Park University

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Park University
Park University logo.png
Motto Fides et Labor
Motto in English
“Faith & Work”
Type Private
Established Park College 1875
Park University 2000
President Greg Gunderson, Ph.D.
Provost Douglas Fiore, Ph.D.
Students 9,413 (Fall 2015)
Undergraduates 8.502 (Fall 2015)
Postgraduates 911 (Fall 2015)
Address 8700 NW River Park Drive, Parkville, Missouri, 64152
39°11′23″N 94°40′49″W / 39.18986°N 94.68014°W / 39.18986; -94.68014Coordinates: 39°11′23″N 94°40′49″W / 39.18986°N 94.68014°W / 39.18986; -94.68014
Song "Hail, Park, Hail" and "Canary and Wine"
Colors Canary and Wine (gold and burgundy)
Sports Soccer, baseball, basketball, cross country, track & field, volleyball, golf, softball
Mascot Pirates
Affiliations NAIA, American Midwest Conference
Mackay Hall

Park University is a private institution that was founded in 1875. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 11,529, its setting is suburban, and the campus size is 700 acres. The University was ranked the seventh-most affordable private university/college in the nation, and first in the Midwest, for tuition and fees, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Park is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) and is a member of the Council of Independent Colleges and the Independent Colleges and Universities of Missouri.


The flagship campus of Park University is located in the city of Parkville, Missouri. The Park University Graduate School is located in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. There are 40 campuses in 21 U.S. states[1] including three campuses in the Kansas City area (Downtown Kansas City, Independence and Parkville) and a campus center in Austin, Texas. Most of the satellite campuses are on or near United States military bases and share quarters with other businesses/organizations.

The 800-acre (323.7 ha) home campus currently has an enrollment of 1,600 students representing 50 states and 106 countries.[2] The entire extended system had an annual student enrollment of 23,000.[3]


The school which was originally called Park College was founded in 1875 by John A. McAfee on land donated by George S. Park with its initial structure being the stone hotel Park owned on the bluff above the Missouri River.

The original concept called for students to receive free tuition and board in exchange for working up to half day in the college’s farm, electrical shop or printing plant. According to the terms of the arrangement if the “Parkville Experiment” did not work out within five years, the college grounds were to revert to Park.[4]

There were 17 students in the first school year and in the first graduation class there were five women. McAfee led until his death in 1890. His son Lowell M. McAfee became the second president of Park until stepping down in 1913. The first international student at Park University arrived in 1880 from Japan.

The defining landmark of the campus is Mackay Hall, named after Carroll County, Illinois banker Duncan Mackay who donated $25,000 in materials for the structure shortly before his death.[5] The building was constructed using limestone mined on the campus grounds and built with the labor of students. Construction began in 1883 and was finished by 1893. Today the building is the main focal point of the campus and dominates the hillside, overlooking the town of Parkville. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

For many decades the school was affiliated with the Presbyterian Church but it no longer has that affiliation.[when?] The college has had a relationship with the military since 1889. However, the relationship was greatly expanded in the late 1960s with the establishment of a Military Degree Completion Program and later in 1972 with the Military Resident Center System. Park’s total enrollment has grown from its small base since 1996 when it first began offering online courses.[6] In 2000 it was renamed Park University.

Hauptmann Lecture

The Park University Dr. Jerzy Hauptmann Distinguished Guest Lecture Series was established through the generosity of alumni, colleagues and friends of Hauptmann upon his 40th anniversary at Park. The lecture series brings outstanding scholars to the Kansas City area to address topics related to Hauptmann's three areas of study: international politics, public administration and democracy.

Previous Lecturers

  • 2016—Francis Fukuyama, "The Origins Of Political Order"
  • 2015—Frank J. Thompson, "The Struggle to Implement Obamacare: Implications for American Governance"
  • 2014—Robert Jervis, "Why Does the U.S. Spend so Much on Security and Feel so Insecure? Fear, Interests and Opportunity in Contemporary American Foreign Policy"
  • 2013—Theda Skocpol, "The Tea Party and Civic Engagement in America"
  • 2012—Walter D. Broadnax, "Leadership Challenges for the Presidency: A World of Opportunities and Hazards”
  • 2011—John Mearsheimer, "Why Leaders Lie: The Truth About Lying in International Politics”
  • 2010—José Luis Valdés-Ugalde, "A Historical Assessment of the Inter-American Dilemma: The Conflict Between Security, Democratic Governance and Progress”
  • 2009—Pan Suk Kim, "Building Trust in Government by Improving Governance"
  • 2008—Lawrence Korb, "National Security in an Age of Terrorists, Tyrants and Weapons of Mass Destruction"
  • 2007—Emily Hauptmann, "Fighting Words: How Political Scientists and the Big Foundations Defined 'Democracy' During the Cold War"
  • 2006—David Rosenbloom, "Preserving Constitutional Government in an Age of Outsourcing"
  • 2005—Michael O'Hanlon, "The Axis of Evil and Doctrine of Preemption Three Years On"
  • 2004—Robert M. Entman, "Media, Foreign Policy and American Democracy After 9/11"
  • 2003—Patricia Ingraham, "The Performance Challenge: Why Public Management is Not for the Faint of Heart"
  • 2002—Donald J. Puchala, "The Tragedy of War and the Search for Meaning in International History"
  • 2001—John Mueller, "Democracy and Ralph's Pretty Good Grocery"
  • 2000—Donald Kettl, "Managing Government in a Globalized World"
  • 1999—John Lukacs, "The Idea of Europe"
  • 1998—Robert H. Ferrell, "From Wilson to Truman: Democracy and the American Presidency"
  • 1997—Chester A. Newland, "The Search for Reasonableness in Public Administration"
  • 1996—Richard L. Walker, "The Cultural Dimension of Foreign Relations"
  • 1995—David Mathews, "Democracy in America"
  • 1994—Dwight Waldo, "Public Administration Today: Multiple Perspectives"
  • 1993—Jan Prybyla, "The Interplay of Economics and Politics in the Transformation of Social Systems"


