Crows Nest

The Crow’s Nest — October 5, 2022

Park University Recognizes Employee Longevity

On Sept. 16, Park University honored full-time staff and faculty who reached milestone service anniversaries between Nov. 1, 2021, and Sept. 30, 2022. Fifty-six employees were recognized, combining for 550 years of service to Park. Park University President Shane Smeed presented Presidential Meritorious Service medallions to employees with 20-plus years of service. Four employees also received special recognition with 25-plus years of service. View the list of those recognized at

Pirate logoPirates, Buccaneers Scholar-Athletes Honored by NAIA

Park University student-athletes and athletic teams at the Parkville (Mo.) Campus and athletic teams at the Gilbert (Ariz.) Campus from the 2021-22 academic year were recognized by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics on Sept. 15 as part of the NAIA’s National Awards Day.

Fifteen Park University athletic programs — nine from the Parkville Campus and six from the Gilbert Campus — were honored as an NAIA Scholar Team. Leading the way was the Parkville Campus women’s volleyball team with a combined grade point average of 3.55. The other Parkville Campus team above a 3.4 combined GPA was women’s cross country (3.46). The Gilbert Campus was led by the men’s volleyball and women’s volleyball teams, both with a combined 3.24 GPA.

In addition, the Parkville Campus had 86 student-athletes recognized as Daktronics NAIA Scholar-Athletes, including 15 representatives each from the baseball team, 11 from women’s volleyball, and 10 each from men’s soccer and women’s soccer. The complete list of teams and individuals honored can be viewed at

Fright Night Event Returns to Park University

Fright Night, a community Halloween celebration, will be held on Thursday, Oct. 27, at the Copley Quad residence hall on Park University’s flagship Parkville (Mo.) Campus from 6 to 8 p.m. This is the University’s first Fright Night event since 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic. 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.

The event includes trick-or-treating for children throughout the residence hall, and booths will be set up for face painting, crafts and carnival-style games. 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. For more information, contact Tonya Robbins, director of residence life, at or (816) 584-7401.

International Center for Music Season Begins Oct. 7

The first concert of the Park University International Center for Music’s 2022-23 concert season is set for Friday, Oct. 7, as the ICM Orchestra performs its fall concert starting at 7:30 p.m. in Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel on the University’s flagship Parkville (Mo.) Campus. David Amado, music director of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra and music director of the Atlantic Classical Orchestra will be the guest conductor. Admission to the concert is free.

The following evening (Saturday, Oct. 8), ICM graduate student Ilya Shmukler, who was a finalist (top 6) in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in June, will perform at the 1900 Building in Mission Woods, Kan., starting at 7:30 p.m. General admission tickets are $30 and student tickets are $10.

On Friday, Oct. 28, students of the ICM Piano Studio, led by ICM founder and artistic director Stanislav Ioudenitch, will perform at the 1900 Building, starting at 7:30 p.m. Students scheduled to perform are Shmukler, Michael Davidman, Kyoshiro Hirama, Sihao Qin and Anastasia Vorotnaya. General admission tickets are $30 and student tickets are $10.

Check out the program information for each concert, as well as a complete season schedule and ticket information at

Park University Hosting Housing Insecurity Summit

With homelessness becoming an ever-increasing concern in the Kansas City area, Park University will host a housing insecurity summit on Wednesday, Oct. 19, that will focus on the Northland area. The event, which is open to the public, will be held in Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel on the University’s flagship Parkville Campus from 8:30 to 11 a.m. The session will also be available via livestream at

The summit will include a panel of community organizations with a public question-and-answer session, brainstorming solutions and an interdisciplinary collaboration discussion. Panelists will also present information on how each is dealing with various aspects of homelessness, action steps the community as a whole can take and resources needed to help improve housing insecurity. Read more about the summit at

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 on Sept. 29.
          •  Excellence in Innovation Award, which recognizes employees who have made an impact by the use of innovation — Janice Teeter, manager of military strategic partnerships and director of the Goodfellow Air Force Base (Texas) Campus.
          •  Community Engagement Award, which recognizes employees who demonstrate growth through community engagement — Dave Nunez, director of the Barstow (Calif.) Community College Campus.
          •  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 — Jennifer Statler, associate director of student financial services.
          •  Excellence in Leadership Award, which recognizes employees who mentor or serve others and consistently demonstrate examples of exceptional leadership — Desiree Nickerson, assistant director of student success/virtual.
          •  Rising Star Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions of employees beyond the standard duties and have served the University for less than 18 months — Tiffany Hunt, director of the Victor Valley College (Calif.) Campus and admissions representative; Erin Nuveman, campus center coach, Holloman Air Force Base (N.M.); and Heather Puls, student success coach.
          •  Above and Beyond Award, which recognizes employees who consistently go above and beyond their job description to help students, faculty or staff — Joy Bueno-Franco, director of the Fort Bliss (Texas) Campus; Brad Bunge, student success coach; Steve Fenske, coordinator of academic advising; Cathy Geehan, assistant director of admissions; Gulmira Isomadinova, military and veteran funding analyst; Rich Kelleher, director of the Independence (Mo.) Campus.

