Greg Gunderson, Ph.D., was appointed Park University’s 17th president in January 2016 by the University’s Board of Trustees, in the midst of the University celebrating its 140th anniversary.
Before joining Park University, Gunderson served nearly five years as the vice president and chief financial officer of Webster University in St. Louis, leading its accounting, purchasing, accounts payable, bursar, internal audit, public safety, strategic planning, facilities and treasury units, and he directed the financial processes for Webster’s 68 campuses around the world. Prior to his service at Webster, Gunderson spent nine years at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln — six years as assistant vice chancellor for business operations in the Office of Academic Affairs and three years as director of financial resources and budget operations.
Gunderson also has experience in the private sector as project controller and chief of staff at ConAgra Inc., in Omaha, Neb.; director of finance for inbound operations at APAC Customer Services in Omaha; senior revenue accountant and tax accountant at Cray Research Inc., Eagan, Minn.; and tax accountant at Arthur Anderson and Co., St. Paul, Minn.
Selected “CFO of the Year” by the St. Louis Business Journal in 2014, Gunderson earned his doctoral degree in educational leadership in higher education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He received a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, Minn.) and a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
Special Assistant to the President
Laure Christensen serves as a member of the executive staff as special assistant to the president of Park University. As the president’s chief administrative officer, she manages the administrative, operational and financial affairs of the Office of the President, performs related duties as required or deemed necessary to assist the president in meeting his overall goals, serves as the primary administrative liaison to the Board of Trustees, and represents the president on committees, task forces and work groups. Christensen also guides administrative professionals university-wide through the Park Pirate Professionals.
Christensen began her career with Park in July 2003 and served in a variety of roles in the School for Arts and Humanities, the Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of the President. In 2011, she was honored with the Northland Regional Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Education award.
Prior to coming to Park, she served as office manager and an events specialist at Vic Gutman & Associates, a special events firm which coordinates special events for the city of Omaha and area not-for-profit organizations.
Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer
Roger P. Dusing serves Park University as associate vice president and chief human resource officer, directing the human resources and payroll operations for the University, as well as serving as Park's Title IX officer. In addition, he represents the University on the board of the Kansas City Professional Development Council, a consortium of area schools providing faculty and staff development programming.
Dusing joined Park in 2011 after 30 years as a human resources executive and consultant for several Kansas City area businesses. He has literally been on the University’s Parkville Campus his entire life as a student, adjunct faculty member and son of two of Park’s longest tenured employees.
Dusing earned a master’s degree in administration from Central Michigan University and a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Bradley University. He is currently a doctoral student pursuing a degree in business with a concentration in human resources from Northcentral University. Dusing is the board chair for Benilde Hall, a program in Kansas City, Mo., providing housing and treatment to homeless men with addiction and mental health issues. He was recognized as Human Resources Executive of the Year by American Business Media in 2008, and he is the author of I'm Fired?!? A Business-Fable About the Challenges of Losing One Job and Finding Another, a book on job search techniques.
Douglas J. Fiore, Ph.D., was appointed provost and vice president for academic affairs in February 2016. Fiore, who has spent his entire career in education, previously served as interim provost at Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio, a position he held since August 2014. He began his duties at Ashland just two months earlier as the dean of the Dwight Schar College of Education. Prior to joining Ashland, Fiore spent nearly seven years at Virginia State University, Petersburg, Va., most recently as associate provost for extended education for one year. Other stints at VSU included: assistant provost for general and continuing education, and professor of education; dean and professor of educational leadership, and special assistant to the provost; and dean of the Doctor of Education program and associate professor of educational leadership. Fiore also spent one year serving a fellowship with the esteemed American Council on Education.
Additional experience in higher education includes: director of the Office of Professional Practice with the Virginia Department of Education; assistant/associate professor of graduate education, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Va.; and assistant dean, College of Education, and assistant professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Professional Studies, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, Ga.. Fiore also spent 13 years in public K-12 school systems as a principal and teacher in Indiana and Virginia.
Fiore has won awards for his leadership, teaching and scholarship, including the prestigious Distinguished Paper Award from the American Educational Research Association, and he has authored or co-authored eight books for school administrators Fiore earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in educational administration from Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Ind. He also received a Master of Science in education from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., and a Bachelor of Arts degree in education/speech arts and sciences from Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y.
Vice President and General Counsel
Executive staff member Courtney E. Goddard was appointed to the position of vice president and general counsel in July 2014. Goddard previously served the University as associate vice president and general counsel since 2007. Prior to coming to Park, she represented more than 30 colleges and universities in private law practice.
