Crow’s Nest -Sept. 26, 2018

Park University receives $1.8 million from three KC area foundations for Plaster Center project

Park University announces that a trio of Kansas City area family foundations have made recent gifts totaling $1.8 million toward a new building to house the University’s School of Business. Providing significant contributions for the project are: the Sunderland Foundation, Overland Park, Kan., with a $1 million gift; and the Goppert Foundation, Kansas City, Mo., with a $300,000 gift. In addition, a gift of $500,000 was provided by a Kansas-based foundation that wishes to remain anonymous.

“We are excited to have the support of such influential Kansas City family foundations,” said Peter deSilva, president of retail distribution for TD Ameritrade and the chair of the University’s fundraising campaign committee for the building. “The backing of these foundations is a testament to the importance of this project and the impact that Park University has on the workforce in the region.”

With more than $4.2 million in total commitments for the project and continued fundraising, groundbreaking for the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center on the University’s flagship campus in Parkville is anticipated by summer 2019. The Plaster Center, planned to be built on the east side of the University’s main entrance, is expected to encompass 20,500 square feet when completed. Along with classroom and office space for the School of Business, the Plaster Center will include a state-of-the-art finance lab, a special innovation and entrepreneurship lab, video production studio and lounge for commuter students. In addition, the building will be the new home for the Park Global Warrior Center, which assists service members and veterans transitioning in and out of the military.

For more information or to support the building project, contact Nathan Marticke, associate vice president for university advancement, at / (816) 584-6844.

University to host best-selling author Carol Anderson for discussion on voter suppression

Park University is partnering with American Public Square and KCUR-FM for “One Person, No Vote? A Conversation with Carol Anderson” on Thursday, Oct. 11, starting at 6:30 p.m. in Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel on the University’s Parkville Campus. Admission is free, but registration is required at

In her new book One Person, No Vote, Anderson focuses on the aftermath of Shelby County, Ala., v. Holder, mapping out a story of government-dictated racial discrimination as more and more states adopt voter suppression laws. She explains how voter suppression works, from photo ID requirements to gerrymandering to poll closures, exploring the resistance: the organizing, activism and court battles to restore the basic right to vote to all Americans as the nation gears up for the 2018 mid-term elections. Anderson, the Charles Howard Candler Professor and Chair of African American Studies at Emory University, is the best-selling author of White Rage, which won a National Book Critics Circle Award.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson, KCUR’s race, identity and culture reporter, will moderate the discussion and take questions from the audience. As with other American Public Square programs, fact-checkers will be on hand, and civility bells will ensure that things don’t get too heated.

University’s website redesign wins award

Park University and mStoner Inc. were honored with a 2018 WebAward for Outstanding Achievement in Web Development by the Web Marketing Association. Park and mStoner won a University Standard of Excellence Award for the redesign of Recognized for their work were: Aimee Patton, director of marketing/digital; Gabriela Sa Teles, web manager; and Jonathan Dickson, web designer.

Park campus center holds commencement ceremony

Park University campus centers across the country have held commencement ceremonies for 2018 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.
          •  Camp Pendleton (Calif.) Marine Corps Base Campus

University’s 2018 Homecoming royalty

As part of Park University’s recent Homecoming Weekend 2018 festivities, six Park students were announced as royalty during halftime of the men’s soccer match against Lindenwood University-Belleville on Sept. 15. The student body nominated candidates who complete an application 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:
          •  Queen — Sarah Zitter, senior political science/international politics and Spanish major
          •  King — Matt Couzens, senior business administration/logistics major
          •  Princess — Ghislaine Fumey, junior psychology major
          •  Prince — Christian Leonard, junior pre-engineering major
          •  Duchess — Jaden Box, sophomore public administration/business relations major
          •  Duke — Djemarley (DJ) Occelin, sophomore social work major

University hosting novelist Jamey Bradbury for reading of debut novel

Novelist Jamey Bradbury will read from her debut novel, The Wild Inside, at Park University on Wednesday, Sept. 26. The event will be held in the Jenkin and Barbara David Theater within Alumni Hall on the University’s Parkville Campus starting at 7 p.m. A reception with the author will follow the reading. Admission is free and open to the public. The book, according to HarperCollins Publishers, is set in the Alaska wilderness and is a fusion of psychological thriller and coming-of-age tale in the vein of Chris Bohjalian, Mary Kubica and Jennifer McMahon.

Park University to host annual Fright Night event on Oct. 25

Fright Night, Park University’s annual Halloween celebration, will be held Thursday, Oct. 25, 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 Karie Fields, director of residence life, at or (816) 584-7401.

Faculty, staff, student news

Kay Barnes, senior director of university engagement, was one of three panelists to speak as part of the Discover Women in Politics event in Kansas City, Mo., on Sept. 13. Barnes, who served as mayor Kansas City, Mo., from 1999 to 2007, discussed her personal leadership journey, how women can get involved in politics and the issues impacting the community/nation positively and negatively.

