Park University Recognizes 2019-20 Academic Achievements

May 7, 2020 — Park University students, faculty and staff have been recognized for their exceptional scholarly efforts from the 2019-20 academic year as part of the University’s annual Honors Convocation. In addition to a number of departmental academic honors, the University acknowledged outstanding students and faculty with a variety of special awards. The event had been scheduled to be held on April 22 in Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel on the University’s Parkville Campus, but was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The most prestigious honor bestowed on any student at Park University — the Outstanding Parkite Award — went to seniors Christian Leonard and Jesse Patrick. The Outstanding Parkite Award is given to two students on the University’s Parkville Campus who best exemplify the ideals of the University in their character, conduct, scholarship and student activity participation. The awards are endowed by Dr. Elliot F. Parker in memory of his parents, Albert and Jessie Parker.

Christian Leonard, a senior mathematics majorLeonard, a senior mathematics major from Parkville (attended Park Hill South High School, Riverside, Mo.), has excelled in the classroom with a 3.81 cumulative grade point average. Leonard, who served as the Park Student Government Association president during the 2019-20 academic year, was a 2018-19 Presidential Scholar and received an Outstanding Class Member Award (as a non-graduating senior) as part of the 2019 Dr. Doris Howell Leadership Awards. In addition, he was honored as the 2018 Homecoming prince as a junior and the 2017 Homecoming duke as a sophomore.

Patrick, a senior information and computer science major from Independence, Mo. (attended Turner High School, Kansas City, Kan.) preceded Leonard as a PSGA president during the 2018-19 academic year and served as a PSGA senator in 2019-20. Patrick, a recipient of a Park University Fides et Labor (Faith and Labor) scholarship, also served as president of Park’s chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success. During the 2017 Howell Awards, he received the C.W. Bailey Award, given to students who have distinguished themselves and exhibited the spirit of Park University. In addition, he has served as a student ambassador and as a resident assistant.

Additional Presidential Awards and Faculty/Staff Awards presented:

Louisa Davidson Hinde / Carolyn Hinde Zarkaryan Memorial Award — This award is given to students, faculty, staff and/or alumni who best represent the spirit of Park University by promoting in others that quality of excellence that has always been associated with a Park education.
          •  Celina Monteiro, senior business administration/marketing major, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
          •  Katherine Payne, senior graphic design major, Kansas City, Mo.

Distinguished Humanities Faculty Award — Manuchair Ebadi, Ph.D., a 1960 Park graduate who passed away in January 2015, established the award to celebrate the work, life and thoughts of Woodbridge O. Johnson, Ph.D., professor emeritus and chair of religion and Biblical literature at Park from 1946 to 1966. The award is presented to a University faculty member who exhibits extraordinary accomplishments in research or creative scholarship through teaching, discovery, scholarly or creative work, and service.
          •  Glenn Lester, assistant professor of English, Kansas City, Mo.

Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award — This award pays tribute to a faculty member who shows evidence of commitment to high standards of excellence in the area of scholarship: teaching, discovery, integration and/or service. The recipient also shows effective and innovative connections between teaching and research, especially by undergraduate student involvement and participation. Ebadi established this award in honor of Delta W. Gier, Ph.D., a former chair of the Department of Chemistry who served Park from 1948 to 1990.
          •  Yongzhi Wang, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer science and information systems, Kansas City, Mo.

J.L. Zwingle Award — This award pays tribute to an outstanding faculty member as voted by the student body.
          •  Jeff Smith, associate professor of graphic design, Kansas City, Mo.

Teaching Excellence Awards — These awards recognize the full-time and adjunct faculty members who exemplify excellence in teaching, as nominated by peers, students and staff.
          •  President’s Award for Teaching Excellence (for full-time faculty): Jack MacLennan, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science, Kansas City, Mo.
          •  Provost’s Award for Teaching Excellence (for adjunct faculty): Lynn Richardson-Ludwigs, adjunct instructor of art, Kansas City, Mo. (not pictured)

Excellence in Academic Advising Award — This award is given to recognize faculty/staff who have achieved excellence in providing Park University students academic advising and mentoring, and recognizes outstanding contributions in helping students define and achieve their academic goals.
          •  Silvia Giovanardi Byer, Ph.D., professor of English, Prairie Village, Kan.

View a complete list of the awards presented as part of the Honors Convocation.



Park University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Park University is a private, non-profit, institution of higher learning since 1875.