Park University

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Park University
Park University logo.png
Motto Fides et Labor
Motto in English
Literally: “Faith and Work”
Type Private
Established Park College 1875
Park University 2000
President Greg Gunderson, Ph.D.
Vice-president Douglas Fiore, Ph.D.
Provost Douglas Fiore, Ph.D.
Students 11,013 (Fall 2014)[1]
Undergraduates 10,248 (Fall 2014)[1]
Postgraduates 765 (Fall 2014)[1]
Location Parkville, Missouri
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
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 an independent, non-profit private institution of higher education based in Parkville, Missouri and has 41 campus center locations in 20 states and online. Established in 1875 as a small religiously-affiliated college, it has now expanded into a comprehensive master level institution and one of the top providers of education courses for the U.S. military.

Park is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).


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[2] 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 Air Force bases and share quarters with other businesses/organizations.

Campus Centers by State

Arizona Phoenix Tucson

Arkansas Little Rock

California Barstow Community College Barstow MCLB Fort Irwin Oceanside Victorville - Victor Valley College

Georgia Valdosta

Idaho Mountain Home

Illinois Belleville

Massachusetts Bedford

Missouri Kansas City Area Knob Noster Parkville Campus Waynesville

Montana Great Falls

New Mexico' Alamogordo

North Carolina Havelock

North Dakota Grand Forks Minot

Ohio Columbus Dayton

Oklahoma Oklahoma City

South Carolina Beaufort Charleston

Tennessee Millington

Texas Austin Del Rio El Paso Fort Bliss Northeast San Antonio San Angelo San Antonio

Utah Ogden

Virginia and Greater DC Area Arlington Fort Myer Quantico

Washington Spokane

Wyoming Cheyenne

The 800-acre (323.7 ha) home campus currently has an enrollment of 1,600 students representing 50 states and 106 countries.[3] The entire extended system had an annual student enrollment of 23,000.[4]


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.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7] Park’s total enrollment has grown from its small base since 1996 when it first began offering online courses.[8] In 2000 it was renamed Park University.


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.

The 2014-15 season was highlighted by the women's volleyball program's 40-0 run to the NAIA National Championship, topping defending national champion Texas at Brownsville in three sets in December. The men's volleyball program also made an NAIA run, reaching the semifinals, while the Pirates were also represented by their cross country and track teams in NAIA competition. In all, three programs won conference championships, and Park had 98 academic all-conference honorees, 34 all-conference performers, 10 All-Americans and two Capital One Academic All-Americans of the Year. The Pirates also had 28 student-athletes win the NAIA’s most prestigious academic award as Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes.

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.


  • Ranked 10th on Guide to Online School’s 2013 Online College Rankings.[9][10]
  • Park University's online Master of Public Affairs degree program is ranked 10th nationally as a "best buy" in the "Best Online Masters in Public Administration" category by In addition, Park's online Master of Business Administration degree is ranked 25th in the "Best Online MBA Rankings Regional" category.[11]
  • Ranked 2nd among all private colleges and universities in the U.S. and ranked 3rd in the “online and nontraditional” category on the Military Times’ "Best for Vets: Colleges 2013" list.[12]
  • Selected as one of the top military-friendly colleges and universities in the country for five consecutive years by Military Advanced Education magazine.[13]
  • Ranked among the top 100 colleges and universities in the United States for conferring bachelor’s degrees to students of color by “Diverse Issues in Higher Education” magazine.[14]

Notable people[edit]



  1. ^ a b c "Higher Learning Commission". Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "Park University". Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
  3. ^ - Park University 2006 Master Plan
  4. ^ Park University Facts, Stats and Admissions Information,
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ Decatur Daily Dispatch - Among Our Neighbors - 1890-09-11
  7. ^ "We Apologize". Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  8. ^ "Distance Learning Programs 2004". Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  9. ^ "2013 Online College Rankings". Guide To Online Schools. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  10. ^ "Park University Ranked Among Nation's Best For Providing Online Education". Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  11. ^ "Best Affordable Online Masters in Public Administration". Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  12. ^ "Best for Vets: Colleges 2013". Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  13. ^ "Park University Selected "Military-Friendly School" For Fifth Straight Year". Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  14. ^ "Park University receives national recognition". The Examiner. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  15. ^ Marsia Alexander-Clarke (2003). "Resume". Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  16. ^ "Bio information on Barnes, Graves". Fort Mill Times. September 30, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-17. [dead link]
  17. ^ "Mayor Kay Barnes to Join Park University, Lead New Center". Park University. April 4, 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-17. 

External links[edit]