Gunderson launches online petition to award A Medal of Honor

Last month, Park University President Greg Gunderson, Ph.D., launched an online petition requesting that the Medal of Honor be awarded posthumously to Sgt. William A. Butler. In August 1918, Butler saved men and intelligence from capture after an enemy raid in France. He was awarded the French Croix de Guerre with Palm by Order of the Army for his actions, and he was nominated for the Medal of Honor 100 years ago in November 1918 — rare for black soldiers at that time. However, there is evidence that the nomination was downgraded, and Butler was instead awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

“I believe this was an injustice,” Gunderson said. “Since the late 1800s, Park University has demonstrated a strong commitment to the military and veterans, including those who fought in past wars. Because of that commitment, I am leading a special project for a valiant soldier.”

No black soldiers received the Medal of Honor during their time of service in World War I. In recent years, Congress began redressing this issue by posthumously awarding two deserving soldiers, Cpl. Freddie Stowers and Sgt. Henry Johnson, for their service in WWI.

Gunderson started a petition on and asks the entire Park University community to endorse this effort on behalf of to send a strong message about the value of African-American’s in U.S. history and the importance of honoring the heroic contributions of American soldiers. To read more about Butler and to sign the petition, visit

Business and Investment Club students meet Warren Buffett

It took more than a year of writing letters, but the persistence of Zac Jarrard, ’16, and currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree, finally paid off as Jarrard and other members of Park University’s Business and Investment Club had the opportunity to meet with one of the most successful investors in the world, Warren Buffett, chair and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway, on Feb. 23, in Omaha, Neb.

Four times a year since 1998, college students from across the country have traveled to Omaha to participate in a “Student Q&A” with Buffett. The event allows 200 students from 10 schools the chance to meet Buffett and ask questions, as well as tour Berkshire Hathaway owned businesses in Omaha. For this most recent event, Jarrard and other members of the BIC wrote letters in hopes of having Buffett come speak at Park, but Buffett invited the Park students to participate as the 11th school as he shared his knowledge on business, finance and living a fulfilling life.

Women’s March on Washington organizer to speak at Park University Women’s History Month event

Paola Mendoza, a national organizer and the artistic director of the Women’s March on Washington, D.C., in January 2017, will be the featured speaker in a Women’s History Month event hosted by Park University. “Together We Rise: An Evening with Women’s March on Washington Artistic Director Paola Mendoza” will be held on Monday, March 26, starting at 7 p.m. in Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel on the University’s Parkville Campus. Admission to the event is free and open to the public, but reservations are requested at

Mendoza, a film director, activist and author, was one of the driving forces behind the Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21, 2017, considered the largest single-day protest in U.S. history, to advocate for legislation and policies related to human rights and other issues, including women’s rights. As a part of her discussion, Mendoza will talk about the book she was featured in, Together We Rise: The Women’s March — Behind the Scenes at the Protest Heard Around the World. The book includes Mendoza’s personal story and the stories of other organizers about the Women’s March efforts and reflected on the collective journey of all involved. For more information about the event, visit

Johnson Lecture to feature discussion on forensic science in crimes

With the popularity of crime investigation television shows past and present, it’s clear there is a fascination with how crime scene evidence, regardless of how small, is collected and how it shows what happened and how it happened. On Tuesday, March 27, Park University will host a discussion by Tatiana Trejos, Ph.D., on how microscopic evidence tells the story about a crime as the focus of the University’s Johnson Family Lecture Series in Science. The talk will begin at 7 p.m. in the Jenkin and Barbara David Theater within Alumni Hall on the University’s Parkville Campus. Admission to the lecture is free and open to the public, but registration is requested at

Prior to the lecture, beginning at 6 p.m., the University and Trejos will host a mock crime scene (appropriate for all ages) that attendees can walk through and identify clues about the crime. Trejos, an assistant professor of forensic and investigative sciences at West Virginia University, will discuss those clues and take a journey into the world of microscopic evidence and how the tiny elements provide narrative of a crime. For more information about the event, visit

Former U.S. Ambassador to speak on U.S. impact on NATO-Russia Relations

Patrick Moon, who served as U.S. ambassador/chief of mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2010 to 2013, will present a discussion on “NATO – Russia Relations: From the Cold War to Current Challenges” at Park University on Wednesday, April 4, starting at 6:30 p.m. Admission to the event, which will take place in the Jenkin and Barbara David Theater inside Alumni Hall on the University’s Parkville Campus, is free and open to the public.

