Crows Nest

The Crow’s Nest — October 4, 2023

Park Staff Recognized at ESS Conference

A number of Park University staff were honored with various awards during the University’s Enrollment and Student Services Conference, held virtually in late September.
          •  Excellence in Innovation Award, which recognizes employees who have made an impact by the use of innovation — Allison Forrest, return of Title IV specialist
          •  Community Engagement Award, which recognizes employees who demonstrate growth through community engagement — Nancy Almodovar, Mountain Home (Idaho) Air Force Base Campus director
          •  Buck Core Values Award, which recognizes employees who consistently demonstrate the University’s mission and vision, and are a role model exemplifying the University’s core values — Robin Burger, assistant director of student success
          •  Excellence in Leadership Award, which recognizes employees who mentor or serve others and consistently demonstrate examples of exceptional leadership — Tiffany Hunt, assistant director of admissions (California)
          •  Rising Star Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions of employees beyond the standard duties and have served the University for less than 18 months — Brett Beneke, graduate admissions representative; Tyler Burch, student success coach; Clair Eaton, student success coach; Tara Hartenbower, financial aid counselor; and Angel Hopeau, Camp Pendleton (Calif.) Campus director
          •  Above and Beyond Award, which recognizes employees who consistently go above and beyond their job description to help students, faculty or staff — Lucia Cunningham, return of Title IV specialist; Shelby Hidan, Malmstrom Air Force Base (Mont.) Campus director; Vern Mannix, Alvina Mannix, student success coach; Krystal Vezina, Hanscom Air Force Base (Mass.) Campus director and student success coach

Stuart Symington IVFormer U.S. Ambassador to Speak at Parkville Campus

W. Stuart Symington IV, former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria (2016-19), Rwanda (2008-11) and Djibouti (2006-08), will participate in a conversation at Park University’s flagship Parkville (Mo.) Campus on Tuesday, Oct. 31, starting at 10 a.m. in McCoy Meetin’ House. Admission to the event is free and open to the public.

Symington is the grandson of Missouri U.S. Sen. Stuart Symington III who served in office from 1953-76 and received an honorary doctorate from Park in 1957. Symington’s appearance is made possible through a collaboration with the Command and General Staff College Foundation at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Park University President Shane Smeed, Board of Trustees member Benny Lee and Jeanette Prenger, ’09 (and former trustee) are on the Foundation’s board.

The StylusPark University’s Student Newspaper is Now Digital

The Stylus, Park University’s student newspaper, is now available only via a digital format. Read the first 2023 issue at To read more stories, visit In addition, The Stylus is looking for student reporters from across the country. Those interested should e-mail for more information.

Parkville Campus Homecoming Royalty Announced

As part of Park University’s recent Homecoming and Parents Weekend 2023 festivities on the flagship Parkville (Mo.) Campus, six Park students were announced as homecoming royalty during halftime of the men’s soccer match against Mount Mercy University on Sept. 30, as voted on by the student body based on how they exemplify Park’s core values: accountability, civility and respect, excellence, global citizenship, inclusivity and integrity.

DeShae GonzalezShelby BirminghamThose selected as royalty — seniors: Shelby Birmingham (left), communications studies major, and DeShae Gonzalez (right), nursing major; juniors: Amra Kovac, psychology major, and Ethan Willmann, information and computer science/software development major; sophomores: Muntaka Fawziah, nursing major, and Noor Salam, sport and exercise science major. Read more at

Fright NightPark University to Host Annual Fright Night Event on Oct. 26

Fright Night, Park University’s annual Halloween celebration, will be held Thursday, Oct. 26, at the Copley Quad residence hall on the University’s flagship Parkville (Mo.) 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. Numerous Park University 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 (soccer field). For more information, contact Tonya Robbins, director of residence life, at or (816) 584-7401.

