Crows Nest

The Crow’s Nest — September 8, 2022

Park University Alumni Association Reveals Honorees of 2022 Annual Awards

The Park University Alumni Association has announced the 2022 honorees of its four annual awards. A ceremony recognizing the recipients, along with the University’s Athletics Wall of Honor awardees (announced in June), will be held as part of Park’s Homecoming Weekend festivities on Friday, Sept. 30, starting at 3 p.m. in Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel on the University’s flagship Parkville (Mo.) Campus. The following is the list of awardees:
Claude EnglishBehzod Abduraimov          •  Distinguished Alumnus Award, which recognizes Park alumni who have distinguished themselves through career service or community achievements — Behzod Abduraimov (left), 2013 graduate (Undergraduate Certificate in music performance/piano) and artist-in-residence in the University’s International Center for Music.
          •  Torchlighter Award, given to honor individuals who have made significant, long-standing contributions and commitment to Park University, whether alumni, faculty or friend — Claude English (above right), who retired as the Parkville Campus director of athletics in August 2021 after 25½ years in that role, and also served as men’s basketball head coach from 1992-2005.
Alayna HowardVerenice Castillo          •  Marlowe Sherwood Memorial Service Award, presented to Park University alumni in recognition of volunteer service to community and/or civic organizations — Verenice Castillo (left), a 2018 graduate (Bachelor of Science degree in social psychology), who is the founder and chief executive officer of the Military Spouse Advocacy Network, a nonprofit organization founded in 2014 with a mission to create stronger military families through education, empowerment and support.
          •  Park Promising Young Professional Award, which recognizes a Park University alumnus/a who graduated from Park within the last 10 years, is under the age of 40 and shows exceptional leadership promise in their profession and community — Alayna Howard (above right), a 2018 graduate (Bachelor of Arts degree in English writing), who is the Kansas City program manager at HALO Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides housing, healing and education to homeless and at-risk youth around the world.

Read more about the awardees at

Betty DusingBetty Dusing to Receive Gault Service Award

Park University’s Office of Academic Affairs will honor Betty Dusing, former associate librarian, as the recipient of the 2022 Paul H. Gault Service Award. A ceremony recognizing Dusing will be held on Thursday, Sept. 29, starting at 1 p.m. at the Jenkin and Barbara David Theater inside Alumni Hall on the University’s flagship Parkville (Mo.) Campus. The award is presented annually to a retired Park University faculty or staff member who provided a minimum of 15 years of distinguished service to the University. Dusing held a variety of roles within Park’s McAfee Memorial Library for nearly 55 years (1965 to 2019), including acquisitions, cataloging, circulation, interlibrary loans and staffing the library’s front desk.

Dr. David KangHauptmann Lecture to Feature Discussion on U.S. – China Relations

A presentation on “U.S. – China Relations in an Increasingly Tense World” will be the focus of Park University’s 30th annual Dr. Jerzy Hauptmann Distinguished Guest Lecture on Wednesday, Sept. 14, starting at 4 p.m. in the Jenkin and Barbara David Theater inside Alumni Hall on the University’s flagship Parkville Campus. Admission to the lecture is free and open to the public. The lecture will also be livestreamed via Park’s video portal at

This year’s Hauptmann Lecture speaker will be David C. Kang, Ph.D., the Maria Crutcher Professor of International Relations and professor of international relations, business and East Asian languages and cultures at the University of Southern California. During the lecture, Kang will focus on how he believes the media and the Washington, D.C., establishment are full of dark worries about worsening relations between the U.S. and China, and perhaps an inadvertent war. Read more at

Lorraine BannaiConstitution Day Event to Focus on World War II-Related U.S. Supreme Court Case

Park University’s annual Constitution Day event will feature a discussion related to the 1940s U.S. Supreme Court case of Korematsu v. U.S. on Thursday, Sept. 22, starting at 3 p.m. in the Jenkin and Barbara David Theater inside Alumni Hall on the University’s flagship Parkville (Mo.) Campus. Admission is free and open to the public. The lecture will also be livestreamed via Park’s video portal at

The speaker for the lecture, “Racism, the Rule of Law and Seeking Healing: Lessons of the Japanese American Incarceration,” will be Lorraine K. Bannai, J.D., professor emerita and director emerita of the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality at Seattle University’s School of Law. While working for a law firm in 1983, she served on the legal team that successfully overturned Korematsu’s World War II-era conviction for refusing to comply with President Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. That order authorized the Secretary of War and the armed forces to remove people of Japanese ancestry from designated military areas and surrounding communities in the U.S.

This year’s Constitution Day lecture coincides with Park University’s 80th anniversary of admitting Nisei (second generation Japanese American) students in 1942. Read more about the event at

Fishburn Archives to Narrate History of Platte County (Mo.) Sheriff’s Office

Park University’s Frances Fishburn Archives and Special Collections, and the Platte County (Mo.) Sheriff’s Office have announced a partnership to chronicle the history of the PCSO. Park faculty and staff who assist in the University’s archives, as well as history students, will conduct research and interview individuals related to the Platte County Sheriff’s Office history. The PCSO was founded in 1839, three years after the establishment of Platte County. Between 1836 and 1839, Platte County was under the jurisdiction of the Clay County (Mo.) sheriff.

