Shane Smeed appointed Park University Acting President


Park University

Acting President Shane Smeed

Shelby Adkins, Editor-In-Chief

PARKVILLE, MO— Park University announced Tuesday, Nov. 24, that Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Shane Smeed was appointed acting president as Greg Gunderson, Ph.D., transitions to a president emeritus status.

According to an official announcement from Park University, “President Greg Gunderson has announced his decision to step down from the presidency of Park University to pursue other opportunities.” Those opportunities have not been divulged as of this time.

Now, Dr. Gunderson has taken the position of president emeritus.

“President emeritus is a great compliment to someone who has had a really significant impact on an institution higher education over a period of time,” Acting President Smeed said. “Dr. Gunderson was here for five years, and you know we accomplished a lot of great things as a leadership team.”

In Dr. Gunderson’s absence, the board of trustees has appointed Smeed as acting president. He has been at Park for five years, most recently serving as the vice president and COO. His transfer to acting president was a quick one, but Smeed said he was honored to receive the position.

“I would say, you know, very, very little notice, but I think that it was a great compliment,” Smeed said. “The board of trustees are really responsible for making appointments like this. And so I felt humbled that the board of trustees asked me to serve as acting president.”

Although the transition was rapid, Smeed has been thankful for the support of the Park community.

“I’ve really felt encouraged by the support that I felt from our faculty and from our staff and even some students who know me who have reached out,” Smeed said. “That always makes you feel good when you’ve got the encouraging words of those around you.”

As acting president, Smeed’s responsibilities will be the same as Dr. Gunderson’s, as he takes over all of the projects that were in Dr. Gunderson’s hands before his departure. This includes the university’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

As Covid-19 cases continue to rise in Missouri, the Park community looks to their leadership for guidance. Smeed wants the community to know that he is prepared for this and holds it in the top of his priorities.

“I feel a sense of responsibility to work closely with our leadership team and our faculty and our students to make sure that we successfully get through this very difficult and challenging time,” Smeed said.

This semester the university has gone through many changes to course modalities, campus life and more to combat the spread of Covid-19. One thing important to Smeed is to protect the students’ education while also doing what is necessary during this pandemic.

“We can’t let this get in the way of students receiving an excellent education and prepare themselves to enter the workforce,” Smeed said. “So I think what I’m most excited about is helping to lead that effort so that we can see more and more of our students eventually walk across the stage and graduate.”