Alumni Profiles    

Deanna Medlin Armstrong, '70
      Marlowe Sherwood Memorial Service Award, 2012

The Marlowe Sherwood Memorial Service Award recognizes alumni for volunteer service to community and/or civic organizations.


For Deanna Medlin Armstrong, ‘70, service is a priority that guides her life. Armstrong’s passion for service is rooted in the care and connection of a large extended family. “I was raised in a family who valued helping others in need, giving back and truly being a part of the community,” Armstrong said. “I learned by example.”

As the first in her family to earn a college degree, Armstrong attended Park on a full scholarship while working part-time in the school library and as a resident assistant, while participating in many clubs and campus activities.

Recognizing Armstrong’s service leadership, Park’s alumni director, the late Marlowe Sherwood, invited her to join Park’s Alumni Council. It was second nature for Armstrong to become

President Michael Droge with
Deanna Medlin Armstrong, '70

enthusiastically involved. She served a total of 14 years, including a term as Alumni Council president in 1998. As president, Armstrong created the Marlowe Sherwood Memorial Scholarship and the Torchlighter Award. “We wanted to do something meaningful to honor Marlowe by helping students attend Park as well as recognize outstanding alumni,” she said.

Armstrong’s successful career began in the classroom. After graduating with a double major in English and education, she taught in the Park Hill School District. As an English and journalism teacher, she was a natural fit for managing the school’s award-winning yearbook and newspaper, and launching the school’s first public relations department. In 1980, Armstrong was recognized as the Missouri Journalism Educator of the Year, in part for her leadership in bringing 2800 students to Kansas City to compete in a national journalism convention.

With a passion for education, youth and community service, Armstrong’s career path veered toward the nonprofit arena. As the chief program officer for the National Campfire USA, Armstrong redesigned the organization’s curriculum to meet educational standards and measurable outcomes. She also served as the executive director of Head Start of Shawnee Mission before starting her own consultancy to provide nonprofit clients her expertise in program development, marketing communications, fundraising and executive leadership training.

Today, Armstrong is leading the way to meet the growing needs of senior citizens as the executive director of Platte County Senior Services. She oversees programs that provide transportation, nutrition and socialization for a population that is expected to double in the next decade. “Many people don’t fully understand the needs of seniors,” she said. “As families move away and technology changes at warp speed, seniors are facing a disconnect from society and isolation that previous generations didn’t experience.”

Her lifelong connection to Park led to her current role as the board president of the Bell Road Barn Players. As the oldest community theater in Kansas City, Bell Road Barn Players was started by the late Jenkin David, Armstrong’s theater and English professor at Park. “I’m proud to carry on his legacy to offer the community a fun outlet for creative expression.” Armstrong also serves as a member of the Kansas City Symphony Guild and the Harvest Ball Society.

Park University is grateful to Armstrong for her 14 years of service on the Park University Board of Trustees. Most recently, she served on Park’s Strategic Planning Commission.  “Having worked with various nonprofit boards and strategic planning efforts in my career, I was impressed by the professionalism, dedication and sincere commitment from all levels of the University,” Armstrong said. “It has been an incredible experience.”

In her career and community work, Armstrong remains focused on opening opportunities for others. “What drives me is giving others the opportunity to imagine and pursue things they never thought possible, just as Park gives students an opportunity to dream big dreams and pursue their education,” Armstrong said. “There’s nothing more rewarding than helping others reach their goals.”