Celebrating Our 140th Anniversary Through Pictures

As we celebrated the opening of Old Kate Court a few weeks ago, we thought it appropriate to share her story. The true embodiment of Park’s motto of Fides et Labor, she was much beloved by the students, and a plaque recognizing her achievements is located at Julian Field.

Before plumbing was installed at Park College, Kate, an independent yet faithful mule, delivered thousands of gallons of water to campus buildings by pulling a wheeled barrel up and down the many hills. The little flop-eared mule was given this job after having been slightly lamed in an accident during the construction of Mackay Hall. She knew her way and refused to be driven by the students assigned the task, a trait which endeared her to them.

Kate made her rounds for 12 years and was known to hundreds of early Parkites. Respected and beloved by the entire college community, she was retired in 1898 and was seldom harnessed thereafter, even though times were hard for the college. Kate’s place in college history was assured when, in 1900, on the very day that water was first pumped to the campus from the new water works, she lay down and quietly died, her labors no longer needed. She was 32 years old. Grieving students buried her and erected a large stone as a memorial, one which generations of alumni have revered as the embodiment of Park College spirit.

Kate’s story and her monument are symbolic of the faith and labor, the strength, the perseverance and the force of will that were required to create Park College and to keep it going. May they also serve as an inspiration for the future.

Carolyn McHenry Elwess, ’71
Park University Archivist
Photo of Old Kate with Students

“Old Kate” was a fixture during the early days of Park. After helping to haul the limestone used to build Mackay Hall, she also served as the campus water works, hauling loads from the well up to the residences.

Sir George Reunites Cast of Pirates of the Caribbean

With filming currently underway in Australia, Walt Disney Pictures announced today the addition of Sir George Park, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley to the cast of the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Bloom and Knightley are set to reprise their roles, joining Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush. Sir George will join the swashbuckling ensemble as Captain Jack Sparrow looks to fend off Captain Salazar and claim the legendary Trident of Poseidon.

“Sir George’s charisma and enthusiasm for this latest storyline was infectious,” said Knightley. “Although there was a certain closure at the conclusion of Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds’ End, I occasionally wondered what the future held for Elizabeth and Will. When we met before the Academy Awards earlier this year, Sir George convinced me that I wasn’t the only one with that curiosity.”

After serving ten years as the captain of the Flying Dutchman, Will Turner returns from the Land of the Dead to be reunited with Elizabeth and their son, William Turner III, in Port Royal. Upon learning of the escape of Captain Salazar from the Devil’s Triangle, Will and Elizabeth join the crew of Sir George on the Arabia in the hunt for the Trident of Poseidon.

The film is slated for a 2017 release.

Sir George Park (pictured alongside Keira Knightley and Johnny Depp) was recently announced as an addition to the cast of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Sir George Park (pictured alongside Keira Knightley and Johnny Depp) was recently announced as an addition to the cast of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Living our Core Values – Inclusivity

Roger Dusing continues our series on Living Our Core Values with a look at INCLUSIVITY.

Visit our archives to read other posts in the series – on ACCOUNTABILITY, CIVILITY and RESPECT, EXCELLENCE and GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP.

We embrace INCLUSIVITY that fosters diversity, teamwork, and collaboration

In 1995, BJ Gallagher first published A Peacock in the Land of Penguins. This business fable told the story of a peacock who went to work for a company filled with penguins. The penguins felt the peacock was too colorful and did not fit in. They discounted his ideas and suggestions. But, when the polar bears attacked, the peacock’s new perspectives on the problems saved the day. (I hope I didn’t just ruin the book for you.)

The story is simple, yet the message is profound. If we are all alike, then we think alike and solve problems alike, and probably reach similar conclusions. That makes for a very comfortable environment, but not one that prepares us for the challenges that lie ahead. Park University needs creative solutions to complicated problems. We need a variety of perspectives and opinions. To get that, we need an inclusive workforce – one where those who bring new perspectives and ideas are welcomed and allowed to thrive.

Some organizations call this diversity rather than inclusivity. Here is how I see the difference. Diversity is a measurement – an external evaluation. Inclusivity is an action. We can act in an inclusive manner, and if we do, our actions will result in diversity.

