force Base Campus

Park employee wins big on “Beat Shazam”

This certainly will be a summer to remember for Amber Tolbert, campus center director for Park University’s Downtown Kansas City Campus. Tolbert and her friend Monica Melroy taped an episode of the FOX show “Beat Shazam” earlier this year. Their episode aired on July 24 where the duo outlasted two other teams to advance to the final round for a chance to win $1 million. While Tolbert and Melroy didn’t win the grand prize, they did come away with $141,000. Check out the episode at

Park’s CRTIBH to receive $25,000 grant

A grant submitted by Park University’s Center for Research and Training in Integrated Behavioral Health at Park University, the Department of Social Work and Truman Behavioral Health has resulted in a $25,000 grant from the Jackson County (Mo.) Community Health Fund. The grant will allow the CRTIBH to provide training in strengths-based, person-centered interventions for people with the lived experience of mental illness who will assume roles as “peer mentors” as well as technical assistance to ensure fidelity with the intervention. Outcomes of the project will be evaluated on: the impact on people served by accomplishment of social/behavioral goals; the impact on the peer mentors in terms of their own quality of life and sense of self-efficacy; and the impact on the larger organizational culture.

Park University Golf Scramble set for Oct. 8 to benefit athletic programs

The 2018 Park University Golf Scramble, a four-person tournament that benefits the University’s athletic programs, is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 8, at The National Golf Club of Kansas City. Golfers get on the course with a shotgun start at 10 a.m., with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m. An awards program will be held immediately follow the completion of the tournament at approximately 3:30 p.m.

Tournament sponsorship fees are $225 per golfer or $900 per four-person team, and includes 18 holes of golf with a cart, box lunch on the course, driving range access prior to the event, on-course games and contests, and refreshments. In addition, a variety of sponsorship packages are available, ranging in price from $1,400 to $5,000. To register for the tournament, visit For questions about the tournament or sponsorship levels, contact Nathan Marticke, associate vice president of advancement, at or (816) 584-6200. Visit for more info.

Faculty, staff, student news

Kay Barnes, senior director for university engagement, was honored on June 29 by the City of Kansas City, Mo. Barnes, who served as the city’s first female mayor from 1999 to 2007, was recognized for her visionary leadership and impact on downtown Kansas City with the dedication of the “Kay Barnes Ballroom” at the Kansas City Convention Center.

Dilshod Narzillaev, junior applied music/cello major in the Park University International Center for Music, received a $3,300 scholarship to attend the Ecoles d’Art Américaines de Fontainebleau in France, July 6 through Aug. 5. The music program includes performance opportunities and collaboration with fine arts students, master classes and individual lessons, music courses and cultural visits.

Park In The News

A story related to Kay Barnes, senior director for university engagement, being honored on June 29 by the City of Kansas City, Mo., with the dedication of the “Kay Barnes Ballroom” at the Kansas City Convention Center appeared in The Kansas City Star on June 30. Related stories also appeared on KCTV and KCUR-FM in Kansas City.

A separate, but associated, story about Barnes’ new role at Park appeared in The Kansas City Star on July 3, which included comments from Erik Bergrud, associate vice president for university engagement.

Laurel Gagnon, ’17, and current graduate student in the Park University International Center for Music, was featured in the July/August issue of KC Studio magazine with a full-page photo and article.

Park University’s International Center for Music was highlighted in an article that appeared in the July/August issue of The Art of Life @ 50 magazine (page 31).

Amanda Laurenceau, ’14, and current Park women’s basketball assistant coach, was featured in an article that appeared in the Navajo Times on July 5. The article is related to the annual NativeVision Sports and Lifeskills Camp she helped with in Shiprock, N.M., June 28-30.

Park University was mentioned in a pair of live remote broadcasts that aired on WDAF-TV in Kansas City on July 5 related to feature stories on S.D. Strong Distillery located in the Parkville Commercial Underground on the Parkville Campus.

Park University baseball player Abdiel Rivera-Cotto, a junior business administration/international business major, was featured in an article that appeared in The Kansas City Star on July 8. The article was about Rivera-Cotto, a native of Puerto Rico, reflecting on last year’s Hurricane Maria and his life living in the Midwest. A similar story about Rivera-Cotto also aired on KSHB-TV on July 7 and July 8.

Matt Harris, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science, appeared on WDAF-TV in Kansas City on July 10 for a live, in-studio interview to discuss Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Harris also provided comments for a different story that aired on July 19 on KSHB-TV related to politics and professional athletes and coaches endorsing candidates. In addition, Harris appeared on KSHB-TV for a live, in-studio interview on July 24 related to President Donald Trump’s visit to Kansas City.

