Park University holds commencement to celebrate graduates

The Park University’s Kansas City Area Commencement has been set for Saturday, May 6. The ceremony will be held at Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence, Mo., starting at 10 a.m.

There are 705 Park University students eligible to participate in the ceremony. 218 students are set to receive a master’s degree and/or graduate certificate. In addition, 487 students are scheduled to receive a bachelor’s degree, associate degree and/or undergraduate certificate.

Cliff Illig, principal owner of Major League Soccer’s Sporting Kansas City franchise and retired co-founder of Cerner Corp., will present the keynote address during the commencement ceremony.

Llig is a Kansas City businessman, an entrepreneur, a venture capitalist and sports team owner and was a co-founder of Cerner in 1979. He helped the company grow to become the world’s largest independent health information technology company and Kansas City’s largest private-sector employer. Illig retired from Cerner in 2019. In the four decades Illig was with Cerner, he served in a variety of leadership roles, including stints as president, chief operating officer and board vice-chair.

llig also served as co-chair of the successful bid to bring the FIFA World Cup to Kansas City in 2026. With Kansas City being one of the 16 host cities, Illig is spearheading planning efforts with a core group of leaders.

As one of Kansas City’s visible leaders, Illig serves on several civic boards and organizations, including the Board of Directors for the American Royal and the Stowers Resource Management Board, a supporting organization of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research.

He is a past president of the Boy Scouts of America’s Heart of America Council and co-founder of the First Hand Foundation (now Cerner Charitable Foundation). He is a Distinguished Eagle Scout Award and Boy Scouts’ Distinguished Citizen Award recipient.

Illig earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration from the University of Kansas and is now a member of the Greater Kansas City Business Hall of Fame.