|Motto||Fides et Labor|
Motto in English
|Faith & Work|
|President||Shane B. Smeed (Acting President)|
|Provost||Michelle Myers, Ed.D.|
|Students||11,457; 9,861 undergraduate (fall 2017)|
|Colors||Canary and Wine (gold and burgundy)|
|Athletics||NAIA – HAAC (Parkville), Cal Pac (Gilbert)|
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.
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. 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. In 2000, it was renamed Park University.
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 41 campuses in 22 U.S. states including four campuses in the Kansas City area (Downtown Kansas City, Independence, Lenexa 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. The entire extended system had an annual student enrollment of 23,000.
In 2018, the university opened a campus center in Gilbert, Arizona in the city's Heritage District. Park leased 11,000-square-foot (1,000 m2) at the University Building. The university continued to expand the Gilbert campus in 2019, leasing an additional 7,000-square-foot (650 m2) and extending the initial three-year term to five years with the city. The university continued to expand the Gilbert campus with the addition of college athletics. Initially playing as an independent during the 2019-20 academic year, the university announced membership in the NAIA and California Pacific Conference (Pac West) starting in 2020-21.
Park University teams are known as the Pirates. The university competes in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) as a member of the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, track & field and volleyball; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, track & field and volleyball.
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 1992 to 2005. From 1980 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.
- 2018 Women's Volleyball (NAIA National Champions)
- 2017 Men's Volleyball (NAIA Invitational Tournament)
- 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)
Park University Gilbert teams are known as the Buccaneers. The university added a college athletics program to the Gilbert, Arizona campus center in 2019. After playing as an independent program during the 2019-20 academic year, the university announced membership in the NAIA and California Pacific Conference (Pac West) starting in 2020-21. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, track and field, and volleyball, while women's sports include basketball, beach volleyball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, track and field and volleyball.
- Ranked 2nd in the “online and nontraditional” category on the Military Times’ "Best for Vets: Colleges 2016" list.
- Ranked 2nd among all private colleges/universities in the country with a 9.5 percent annual ROI by 2015 PayScale College ROI Report.
- 2015-16 Colleges of Distinction list.
- Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the 126-165 best Midwest college in 2018.
- Marsia Alexander-Clarke, artist
- Vlatko Andonovski - United States Women's National Soccer Team Coach
- James J. Barry, Jr. (1969) - former New Jersey General Assemblyman and New Jersey Director of Consumer Affairs
- Ralph von Frese (1969) - American geologist
- Tsiang Tingfu (Chinese: 蔣廷黻)- Chinese scholar and diplomat. In 1911, he attended the Park Academy
- Don H. Compier (1985) - founding Dean of the Community of Christ Seminary
- Steve Cox - freelance writer
- John R. Everett (1942) - President of Hollins College, first Chancellor of the Municipal College System of the City of New York, and President of the New School for Social Research
- Maurice Green Olympic Sprinter; world record holder
- Melana Scantlin (2002) - former Miss Missouri USA, television personality
- Chance Browne - American musician, painter, and cartoonist
- Robert E. Hall - eleventh Sergeant Major of the Army
- Charles A. Holland, Los Angeles, California, City Council member, 1929–31
- James A. Roy - sixteenth Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force
- Edwin Kagin - attorney, founder Camp Quest
- George Kelly - American psychologist, therapist and educator
- Texe Marrs - American preacher
- Cleland Boyd McAfee (1884) - American theologian
- Newell A. George - United States Congressman, 1959–1961.
- Carl McIntire - radio broadcaster
- Stephen M. Veazey - Prophet-President of the Community of Christ
- George S. Robb, U.S. Army (1912) - Medal of Honor - World War I
- Lewis Millet, U.S. Army (1964) - Medal of Honor - Korea
- Thaddeus J. Martin, U.S. Air Force, Connecticut Adjutant General
- David Grace (basketball) UCLA and Oregon State University men's assistant basketball coach (USAF Retired) 
- Anthony Melchiorri - Hospitality expert and Travel Channel host
- Hollington Tong - transferred to University of Missouri, Republic of China ambassador to the United States
Faculty and staff
- Stanislav Ioudenitch (Professor of Music and Piano) - Pianist and gold medalist of Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2001
- Kay Barnes (Senior Director for University Engagement) - Former mayor of Kansas City and candidate for Congress in 2008
- "College Navigator - Park University". National Center for Education Statistics. U.S. Department of Education. 2017. Retrieved 2018-08-23.
- 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 print.google.com)
- Decatur Daily Dispatch - Among Our Neighbors - 1890-09-11
- "Distance Learning Programs 2004". google.com. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
- "Park University". park.edu. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
- - Park University 2006 Master Plan Archived 2007-10-09 at the Wayback Machine
- Park University Facts, Stats and Admissions Information Archived 2008-05-23 at the Wayback Machine, Yahoo.com
- Staff (1 April 2020). "Park University to expand campus in downtown Gilbert". KTAR News. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
- VSN Staff (31 March 2020). "NAIA Approves Five Institutions for Membership". Victory Sports Network. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
- Homegrown Talent: Pirates to Comets. Major Arena Soccer League. Retrieved 2 April 2020. https://www.maslsoccer.com/news/homegrown
- "Best for Vets: Colleges 2016". Archived from the original on 21 January 2016. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
- "PayScale College ROI Report". Retrieved 7 March 2016.
- "Colleges of Distinction". Retrieved 7 March 2016.
- "Park University". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
- Marsia Alexander-Clarke (2003). "Resume". Archived from the original on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-06-02. Retrieved 2016-04-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Mayor Kay Barnes to Join Park University, Lead New Center". Park University. April 4, 2007. Archived from the original on July 16, 2012. Retrieved 2008-10-17.