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The Crow’s Nest — October 11, 2019

Lacer Appointed CFO; Bode Appointed VP of Facilities

Park University has appointed Rana Lacer as chief financial officer, while previous CFO Brian Bode has been appointed as vice president of facilities. Both began their roles on Oct. 1.

As chief financial officer, Lacer oversees the financial and accounting operations of the University and is responsible for all fiscal services, including financial systems, reporting and controls, and fiscal policies and regulations. She also ensures that the University has requisite financial resources, including cash management and borrowing agreements. Lacer spent the previous 10 years at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, starting as director of finance before ultimately being appointed chief financial officer where she managed an annual budget that exceeded $500 million and financial administration of $940 million in assets, including the 3.2 million square-foot Las Vegas Convention Center, one of the busiest convention sites in the world.

Bode, who joined the University in August 2015 as controller and was promoted to the role of CFO in May 2016, now oversees the University’s facilities and administrative operations across Park’s 42 campuses nationwide. As part of this, Bode administers Park’s deferred maintenance and master plan, as well as the future construction of the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center on the University’s Parkville Campus. Read more about Lacer and Bode at

Homecoming Royalty Announced

As part of Park University’s Homecoming and Family Weekend 2019 festivities, six Park students were announced as royalty during a pep rally on Sept. 20. The Parkville Campus student body nominated candidates on how they represent the University’s core values — accountability, civility and respect, excellence, global citizenship, inclusivity and integrity — with the winners selected by a committee of faculty and staff. This year’s royalty:
          •  Seniors: Mateus Matos Martins, economics major, and Katie Murry, interior design major
          •  Juniors: Lorrayne Silva, business administration/international business major, and Matheus Chesca da Silva Teles, multimedia journalism/public relations major
          •  Sophomores: Allison Anderson, business administration/marketing major, and Johnathan Rizzi, communication studies major

Park Athletics Recognizes 2018-19 Achievements

Park University’s Parkville Campus Department of Athletics held its annual awards banquet on Sept. 26 to recognize achievements from the 2018-19 academic and athletic year, as well as honor individuals with special awards. These included:
          •  Don Breckon Award, presented to Erik Bergrud, associate vice president of university engagement. The award, named in honor of Breckon, president emeritus, who served Park from 1987-2001, is given annually to an individual that goes above and beyond to support Park athletes, coaches and administrators, and has a true passion to witness the success of Park’s athletes.
          •  Claude English Award, presented to Derek Mueller, ’96, ’00. Named in honor of Park’s current director of athletics, the award is presented to Park alumni who have demonstrated leadership and service to the community and constantly display advocacy to Park University. The award winner is also accomplished in his or her profession.
          •  Female Athlete of the Year, presented to Nada Meawad, women’s volleyball
          •  Male Athlete of the Year, presented to Zach Rutland, ’19, men’s basketball

Park Campus Holds Commencement Ceremony

Park University campuses across the country are holding commencement ceremonies for 2019 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.
          •  Fort Leonard Wood (Mo.) Campus

University Recognizes Employees at Longevity Awards

Park University honored staff and faculty who reached milestone service anniversaries between Aug. 2, 2018, and Aug. 1, 2019, during a ceremony on Oct. 8 on the Parkville Campus. Forty employees were recognized, combining for 445 years of service to Park. One employee — Nancy Oiler, senior application analyst, was honored with special recognition — those with 25 or more years of service. View a list of all employees recognized at

University to Host Talk on Bullying Behavior

An event that will provide a call to action to banish bullying behavior will be the focus of a book talk on Wednesday, Oct. 23, at Park University. Blanche Sosland, Ph.D., professor emerita of education and expert in bullying-related issues, will present a discussion that begins at 3 p.m. in the David Theater within Alumni Hall on the University’s Parkville Campus. Admission to the event, which is open to the public, is free. Sosland, who taught at Park for 21 years and served as chair of the Department of Education (now School of Education), will discuss her book, Banishing Bullying Behavior: A Call to Action from Early Childhood through Senior Adulthood, with a focus on the fields of law, medicine and academia across social, age, gender and generational lines. She will cover bullying behavior from the schoolyard to the board room to the retirement center, as well as the characteristics of bully-free environments. Read more about the event at

