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 17,000 students annually at 41 campus centers in 22 states and online, including campus centers in Parkville, Independence and Kansas City, Mo.; Lenexa, Kan.; Austin and El Paso, Texas; Barstow and Victorville, Calif.; and at 33 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.