Park University played a big part of Day 3 of the National Football League Draft for the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chiefs went to Fort Riley, Kan., to host the draft out of a hangar at Fort Riley Army Base, the third year in a row of going to a military location.
This marked the first big event between the school and the Chiefs since announcing a deal that made the Parkville school being the official higher education partner.
Military members announced the Chiefs three draft picks and each time the picks were made, the podium had the Chiefs and Park logo there.
About everywhere you looked there was a Park logo, said Shane Smeed, the higher education vice president and chief operating officer at Park.
“It was incredible,” Smeed said of the event on Saturday, April 28. “I saw the logo in advance with the KC and Park co-logo. I didn’t expect to see it on everything. The tent, the table, the backdrop for photos. There were almost as many Park logos as Chiefs logos. It was pretty cool.”
Park had four employees and one member of the board of trustees attended the event in Fort Riley.
Smeed noted it was important for the school to partner with the Chiefs on an event like this and it was written into the contract between the two as a sponsoring partner.
“We have a strong position with the military and that was a driving reason,” Smeed said.
Park has more than 41 campuses — 33 of which are on military bases in four different branches. The two closest ones are at Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base — both in Missouri.
More than 1,500 military members and their families gathered for the draft and listened to the Chiefs selected three players — though the day started with the team holding five picks — Armani Watts, Tremon Smith and Reginald McKenzie, Jr.
Smeed presented Brid. General Stephen Smith with a pen hand crafted by Park President Dr. Greg Gunderson shaped like an army tank.
Later in the event, Smeed joined Chiefs senior vice president of operations Bill Chapin to present Chiefs jerseys to Smith and Garrison Commander Col. John Lawrence.
This marked the first of many ventures between the Chiefs and Park.
Smeed the partnership will open doors to the school to other organizations and companies in the Kansas City metro areas. The Chiefs recently upped their tuition reimbursement and Park has agreed to cover the remaining cost of tuition and books for employees. So far nearly 20 have expressed interest in the program between the school and team.