When we behave in an inclusive fashion, we also foster teamwork and collaboration. The act of opening ourselves to other views and opinions encourages us work together. When we collaborate, we find synergy. Stephen Covey says that too many groups embrace the principles of compromise. It sounds easy. We each give up something that we want, so we can get agreement on something else. The problem is that if everybody compromises, nobody gets what they wanted, and the solution is dissatisfying to all. Covey instead suggests synergy. Synergy means that we all work together, collaboratively and inclusively, to reach a unique solution that is better than what was being proposed by any one party.

In addition, collaboration and teamwork foster a shared sense of accountability. When we work together with synergy, we become reliant on each other so we naturally come to expect others to perform. That expectation then translates to a sense of accountability to others and ourselves. If we are not successful, then the team fails and in an inclusive environment, we all work to make sure that does not happen.

Park University values inclusivity. We want people to welcome each other with open arms, and open minds. We want a diversity of thoughts, opinions, backgrounds, and perspectives. We want ideas collaboratively shared, nurtured, and developed. Another word for this idea is collegiality, and where better to experience a collegial environment, than a 140-year-old college founded on Fides et Labor?


Protect Federal Student Aid

A note from Park University President David Fowler:

Your immediate help is needed to protect federal student aid for current and future Park University students.

The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate are expected to vote this week on 2016 budget resolutions calling for damaging cuts to the Pell Grant and student loan programs totaling $150 billion over 10 years.

Call or e-mail your senators and representative today and urge them to support financially deserving Park University students by rejecting proposed cuts to the Pell Grant and student loan programs contained within the FY 2016 budget resolution.

What You Can Do
Let your senators and representative know that:

  • In a March 2 Wall Street Journal article, Park University was mentioned as being one of the top 10 private colleges in the country for return on investment.   Park has also instituted a 2015-16 tuition freeze for returning students.  Park is doing its part to make college affordable for deserving students.  It’s time for the Senate and the House to do their part!
  • This proposal will make damaging changes to the core federal student aid programs that help more than 7,500 students attend Park University each year.  Approximately one of every two Park students would be impacted.
  • A vote for this budget is a vote to make college more expensive by freezing Pell Grants for the next decade and increasing student loan costs on a program already profitable for the federal government.
  • Freezing the Pell Grant at $5,775 for the next 10 years will force low-income students to borrow more, or to forego college because of the gap in their financing.
  • The federal government is already making $15 billion annually on student loans, and now wants to make an additional $40 billion by charging low-income students interest while they are in college.

We will keep you informed about this and other related legislation impacting the ability for students to attend the university of their choice.  Thank you for your help.

Making Summer Plans

Yes, we know it’s just the first week back from Spring Break, but it’s never too early to start planning for summer. Have a general education class that you want to knock out? Want to explore adding a minor to your degree plan? New student looking to lock in tuition rates through 2015-16? The Buccaneer Summer Sessions are the way to go. Our short-session options help you take care of all of the coursework from a traditional 16-week class in as little as two weeks!

Highlighting the Maymester (May 9-22) lineup is a class on natural disasters, that will take you beyond the traditional examination of life or economic loss and into their broader effect on human culture and population distribution.

During Junemester (June 6-July 1) you can embark on the journey toward a leadership minor. Learn about ethical leadership, group dynamics, servant leadership and leading change in communities, and explore your own potential as a leader.

Wrap it up during Julymester (July 11-August 5) with a look at the social processes and structures of society in Introduction to Sociology.

Of course, these are just a select few of the courses offered over the summer, and there’s also the option of taking a more “relaxed” accelerated approach with our 8-week summer term. Check out your options at park.edu and enroll today!

Celebrating Our 140th Anniversary Through Pictures

We continue our celebration of Park University’s 140th anniversary through pictures with a look at Mackay Hall. Below is a photo from the early construction of the iconic building, with a number of students throughout the scene, working in true Park fashion. Construction on the building took place over a period of seven years, completed in 1893. It is currently home to administrative offices as well as classrooms and offices for the Park University School of Business and Department of Political Science, but Mackay has undergone a number of renovations in the ensuing years.

Although the interior has undergone the majority of the changes – the basement originally housed scientific laboratories while the third floor was home to four literary society halls – the exterior has seen a few changes as well. Thermal windows were added in 1994, and in 2002 the roof was completely redone with an eye to historical accuracy. The slate shingles were removed, the roof completely resheathed, and the metal trim was refinished. The finishing touches included re-shingling the roof with slate and rebuilding the facade of the clock tower.

As Park University Archivist Carolyn Elwess described, Park University and Mackay Hall are inseparable.

