Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response
Park University has moved to a modified closed status across the country. Classes will continue online without interruption.

The Crow’s Nest — June 1, 2020

Academic, Leadership Achievements Recognized as Part of Honors Convocation, Howell Awards

Christian Leonard, a senior mathematics majorPark University students, faculty and staff were recognized for their exceptional scholarly efforts from the 2019-20 academic year as part of the University’s annual Honors Convocation. The event had been scheduled to be held on April 24 in Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel on the University’s Parkville Campus, but was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The most prestigious honor bestowed on any student at Park University — the Outstanding Parkite Award — went to seniors Christian Leonard (left) and Jesse Patrick (right). The Outstanding Parkite Award is given to two students on the University’s Parkville Campus who best exemplify the ideals of the University in their character, conduct, scholarship and student activity participation. Read more about the awards presented during the Honors Convocation at

In celebration of the leadership achievements of Park University students, faculty and staff during the 2019-20 academic year, the Office of Student Life and the Park Student Government Association announced recipients of honors as part of the 25th annual Dr. Doris A. Howell Leadership Awards. The program is named for Howell, a 1944 Park graduate who was an internationally renowned leader in pediatrics and hospice care before passing away on Nov. 23, 2018. The Howell Awards event had been scheduled to be held on April 18, but was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Read about the awards presented at

Park to Provide College Credit for Citizenship and Community Service

Park University, which has served those who serve their community and country since its founding in 1875, has announced that it will provide up to nine hours of college credit for students who have demonstrated they have been civically engaged citizens. Beginning in the Fall 2020 semester, the University’s Civic Engagement Portfolio program (CE 200) will allow students the opportunity to earn three credit hours for every 120 hours of community service, up to a maximum of nine credit hours for 360 hours of community service and increased leadership responsibilities. With the addition of two core courses, Introduction to Leadership (CA 233) and Leadership for Civic Engagement (CA 493), and three to nine credit hours of electives (depending on credit hours earned for community service), a student could earn a minor in citizenship and service from Park in just 18 credit hours. For more information about the Civic Engagement Portfolio and/or the Citizenship and Service minor, visit

Youngblood Awarded Luxembourg Peace Prize

Steve Youngblood, associate professor of communication arts and director of the Center for Global Peace Journalism at Park University, has been awarded the 2020 Luxembourg Peace Prize for Outstanding Peace Journalism by the Schengen Peace Foundation and the World Peace Forum. Youngblood was to have received the award, which recognizes journalists or media publications that have used their craft to contribute to peace, in May during a ceremony as part of the 5th annual Transatlantic Dialogue Conference at the University of Luxembourg. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, that event will now take place in May 2021.

Youngblood, who has been a member of Park’s faculty since 1997, has taught peace journalism to journalists, academics and students in 27 countries and territories worldwide, including conflict areas such as Cameroon, Indian-administered Kashmir, Lebanon, South Sudan and Turkey. Youngblood is also a two-time J. William Fulbright Scholar, traveling to Moldova in 2001 and Azerbaijan in 2007. In addition, Youngblood serves as editor of The Peace Journalist, a semi-annual Park University publication dedicated to disseminating news and information for and about teachers, student, and practitioners of peace and conflict sensitive journalism. Read more about the award at

University Announces Graduates from Kansas City Area, BCC and VVC Campuses

Park University has announced its list of Spring 2020 graduates from the University’s Kansas City area campuses, as well as graduates from the Barstow (Calif.) Community College and Victor Valley College (Calif.) campuses.
          •  Kansas City Area
          •  BCC / VVC

Faculty, Staff, Student News

Suzanne Tiemann, Ph.D., assistant professor of education and director of undergraduate programs, was honored by the Northland (Kansas City) Regional Chamber of Commerce as part its annual Excellence in Education event held virtually on May 12. Tiemann was Park University’s honoree for the Excellence in Higher Education Award after being nominated for her tireless commitment to what she says her job is to “make teachers.”