Amber Dailey-Hebert, Ph.D., associate professor of adult and organizational learning and director of the Faculty Center for Innovation; Jamie Els, Ed.D., FCI programming director; Stacey Kikendall, Ph.D., assistant professor of English and associate director of the FCI; and Emily Sallee, Ph.D., associate provost and professor of English, authored a chapter for the recently published Handbook of Research on Virtual Training and Mentoring of Online Instructors. The chapter, “Access, Relevance and Inclusivity: Assessing What Matters Most to Virtual Faculty” reports on their research into the learning preferences and professional development needs of online faculty, and opportunities that exist to integrate full-time and contingent faculty across instructional modalities.

Dmitry Gimon, Ph.D., assistant professor of information and business analytics, presented the poster, “‘Bike Commuters Contribution to Balance Shared Bike Systems During Peak Load” at the IEEE International Smart Cities Conference in Kansas City, Mo., on Sept. 18. The poster received a best poster award.

On Sept. 14, Bridget Locke, director of strategic communications, and Tim Westcott, Ph.D., interim dean of the College of Education and Health Professions, associate professor of history and associate archivist, traveled to Washington, D.C., to participate in a soft launch kickoff to announce the collaboration between Park University’s George S. Robb Centre for the Study of the Great War and the United States Foundation for the Commemoration of the World War. The Centre and Foundation will partner to conduct a systematic review of U.S. military service members who were denied a Medal of Honor for valorous service during World War I. While in Washington, Locke and Westcott presented a brief history of the University’s military support and provided high-level details concerning forthcoming research efforts before members of the Congressional Black Caucus Veterans Braintrust.

A paper authored by Hank Roehrich, Ph.D., associate professor of management and marketing, and program coordinator of logistics and management, and Cathy Taylor, J.D., online academic director (along with Roehrich’s wife, Julie Grabanski, Ph.D., assistant professor of occupational therapy at the University of North Dakota), was published in the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration. The paper, “External Factors that Impact Online Instructor Performance: A Study Measuring the Impact of Decision Fatigue and Quality Matters Recognition of Courses on Online Instructor Evaluation,” looks at external factors that exacerbate this difficulty to include decision fatigue of the evaluator and quality of course design when using a master course model.

Stacey Kikendall, Ph.D., assistant professor of English and associate director of the Faculty Center for Innovation, presented the paper “‘You Can’t Look at Me Out of a Child’s Eyes: Vision, Gender and Knowledge in Charles Dickens’s Little Dorrit” at the recent Dickens Society Symposium in Tubingen, Germany. She was also named co-manager of the Dickens Society blog.

Walter Kisthardt, Ph.D., professor of social work and director of the Center for Research and Training in Integrated Behavioral Health, delivered the keynote address at the Mid-America Assistance Coalition Conference on Sept. 24, in Kansas City, Mo. Kisthardt’s address, “Integrating the Six P’s in Our Personal and Professional Lives,” provided examples from programs that have adopted strengths-based, person-centered approaches in collaboration with service participants to promote short-term goal attainment.

Steve Youngblood, associate professor of communication arts and director of the Center for Global Peace Journalism, participated in the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit on Sept. 24 in New York City prior to the start of the United Nations General Assembly. The event honored the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela and provides the opportunity for world leaders to renew their commitment to global peace, conflict prevention, conflict resolution, peacebuilding, promotion and protection of human rights and long-term development initiatives.

Park In The News

Matt Harris, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science, was interviewed for stories that aired on KMBZ-FM in Kansas City on Sept. 3 about the confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, the nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Harris was also interviewed for stories that aired on KSHB-TV in Kansas City during Labor Day weekend on why Labor Day is celebrated.

In addition, Harris was interviewed for a story that aired on KCTV in Kansas City on Sept. 19 related to the announcement that U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill would oppose U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Rudy Harper, ’12, interviewed Harris for the story.

Toni Rochelle-Ford, assistant professor of marketing, was interviewed by KSHB-TV in Kansas City for a story that aired on Sept. 4 related to former NFL player Colin Kaepernick being one of the faces of Nike’s 30th anniversary commemoration of its “Just Do It” slogan.

Kay Barnes, senior director for university engagement, was quoted in three Kansas City Star “Influencer Series” reports. The Sept. 10 issue focused on how businesses and unions can work together to drive economic growth; the Sept. 17 issue was on LGBTQ rights in Missouri; the Sept. 24 issue was on term limits.

Park University was featured in a story that aired on KNSD-TV in San Diego on Sept. 7 related to the reinstatement of education benefits for military students. Kena Wolf, associate vice president of campus center operations, and new graduate Vivian Zorich were interviewed for the story as part of Park’s Camp Pendleton (Calif.) Campus commencement ceremony.

A similar story about the suspension of benefits and subsequent reinstatement also appeared in Inside Higher Ed.