A noted expert in the field of higher education law, Goddard has been a featured speaker at several national conferences for the National Association of College and University Attorneys. She is also a lauded leader in the Kansas City philanthropic community. She has served on multiple civic and charitable boards, including the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, the Harvest Ball Society and the St. Paul’s Episcopal Day School, and she served as co-chair of the Southwest Boulevard Family Health Care’s “Champagne and Chocolate” event. In 2014, Goddard was named a “Rising Star of Philanthropy” by Nonprofit Connect, and she was named to the 2014 NextGen Leaders class by the Kansas City Business Journal.
Goddard earned her Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law and her Bachelor of Science degree in criminology from Florida State University. Goddard has also earned a “BV Distinguished” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings.
Vice President for University Relations and Development
Executive staff member Laurie D. McCormack began her duties as vice president for university relations and development at Park in February 2015. Prior to this role, she served as vice president for university advancement since 2008. She has an extensive background in both fundraising and marketing/communications having served as director of marketing and client services for the law firm of Polsinelli, White, Vardeman and Shalton P.C., in Kansas City, Mo., and was manager of community and public relations at Gateway 2000 in Kansas City.
Prior to arriving at Park, McCormack was the assistant vice chancellor of advancement for development at the University of Missouri-Kansas City where she directed UMKC’s first-ever nine-figure capital campaign, raising $202.6 million through targeted efforts. She began her fundraising career with the Heart of America United Way as the campaign assistant director, where she raised more than $3.8 million.
McCormack received her bachelor’s degree in communication studies from UMKC. She has been an active volunteer for several organizations and currently serves as past president of Nonprofit Connect, and on the executive committee and board of the Truman Medical Centers Foundation. She is a former president of the Southtown Council and its foundation, and a former treasurer and board member of Safehome. In addition, she has served on the United Negro College Fund Kansas City Board of Advisors, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education’s conference committee and the Safehome Capital Campaign Steering Committee. McCormack is a member of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Centurion Leadership Program Class of 2001 and the Greater Missouri Leadership Challenge Class of 2010. In 2013, she was named one of KC Business Magazine’s Influential Women.
Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services
Shane Smeed was appointed vice president of enrollment and student services at Park University in September 2015. Smeed has more than 17 years of experience in higher education, holding a variety of positions, including director of admissions, dean of enrollment management and vice president of admissions. In his role at Park, Smeed will provide strategic and operational leadership to a department that includes the deans and directors of enrollment, student financial services, international student admissions and services, student services, campus center operations and athletics.
Prior to joining Park University, Smeed served as vice president of admissions at Kaplan University, vice president and chief operating officer of Ottawa (Kan.) University, metro president for DeVry University’s Kansas City campuses and inventory planner for the Boeing Co. in its materials management division.
Smeed is pursuing a doctorate degree in higher education administration from St. Louis University. He earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Keller Graduate School of Management and holds a bachelor’s degree in business operations from DeVry Institute of Technology.
Chief Financial Officer
Mathew Van Hoesen began his role as a member of the executive staff and as chief financial officer of Park University in January 2015. He has executive level experience in management, business leadership, mergers and acquisitions, and leveraged financing. As a certified public accountant and licensed attorney, Van Hoesen has a proven track record of growing institutional value with a strong acumen in cash flow management, budgeting, forecasting and staff development.
Prior to joining Park, Van Hoesen was general counsel and chief financial officer of a telecommunications company. He began his career path as an associate with the accounting firm CBIZ, and later moved to the local accounting firm House, Park, Dobratz and Wiebler in the role of audit manager.
Van Hoesen has dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in history and political science from the University of Kansas, where he also completed his Master of Business Administration and Juris Doctor in May 2004.
Chief Information Officer
David Whittaker, a Kansas City Northland native, was appointed to serve Park University as its chief information officer in January 2016. In his position as CIO, Whittaker is charged with ensuring that the University’s technology applications, networks, telecommunications and data security meet the current and future needs of the University.
Whittaker spent the previous 18 years with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, most recently as chief information security officer and director of the Office of the CIO since 2013. Between 2005 and 2013, Whittaker served as a director in a trio of areas within BCBSKC — director of strategic planning, director of application development, integration and database administration and director of data center operations. He also served the organization as an enterprise architect and as senior programmer analyst/web architect. Whittaker began his professional career as a lead software analyst for Black and Veatch at its Kansas City, Mo., office for six years.
Whittaker, who grew up in Gladstone, Mo., earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Baker University, Baldwin City, Kan. He also received a Bachelor of Science degree in systems and data processing from William Jewell College, Liberty, Mo.
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