Park University

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Park University
File:Park University logo.png
MottoFides et Labor
Motto in English
“Faith & Work”
EstablishedPark College 1875
Park University 2000
PresidentGreg Gunderson, Ph.D.
ProvostMichelle Myers, Ed.D.
Students11,457; 9,861 undergraduate
(fall 2017)[1]
Address8700 N.W. River Park Drive, Parkville, Missouri, 64152
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Song"Hail, Park, Hail" and "Canary and Wine"
ColorsCanary and Wine (gold and burgundy)
AffiliationsNAIA, American Midwest Conference
SportsSoccer, baseball, basketball, cross country, track & field, volleyball, golf, softball
Mackay Hall

Park University is a private non-profit educational institution in Parkville, Missouri founded in 1875.[1] Its setting is suburban, and the campus size is 700 acres. Park University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission,[2] and is affiliated with the Council of Independent Colleges and the Independent Colleges and Universities of Missouri.[3][4]

In the fall of 2017, Park had an enrollment of 11,457; a retention rate[nb 1] of 44% for full-time students and 18% for part-time students; a six-year undergraduate graduation rate of 24%; and a median annual net price of $16,048.[1]


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[5] including three 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.[6] The entire extended system had an annual student enrollment of 23,000.[7]


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.[8]

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.[9] 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.[10] 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.


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, 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.

Six former Park Pirates compete currently for the Kansas City Comets of the Major Arena Soccer League.


  • 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)


  • 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.[11]
  • Ranked 2nd “Best for Vets” business school in the country among private colleges/universities in the country, according to Military Times.[12]
  • Selected as one of the top military-friendly colleges and universities in the country for seven consecutive years by Victory Media.[13]
  • Ranked 2nd among all private colleges/universities in the country with a 9.5 percent annual ROI by 2015 PayScale College ROI Report.[14]
  • 2015-16 Colleges of Distinction list.[15]
  • 2016 Washington Monthly Best 4-Year Colleges for Adult Learners list [16]
  • Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the 126-165 best Midwest college in 2018.[17]

Notable people



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "College Navigator - Park University". National Center for Education Statistics. U.S. Department of Education. 2017. Retrieved 2018-08-23.
  2. "Park University". U.S. Department of Education Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs. Retrieved 2018-08-23.
  3. "Members of CIC". The Council of Independent Colleges. 2018-08-23. Retrieved 2018-08-23.
  4. "Our Members". The Independent Colleges and Universities of Missouri. 2018-08-23. Retrieved 2018-08-23.
  5. "Park University". Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  6. - Park University 2006 Master Plan Archived 2007-10-09 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. Park University Facts, Stats and Admissions Information Archived 2008-05-23 at the Wayback Machine.,
  8. 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
  9. Decatur Daily Dispatch - Among Our Neighbors - 1890-09-11
  10. "Distance Learning Programs 2004". Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  11. "Best for Vets: Colleges 2016". Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  12. "Best for Vets: Business Schools 2016". Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  13. "Park University Designated Military-Friendly Institution For Seventh Straight Year". Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  14. "PayScale College ROI Report". Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  15. "Colleges of Distinction". Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  16. "Colleges of Distinction". Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  17. "Park University". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  18. Marsia Alexander-Clarke (2003). "Resume". Archived from the original on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  19. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-06-02. Retrieved 2016-04-16.
  20. "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.


  1. Defined as percentage of freshmen returning as sophomores in the following year.

External links

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