Moon’s talk will focus on NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) enlargement going back to the early 1990s and current Russian relations with NATO. The topic is of importance due to the complex security and economic issues the U.S. has with Russia and NATO member nations. Read more about the event and Moon at

Fishburn Archives adds collection of Parkville documents

Park University’s Fishburn Archives and Special Collections has added a collection of four property abstracts from the files of the late Dick Fickle, a longtime resident of Parkville, Mo. The collection, donated by Fickle’s daughter Tara Bennett, includes three abstracts for lots in Parkville’s historic district and one for a lot in Platte Woods, Mo. Also included was the will of prominent early Parkville resident Samuel Graden, who donated the land for Walnut Grove Cemetery and the namesake of Graden Elementary School in Parkville, as well as a recorded driving tour of Parkville, narrated by Fickle, which provides some previously unrecorded history of the city.

The donation to Park’s Fishburn Archives was the idea of Parkville Mayor Nan Johnston, who helped organize a meeting that included Bennett, Carolyn Elwess, University archivist and Melissa McChesney, Parkville city clerk.

Park faculty featured in Campanella Gallery art exhibit

Park University’s Campanella Gallery is host an exhibit, “New Works: An Invitational Featuring Artwork by Park University Faculty,” through Thursday, April 26. Admission to the Gallery, located within Norrington Center on the University’s flagship Parkville Campus, is free. The exhibit showcases the diverse talents of nine faculty members in the University’s Department of Art, Design and Interdisciplinary Studies, and will feature a variety of media and stylistic expressions. Participating artists:
          •  Donna Bachmann, professor emeritus of fine art
          •  William Eickhorst, Ed.D., adjunct instructor of fine art
          •  Frank Hamilton, adjunct instructor of fine art
          •  Deb Hillen, adjunct instructor of fine art
          •  Andrea Lee, Ph.D., assistant professor of fine art, chair of the Department of Art, Design and Interdisciplinary Studies, program coordinator of fine art and director of the Campanella Gallery
          •  Christopher Lowrance, adjunct instructor of fine art
          •  Kim Luther, adjunct instructor of fine art
          •  Lynn Richardson, adjunct instructor of fine art
          •  Jeffrey Smith, associate professor of graphic design
For more information, including Gallery hours, visit

University’s Year of Diversity series of events continues at NLRB’s Baseball Book Notes Series

Park University is once again partnering with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum to host the Museum’s 2018 Baseball Book Notes Spring Series. All events will be held at the NLBM, 1616 E. 18th Street in the 18th and Vine District in Kansas City, Mo. Entry to the events is free with paid admission to the Museum (free to NLBM members). The Baseball Book Notes Spring Series is a part of the University’s Year of Diversity. The Series serves as an unofficial kickoff to the 2018 Major League Baseball Season and provides unique literature events with nationally known baseball scholars and authors. The 2018 Baseball Book Notes Spring Series will feature discussions on a variety of recent sports-related publications. For more information and to view the list of upcoming events, visit

Discenza honored with American Society for Public Administration award

Suzanne Discenza, Ph.D., adjunct professor of public administration, was recognized for her service to the American Society for Public Administration as she was honored as a recipient of the 2018 Chester A. Newland Presidential Citation of Merit Award from the organization. Discenza, who received the award during the ASPA annual conference in Denver on March 11, was honored in recognition and appreciation of her service on this year’s conference program committee, as well as her contributions to helping re-establish the ASPA Colorado chapter. She was also a member of the National Council, representing District IV. The award’s namesake, who served as ASPA president from 1981-82, was the keynote speaker for Park University’s Dr. Jerzy Hauptmann Distinguished Guest Lecture Series in 1997.