Fright Night Event Set for Oct. 24

Fright Night, Park University’s annual Halloween celebration, will be held Thursday, Oct. 24, at the Copley Quad residence hall on the University’s Parkville Campus, from 6 to 8 p.m. Admission to the event is free and open to the public, and children of all ages are encouraged to dress in their favorite Halloween costume. Fright Night will include trick-or-treating for children throughout the residence hall and booths will be set up for face painting, crafts and carnival-style games. More than 25 Park student organizations, departments and offices will sponsor booths with activities, contests and events for everyone in attendance. Parking for the event will be available in Lot N adjacent to the University’s Sixth Street entrance next to Julian Field. For more information, contact Isaac Barber, director of residence life, at or (816) 584-7401.

Park Hosting CIA Historian Discussion of Area 51 and Development of U-2 and A-12 Aircraft

Brent Geary, Ph.D., a historian with the Central Intelligence Agency and its Center for the Study of Intelligence, will present a discussion on “Very Secret, Very Cool, but not Aliens: The U-2, the A-12 and Area 51” at Park University on Wednesday, Oct. 30. The event will begin at 1:30 p.m. in the Jenkin and Barbara David Theater within Alumni Hall on the University’s Parkville Campus. Admission to the discussion is free and open to the public. The presentation will explore the development of the U-2 and A-12, the faster forerunner of the more famous SR-71 Blackbird, the CIAs purchase and use of the test site known as Area 51 in their development and their contributions to the history of American aviation, intelligence, foreign policy and, inadvertently, popular culture.

Geary is a career leadership analyst who has worked primarily on Iran and the Middle East. In his role as an Iran expert, he briefed senior U.S. government and military leaders, including President Barack Obama in 2012, and foreign leaders. He spent one year as a president’s daily briefer at the White House serving then Deputy National Security Adviser for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan, and other members of the White House’s National Security Council staff. Read more about the event at

Campanella Gallery Exhibit Focuses on Post-Traumatic Stress

The current art exhibit in Park University’s 2019-20 Campanella Gallery exhibition season features a photographic essay, “Darkest Hour,” by Park University student and military veteran Laura Albate. The exhibit, which focuses on post-traumatic stress in military veterans, is on display through Friday, Nov. 22 in the Gallery, located within Norrington Center on the University’s Parkville Campus. A reception for the artist will be held Saturday, Nov. 2, from 2 to 4 p.m. Admission to the Campanella Gallery is free.

Albate, a senior interdisciplinary studies major, was a Naval aircrewman from 2007-13 and served deployments in the 5th Fleet engaging in counter submarine operations, surveillance, reconnaissance and intelligence. While the exhibit showcases military veterans, Albate said that PTS and its invisible wounds not only affect the individual, but also family, friends and coworkers. The exhibit is presented in partnership with the University’s Park Global Warrior Center, with support from Dean Larrick, 1953 Park graduate. Read more about the exhibit at

Volunteers Requested for Heart of America Stand Down

Park University’s Department of Military and Veteran Student Services, home of the Park Global Warrior Center, is looking for volunteers to support Kansas City’s homeless veterans during the region’s next Heart of America Stand Down event on Friday, Nov. 8, from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan. Park faculty, staff and students will meet at the Herr House parking lot on the Parkville Campus at 6:30 a.m. that morning to convoy to the event.

The Heart of America Stand Down brings together community service groups and organizations from the Kansas City area to provide assistance and help rid the barriers that prevent homeless veterans from re-entering society as engaged, productive citizens and live more fulfilling lives. Assistance offered includes medical, substance abuse, legal issues, taxes, housing and utility assistance, family counseling, spiritual, mentorships, educational and employment opportunities, and haircuts. Approximately 500 veterans and dependents are planned to participate.

