Park University is an independent, private institution founded as Park College in 1875 by Dr. John A. McAfee and Colonel George S. Park. The University has a 135-year history of providing access to education for the traditional and non-traditional student alike. With an average enrollment of 2,000 students attending classes at the flagship campus in Parkville, MO and approximately 60,000 alumni recognizing the Parkville Campus as the spiritual home of their alma matter, the home campus remains at the heart of the University’s growth over the years. Park currently enjoys a distinguished position in higher education as a growing entrepreneurial institution with enrolling an average 11,000 students at 40 campus centers in 21 states, including our extensive online program. The mission of Park University is to provide access to academic excellence which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively, and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.
The majority of the University’s traditional students attend classes on the Parkville Campus which also serves as the academic and administrative home to the institution nationwide. Roughly 75% of our undergraduate students take at least some of their coursework through one of our campus centers and nearly 60% of all of our students take at least one course online annually.
The Ellen Finley Earhart Nursing Program at Park University, initiated in 1987, is designed to provide career mobility for the Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) seeking to transition into the role of the Registered Nurse (RN). Our accelerated degree program enables a qualified LPN to obtain an Associate Degree in Nursing in 10 months. In addition, graduates are prepared to take the Registered Nurse Licensure Exam and pursue a baccalaureate degree in nursing. Students already working with an A.D.N. can complete an online-only B.S.N. completion program.
The Nursing Program always has the short term goal of maintaining or improving our students’ ability to become licensed upon graduation, which requires passing licensure exams. Over the past five years, more than 95% of our students have consistently passed their licensure exam. The Program aims to continue to meet or exceed our students’ track record of success. Most importantly, the program is transitioning to a four-year B.S.N. degree granting program. We are currently seeking ACEN accreditation for a 100 student B.S.N. program to accept students for Fall 2016.
Long term success of the Ellen Finley Earhart Nursing Program will be determined by the University’s ability to provide more career development opportunities for alumni and by its ability to serve a greater number of students in years to come.
Program success is monitored by several metrics including: 1) Enrollment numbers, or the number of students who value private education at Park and want to graduate from the Ellen Finley Earhart Nursing Program. 2) Student’s learning outcomes, or the measures by which Nursing Program faculty determine how much students are learning and how well they are mastering new content. 3) Accreditation, which helps gauge consistent quality of both courses and clinical experiences so our students gain the hands-on experience they will in real-life patient care situations. 4) Park student’s pass rates on licensure exams, which helps faculty monitor how well Park courses prepare students to obtain their license and become practicing RNs.
The Program has been so successful in recent years, that even with a recent expansion, the University has more qualified applicants annually than we can accept into the program. The stage is set for additional growth and continued excellence as Park prepares to transition to a full four-year B.S.N. program with increased faculty and improved facilities. students to fill critical vacancies in the workforce doing a job that’s important to us all: caring for patients. The Nursing Program is also a member of the National League for Nursing and accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.
The International Center for Music (ICM) offers the following degrees and certificates:Master of Music in Piano/String Performance, Graduate Certificate in Music Performance, Graduate Artist Diploma in Music Performance, Bachelor of Arts in Music and an Undergraduate Artist Certificate in Music Performance, which is a two-year certificate program designed for students pursuing a non-degree course of study concentrating on performance. Park students receive individualized instruction on multiple music genres ranging from classical to jazz, including music by living composers.
The International Center for Music will continue to attract and educate talented young musicians who launch their musical careers at Park University. Current and future students will continue to receive international music competition awards and other national and international recognition for their performances.
The International Center for Music's long term success will be judged in part by the increased number of full-tuition scholarships the University is able to provide its student musicians. This will ensure that student admission is based solely on artistic promise, which in turn, will foster better audience development for the Center's concert series in the future.
Stanislav Ioudenitch, Van Cliburn International Piano Competition Gold Medalist, now directs the Center and envisions elevating the already impressive reputation of the Center to the highest possible standard of musical performance. Ultimately the success of the International Center for Music is monitored by our students’ level of performance in their studios and on stage, especially as our students continue to attract more dedicated audience members.
The Park Warrior Center (PWC) embodies Park’s commitment to our nation’s “wounded warriors” injured in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring. The Center is designed to holistically assist returning service members with physical and mental health disabilities as they work towards accomplishing their educational and career goals. The PWC provides:
Short term goals for the Park Warrior Center include:
Long-term, the PWC will help countless servicemembers who were injured in the course of duty to transition from military life into higher education, transition to the degree program of their choice, complete that degree program, and go on to begin their chosen profession with the knowledge and tools necessary for success.
