The new tenant in Gilbert’s University Building is busy working to attract potential students while hustling to prepare for its October opening.

The Gilbert campus will be the third Arizona location and 42nd nationwide for Park University, which is based in the Kansas City suburb of Parkville, Missouri. The other two Arizona locations are at Luke and Davis-Monthan Air Force bases. Park has a strong, historic relationship with the military.

Classes are scheduled to begin Oct. 15, which aligns with the university’s Fall II semester. Offerings will be for evening students this academic year.

Course options will include undergraduate classes in liberal arts, business and criminal justice, and graduate classes in public administration, education technology and business. Several concentrations in each area will be offered.

Park University will have a more conventional calendar with traditional and nontraditional students in the 2019-20 academic year, according to Executive Director Jeff Ehrlich.

More students expected

Enrollment sits at 12 students with more in the process of enrollment. Ehrlich said the college set a goal of about 50 students when classes start and expects to gain more students in the future. He told Community Impact Newspaper Aug. 30 that the school is on track for meeting the initial 50-student goal.

Athletics should help growth too as the Park Buccaneers will compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. The NAIA is a governing body similar to the National Collegiate Athletic Association but generally for smaller schools.

University President Greg Gunderson sent Jeff Ehrlich and his wife, Donna, the campus’ academic director, who are both experienced with Park University operations, to open the Gilbert center.

Gaining accreditations

Jeff Ehrlich said Park University has received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, an independent corporation founded in 1895 as one of six regional accreditors in the U.S. The commission accredits degree-granting secondary institutions, such as Park University in the North Central Region, which includes Arizona.

The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, which focuses on recognizing teacher excellence in business, determining student outcomes and a continuous improvement model, accredits the school’s business program.