At Park University, we are excited to celebrate our 140th anniversary over the next several months. As a large part of that celebration, we will be looking back at many of the historic moments that have shaped Park’s growth from our founding in 1875 to today, across several venues. In addition to a dedicated website, we will be sharing photos on social media as well. Every Monday, the Fishburn Archives at Park University will share a quick glance into the past, from our collection of photos and documents. And on the Park University Facebook page, we will be updating our cover photos to highlight important figures and events throughout our timeline,
Our first cover photo features three men, without whom Park would not exist today. To many longtime stakeholders and alumni of Park, the first two men need no introduction – founder of Park College and its home of Parkville, Mo., Col. George S Park; and our first president, John A. McAfee. The third figure, while not nearly as well-known as Park and McAfee, is Rev. Elisha B. Sherwood.
Like Col. Park, Rev. Sherwood was a native of Vermont, although they came from opposite ends of the state – Park was born in Grafton; Sherwood in Fairfield. And like Dr. McAfee, Rev. Sherwood was a dedicated minister of the Presbyterian Church. It was Sherwood’s friendship with each man separately that allowed him to make an introduction in mid-March 1875, and on March 29, McAfee, Park and Sherwood drafted plans and signed an agreement to establish the “Park College for Training Christian Workers.” The first class of students arrived in Parkville on April 13, 1875.
A mural on the first floor of Mackay Hall depicts Col. Park as “A Man of Vision,” and Dr. McAfee as “A Man of Action,” but without the assistance of Rev. Sherwood, the vision that is Park would not stand where it does today.