Professor emerita of EnglishVirginia Brackett, Ph.D., professor emerita of English, authored a chapter on “COVID-19 Effects on Higher Education” for the recently published book After the Pandemic: Visions of Life Post COVID-19. Her essay focuses on changes that the pandemic may force on the U.S. system of public higher education.

Park in the News

Park University and President Greg Gunderson, Ph.D., were the focus of a column that appeared in the Washington Post on May 16. Gunderson provided comments for a column related to the coronavirus pandemic and discussed Park’s history of providing online education, how other colleges and universities across the country are now looking at Park’s model as they look to online education and what the future looks like in higher education.

Erycka Fisher, ’09, competed on the FOX program “Ultimate Tag” on May 27 and won a $10,000 prize. Watch the entire episode here and/or check out the final showdown here. Stories about Fisher in advance of the program aired on KTBC-TV in Austin, Texas, on May 20 and on WDAF-TV in Kansas City on May 26. Fisher was a two-time track and field All-American for Park University.

Casi Joy McCall, ’12 (who goes by the stage name Casi Joy), was featured in a story that appeared in The Kansas City Star on May 3. The article talks about her life on the road (and includes a video tour of her new tour bus) and a new single she released, “Poor Angel.”

Steve Foster, ’79, was featured in the May 3 edition of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Foster was recently appointed chairman of the board for the Searcy (Ark.) Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Monica Brannon, Ph.D., department chair and assistant professor of sociology, participated in a question-and-answer interview segment related to coronavirus conspiracy theories that was posted on the WDAF-TV (Kansas City) website on May 4.

Michelle Myers, Ed.D., provost, was interviewed for stories that aired on KMBZ-FM in Kansas City on May 6 related to the University’s announcement that it was offering college credit for citizenship and community service.

A story about Michael Garza, who signed a letter-of-intent to participate in track and field at Park University’s Gilbert (Ariz.) Campus, appeared in the Brownsville (Texas) Herald on May 7.

A documentary about 103-year-old Eric Bransby, who received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Park University in 1995, aired on KCPT-TV (Kansas City Public Television) on May 14. The program, “Art for the People – Eric Bransby: American Mural Artist,” focused on his life and work. Donna Bachmann, professor emerita of art, was interviewed as part of the documentary. Bransby mural, “Spirit of Park College,” is located in the Mabee Learning Center/Academic Underground near the staircase below Millsap Foyer on the Parkville Campus.

Holly Vega, junior social psychology major, who was named AFI Military Spouse of the Year in May 2019, was one of “15 military spouses who have made a difference” recognized by Business Insider magazine on May 6 as part of National Military Spouse Appreciation Day.

Park University’s Early College Online program was highlighted on KSHB-TV in Kansas City on May 12. Michelle Myers, Ed.D., provost, was interviewed for the story.

Chris Killion, ’94, and his wife, Denee, were featured in a story that appeared in the Opinion-Tribune (Glenwood, Iowa, newspaper) on May 12. The Killions are both registered nurses at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Omaha, Neb., on the frontline of treating patients with coronavirus.

An organization founded by Shawn Moore, MSW ’20, was featured on KMBC-TV in Kansas City on May 15. Moore founded Caregivers on the Homefront in 2017 to provide caregivers of our nation’s veterans and first responders with hopefulness, a sense of togetherness and a firm foundation of resiliency.

Lisa Hickok, incoming executive director of Park University’s International Center for Music, was interviewed for a KC Cares podcast that aired on May 17. The episode discussed Park’s ICM program and musical arts in the region.

A story about Hayden Lidka signing a letter-of-intent to compete in track and field at Park University’s Gilbert (Ariz.) Campus appeared in the Record-Courier newspaper in Gardnerville, Nev., on May 18.