Those interested in volunteering can sign up here or contact Sarah Weygand, director of military and veteran student services, at or (816) 584-6544. In addition, the PGWC is collecting donations of men’s and women’s winter clothing, including hats, coats and gloves, new underwear/undershirts, socks, deodorant and other various toiletries. Donations can be dropped off in the Park Global Warrior Center on the first floor of Thompson Commons on the Parkville Campus at any time before the event. For additional information about the Heart of America Stand Down, visit

Faculty, Staff, Student News

Brian Hoffman, Ph.D. (left), professor of biology, presented a paper he co-authored with Scott Hageman (right), associate professor of geology and associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, at the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting in Phoenix on Sept. 23. The paper, “Preliminary Analysis of Teeth of the Extinct Requiem Shark Physogaleus Contortus as Cutting Tools,” examines teeth from 20 million year-old tiger-like sharks from North Carolina and the evolutionary differences in modern tiger sharks.

Jeanette Prenger, ’09, chair of Park University’s Board of Trustees, and founder and chief executive officer of ECCO Select, an information technology services, solutions and staffing firm based in Kansas City, Mo., was recognized by the Hispanic Information Technology Executive Council on its 2019-20 list of the 100 most influential Hispanic leaders in technology.

Zac Jarrard, information technology services project manager, presented sessions on “How Fighting Monsters and Building Cities Inspired Me” at Minefaire Chicago, Sept. 21-22. The presentation focused on lessons learned from playing Minecraft and how video game skills can lead to careers.

Associate Professor of MarketingPenny DeJong, Ph.D. (left), associate dean of the School of Business and professor of marketing, and Hank Roehrich, Ph.D. (right), associate professor of management/marketing, presented at the Marketing Management Association’s fall educators conference in Santa Fe, N.M., in September. They served on the “Ethics and Social Responsibility in the Curriculum” panel and co-authored a paper on “Leading Toward More Responsibility by Teaching Ethics in the Marketing Classroom” (page 143). Roehrich and his wife, Julie Grabanski, Ph.D., presented their paper “Faculty Role in Conflict Management: Sustaining Student Success in the Classroom” (page 19).

Carolyn Elwess, university archivist, authored a historical article related to the old water plant for the City of Parkville, Mo., fall 2019 newsletter (page 10).

Debra Olson-Morrison, Ph.D., assistant professor of social work, was the keynote speaker at the YMCA’s Togetherhood Poverty Summit on Oct. 4, in Parkville, Mo. Olson-Morrison spoke on “Togetherness: Building Opportunities for Education,” which outlined some of the current issues faced for low-income students when they try to attend college, and some of the creative endeavors to support these students in achieving a college degree.

Professor emerita of EnglishA memoir authored by Virginia Brackett, Ph.D., professor emerita of English, has been published. The book, In the Company of Patriots (Sunbury Press), recounts the story of the short life of her father, Capt. Edmund C. Roberts Jr., who was killed by a sniper in Korea when she was eight months old. She draws on public and personal accounts of the father she never knew, including war journalism, war history, family documents, formal military and government correspondence, her father’s letters from the front, and interviews with, and letters from, those who served with him in WWII and Korea in an attempt to understand her father’s dedication to service and the effect of his sacrifice on his family. Roberts was captured at the Battle of the Bulge and interred in a German prison camp, escaped, had an audience with Gen. Patton and was decorated with the Bronze Star by Patton’s personal assistant. After leaving the Army for a few years, he re-joined and was sent to Korea when the Korean conflict broke, where he made headlines as the driver of the first tank to reach the Yalu River.

Kay Barnes (left), senior director of university engagement, and Laurie DiPadova-Stocks, Ph.D. (right), professor of public administration, co-presented a pair of sessions at the American Business Women’s Association national leadership conference in Kansas City, Mo., Oct. 4-5. The duo presented “Challenges and Opportunities for Women as Leaders” and “Leading Through Enhanced Communication Skills.”