Additional long term goals include:
The success of the Park Warrior Center is measured by course completion rates, program persistence rates, and student surveys administered before and after enrollment to gauge students’ progress towards their personal educational and career goals. As more and more students enroll in the PWC, the center will also have enough data to measure success by matriculation and graduation rates.
While the number of casualties in recent conflicts has gone down, the number of servicemembers returning from duty either physically or mentally changed is on the rise. According to statistics from the Department of Defense, 98% of troops seeking help for emotional issues are returned back to their units. Soldiers who serve on multiple tours are 50% more likely to develop acute combat stress.
The PWC is helping these students adjust to the demands of higher education by providing them the assistance they need to overcome obstacles to their success. At present, 90% of students in the PWC have PTSD and have access to additional resources specific to their needs. Nearly 3 out of 4 PWC students have a VA certified disability rating over 30% and will require some kind of disability support for the rest of their lives. These students are enrolled in Park’s accelerated online classes, which, University wide, have a 93% pass rate for students who make it to the add/drop date.
David Fowler, a lifelong Kansas City resident, is a well-known business leader with local and national prominence. He brings an extensive range of business acumen which includes proven leadership experience as a strategic business innovator. Before retiring last year, he had served as the managing partner of KPMG in Kansas City for the final 13 years of his more than 36-year career with the firm. In the managing partner role, he positioned KPMG with strategic commitments and methodologies that led to national recognition and responsibility. Under Fowler’s leadership, the Kansas City office of KPMG was consistently ranked at or near the top of more than 80 offices across 21 major markets nationwide for employee satisfaction, performance, client service and community involvement.
A respected leader in the Kansas City community, Fowler has served on multiple civic and charitable boards, including the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, and he was the board chair for the Kansas City Area Development Council. Most recently, Fowler served as the co-chair of the Kansas City International Airport Terminal Advisory Group, an appointment by Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Sly James. In that extensive project, Fowler was responsible for leading the analytical discovery related to the complex assessment of the KCI Airport facility.
Roger Hershey, Vice President & General Counsel for Park University, assumed this position with more than 30 years of legal experience. He previously served as president, shareholder and director of King Hershey, PC, a law firm established in 1988 in Kansas City, Mo. The firm is noted for its work in local government law, commercial real estate development, complex financial transactions, and bond law.
Hershey was a member of the Park University Board of Trustees from 1995 to 2004, serving as Board Chair for two years, a member the Executive Committee, and as Chair of the Business and Endowment Committee. He served as the President of Park University Enterprises, Inc., a subsidiary corporation of the University, and served on its Board of Directors from 2002 to 2006.
Hershey received a B.A. from Graceland University, and a LL.M. and a J.D. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He also graduated from the United States Naval Justice School in Newport, R.I., and served four years active duty as a Lieutenant, Judge Advocate General's Corps, United States Naval Reserve.
Hershey received the 2003 Distinguished Citizen Award from the Independence, Missouri. Chamber of Commerce for community service and leadership in the passage of Independence Streets and Parks Sales Taxes in 1997, 1998 and 2003, and the City's Street Excise Tax in 2000. Hershey also received the 2002 Civic Leadership Award presented by the Missouri Municipal League and the mayor of Independence for business and civic leadership in the development of Independence, Mo.
An active participant in civic and nonprofit
groups, Hershey serves and has served in various leadership roles with the
Independence Enhanced Enterprise Zone Board of Directors, the Independence, MO
License Surcharge Annual Review Committee, the Parkville, MO Economic
Development Committee, the Independence Chamber of Commerce; Independence
Citizens for Streets and Parks; Independence Council on Economic Development;
Independence Missouri Park Commission; Mid-America Regional Council Metro Green
Civic Leadership Board; Rotary International; Scandinavian Association of
Greater Kansas City; Sierra Club; The Jackson County Historical Society; and,
The Sierra Club Foundation.
Dorla Watkins, Vice President of Finance and Administration, supervises all University financial business actions, making necessary decisions for day-to-day operations and for long-range University economic development.
She joined Park University's administrative staff in 1979 as a staff accountant. Her most recent position has been Associate Vice President for Business and Finance. Prior to that Watkins has served as a consultant and controller for the University, as well as serving on the Board of Trustees. She also oversaw the partnership with Xerox Global Services and the document management system at Park as well as served as chair of the strategic plan Explorations and Transformations Committee 2012: Access to Excellence.
In her various positions, she has accumulated 20 years of supervisory, management, accounting and consulting experience, including six years as director of Business Affairs for Kromm, Rikimaru & Johansen, Inc. She has acted as a liaison to financial, legal and auditing institutions and negotiated and implemented contractual agreements as well as developing office accounting and policy procedures including overseeing fiscal budgets.