Women’s soccer alumna selected for Park Athletics Wall of Honor

Park University’s Department of Athletics has announced the second member of the 2018 class for the Park Athletics Wall of Honor. Maria Ruiz, an All-America women’s soccer player from 2004 to 2007, will be inducted during Park’s Homecoming Weekend in September. Ruiz scored 109 goals in her career, ranking her second all-time among Park women’s soccer players and 12th among NAIA career leaders. Read more about Ruiz and her accomplishments at

Social work conference to focus on gerontology

Park University’s Center for Research and Training in Integrated Behavioral Health, a part of the Department of Social Work, will host a gerontology based forum on Tuesday, April 17. The event, to be held at Senior Star at Wexford Place in Kansas City, Mo., from 1 to 4 p.m., will include an expert panel examining the types of transitions facing aging individuals, focusing on the different types of lost independence, the levels of care and resources available, how to support people making challenging decisions and how to help participants deal with emotions. Panelists include Geri Dickey, Ph.D., assistant professor of social work, and two Park alumni, Deborah Babbitt, ’90, and Valerie Jaramillo-Babbitt, ’16, ’17. Registration for the event is $60. To register, visit

Faculty, staff, student news

Park University’s Office of Academic Affairs has announced the following faculty whose tenure and/or promotion, effective Fall 2018, was approved by the Board of Trustees in February:
          •  John Dean, Ph.D., associate professor of computer science, awarded tenure
          •  Penelope DeJong, Ph.D., associate professor of marketing, promoted to professor of marketing
          •  Eugene Matthews, Ph.D., associate professor of criminal justice administration, awarded tenure
          •  Bin “Crystal” Peng, Ph.D., associate professor of computer science, awarded tenure
          •  Patricia Ryberg, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology, awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor of biology
          •  Alex Silvius, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics, awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor of physics

A trio of students in the Park University International Center for Music were awarded prizes in recent competitions. Violinist Hanna Zhdan, senior applied music/violin major, placed second and received $3,500 at the Hellam Young Artists’ Competition in Springfield, Mo., on March 3. Zhdan, along with pianists Evangeliya Delizonas-Khukhua, graduate student, and Simon Karakulidi, sophomore applied music/piano major, were awarded $1,000 scholarships each by the Kansas City Musical Club as part of the organization’s annual competition on Feb. 24. Karakulidi and Delizonas-Khukhua also won $1,500 and $1,000 scholarships, respectively, as part of the Kansas City Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota Scholarship Competition on March 3 in Prairie Village, Kan.

Virginia Brackett, Ph.D., professor emerita of English, served as editor of a collection of essays for the recently published Critical Insights: Historical Fiction. In addition, Brackett contributed an essay about historical fiction in general.

Aaliyah Brown is an NAIA All-American for the third time in her Park University athletics career, and for the first time, her All-America throw in the shot put came inside at the NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships in Pittsburg, Kan., on March 3. Brown’s toss of 13.99 meters gave the Park junior a fourth place finish at the meet. Read more about Brown’s performance at the national meet at

Steven McDonald, D.M.A., director of orchestral activities, served as a guest conductor at a recent performance of Johann Sebastian Bach selections. On March 10, McDonald conducted the Kansas Wesleyan University International Music Festival Orchestra for the “Brandenburg Concerto No. 6” in Salina, Kan. McDonald is scheduled to conduct performances of the “Brandenburg Concerto No. 2” for the Navo Arts Ensemble on April 14 and April 15 in Kansas City, Mo., and Topeka, Kan., respectively.

Amber Tolbert, director of Park University’s Downtown Kansas City Campus, performed at halftime of the Kansas City Comets (Major Arena Soccer League) match on March 4. Tolbert, a former member of the club’s Galaxy Girls (now known as Comets Girls) dance team, participated as part of an alumni routine.