The project is anticipated to take several years to complete, with the intention to produce materials available to the public through electronic means. This endeavor is part of Park University’s commitment of service to the community and is being completed at no cost to Platte County. Anyone who has photographs or memorabilia related to the Platte County Sheriff’s Office that can be digitally captured is asked to contact the University’s Fishburn Archives at Read more about the project at

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

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Park University students, faculty and staff are encouraged to sign up for ParkAlert, a mass notification system that can alert the University community with time-sensitive messages via text, voice, e-mail and social media. ParkAlert will be used to notify the University community with important/urgent/emergency messages and/or weather-related alerts and updates; it is not used for advertising or other unsolicited content.

To register and/or for more information, visit If you registered prior to August 2020, you must re-register as all previously registered accounts were purged from the system two years ago. If you registered after August 2020, it is suggested that you verify your information and options by signing in to your account at

International Center for Music Announces 2022-23 Concert Season

Park University’s International Center for Music, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, has announced its 2022-23 concert season, with the first three concerts featuring ICM students. The season gets underway on Friday, Oct. 7, as the ICM Orchestra performs its fall concert in Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel on the University’s flagship Parkville (Mo.) Campus. ICM graduate student Ilya Shmukler, who was a finalist (top 6) in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in June, will perform the following evening (Saturday, Oct. 8) at the 1900 Building in Mission Woods, Kan. 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. Check out the complete season schedule and ticket information at

Faculty, Staff, Student News

Park University’s Office of Academic Affairs recognized five members of the University’s faculty and staff during the Fall Faculty Conference in August as part of its Academic Affairs Celebrates Excellence campaign. The program honors faculty and staff who embody excellence in teaching, scholarship and/or service to Park students. The profiles of the honorees are on display in the hall adjacent to the Office of Academic Affairs on the first floor of Mackay Hall on the University’s flagship Parkville (Mo.) Campus. Those honored were: Mohamed Abualhaija, D.B.A., associate professor of accounting; Joshua Mugg, Ph.D., assistant professor of philosophy; Crystal Peng, Ph.D., professor of computer science; Erin Stocking, administrative process and operations specialist; and Heather Strafaccia, Ed.D., adjunct instructor of communication.

Park University’s Faculty Center for Innovation has recently published volume 17 (2022) of InSight, a journal of scholarly teaching. The publication includes a student editorial by Morgan Milledge, senior English major (“A Senior’s Perspective on Transferable Skills Learned in the Liberal Arts”); and articles by Amber Dailey-Hebert, Ph.D., director of the FCI and professor of education (“Student Perspectives on Using Virtual Reality to Create Informal Connection and Engagement”); and Brant Winn, Ph.D., assistant professor of education and director of field experience (“Mindfulness and Gratitude: Does it Really Make a Difference for College Students?”).

The FCI has put out a call for papers for volume 18 (2023) of InSight. For complete details, visit The deadline for this edition of the journal is March 1, 2023.

Dr. Tim WestcottTim Westcott, Ph.D., associate professor of history, director of the George S. Robb Centre for the Study of the Great War and associate university archivist, spoke at a screening of the Valor Medals Review-related “More Than a Medal” documentary at the First Division Museum at Cantigny Park in Wheaton, Ill., on Aug. 9.

Kena WolfKena Wolf, chief enrollment management officer, was appointed to the board of directors for Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City in August.

Laurie DiPadova-StocksBrian CowleyMichael Call, Ph.D., adjunct instructor of public administration, Brian Cowley, Ph.D., professor of psychology, (left) and Laurie DiPadova-Stocks, Ph.D. (right), professor of public administration, co-authored the article “Advancing Servant Leadership Among College-Aged Youth: Addressing Comfort Zone and Privilege with Pedagogies of Engagement and Student Philanthropy,” which was published in August in The Palgrave Handbook of Servant Leadership. The article surfaces the issues of recognizing one’s privilege and the concurrent responsibility to render service to others.

Brandi HandleyA short story authored by Brandi Handley, assistant teaching professor of English, was published in the August edition of Moon City Review. According to Handley, the story, “String,” is a coming-of-age story in which the main character feels she has no control over the disintegrating family structure she is a part of. These feelings manifest in her becoming physically untethered — she begins to float.

Danielle TheissDanielle Theiss, director of library, academic and career success services, and assistant professor of library services, authored an article titled “Distance and Online Learners and Library Anxiety: An Exploration into the Causes, Impact and Recommendations for Practice” that was published in August issue of the Journal of Library and Information Services in Distance Learning. The article provides an overview of the construct library anxiety within distance learners and how library anxiety may impact their usage of academic library resources and services.