Park University teams are known as the Pirates. The university competes in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) as a member of the American Midwest Conference (AMC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, soccer, track & field and volleyball; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, track & field and volleyball.

2015-16 season highlights:

  • Park University’s all-student-athlete GPA was 3.125. Of 212 student-athletes, 60% had at least a 3.0 grade point average for the year, and eight of Park’s 13 programs were named NAIA Scholar Teams (teams with at least a 3.0 GPA for the year).
  • Park University had 102 student-athletes named Academic All-Conference student-athletes.
  • In addition to the academic achievements of Park’s student-athletes, 43 were named to American Midwest Conference and Midwest Conference (Volleyball) All-Conference teams.
  • 34 Pirates received the Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete award, which is given to student-athletes with a 3.5 (or better) GPA who are at least a junior in academic standing.
  • Eight student-athletes were named NAIA All-Americans, and eight Park programs were represented at NAIA National Championship events.

The Department of Athletics at Park University is led by Claude English, Director of Athletics, who was also the Pirates’ men’s basketball coach from 1993 to 2005. From 1981 to 1984, English was the head men’s basketball coach at his alma mater, the University of Rhode Island, and he played one season in the NBA with the Portland Trail Blazers in 1970-71.

Six former Park Pirates compete currently for the Missouri Comets of the Major Arena Soccer League. Former Pirate Derek Gordon pitches in the Kansas City Royals minor-league system.[7]


  • 2014 Women's Volleyball (NAIA National Champions)
  • 2014 Men's Volleyball (NAIA Invitational Tournament)
  • 2012 Men's Volleyball (NAIA Invitational Tournament)
  • 2008 Men's Volleyball (NAIA Invitational Tournament)
  • 2003 Men's Volleyball (NAIA Invitational Tournament)


  • Ranked 1st among all private colleges and universities in the U.S. and ranked 2nd in the “online and nontraditional” category on the Military Times’ "Best for Vets: Colleges 2016" list.[8]
  • Ranked 2nd “Best for Vets” business school in the country among private colleges/universities in the country, according to Military Times.[9]
  • Selected as one of the top military-friendly colleges and universities in the country for seven consecutive years by Victory Media.[10]
  • Ranked 2nd among all private colleges/universities in the country with a 9.5 percent annual ROI by 2015 PayScale College ROI Report.[11]
  • 2015-16 Colleges of Distinction list.[12]
  • 2016 Washington Monthly Best 4-Year Colleges for Adult Learners list [13]

Notable people[edit]



  1. ^ "Park University". Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
  2. ^ - Park University 2006 Master Plan
  3. ^ Park University Facts, Stats and Admissions Information,
  4. ^ Centennial History of Missouri: (the Center State) One Hundred Years in the Union, 1820-1921 By Walter Barlow Stevens –1921 – S.J. Clarke Publishing – Page 41 (available on
  5. ^ Decatur Daily Dispatch - Among Our Neighbors - 1890-09-11
  6. ^ "Distance Learning Programs 2004". Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Best for Vets: Colleges 2016". Retrieved 7 March 2016. 
  9. ^ "Best for Vets: Business Schools 2016". Retrieved 7 March 2016. 
  10. ^ "Park University Designated Military-Friendly Institution For Seventh Straight Year". Retrieved 7 March 2016. 
  11. ^ "PayScale College ROI Report". Retrieved 7 March 2016. 
  12. ^ "Colleges of Distinction". Retrieved 7 March 2016. 
  13. ^ "Colleges of Distinction". Retrieved 3 October 2016. 
  14. ^ Marsia Alexander-Clarke (2003). "Resume". Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Mayor Kay Barnes to Join Park University, Lead New Center". Park University. April 4, 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-17. 


External links[edit]