Third-Party Comments Requested for Department of Nursing Programs Accreditation Review

Park University’s Department of Nursing is preparing for an accreditation review of its pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing and registered nurse to BSN programs by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, Monday-Wednesday, Nov. 14-16. During the CCNE’s review of the program, the evaluation team will consider third-party comments related to the standards of accreditation. At no time during the review process are these comments shared with the program, the Accreditation Review Committee or the board.

CCNE requires that the University notifies constituents of the opportunity to submit written comments about the nursing program under review. All third-party comments must be submitted to CCNE and be written in English, consistent with CCNE’s policy of Conduct of Business in English, and submitted by Monday, Oct. 24, to

Faculty, Staff, Student News

Janie KluempersJanie Kluempers, assistant athletic trainer for Park University’s flagship Parkville (Mo.) Campus, is serving as the assistant athletic trainer for the USA Women’s Eagles Rugby team which will play in the month-long Rugby World Cup in New Zealand beginning on Saturday, Oct. 8. Kluempers was featured in a Heart of America Athletic Conference interview segment on Sept. 30.

Sergey BelyavskySergey Belyavsky, a graduate student pursuing a graduate certificate in music performance/piano in Park University’s International Center for Music, has qualified for the semifinals of the Concours de Genève International Music Competition in Geneva, Switzerland. Belyavsky will perform a recital on Oct. 27 or 28, and a chamber music program on Oct. 29 or 30. Should Belyavsky be one of the three finalists, the final round orchestra concert will be held on Nov. 3. Watch Belyavsky’s opening round performance here. In advance of the competition, Belyavsky will perform a recital on Monday, Oct. 10, starting at 7:30 p.m. in Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel on the University’s flagship Parkville (Mo.) Campus.

Vince ClarkVince Clark, chairman of Park University’s Board of Trustees, was honored by the Kansas City Royals during the Sept. 22 game by sitting in the Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat, which recognizes individuals who impact the Kansas City community and best reflect the compassionate spirit of the late O’Neil.

Elaina Michalski, assistant teaching professor of fine art, had three sculptures accepted into an exhibition of art at the Art Experience at Mosaic Medical Center in St. Joseph, Mo. One of her sculptures, “Purlen,” a terra cotta with underglaze and gold leaf enamel, received the Juror’s Choice Award. The sculpture is part of a series of figurative sculptures of females in various colors of clay and adorned with textural details and gold accents.

Dr. Kathy HoweKathy Howe, Ph.D., assistant professor of literacy education and director of the Watson Literacy Center, co-authored the article “Teacher Educators’ Beliefs, Self-Efficacy and Perceptions Related to Dyslexia: Phase I” that appeared in a recent edition of the journal Literacy Practice and Research.

Dr. Ho-Seop ChaHo-Seop Cha, Ph.D. (left), assistant professor of geography, and Kathy Taylor, J.D., director of adjunct faculty orientation and mentoring, provided comments for the recently published book Best Practices for Mentoring in Online Programs: Supporting Faculty and Students in Higher Education.

Elisha Knapp, a senior multimedia journalism and public relations major, won the informative speech category at the American Forensic Association’s University of West Florida Marks Invitational held virtually on Sept. 24. Her speech was on “Medical Quackery.”

Park in the News

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Melissa Johnson, ’09, was highlighted on the University of Louisville website on Sept. 12. Johnson returned to UL after 27 years to complete a master’s degree.

Gabby Romero, a junior utility player on the Park University Gilbert (Ariz.) Campus softball team, was featured in the Eastern Arizona Courier on Sept. 13.

Matt Harris, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science, was interviewed for stories that aired on KMBZ-FM in Kansas City on Sept. 20 related to the U.S. House of Representatives Kansas 3rd District race, and on Sept. 30 related to Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s run for a second term.

Harris was also interviewed for a story that aired on KMBC-TV in Kansas City on Sept. 20 related to National Voter Registration Day.

Joseph Geeter III, ’99, a 2018 recipient of Park University’s Marlowe Sherwood Memorial Service Award and a former member of Park’s Board of Trustees, was featured as part of stories shared on WPVI-TV’s website in Philadelphia on Sept. 20 related to the Montford Point Marines. The Montford Point Marines were the first Black Americans to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps after President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the Armed Forces to admit African American recruits in 1941. Geeter, a past president of the Montford Point Marine Association, was instrumental in helping these servicemembers receive the Congressional Gold Medal in 2012.

Merideth Rose, ’06, MPA ’08, and a member of Park University’s Civic Advisory Council, was recognized by the City of Independence, Mo., on Sept. 20 as the 2022 Susan Paxton Block Award recipient for her volunteer work leading emergency service efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic and as a member of the city’s Human Relations Commission.