Merrick Henry ImageCampanella Gallery to Host Exhibit of Digital Designs

The Campanella Gallery at Park University continues its 2023-24 season with an exhibit of digital design works by Merrick Henry, assistant teaching professor of graphic design, Friday, Oct. 6, through Friday, Dec. 8. A reception for the exhibit and artist will be held on Friday, Oct. 20, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Gallery.

Henry, who was the co-recipient of Park University’s Faculty Newcomer of the Year Award in 2020, said that typographic exploration and photography experiments are showcased in the exhibit, a collection of designs that represent his years of teaching, life experiences and work at Park. “The exhibition explores the relationship between typography and digital photography using four methods — fusion, fragmentation, inversion and separation,” Henry said. “The imagery ranges from classroom exercises to client work and personal design ideas, with the aim to connect users into my digital realm.” For more information and exhibit hours, visit

International Center for Music Continues 2023-24 Concert Season

Park University’s International Center for Music 2023-24 concert season continues with a pair of concerts in October featuring ICM students. On Friday, Oct. 6, the ICM Orchestra will perform its fall concert with guest conductor David Amado inside Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel on the University’s flagship Parkville (Mo.) Campus, starting at 7:30 p.m. Admission to this concert is free, but reservations are recommended at

On Saturday, Oct. 28, the ICM Strings Studio will perform at the 1900 Building in Mission Woods, Kan., starting at 7:30 p.m. This concert will highlight students of violinist Ben Sayevich, cellist Daniel Veis and violist Peter Chun. Tickets for this concert are $30 for general admission and $10 for students.

For more information about the International Center for Music’s concert season, visit

The NavigatorThe Navigator Seeks Student Writing Submissions

Park University’s undergraduate research journal, The Navigator: Excellent Student Writing Across the Disciplines, is asking undergraduate students to consider submitting academic work — from any discipline completed in a Park course during the 2023 calendar year — for possible publication. The Navigator is designed to highlight the best undergraduate student writing at Park, with an emphasis on the richness and variety of academic research across the University.

To have your work considered for publication, undergraduates should submit their work along with their name, Park ID number, title of the project, the course and name of the instructor for which the project was produced and a short description of the assignment to The best piece published in the next issue of The Navigator will receive an award and a $50 Amazon gift card. For more information visit

Park University’s Clery Report Available

Every year, Park University publishes its annual Security and Fire Safety Report in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Safety Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Report). This document provides local crime statistics, details the University’s regulations and procedures for emergency response, and lists on- and off-campus resources for safety assistance. All colleges and universities participating in federal financial aid programs are required to share this data with the public. Park University provides this information beyond simply obeying the rules and regulations, hopes that doing so demonstrates Park’s commitment to the wellbeing of students, faculty, staff, business tenants and visitors.

Park University’s Clery Report for the 2022 calendar year has been posted at and includes reports for every Park campus across the country. The report is also available in printed form upon request by contacting the Office of Campus Safety at or (816) 584-6444. Thank you for your interest in learning more about how the University works to provide and improve the safety of its campuses nationwide. Park University believes in, and promotes, campuses where student safety is our primary concern.

Faculty, Staff, Student News

Rex GabbertAnthony Rex Gabbert, J.D., adjunct instructor of criminal justice administration and management, was honored with the 2023 Theodore M. McMillian Judicial Excellence Award on Sept. 14 during the judicial conference and annual meeting of The Missouri Bar in Kansas City, Mo. The award recognizes jurists who, by virtue of their integrity, leadership and diligence in the pursuit of the efficient administration of justice, inspire other members of the judiciary to similar noble purpose. Gabbert has served the judiciary for the last 31 years as municipal judge, associate circuit judge and circuit judge, and, since 2013, as a judge on the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District.

Glenn LesterGlenn Lester, associate professor of English, and three Park University graduates, Sydney Doyle, ’20, Taylor Lucas, ’21, and Alison Overcash, ’21, co-authored “We Write Because We Care: Developing Your Writerly Identity,” which appeared in Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing, a book series containing peer-reviewed essays. The chapter challenges the idea that college students should write for one reason and one reason only: to complete a class assignment. The writers argue that writing can be used as a tool to build personal agency, develop resilience and achieve social goals.