Park in the News

A story about Lee Salem, ’68, who passed away on Sept. 2, appeared in The New York Times on Sept. 18. Salem, who served as editor and president of Universal Press Syndicate (now Andrews McMeel Universal) in Kansas City, Mo., edited and developed some of the best comic strips in American history, such as “Doonesbury,” “Calvin and Hobbes,” “Cathy,” “The Far Side,” “For Better or For Worse” and “FoxTrot.” Salem was a recipient of Park University’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2008 and he was among those listed in the book, 120 Outstanding Alumni of Park College, published in 1996 (and compiled and edited by Carolyn Elwess, university archivist).

Park University’s “Park Through the Years” historical exhibit in the Fishburn Archives exhibit space on the Parkville Campus was featured in a podcast on on Sept. 18. Carolyn Elwess, university archivist, and Ashlyn Weber, Fishburn Archives intern and senior public history major, were interviewed.

Steve Bell, Ph.D., J.D., professor of economics, was interviewed for a story that aired on KSHB-TV in Kansas City on Sept. 18 related to the United Auto Workers strike against General Motors and the impact it could have on the economy.

Steve Youngblood, associate professor of communication arts and director of the Center for Global Peace Journalism, authored a guest commentary that appeared on The Kansas City Star’s website on Sept. 19 related to the International Day of Peace.

Marquita Miller, ‘98, was featured in the Kansas City Business Journal on Sept. 20. Miller, chief executive officer of Five Star Tax and Business Solutions in Kansas City, Mo., was a member of the KCBJ’s “Women Who Mean Business” Class of 2014.

Violinist Maria Ioudenitch, daughter of Stanislav Ioudenitch, artistic director of Park University’s International Center for Music, appeared on KSHB-TV’s “Kansas City Live” on Sept. 20 to perform a short musical selection and to promote that evening’s “Stanislav and Friends” concert at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Park University was well represented on the Ingram’s 250, a list of the most powerful business leaders in Greater Kansas City, according to Ingram’s, Kansas City’s business magazine, in its September issue. Among those selected were: Greg Gunderson, Ph.D., Park University president; Matt Malott, ’01, president and chief executive officer at Multivac U.S.; Jeanette Prenger, ’09, chair of Park’s Board of Trustees, and founder and CEO of ECCO Select; Brad Skinner, ’99, president and CEO of Milbank Manufacturing; and David Warm, Board of Trustees member, president and CEO at the Mid-America Regional Council.

John Hamilton, Ph.D., associate professor of criminal justice administration, was interviewed for a story that aired on KSHB-TV in Kansas City on Oct. 2 on police pursuit policies, related to a chase of a suspect that resulted in a crash and death of an innocent driver.

Nicholas Miceli, Ph.D., associate professor of human resources management and healthcare management, was interviewed for a story that aired on KCTV in Kansas City on Oct. 2 on how talk of politics in the office is turning the workplace toxic.

Park University’s Gilbert (Ariz.) Campus was highlighted with a series of photos in the October issue of Gilbert Lifestyle magazine (page 8).

The Parkville, Mo., edition of “Discovering Kansas City” won a National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Mid-America Chapter Emmy Award in the “Magazine Program” category at the NATAS Mid-America Gala on Oct. 5 in Branson, Mo. The Parkville edition, which aired this past spring and was produced by Mitch Weber and Toto TV Productions, included segments on the history of Parkville, featuring an interview with Carolyn Elwess, university archivist; a story about Park University’s history featuring interviews with Elwess and Park President Dr. Greg Gunderson; and a segment about the University’s commitment to students, featuring interviews with Gunderson, Aaliyah Brown, December 2018 graduate and currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership degree, and Sarah Zitter, senior political science/international politics major. The Parkville edition can be viewed at

Greg Plumb, J.D., professor of criminal justice administration, was interviewed for a story that aired on KSHB-TV in Kansas City on Oct. 9 related to how the suspects in a recent shooting received favorable court outcomes for previous crimes.

