Several students from Eastern Jackson County earned degrees as Park University held its May 2017 Kansas City Area Commencement ceremony on May 13 at the Community of Christ Auditorium in Independence. 

The University had 618 students eligible to participate in the ceremony – 210 students received a master’s degree and/or a graduate certificate, and 408 students received a bachelor’s degree, associate degree and/or undergraduate certificate. John Fierro, a member of the Kansas City Public Schools Board of Directors, and the president and chief operating officer of the Mattie Rhodes Center, presented the keynote address. 

Some graduates earned honors (listed in parentheses at end) – Summa Cum Laude (3.9 to 4.0 grade point average); Magna Cum Laude (3.7 to 3.899 GPA); Cum Laude (3.5 to 3.699 GPA); With Distinction (students who complete 24 to 44 credit hours at Park with a 3.75 GPA or better). 

Local students who earned degrees included: 


Master of Business Administration 

• Valerie Jaramillo-Babbitt, Human Resource Management, Lee’s Summit

• Tyler Gary King, Business Administration, Independence (attended Liberty High School)

• Monica D. Langley, Business Administration, Independence (attended Key West [Fla.] High School)

• Allison Michelle Smith, Human Resource Management, Blue Springs (attended Blue Springs South High School)

Master of Education 

• Natasha Marie Herbert, Language and Literacy, Grain Valley

• Sue Del Lamb, Teacher Leadership, Lee’s Summit

• Niki Dawn Mayfield, Teacher Leadership, Independence

• Brenda Kay Mullendore, Teacher Leadership, Independence

• Kerrie Marie Nelson, Language and Literacy, Lee’s Summit

• Kelly Dawn Reed, Teacher Leadership, Blue Springs

• Raya Dion Jewell Rivers, Language and Literacy, Lee’s Summit

• Shannon Rae Stone, Language and Literacy, Grain Valley

• Bretta L. Wyatt, Educational Leadership, Grain Valley

Master of Healthcare Administration 

• Stephanie Lynn Burgess, Sibley (attended Fort Osage High School)

Master of Public Affairs 

• Nicholas Ryan Norton, Public Management, Blue Springs (attended Fort Osage High School)

• Philonda Corlita Ratliff, Disaster and Emergency Management, Lee’s Summit (Ratliff also earned Undergraduate Certificates in Disaster and Emergency Management, and Homeland Security)

Master of Social Work 

• Misty Renee Kelso, Lake Lotawana (attended Blue Springs South High School)

Graduate Certificate 

• Ryan Furnival, Management Information Systems, Lee’s Summit



Bachelor of Arts 

• Marva L. Allen-Fowler, Liberal Studies/Communication Arts, Independence (attended Southeast African-Centered Preparatory High School, Kansas City)

• Jocelyn Krysteen Frazee, Fine Art, Kansas City (attended Truman High School) (Frazee also earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Graphic Design) (Cum Laude)

• Karen A. Rawlins, English Writing, Independence (attended Oak Grove High School)

• Thomas Cody Tompkins, Organizational Communication, Independence (attended Truman High School) (Cum Laude)

Bachelor of Fine Arts 

• Elizabeth R. Casper, Interior Design, Independence (Summa Cum Laude)

• Erika Kristina Jones, Interior Design, Independence (attended Truman High School) (Cum Laude)

• Kristina L. Meierarend, Interior Design, Kansas City, Kan. (attended Truman High School) (Summa Cum Laude)

• Amara Elaine Oakes, Interior Design, Independence (attended William Chrisman High School)

Bachelor of Science 

• Jeremy Scott Barnes, Accounting and Business Administration/Management (attended Fort Osage High School) (Summa Cum Laude)

• Lawrence Joseph Bergen Jr., Management/Computer Information Systems, Lee’s Summit (Summa Cum Laude)

• Holly Renee Beyer, Business Administration/Management, Lee’s Summit (attended William Chrisman High School) 

• Amanda Nicole Colville, Business Administration/Management, Lee’s Summit

• Michael Everett Downey, Management/Human Resources, Independence (attended Buffalo [Mo.] High School)

• Jonathan Grant Dunn Sr., Management/Accounting, Lee’s Summit (Cum Laude)

• Jocelyn Krysteen Frazee, Graphic Design Kansas City (attended Truman High School) (Cum Laude) (Frazee also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Art)

• Kelly Gregory, Accounting, Independence (Summa Cum Laude).

• Michael Nolan Hale, Management/Computer Information Systems, Lee’s Summit, Mo. (Summa Cum Laude)

• Laura B. James, Biology, Kansas City, Kan. (attended Blue Springs South High School) (Magna Cum Laude)

• Kasey Allen Mayer, Business Administration/Management, Raytown

• Jayme Marie McCrary, Social Psychology, Lee’s Summit (attended Truman High School)

• Dominque La’Shea Mitchell, Management/Computer Information Systems, Independence

• Kelly Elizabeth Nadeau, Management/Marketing, Oak Grove (attended Blue Springs High School) (Magna Cum Laude)

• Stephanie F. Norton, Accounting, Blue Springs (attended Fort Osage High School) (Summa Cum Laude)

• David LeMoine Simpson Jr., Social Psychology, Blue Springs (attended Blue Springs High School) (With Distinction)

• Bradley O’Neal Smith, Management/Healthcare, Independence (attended Blue Springs High School)

• John F. Steele, Information and Computer Science/Networking and Security, Blue Springs (Magna Cum Laude)

• Daniel R. Thompson, Business Administration/Management, Blue Springs (attended Blue Springs High School)

• Tiffany Lynn Waitzmann, Interdisciplinary Studies, Independence (Magna Cum Laude)

• Patricia J. Walters, Business Administration/Human Resource Management, Lee’s Summit (attended Lee’s Summit North High School)

Bachelor of Science in Education 

• Cole Thomas Doherty, Middle School Education/Mathematics and Science, Oak Grove (Magna Cum Laude) 

Bachelor of Social Work 

• Karly Rose Boese, Independence (attended William Chrisman High School)

• Jessica Renee Ferguson, Independence (attended William Chrisman High School)

• Jennifer M. Hailey, Liberty (attended Blue Springs South High School) (Summa Cum Laude)

• Allison Day Heimann, Grain Valley 

Associate of Science 

• Diona S. Anderson, Management, Raytown 

Associate of Science in Nursing 

• Ashley Nicole Lyman, Independence 

• Felicia Mayberry, Blue Springs 

• AnnaLisa Maureen Schumaker, Odessa, Mo. (attended William Chrisman High School)

• Kaitlyn P. Shepard, Raytown

– Compiled by Karl Zinke