Park University was highlighted in live segments that aired on WDAF-TV in Kansas City on July 10 related to the StarTalk Chinese immersion camp that was held on the Parkville Campus throughout July.

Sam Peak, ’14, authored an opinion article that appeared on the USA Today  website on July 11 related to his thoughts on a Trump administration plan to rescind a policy that allows spouses of highly skilled workers to seek employment in the U.S.

Tami Radohl, Ph.D., assistant professor of social work and director of field education, was interviewed for a story that appeared on the website for KCPT-TV’s digital magazine, Flatland, on July 16. The article, which focused on children who age out of the foster system, highlighted Park’s pilot program working with homeless young adults.

Kay Barnes, senior director for university engagement, was quoted for a Kansas City Star  “Influencer Series” story on pre-K and other education issues.

Park University was featured in stories in the Kansas City area on July 16 and July 17 related to the University’s announcement that it was adding varsity esports. Shane Smeed, vice president and chief operating officer, was interviewed by The Kansas City StarKMBC-TV and WDAF-TV, and Steve Wilson, associate athletic director for media relations and compliance, was interview by KMBZ-FM. Both also did a live, in-studio 15-minute interview with KCSP-AM (610 Sports) on “Fescoe in the Morning” and Wilson also did a taped 15-minute interview for KMBZ’s “Midday with Jayme and Wickett” midday show. In addition, KCTV aired a story on July 18.

A story about Shokhrukh Sadikov, ’12, being appointed as the music director and conductor of the Overland Park (Kan.) Orchestra appeared in The Kansas City Star  on July 18. Sadikov is an assistant professor of violin and viola at Fort Hays (Kan.) State University.

Skylar Britt, a junior multimedia journalism/public relations major, was featured in an article that appeared in her hometown newspaper, The Examiner (Blue Springs, Mo.) on July 21. Britt had the opportunity to join Major League Baseball Hall of Fame broadcaster Denny Matthews in the booth for a broadcast of a recent Kansas City Royals game.

Park University was ranked No. 78 on the Kansas City Business Journal’s list of “Kansas City’s Biggest Private-Sector Employers” in the July 20 issue. The ranking was based on local full-time equivalent employees.

Stories related to the University’s Gilbert (Ariz.) Campus receiving approval to begin operations appeared in the Phoenix Business Journal, Kansas City Business Journal, Gilbert Sun News and KTAR-FM (in Phoenix).

A story about Maj. George Boyd, ’64, a member of the Tuskegee Airmen and a two-time awardee of a Congressional Gold Medal, appeared in the Wichita (Kan.) Eagle and in Stars and Stripes on July 25, a few days after Boyd passed away.

For the fourth year in a row, Park University has won two “Best of the Northland” awards, as selected by readers of two Kansas City area newspapers — Clay County  (Mo.) Courier-Tribune and Gladstone (Mo.) Dispatch. Park received the most votes as the “Best College/University” in the Northland, as well as the “Best Online and Post-Graduate College/University” in the Northland.

Park University’s online Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership program was ranked No. 8 on’s “10 Most Affordable Online Master’s in Communications Degree Programs” list, and Park’s online Bachelor of Arts degree in political science was ranked No. 24 on’s “25 Best Online Bachelors in Political Science Degree Programs” list.

Upcoming Events

(All events are Central time)
          •  July 29 — Julymester / Summer Session Ends
          •  August 2-3, 6 — New Faculty Orientation, Faculty Center for Innovation (Aug. 2 and Aug. 6 are half-day sessions)
          •  August 4 — Lackland Air Force Base (Texas) Campus / Randolph Air Force Base (Texas) Campus Commencement, 10:30 a.m., St. George Maronite Catholic Church (Phoenician Ballroom)
          •  August 7-8 — Fall Faculty Conference, Parkville Campus
          •  August 13 — Fall Semester / Fall I Term Classes Begin
          •  August 17 — Opening Convocation, Noon, Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel
          •  August 25 — Fort Myer (Va.) Campus / Headquarters Marine Corps/Headquarters Battalion Henderson Hall (Va.) Campus / Marine Corps Base Quantico (Va.) Campus Commencement, 10 a.m., Little Hall, MCB Quantico
          •  September 3 — Labor Day Holiday (all University offices closed nationwide; Parkville Daytime classes cancelled; Fall I classes held as scheduled)
          •  September 7 — Camp Pendleton (Calif.) Campus Commencement, noon, Pacific Views Event Center
          •  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 26 — Dr. Jerzy Hauptmann Distinguished Guest Lecture Series: Dr. Reggie Robinson, 6:30 p.m., Lenexa (Kan.) City Center
          •  September 28 — International Center for Music Concert: ICM Orchestra, 7:30 p.m., Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel

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.