Erik BergrudErik Bergrud, chief strategic communications officer, was an invited keynote speaker for the Korean Association for Public Administration Fall Conference and Global Summit on Public Administration held in Seoul, South Korea, Sept. 21-23. Bergrud, who served as president of the American Society for Public Administration in 2011-12, addressed the topic, “The KAPA and ASPA Relationship: Entering Its Fourth Decade,” in his remarks delivered at the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Nathalia HarthKristin GilletteKristin Gillette, director of athletics for Park University’s flagship Parkville (Mo.) Campus, served as a co-panelist for an NAIA RISE (Respect Inclusivity Support Education) and MOAA (Minority Opportunities Athletic Association) webinar on Sept. 27. Nathalia Harth, sports communications graduate assistant, served as the moderator of the event, which focused on how athletic directors across the country are implementing insights from the NAIA’s international focus groups related to recruiting and retaining international student-athletes.

Park in the News

Matt Harris, Ph.D., associate professor of political science, was interviewed for stories that aired on KMBZ-FM in Kansas City on Sept. 1 related to proposals by Republicans in Missouri to change the state’s total abortion ban.

Harris was also interviewed for stories on KMBZ-FM on Sept. 11 related to calls by U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) calling for U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ala.) to step down due to possible health concerns.

Harris was interviewed for stories that aired on KMBC-TV in Kansas City on Sept. 19 related to National Voter Registration Day and the impact voter registration events have on elections.

On Sept. 22, Harris participated in a live interview that aired on KCUR-FM’s (Kansas City) “Up To Date.” The segment was related to how older politicians are affecting politics.

Harris was interviewed for stories that aired on KMBZ-FM on Sept. 26 related to a ruling by the Missouri Supreme Court regarding the a challenge by the secretary of state to ballot language on abortion issues.

Lisa Pruetting, ’10, product manager for Kansas City, Mo., based Midland Radio, authored an opinion article titled “Communication, Preparation Vital Before Traveling” which appeared in RV News on Sept. 6.

A story about Larry Jackson Jr., ’76, who passed away in June, appeared in The Kansas City Star on Sept. 10. Jackson was known for creating “The Black Visitor’s Guide to Kansas City.”

Yang Sun, Ph.D., dean of the College of Management, was interviewed for stories that aired on KSHB-TV in Kansas City on Sept. 11 related to a then-looming United Auto Workers strike and its potential economic impact.

Park University’s InSight: A Journal of Scholarly Teaching, was mentioned as part of an article titled “Academic Success Tip: Create a Class Exit Ticket” published Sept. 12 in Inside Higher Ed. The article referenced research findings, “Exit Tickets Open the Door to University Learning,” published in Vol. 11 (2016) of InSight.

A story about the Morris Library at Southern Illinois University, named for Delyte Morris, Ph.D., a 1928 Park University graduate, appeared in The Daily Egyptian (SIU newspaper) on Sept. 13. Morris served as president of SIU from 1948-70.

A story about John Turner, whose father, L.I. Turner Jr., was co-designer of NASA’s original 16-foot-tall high-speed wind tunnel, appeared in The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va., newspaper) on Sept. 19. The story also depicts John’s mother, Catherine (Richardson) Turner, a 1934 Park University graduate. The article provides details on how Catherine came to Park and her eventual job with NASA, and it mentions that she managed 17 computer women split into two groups — one White, one Black — the latter the focus of the 2016 best-selling book and movie, Hidden Figures.

A story about Matt Percy, ’21, appeared in the Ottawa (Kan.) Herald on Sept. 19. Percy, who was a member of Park University’s flagship Parkville (Mo.) Campus men’s golf team, was recently appointed an assistant coach of the golf program at Ottawa University.

