Founded in 1875 in Parkville, Mo., a suburb of Kansas City, Park University has developed into a comprehensive, independent institution that is a national leader in higher education. In 2000, Park achieved university status and now serves nearly 17,000 students annually at 41 locations in 21 states and online, including 35 campuses at military installations across the country.
Serving an ethnically diverse student population and non-traditional adult learners has, for many years, been central to Park’s educational mission. Even in its first year, Park University enrolled women students as well as men, something that was unusual at the time; and two of the original 17 students were Native Americans. Park was also an early integrator when it welcomed African-American students to live in Park’s residence halls in the 1950s.
Park continues to increase access to higher education by offering the quality undergraduate and graduate degrees students desire at locations, times and delivery formats that best serve their needs. In 2010, the University was ranked as the No. 1 value among private colleges and universities by Parents & Colleges, an online resource for parents of college-bound students — a distinction that was reaffirmed in 2012. In 2011 and 2013, Park was ranked the seventh most affordable private university/college in the nation, and first in the Midwest, for tuition and fees, according to U.S. News and World Report. Providing such access has developed considerable diversity among the student population, with 261 international students representing 58 countries, and a 45 percent student representation from racial, ethnic and cultural groups typically underrepresented in colleges and universities. The University has repeatedly been recognized as one of the top 100 American colleges/universities in the nation graduating Hispanic, African-American and American-Indian students. In addition, extracurricular activities and championship-caliber athletic programs complement Park’s outstanding scholastic programs.
Park University offers numerous degree programs online, and it maintains a long-standing relationship with the U.S. military for which it has been recognized as one of the largest providers of online undergraduate education to military learners worldwide. Since 2009, Park has received international recognition each year by Military Advanced Education magazine as one of its “Top Military-Friendly Colleges and Universities,” citing Park’s “innovative academic degree programs steeped in excellence.” In addition, in December 2012, Park was ranked No. 2 among all private colleges/universities in the country as “Best for Vets” by Military Times magazine.
Mackay Hall, placed on the National Register of Historic Places, houses the University’s administrative offices, as well as some classrooms. It was built in 1886 by students who quarried the stone from the school’s land, carried it to the site and built the structure as a means of earning their tuition. With its clock tower overlooking the residence halls, classrooms and other more modern facilities around it, Mackay Hall has become the symbol of the University.