In the middle of our country, one university has consistently shown its ability to reach out to veterans and their families to provide post-secondary education: Park University. For five consecutive years, Park University, located in Parkville, Missouri, has been selected as the one of the top military friendly universities by Military Advanced Education Magazine (Underwood 1).
In the Kansas City area, approximately 185 veterans are earning their education through Park University; however, more than 3,000 veterans are using Park University for educational and personal goals throughout the nation (Underwood 1). Park University uses a variety of tools to reach students and help them accomplish their educational goals: “The military and veteran student services center at Park University offers a wide range of counseling and support services, scholarships and even a free text book exchange system for veterans. The university also helps almost fourteen thousand active military members through online courses” (Underwood 1).
Stephen Terry runs the military and veterans services center at the Parkville campus. He is passionate about every service member, every veteran, every family member, spouse or dependent receiving the treatment and respect they have earned. His motivation is to make sure Park University gives that treatment and respect to these deserving heroes (Underwood 1).
Park has a unique quality that allows it to cater to the multitude of military personnel and their families: Multiple locations—some in the KC area, one in Texas and 35 other learning centers on military bases throughout the U.S. The university also helps almost fourteen thousand active military members through online courses (Underwood 1).
Sonia Padron served two tours as a member of the United States Army–One tour in Iraq, the other in Afghanistan. She now serves in the National Guard but calls Park University her home. “’Coming here I only knew one person,’ said Padron. ‘After the first semester I have a group of friends, we basically all stick together’” (Underwood 1).
Zach Clark spent four years in the United States Marine Corps and served as a machine gunner in Iraq from 2007 to 2008. Finding veteran support from a school is why he chose Park. “’Having fellow students who have gone through the same situations, even with education all the way to a tour in the same area helps,’ said Clark” (Underwood 1).
“The Military Advanced Education honor is yet another in a string of recent tributes to Park University’s efforts to educate members of the U.S. military. In December 2012, Military Times, an independent source for news and information for the military community, ranked Park No. 2 among all private colleges/universities in the country and No. 3 overall in the “online and nontraditional” category in its “Best for Vets: Colleges 2013” rankings. And in September 2012, Park was named a military-friendly school by G.I. Jobs magazine” (Biles 1).
Biles, Brad. “Park University Selected ‘Military-Friendly School’ For Fifth Straight Year.” http://news.park.edu January 14, 2013.
Underwood, Brad. “Park University Gets National Award, Again.” www.fox4kc.com January 25, 2013.