Mikhail Voskresensky, a Russian-Ukrainian pianist who performed as part of Park University’s International Center for Music 2023-24 concert season on Sept. 22, was highlighted on KWJC-FM (Classical KC) in Kansas City the night prior to his concert.

Park University was featured in stories that aired on KMBC-TV, KCTV and WDAF-TV in Kansas City on Sept. 28 as the University hosted a poverty simulation event. Nikki Pauls DeSimone, assistant professor of social work, was interviewed for the stories; Xavier Woods, senior social work major, was interviewed for the KMBC story, and Connor Washburn, senior social work major, was highlighted as well.

Park University was ranked on lists as part of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges 2024” rankings announced on Sept. 18.
          •  Best Regional Universities – Midwest — listed alphabetically among those ranked between No. 149 and No. 164
          •  Least Debt – Regional Universities Midwest, No. 62
          •  Economic Diversity – Regional Universities Midwest, (tie) No. 80
          •  Freshman Retention Rate – Regional Universities Midwest, (tie) No. 149
          •  Top Performers on Social Mobility – Regional Universities Midwest, (tie) No. 162
Also, in USNWR’s graduate school rankings, Park ranked (tie) No. 219 for Best Public Affairs Programs and (tie) No. 266 for Best Schools for Social Work.

Park University was ranked in the following categories by Most Affordable Online Colleges for Software Engineering Degrees, No. 7;  Most Affordable Online Supply Chain Management Degrees, No. 11; Cheapest Online Computer Science Degrees, No. 13; Most Affordable Online Public Administration Degrees, No. 16.

The University was also ranked by in the following categories: Best Industrial/Organizational Psychology Masters Programs Online for 2024, No. 3; Top Online Healthcare Administration Degrees for 2024, No. 5; Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology for 2024, No. 11.

Upcoming Events

(All events are Central time and on the flagship Parkville [Mo.] Campus unless noted)
          •  October 6-December 8 — Art Exhibit: Merrick Henry Digital Designs, Campanella Gallery (Norrington Center); Reception: October 20, 2-4 p.m., Campanella Gallery
          •  October 6 — International Center for Music Concert: ICM Orchestra, 7:30 p.m., Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel
          •  October 8 — Fall I Term Ends
          •  October 9-15 — Fall Recess (no classes nationwide; all University offices open)
          •  October 14 — Goodfellow Air Force Base (Texas) Campus / Lackland Air Force Base (Texas) Campus / Randolph Air Force Base (Texas) Campus Commencement, 10:30 a.m., Bob Hope Theater, Lackland AFB
          •  October 16 — Fall II Term Classes Begin
          •  October 16 — Park University Golf Scramble, 10 a.m., The National Golf Club of Kansas City
          •  October 26 — Fright Night, 6-8 p.m., Copley Quad
          •  October 28 — International Center for Music Concert: Park ICM Strings Studio, 7:30 p.m., 1900 Building, Mission Woods, Kan.
          •  October 31 — Conversation with Former U.S. Ambassador Stuart Symington IV, 10 a.m., McCoy Meetin’ House
          •  November 2 — Blood Drive, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Breckon Sports Center (East Dome)
          •  November 4 — Columbus (Ohio) Campus / Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (Ohio) Campus Commencement, Ohio History Connection, Columbus
          •  November 6 — Scholars @ Work: “Creating a Connected Culture with Dispersed Learners and Faculty,” noon, Norrington Center Learning Lab and Virtual
          •  November 10 — Veterans Day Holiday (Observed; all University offices closed nationwide; Parkville [Mo.] and Gilbert [Ariz.] daytime classes cancelled; Fall II term classes held as scheduled)
          •  November 23-26 — Thanksgiving Holiday (all University offices closed nationwide; Parkville [Mo.] and Gilbert [Ariz.] daytime classes cancelled; Fall II term classes held as scheduled)
          •  November 30 — International Center for Music Concert: Park ICM Piano Studio, 7:30 p.m., 1900 Building, Mission Woods, Kan.

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.