John Fierro, a member of the Kansas City, Mo., Public Schools Board of Directors, and the president and chief executive officer of the Mattie Rhodes Center, will present the keynote address at his alma mater during Park University’s Kansas City Area May 2017 Commencement on Saturday, May 13. The ceremony will be held at the Community of Christ Auditorium, 1001 W. Walnut in Independence, Mo., starting at 10 a.m.
The event will include more than 600 Park University students eligible to graduate and participate in the ceremony — approximately 410 students are set to receive a master’s degree and/or graduate certificate, and approximately 190 students are scheduled to receive a bachelor’s degree, associate degree and/or undergraduate certificate.
Fierro, who earned a Master of Public Administration degree in 2001 and a Bachelor of Science degree in business in 1998 from Park, was elected to the KCMO school board in 2016 representing Sub-District 3, and he serves as chair of the board’s government relations committee. Professionally, he serves as the leader of the Mattie Rhodes Center, a Kansas City, Mo., nonprofit agency that provides a holistic approach to individual and family well-being through social services, behavioral health counseling and the arts for those living in poverty.
Fierro has served in a number of government appointed positions, including as the first Hispanic-American president of the Kansas City, Mo., Parks and Recreation Board of Commissioners. During his career, Fierro has distinguished himself as a civic leader, consensus builder, fundraiser and tireless advocate for Hispanics in Kansas City. He helped begin the Latino Civic Engagement Collaborative which supports the delivery of education, health care, mental health care, business development, housing, economic development and social services. He also led the expansion of the Mattie Rhodes Center, growing the agency to a nationally accredited organization supporting 15,000 participants annually, as well as leading the efforts to build a $2 million soccer park in Kansas City’s historic Northeast neighborhood.
In 2013, Fierro received the Director’s Community Leadership Award from FBI director James Comey, which honors individuals and organizations for their efforts in combating crime, terrorism, drugs and violence in America.