Follow-up stories on Aneisha Ford, ’18, who quit her job at a Kansas City, Mo., hospital in April to go to New York City to help hospitals and patients dealing with the coronavirus pandemic aired on KMBC-TV and KCWE-TV on May 18, KCTV on May 19 and WDAF-TV on May 20.

Kay Barnes, senior director of university engagement and former mayor of Kansas City, Mo. (1999-2007), and Bob Kendrick, ’85, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, were ranked No. 26 and No. 35, respectively, on a list ranking the most influential people in Kansas City sports history in a column that appeared in The Kansas City Star on May 22.

A 29-minute interview with Virginia Brackett, Ph.D., professor emerita of English, as part of a presentation on her recently published nonfiction exploration of her relationship with her father, In the Company of Patriots, aired on the program “New Letters on the Air” on KCUR-FM in Kansas City on May 24.

A story about Destiny Zamudio, an incoming student-athlete on the Parkville Campus women’s basketball team, appeared on the Wyandotte (County, Kan.) Daily website on May 26.

Susan Keim, assistant professor of public administration, provided comments for a story that aired on KCTV in Kansas City on May 26 related to area cities having to make tough decisions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A story about Kelsey (Faiferlick) Felch, ’15, opening Next Edge Performance, a health and wellness center, appeared in her hometown (Fort Dodge, Iowa) newspaper, The Messenger, on May 30.

Upcoming Events

(All events are Central time)
          •  June 8 — Summer Session / Junemester Classes Begin
          •  July 3 — Independence Day Holiday Observed (all University offices closed)
          •  July 5 — Junemester Ends
          •  July 6 — Julymester Begins
          •  August 1 — 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
          •  August 2 — Summer Session / Julymester Ends

The following events were/are cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic:
          •  Through May 29 — Fine Art Seniors Thesis Exhibition
          •  May 2 — International Center for Music Concert: Kansas City Chamber Orchestra
          •  May 8 — Department of Nursing Pinning Ceremony
          •  May 8 — International Student Sash Ceremony
          •  May 9 — Kansas City Area May Commencement
          •  May 14 — Luke Air Force Base (Ariz.) Campus Commencement
          •  May 14 — Tinker Air Force Base (Okla.) Campus Commencement
          •  May 15 — Hanscom Air Force Base (Mass.) Campus Commencement
          •  May 15 — Little Rock (Ark.) Air Force Base Campus Commencement (rescheduled for December 4)
          •  May 22 — Naval Support Activity Mid-South Millington (Tenn.) Campus Commencement (rescheduled for Sept. 18)
          •  May 22 — Austin (Texas) Campus Commencement (will not be rescheduled)
          •  May 28 — Barstow (Calif.) Community College Campus / Victor Valley College (Calif.) Commencement (will not be rescheduled)
          •  May 28 — Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point (N.C.) Campus Commencement
          •  May 29 — Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort (S.C.) Campus Commencement
          •  May 29 — F.E. Warren Air Force Base (Wyo.) Campus Commencement
          •  June 4 — Fairchild Air Force Base (Wash.) Campus Commencement
          •  June 4 — Scott Air Force Base (Ill.) Campus Commencement
          •  June 5 — George S. Robb Centre for the Study of the Great War Dedication Ceremony (rescheduled for September 19, 11:30 a.m.)
          •  June 5-July 24 — Italian Art Glass Exhibition
          •  June 10 — Night at the Helm
          •  June 12-14, June 19-21 — Bell Road Barn Players, “The Foreigner”
          •  June 19 — Malmstrom Air Force Base (Mont.) Campus Commencement
          •  July 24-26, July 31-August 2 — Bell Road Barn Players, “Comedy of Errors”
          •  July 31 — Hill Air Force Base (Utah) Campus Commencement
          •  October 13 — River Read Children’s Literature Festival

Note: When these events are rescheduled (if applicable), they will be updated in the University’s online calendar. To view a comprehensive schedule for all events, including athletics and student life, visit



Park University’s degree programs are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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