Watkins has earned both her bachelor's in business administration and master's in public administration degrees from Park University.
Her professional experience began in the social work and mental health field, shifting to the higher education arena upon completion of her master's degree. She is a skilled workshop facilitator and program presenter, has provided consultative services to higher education institutions, and developed and implemented training programs for staff and non-profit organizations. Prior to coming to Park University, Mrs. Creighton held positions in the Student Services area at Saint Mary's College and at Iowa State University.
Creighton received her M.S. in Counselor Education/Student Personnel, and her B.A. in Psychology at Emporia State University.
In addition to her professional roles, she has extended her services to community groups and agency boards who are providing services to children, youth and adults in transition.
Prior to arriving at Park, McCormack was the assistant vice chancellor of advancement for development at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. While at UMKC, McCormack directed the University’s first-ever nine-figure capital campaign, raising $202.6 million. In addition, she conducted six- and seven-figure campaign solicitations, including one of $5 million. Prior to her ascent to the assistant vice chancellor position, McCormack also served UMKC as the senior director of campaign planning and principal gifts, managing the development of strategies and delivery of solicitation to major prospects for gifts between $100,000 and $35 million., as well as managing campaign special events and coordinating fundraising for scholarship programs. Additionally at UMKC, McCormack held the titles of director of student affairs advancement, and manager of alumni and development in the School of Law, where she directed the administration of the UMKC Law Foundation, a $2.4 million endowment. McCormack’s career in fundraising began with the Heart of America United Way as the campaign assistant director, where she raised more than $3.8 million through targeted efforts.
Prior to her second stint at UMKC, McCormack was the director of marketing and client services at the law firm of Polsinelli, White, Vardeman and Shalton, P.C., in Kansas City, Mo., and she was the manager of community and public relations at Gateway 2000 in Kansas City. While at PWVS, McCormack developed the firm’s marketing initiatives, as well as its advertising and public relations efforts. At Gateway 2000, McCormack managed the company’s marketing and charitable giving programs, in addition to directing its corporate public relations activities employee communication programs and TIF administration.
McCormack is or has been a member of several organizations, including the Downtown Council of Kansas City, where she serves on the Business Retention and Attraction Committee, the United Negro College Fund Kansas City Board of Advisors, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, and the Safehome Capital Campaign Steering Committee. She is a former president and board of director member of the Southtown Council, and former treasurer and board member of Safehome.
McCormack received her bachelor’s degree in communication studies from UMKC. She is also a graduate of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Centurion Leadership Program. In addition, she has been recognized by UMKC as a 2001 Community Champion and with the Law Foundation Service Award.
Rita Weighill, Associate Vice President for Communication, has been at Park University since 1995. She is responsible for overseeing the marketing, media, publications and public relations efforts for the University. She is a member of the Greater Kansas City Council on Philanthropy; Association of Fundraising Professionals; Platte County Economic Development Council ( Marketing Committee); Gladstone Rotary (Officer); Riverside Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Platte County Women's Exchange, Parkville Chamber of Commerce; a charter member of the Association for Non-Traditional Students in Higher Education; Clay County Women's Exchange; and The Central Exchange of Greater Kansas City. In 1999, she earned the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) award, a nationally recognized credential for professional fundraisers.
Before coming to Park University, she was employed at Midwestern Baptist Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, where she was the Director of Seminary Relations and was responsible for the fundraising and public relations at that master's and doctorate level institution.
She received a B.A. from Park University and a M.Ed., Higher Education Administration degree from Vanderbilt University (Peabody College) in Nashville, Tenn.
In his current position, Gault serves as an advisor to the President, Vice Presidents, and to members of the University Board of Trustees. He is a staff member on all the standing committees of the Board and serves as Assistant Treasurer and Assistant Secretary for the Board of Trustees and for its two subsidiary corporations, Park McAfee Inc. and Park University Enterprises.
Gault is a member of the National Association of College and University Business Officers and the Central Association of that organization. He served as advisor at the U.S. Department of Education's "The Endowment Program Mini-Summit" in March 1996.
He received his M.P.A. degree and a B.A. degree from Park University, and attended the College Business Management Institutes at both the University of Nebraska and the University of Kentucky.
In addition to his duties at Park, Gault is president of the Hispanic Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City and a member of the Park Hill School District Education Foundation Council. He also serves as treasurer for the Synod of Mid-America of the Presbyterian Church USA, the Church Development Corporation and the Civil War Round Table of Kansas City.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
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