Yira BrimageYira Brimage, vice president of the Gilbert (Ariz.) Campus, was a panelist at the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce’s Women Empowered professional development luncheon on Aug. 25. The focus of the panel was “Lead(her)ship: Making a Profound Difference.”

Park in the News

Matt Harris, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science, was interviewed for stories that aired on KMBC-TV in Kansas City on Aug. 1 related to former President Donald Trump’s endorsement of candidates in the Missouri Senate primary election.

Harris was also interviewed for stories that aired on KMBZ-FM in Kansas City on Aug. 3 related to “what happens now” following the primary elections in Kansas and Missouri; on Aug. 16 for stories related to polls indicating a toss-up for the governor race in Kansas; and Aug. 24 for stories related to Missouri Gov. Mike Parson calling for a special session of the state legislature to pass a $700 million income tax cut.

In addition, Harris was interviewed for stories that aired on KCTV in Kansas City on Aug. 24 related to a political angle story on President Joe Biden’s plan to cancel some federal student loan debt.

Sam Peak, ’14, authored an opinion article titled “How to Push Food Prices Even Higher” that was published on the Wall Street Journal’s website on Aug. 11.

Park University’s flagship Parkville (Mo.) Campus was highlighted on KCTV, KMBC-TV/KCWE-TV, KSHB-TV and WDAF-TV in Kansas City on Aug. 12 with stories related to move-in day. Jayme Uden, Ed.D., associate vice president and dean of students, was interviewed for the stories.

Stories on Nichole Gomez, a weather forecaster and fill-in anchor at KVIA-TV in El Paso, Texas, earning her Master of Arts degree in communication and leadership from Park University, aired on the station Aug. 13-15.

A preview of the Park University International Center for Music’s 2022-23 concert season appeared in The Kansas City Star on Aug. 14.

Nicolas Miceli, Ph.D., associate professor of management/human resources, provided information for a story related to staffing struggles in the restaurant industry that aired on KSHB-TV in Kansas City on Aug. 16.

Park University President Shane Smeed was a guest on the “Militarily Speaking” podcast produced by Armed Forces Bank on Aug. 17. Smeed discussed the services the University provides to military students and their families, as well as the Valor Medals Review project.

Greg Plumb, J.D., chair and professor of criminal justice administration, was interviewed for stories that aired on KSHB-TV in Kansas City related to a lawsuit filed by Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Quinton Lucas to block a Missouri law requiring higher police spending.

Tim Westcott, Ph.D., associate professor of history and associate university archivist, was interviewed for a story that aired on KSHB-TV in Kansas City on Aug. 19 related to the origin of Parkville (Mo.) Days.

John Hamilton, Ph.D., professor emeritus of criminal justice administration, was interviewed for a story that aired on WDAF-TV in Kansas City on Aug. 26 related to a pair of local sheriff deputies being investigated for inappropriate behavior during a recent traffic safety training conference.

ECCO Select, an IT talent acquisition and advisory consulting company in Kansas City, Mo., led by Jeanette Prenger, ’09, and a member of Park University’s Board of Trustees, was ranked No. 2 (by 2021 revenue) by the Kansas City Business Journal on the publication’s Aug. 12 list of Hispanic-owned businesses.

Recent Park University rankings/recognitions:
          •  Ranked No. 5 overall and tabbed as “Best for Veterans” on’s “Best Online Military Colleges” list.
          •  Ranked No. 81 on’s “2022 Most Affordable Colleges and Universities” list.
          • (from Colleges of Distinction), listed Park University on the following lists for 2022: “100 Best Online Colleges,” “Best Online Colleges – Midwest,” “Best Affordable Online Colleges” and “Best Colleges for Military and Veterans.”

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)
          •  September 9 — 9/11 Memorial Walk/Climb, 6 a.m. and 11 a.m., Parkville Campus (begins on south side of Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel)
          •  September 10 — Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (Ariz.) Campus Commencement, noon, Sea of Glass Center for the Arts, Tucson, Ariz.
          •  September 14 — Dr. Jerzy Hauptmann Distinguished Guest Lecture: Dr. David Kang, 4 p.m., David Theater (Alumni Hall) and Virtual
          •  September 16 — Faculty/Staff Town Hall, 2 p.m., David Theater (Alumni Hall) and Virtual
          •  September 19 — International Talk Like a Pirate Day
          •  September 22 — Constitution Day Lecture: Lorraine Bannai, 3 p.m., Alumni Hall (David Theater) and Virtual
          •  September 27-29 — Park United Leadership Conference, Parkville Campus
          •  September 29-October 1 — Homecoming Weekend 2022, Parkville Campus
          •  September 29 — Paul H. Gault Service Award Ceremony, 1 p.m., David Theater (Alumni Hall)
          •  September 30 — Park University Alumni Association Awards / Athletics Wall of Honor Awards, 3 p.m., Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel
          •  October 7 — Fort Leonard Wood (Mo.) Campus Commencement, TBA, 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 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 28 — International Center for Music Concert: ICM Piano Studio Recital, 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.