A number of faculty, staff and students presented at the American Society for Public Administration’s annual conference, March 9-13 in Denver.
          •  Erik Bergrud, associate vice president for external relations, served as a panelist on the Presidential Panel “He Gave Us so Much: Reflections on Paul L. Posner”
          •  In the session “Public Administration Cases: Economic and Social Impact, Health Care, Law and Politics,” Eric Click, Ph.D., associate professor and program coordinator of public administration, served as moderator and presented “The Economic and Social Impact of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum on the Village of Cooperstown, N.Y.”; Suzanne Discenza, Ph.D., adjunct professor of public administration, presented “Medicaid at the Crossroads: Comparing the Financial and Population Health Outcomes of States Adopting Medicaid Expansion Versus those that have Not”
          •  In the session “Gender Differences in Public Management,” Zseraldina Ferrenezi, graduate student, served as discussant/presenter on “Wanted: Women in City Management”; Columbe Iyeza and Ronna Weyland, ’16, both current students in the Master of Public Administration program, were presenters/co-authors; Susan Keim, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor of public administration, Elizabeth Pauley, student in the Master of Public Administration program, and James Vanderleeuw, Ph.D, associate dean of the Hauptmann School of Public Affairs, were co-authors.

Park In The News

Laurel Gagnon, ’17, and a current graduate student in the Park University International Center for Music, was featured in pair of interviews following her fourth place finish in the Singapore International Violin Competition Jan. 28 through Feb. 8. Gagnon was highlighted on KCUR-FM on Feb. 16 with a question-and-answer story, as well as on KSHB-TV’s “Kansas City Live” on Feb. 20 where she was interviewed and provided a short performance.

ShaVaughn Holloway, a senior majoring in English writing and business administration/management, was featured in a story that aired on KSHB-TV in Kansas City on Feb. 19. Holloway is a part of the Connections to Success Kansas City organization with a mission to inspire families to realize their dreams and achieve economic independence by providing hope, resources and a plan.

A feature story about Maj. Michael Lopriore, ’72, appeared in The Post-Journal, a newspaper in Jamestown, N.Y., on Feb. 18. Lopriore, who passed away in September 2017, was interred at Arlington (Va.) National Cemetery with full military honors on Jan. 23.

A story about the preservation efforts of Banneker School in Parkville, Mo., appeared in The Kansas City Star on Feb. 21. The Banneker School Foundation celebrated 10 years of progress toward preserving the one-room building with its annual breakfast on the University’s Parkville Campus on Feb. 26.

In the February issue of Ingram’s, Kansas City’s business magazine, Park University was ranked No. 5 on the publication’s list of top private colleges and university in Kansas and Missouri, based on Fall 2017 undergraduate enrollment.

Matthew Harris, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science, appeared on KSHB-TV’s “41 Action News Midday” newscast on Feb. 23 for an interview related to the indictment of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens. That same evening, Harris was interviewed for a story on KSHB-TV that examined the impeachment process of a governor in Missouri.

The Park University sponsored Baseball Book Notes Spring Series at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City was highlighted in a story that appeared on KSHB-TV on Feb. 25 and Feb. 26. The story included an interview with Bob Kendrick, ’85, president of the NLBM.

The morning of the Park University Spencer Cave Black History Month Lecture Series on Feb. 26, the event’s featured speaker, Michael Dinwiddie, was interviewed on KSHB-TV’s “41 Action News Midday” newscast.

A review of a concerto performed by Kenny Broberg, graduate student in the Park University International Center for Music, appeared in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on Feb. 26. Broberg was a last-minute fill-in for a Minnesota Orchestra concert on Feb. 23.

Jacqueline Clark, M.P.A. ’00, has been honored by the Manufacturing Institute as a 2018 STEP Ahead Award honoree. She will be recognized with her award, which highlights women in manufacturing who exemplify leadership within their companies, on April 10 in Washington, D.C. A story about Clark, the director of government relations and public affairs at Ash Grove Cement Co., has been posted on the Manufacturing Institute’s website.

Brad Maxwell, ’11, has been nominated to be the U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Illinois, according to an article about Maxwell in the March 7 issue of The Alton (Ill.) Telegraph. The appointment must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Maxwell currently serves as the St. Louis manager and chief of security at Boeing.

Michelle Myers, Ed.D., interim provost, provided comments for a Voice of America article related to Syed Jamal, adjunct instructor of chemistry, who has made news worldwide in recent weeks in the aftermath of his deportation drama.

Charif Hamidi, ’11, and a former member of Park University’s Board of Trustees, was named by Forbes Middle East on its “Arab 30 Under 30” 2018 class, according to an article by the publication in early March. Hamidi, a native of Morocco, was also featured in story that appeared in Morocco World News on March 7 related to the ranking. Hamidi founded Education 4.0 in 2016, a nonprofit organization that uses technology and the internet to help educate underprivileged children without charging a fee.