Jeanette Prenger, ’09, and a member of Park University’s Board of Trustees, was named to the 2023 HITEC 100 list of the most influential and notable Hispanic professionals in the technology industry. Prenger is the founder and chief executive officer of ECCO Select, an IT talent acquisition and advisory consulting company in Kansas City, Mo.

Prenger’s company, ECCO Select, was ranked No. 6 on the Kansas City Business Journal’s list of women-owned businesses (published on Sept. 16), based on 2021 revenue.

Park University was well-represented on the 2022 Ingram’s 250, a list of the most powerful business leaders in Greater Kansas City, according to Ingram’s, a Kansas City business magazine, in its September issue. Among those selected were: Mitzi Cardenas, chief administrative officer at University Health and member of Park’s Board of Trustees; Matt Malott, ’01, president and chief executive officer at Multivac U.S.; Jeanette Prenger, ’09, founder and chief executive officer of ECCO Select, and member of Park’s Board of Trustees; and Brad Skinner, ’99, president of Milbank Manufacturing.

Park University was ranked on a number of lists as part of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges 2023” rankings announced on Sept. 12.
          •  Best Regional Universities – Midwest, listed alphabetically among those ranked between No. 127 and No. 166
          •  Least Debt – Regional Universities Midwest, No. 43
          •  Economic Diversity – Regional Universities Midwest, No. 88 (tie)
          •  Top Performers on Social Mobility – Regional Universities Midwest, No. 150 (tie)
          •  Freshman Retention Rate – Regional Universities Midwest, No. 152 (tie)

Park University was also ranked by Military Times on its 2022 Best for Vets: Colleges rakings announced on Sept. 13. Park ranked No. 180 overall; No. 27 among all private colleges/universities in the country and No. 18 in the Central region of the U.S. ranked Park University on the following lists:
          •  2023’s Best I/O Psychology Master’s Programs Online, No. 4
          •  Best Online Healthcare Administration Degree Programs for 2023, No. 26
          •  2023’s Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology, No. 36

Upcoming Events

(All events are Central time and on the flagship Parkville [Mo.] Campus unless noted)
          •  Through October 28 — Art Exhibit, “Vision Quest: A Journey of Seeing,” Campanella Gallery (Norrington Center)
          •  October 5 — Artist Lecture, “Art and Medicine Intertwined,” 4 p.m., Norrington Center Lab
          •  October 7 — Fort Leonard Wood (Mo.) Campus Commencement, 10 a.m., Nutter Field House, Fort Leonard Wood
          •  October 7 — International Center for Music Concert: ICM Orchestra, 7;30 p.m., Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel
          •  October 8 — International Center for Music Concert: Pianist Ilya Shmukler, 7:30 p.m., 1900 Building, Mission Woods, Kan.
          •  October 9 — Fall I Term Ends
          •  October 10-16 — Fall Recess (no classes held nationwide; University offices open regular business hours)
          •  October 10 — International Center for Music Concert: Pianist Sergey Belyavsky, 7:30 p.m., Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel
          •  October 17 — Fall II Term Begins
          •  October 17 — Park University Golf Scramble, 10 a.m. (8:30 a.m. registration), The National Golf Club of Kansas City
          •  October 19 — Housing Insecurity in the Northland Summit, 8:30 a.m., Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel
          •  October 27 — Fright Night, 6 p.m., Copley Quad Residence Hall
          •  October 28 — International Center for Music Concert: ICM Piano Studio Recital, 7:30 p.m., 1900 Building, Mission Woods, Kan.
          •  November 3 — Malmstrom Air Force Base (Mont.) Campus Commencement, 2 p.m., Grizzly Bend Club, Malmstrom AFB
          •  November 5 — Columbus (Ohio) Campus Commencement, 9 a.m., Ohio History Center, Columbus, Ohio
          •  November 6 — Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (Ohio) Commencement, 2 p.m., Hope Hotel and Richard C. Holbrooke Conference Center, Dayton, Ohio
          •  November 11 — Veterans Day Holiday (all University offices closed; Parkville [Mo.] and Gilbert [Ariz.] daytime classes cancelled; Fall II classes held as scheduled)
          •  November 15 — Park University Great War Institute Veterans Day Lecture Series, 7 p.m., National World War I Museum and Memorial, Kansas City, Mo.
          •  November 18 — Board of Trustees Meeting, Parkville Campus
          •  November 19 — International Center for Music Concert: Violinist Shmuel Ashkenasi, 7:30 p.m., 1900 Building, Mission Woods, Kan.
          •  November 24-27 — Thanksgiving Holiday (all University offices closed; Parkville [Mo.] and Gilbert [Ariz.] daytime classes canceled; Fall II classes held as scheduled)
          •  November 25-27 — Kansas City Symphony Concert with Pianist Behzod Abduraimov, 8 p.m. Nov. 25-26 and 2 p.m. Nov. 27, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Mo.

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.