John Hamilton, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of criminal justice administration, was interviewed for a story that aired on KSHB-TV in Kansas City on Sept. 10, providing insight on tactics police used to break up a fight that was caught on video.

Jack MacLennan, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science, appeared on KCUR-FM’s “Central Standard” in Kansas City on Sept. 11 to discuss the contemporary U.S.-Australian relationship. (The 26-minute interview begins approximately 23 minutes into the program.

Park University was featured on The Kansas City Star  website with a video essay related to the University’s 9/11 commemoration ceremony held on the Parkville Campus. Interviews included: Sarah Weygand, assistant director of military and veteran student services; and Ryan Tuttle, freshman majoring in fitness and wellness and a member of the U.S. Army Reserves. President Greg Gunderson, Ph.D., also provided comments.

Park University was highlighted as part of the “Cool Cities” series that aired on WDAF-TV in Kansas City on Sept. 13 with a focus on Parkville, Mo., home of the University’s flagship campus. The segment included soundbites from Erik Bergrud, associate vice president for university engagement, and Brad Biles, director of communications and public relations.

In the 2019 U.S. News and World Report Best College Rankings published on Sept. 10, Park University ranked No. 11 among regional universities in the Midwest for ethnic diversity.

Park University President Greg Gunderson, Ph.D., and Board of Trustees members Jeanette Prenger, ’09 (vice chair), and David Warm were all selected to 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.

Sarah Hopkins-Chery, ’07, ’09, will be recognized by the Merced (Calif.) Sun-Star as a 2018 “20 Under 40” honoree during an event on Oct. 3. Hopkins-Chery is the women’s basketball head coach at the University of California, Merced, and since arriving, she has gotten her team involved in several public service projects, including Merced’s annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s fall event and by hosting numerous sports camps for youth and high school athletes. In addition, for the past 12 years, she has volunteered with NativeVision, a youth enrichment and empowerment program for Native American children.

Larry Bradley, who spoke at Park University’s annual Constitution Day lecture on Sept. 20, was interviewed for stories that aired on KMBZ-FM in Kansas City the next day related to U.S. electoral reform.

Bob Kendrick, ’85, was featured in a story that was published in the Northwest Missourian on Sept. 21. Kendrick, the president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo., spoke to the crowd about the Negro Leagues history during a talk on Sept. 20.

Sarah Weygand, assistant director of military and veteran student services, and John Higgs, sophomore business administration/finance major, were interviewed for a story that aired on WDAF-TV in Kansas City on Sept. 21. The story focused on military students across the country who have been affected by delays in getting housing benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

A story about Lois Spier Gray, ’43, Ph.D., who passed away on Sept. 20, appeared in the Cornell University Chronicle on Sept. 22. Gray was an iconic faculty member of the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell for 72 years. In 1991, she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Park.

Upcoming Events

(All events are Central time)
          •  September 26 — Dr. Jerzy Hauptmann Distinguished Guest Lecture Series: Reggie Robinson, 6:30 p.m., Lenexa (Kan.) City Hall
          •  September 26 — Jamey Bradbury Book Reading, 7 p.m., David Theater (Alumni Hall)
          •  September 28 — International Center for Music Concert: ICM Orchestra with Pianist Behzod Abduraimov, 7:30 p.m., Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel
          •  October 5 — Fort Leonard Wood (Mo.) Campus Commencement, 10 a.m., Nutter Field House
          •  October 7 — Fall I Term Ends
          •  October 8-14 — Fall Recess
          •  October 8 — Park University Golf Scramble, 8:30 a.m., The National Golf Club of Kansas City
          •  October 9 — River Read Children’s Literature Festival, all day, Parkville Campus
          •  October 11 — One Person, No Vote? A Conversation with Carol Anderson, 6:30 p.m., Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel
          •  October 11 — International Center for Music Concert: Violinist Shmuel Ashkenasi, 7:30 p.m., 1900 Building, Mission Woods, Kan.
          •  October 15 — Fall II Term Begins
          •  October 25 — Fright Night, 6-8 p.m., Copley Quad
          •  November 2 — Board of Trustees Meeting, Parkville Campus
          •  November 3 — Defense Supply Center Columbus (Ohio) Campus Commencement, 9 a.m., Ohio History Connection
          •  November 4 — Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (Ohio) Campus Commencement, 2 p.m., Hope Hotel and Richard C. Holbrooke Conference Center
          •  November 11 — Northland Community Choir Concert, 3 p.m., Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel
          •  November 12 — Veterans Day Holiday (observed; all University offices closed nationwide, Parkville Daytime classes cancelled; Fall II classes held as scheduled)
          •  November 16 — International Center for Music Concert: ICM Orchestra, 7:30 p.m., Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel
          •  November 22-23 — Thanksgiving Holiday (all University offices closed nationwide; Parkville Daytime classes cancelled; Fall II classes held as scheduled)
          •  November 26 — Year of Engagement Documentary Series: “Inventing Tomorrow,” 6 p.m., David Theater (Alumni Hall)

Note: 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.