A story and photo about the Parkville (Mo.) Rotary Club presenting a $5,000 check to Laurie Gunderson, Park University’s first lady, appeared in the Platte County Citizen on Oct. 9. The check was dedicated to Park’s fundraising efforts for the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center.

Park University received the following rankings by various websites:
          •  Online degree programs in logistics ranked No. 3 on OnlineSchoolsReport’s “15 Best Online Bachelor’s in Supply Chain Management” list.
          •  Online Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice administration/corrections ranked No. 3 on’s “10 Best Online Bachelor’s in Corrections” list.
          •  Online Master of Business Administration program was ranked No. 3 on’s “Top 25 MBA Programs with no GMAT Requirement Online for 2020” list.
          •  Online Bachelor of Science degree in geography ranked No. 4 on’s “10 Most Affordable Bachelor’s in Geography Online for 2019” list.
          •  Bachelor of Science degree in management/healthcare was ranked No. 14 on’s “15 Best Affordable Healthcare Management Degree Programs (Bachelor’s) 2019” list.
          •  Bachelor of Science degree in management/finance was ranked No. 41 on’s “Top-Ranked Colleges for Financial Planning” list.
          •  Online Bachelor of Science degree in computer information systems was listed on’s “Top Online Bachelor’s of Computer Engineering Degree Programs for 2020” list.
          •  Online Bachelor of Science degree in information and computer science/software engineering was listed on’s “30 Best Online Schools for Bachelor’s in Software Engineering for 2020” list.

Upcoming Events

(All events are Central time)
          •  Through November 22 — Student Military Art Exhibit – “Darkest Hour,” Campanella Gallery (Norrington Center)
          •  Through November 30 — Park Through the Years Exhibit, Fishburn Archives Exhibit Space
          •  October 13 — Fall I Term Ends
          •  October 14 — Park University Golf Scramble, 10 a.m., The National Golf Club of Kansas City
          •  October 14-20 — Fall Recess
          •  October 15 — River Read Children’s Literature Festival, Parkville Campus
          •  October 21 — Fall II Term Begins
          •  October 23 — “Banishing Bullying Behavior: A Call to Action from Early Childhood Through Senior Adulthood” presentation by Blanche Sosland, 3 p.m., David Theater (Alumni Hall)
          •  October 23 — International Center for Music Orchestra Mini Concert, 4 p.m., Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel
          •  October 24 — Fright Night, 6-8 p.m., Copley Quad
          •  October 25 — Board of Trustees Meeting, Parkville Campus
          •  October 30 — “Very Secret, Very Cool, but Not Aliens: The U-2, the A-12 and Area 51” presentation by Dr. Brent Geary, 1:30 p.m., David Theater (Alumni Hall)
          •  October 30 — International Center for Music Concert: Pianist Behzod Abduraimov, 7:30 p.m., 1900 Building, Mission Woods, Kan.
          •  November 1 — Greater Kansas City Peacebuilding Conference (Day 2), 1-4 p.m., Park Distance Learning Conference Center
          •  November 2 — Defense Supply Center Columbus (Ohio) Campus Commencement, 9 a.m., Ohio History Connection
          •  November 3 — Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (Ohio) Campus Commencement, 2 p.m., Hope Hotel and Richard C. Holbrooke Conference Center
          •  November 8 — International Center for Music Concert: ICM Orchestra, 7:30 p.m., Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel
          •  November 11 — Veterans Day Holiday (all University offices closed; Parkville Daytime classes cancelled; Fall II classes held as scheduled)
          •  November 15 — Mountain Home (Idaho) Air Force Base Campus Commencement, noon, 665 Falcon St., Room 108
          •  November 16 — International Center for Music Concert: Pianist Jan Jiracek von Arnim, 7:30 p.m., 1900 Building, Mission Woods, Kan.
          •  November 28-29 — Thanksgiving Holiday (all University offices closed; Parkville Daytime classes cancelled; Fall II classes held as scheduled)

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.