It is impossible to imagine the Park University campus without Mackay Hall. It is the heart and soul of the school and stands as a tribute to the strength, perseverance and faith of those who envisioned and built its walls and towers. The story of its construction should serve as an inspiration to all who work and study here, both now and in the future.

A Tale of Endurance:
The Story of Mackay Hall

Friday marks the 122nd anniversary of the opening of Mackay Hall, but that is not the only reason we are sharing this photo. This week, we began a renovation of the clock tower that sits atop Mackay Hall. Scheduled for completion in May 2015, this project is funded entirely through private donations.

This renovation project is one of the first launched through our Club 1000 giving society. Donations to Club 1000 are used at the discretion of the President to support a wide variety of initiatives that help advance Park University. We are thankful for the help of our 39 current Club 1000 members and we are excited to see Park continue to innovate and thrive through the next 140 years!

A photo of the early construction of Mackay Hall. Although professional masons were employed for the construction of the walls, students quarried and transported the limestone.

A photo of the early construction of Mackay Hall. Although professional masons were employed for the construction of the walls, students quarried and transported the limestone.

Celebrating Our 140th Anniversary Through Pictures

In our continued celebration of Park University’s 140th anniversary, we are taking a look back at its rich history, through a collection of photos. Although it is no longer standing, this building was the original home of Park College. Located on the banks of the Missouri River, just north of the train tracks, “Number One” was the home of Park’s first class of 17 students. To share the story of its beginnings, here is an excerpt from A Chronicle of Memories: Park College – 1875-1990.

Old photo of Old Number One, a stone multi-level building.

Originally built in 1839 as the Missouri Valley Hotel, this building served as the first home of Park College.

Once a rough, hilly spot of rocks and clay and woods, the campus has been transformed into beautiful terraces lined with shrubs and flowers. Buildings have risen, faithfully served their time, and given way to newer and finer structures as necessity has demanded and the means permitted. Practically all has been modified by the changing time except what is familiarly knows as “the old Park Spirit” – the spirit of endeavor, of progress, and of success, which still pervades the college atmosphere and inspires all to greater achievement.

In 1839, Colonel George S. Park arrived at a small hamlet on the Missouri River called English Landing (now Parkville) where he built a stone hotel which he named the Missouri Valley Hotel. This pioneer entrepreneur had a dream of founding a college. At a Presbyterian meeting he met another man with the same dream. As a result, in 1875 the old hotel building was given by Colonel Park to house the nucleus of seventeen students brought by Dr. John A. McAfee from Highland College in Kansas to found Park College. It was called “Number One” or just “The College” and rightly so because it was the first and only building of the fledgling college and because it contained everything pertaining to the institution (except, of course, the grounds and buildings needed for farming, which were leased at the beginning). It was located just west of the railroad depot which you now know as the City Hall. The townspeople were not too happy when the students built a fence around it to keep them from cutting across the yard on their way to the depot.

Parts of this hotel which had once flourished during the Civil War period had fallen into disrepair from abuse by soldiers and border ruffians, and by being used as a saloon and even as a stable for their horses by the renegade James brothers, Jesse and Frank. Dr. and Mrs. McAfee, their five children and the seventeen students all pitched in to clean up the mess and make the building livable. Gradually as time went on and much work was done, the lower floor contained the printing office, dining room, kitchen, laundry, bakery, clothes and store rooms; the second floor a chapel, six recitation rooms, two literary society halls, library, President’s office, parlor, and matron’s and steward’s rooms. The third floor was a sort of conservatory containing eighteen rooms (which by 1886 housed sixty-eight young ladies), a reading and a music room. It was called the “Sugar Box,” presumably because of the sweet young ladies who resided there. On the top was the ten-room “Pepper Box,” so named because of its many windows. Should you want to catch a steamer or row a boat on the Missouri River you would just cross the railroad tracks immediately south of Old Number One, walk a few yards, and there you’d be.

This is just one of the many great stories from Park’s 140 years of tradition. To celebrate that history, Fides et Labor –140 Years of Pioneering Education: The Story of Park University (working title), is currently in production and is scheduled to be available in September. The 160-page publication will be filled with stories and photos covering the University’s history. Pre-orders for the book are currently being filled at the discounted price of $39.95 through Aug. 1; the price goes to $44.95 after that date and supply will be limited. For more information or to order your book, visit www.park.edu/historybook.