President Donald Trump recognized Jeanette Prenger, ’09, and a member of the Park University Board of Trustees, as part of comments delivered at the Latino Coalition’s legislative summit on March 7. Prenger is the president and founder of ECCO Select, a technology and human enterprise consulting firm in Kansas City, Mo. The comments appeared on C-SPAN.

More Park University degree programs have been ranked by various websites:
          •  Online bachelor’s degree programs in information and computer science ranked No. 6 by on its “25 Best Bachelor’s in Computer Science Online Degree Programs for 2018” list.
          •  Degree programs in information and computer science ranked No. 13 by on its list of “Best Computer Science Schools in 2018” list.
          •  Online associate degree in criminal justice administration placed on’s “Best Online Schools for Associate in Criminal Justice Degree Programs” list.
In addition, the University has been ranked No. 69 by on its list of the most diverse colleges and universities in the country.

Upcoming Events

(All events are Central time)
     •  Through March 18 — Spring Recess
     •  Through April 26 — New Works Faculty Art Exhibit, Campanella Gallery
     •  March 19 — Spring II Term Begins
     •  March 26 — Together We Rise: An Evening with Women’s March on Washington Artistic Director Paola Mendoza, 7 p.m., Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel
     •  March 27 — Johnson Family Lecture Series in Science: Dr. Tatiana Trejos, 6 p.m., David Theater (Alumni Hall)
     •  April 4 — “NATO – Russia Relations: From the Cold War to Current Challenges,” with former U.S. Ambassador Patrick Moon, 6:30 p.m., David Theater (Alumni Hall)
     •  April 7 — Park University International Center for Music Concert: Cellist Daniel Veis and Pianist Helena Veisova, 7:30 p.m., Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel
     •  April 8 — Parkville Symphonic Band Concert, 3 p.m., Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel
     •  April 9 — “Big Sonia” Movie Screening and Panel Discussion, 6 p.m., David Theater (Alumni Hall)
     •  April 15 — Park University International Center for Music Concert: Violinist David Radzynski and Pianist Lolita Lisovskaya-Sayevich, 4 p.m., 1900 Building, Mission Woods, Kan.
     •  April 18 — Dr. Doris Howell Leadership Awards, 6 p.m., Park Place Banquet and Event Space, Parkville, Mo.
     •  April 21 — Grand Forks (N.D.) Air Force Base Campus Commencement, 3 p.m., Grand Forks Central High School
     •  April 23-24 — Student Research and Creative Arts Symposium, Parkville Campus
     •  April 25 — Honors Convocation, 7 p.m., Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel
     •  April 27 — Moody Air Force Base (Ga.) Campus Commencement, 3 p.m., Hoffman Auditorium, Moody AFB
     •  April 27 — Park University International Center for Music Concert: ICM Orchestra and Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, 8 p.m., Kauffman Center for Performing Arts, Kansas City, Mo.
     •  May 1-31 — Fine Arts Seniors Thesis Exhibit, Campanella Gallery
     •  May 1 — Park University International Center for Music Concert: Pianist Behzod Abduraimov and Cellist Truls Mork, 7:30 p.m., 1900 Building, Mission Woods, Kan.
     •  May 2 — Fort Irwin (Calif.) Campus Commencement, 5 p.m., Fort Irwin Post Chapel
     •  May 10 — Tinker Air Force Base (Okla.) Campus Commencement, 4:30 p.m., Tinker Club Ballroom
     •  May 11 — Beaufort (S.C.) Marine Corps Air Station Campus Commencement, 1 p.m., Marine Corps Recruiting Depot Parris Island Theater
     •  May 11 — International Student Sash Ceremony, 5 p.m., Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel
     •  May 12 — Kansas City Area May Commencement, 10 a.m., Community of Christ Auditorium, Independence, Mo.
     •  May 13 — Spring Semester / Spring II Terms Ends
     •  May 14 — Maymester Begins
     •  May 15 — Mountain Home (Idaho) Air Force Base Commencement, Noon, Gunfighter Theater

Note: 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.