Stake President Shane Smeed appointed to the helm of Missouri’s Park University

The Latin motto of Park University is Fides et Labor — translated, “Faith and Work.”

Shane Smeed relies upon both of those elevated words while performing a pair of guiding roles where he answers to “President.” 

 One role is ecclesiastical. The other, professional.

Two years ago, members of the Platte City Missouri Stake sustained the lifelong Latter-day Saint as their stake president. Then on Tuesday, Dec. 14, Park University announced that Smeed, a longtime educator, would become the Missouri school’s 18th president 

Faith and work, Smeed told the Church News, are required in equal amounts to fulfill both presidencies.

President Shane Smeed, who presides over the Platte City Missouri Stake, has been appointed president of Missouri's Park University.
President Shane Smeed, who presides over the Platte City Missouri Stake, has been appointed president of Missouri’s Park University. Credit: Photo courtesy of Park University

“My wife, Angela, and I are just incredibly excited for the opportunity that I will have to serve in the capacity of Park University’s 18th president. I’ve made my career in higher education for the past 23 years.”

The son of Church converts, Peter Smeed and Shareen Garber, Shane Smeed was born in Provo, Utah, and grew up in several states across the country. His father was a career educator. “So you could say education is in my blood.”

President Smeed is clearly a busy man. His new duties at Park University officially begin on Jan. 1, 2022. He will simultaneously continue with his ecclesiastical ministry in the Platte City stake. Additionally, President and Sister Smeed are the parents of three children, including a missionary daughter serving in Arizona: Sister Samantha Smeed, 19; Andrew, 17; and Landon, 12.

Humbly, President Smeed acknowledges that his days, like everyone else’s, are limited to 24 hours. But he is invigorated by the support and prayers from his family and his fellow members in the Platte City stake, along with many professional colleagues.

“The Lord gives us an increase in capacity to serve others … so we can further the work,” he said. “I have felt the hand of the Lord in my life. That helps to direct my time, my energy and my efforts so that I can accomplish all the things that I need to do.” 

President Smeed said he often draws upon the counsel he once received from a trusted member of the Seventy: “Take care of your family first and the Lord will take care of His Church.”

Whether at home, on campus or at the Platte City stake center, President Smeed is assisted by strong, smart people. 

He is also a staunch advocate of the Church’s council system. Councils, he said, “make the work more seamless and organized.”

A former bishop and stake Young Men president, President Smeed said many lessons he has learned in Church leadership serve him well in academia — and vice versa. He is grateful for the opportunities that he and fellow Latter-day Saints of all ages are given to lead, teach and care for others. 

“From an early age, we’re preparing our youth to be great communicators, to be organized, to be thoughtful, to be critical and creative thinkers and to also serve in leadership capacities — whether it’s in quorum presidencies or Young Women presidencies,” he said. 

Service and leadership are also valued at Park University. The school recently created a “citizenship and service” minor that focuses on civic engagement and public service. The new minor is inspired by Fides et Labor. Students are allowed to earn credit hours for time dedicated to providing real-world service in their communities. College credit can even be awarded to Latter-day Saint students at Park in connection with their full-time missionary service.

Iconic Mackay Hall on the campus of Park University in Parkville, Missouri.
Iconic Mackay Hall on the campus of Park University in Parkville, Missouri. Credit: Photo credit of Park University

Prior to his appointment as Park University’s president, President Smeed had served as the school’s interim president since November 2020. He also served as Park’s vice president and chief operating officer, providing strategic and tactical leadership to more than half of the university’s staff in the areas of enrollment management, student success, financial aid services, marketing, student engagement, athletics and campus center operations, according to a university release. 

President Smeed earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Keller Graduate School of Management, a Master of Arts degree in student personnel administration from St. Louis University and a Bachelor of Science in business operations from DeVry Institute of Technology.

He is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in higher education administration from St. Louis University. Smeed also participated in Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management program in 2019.

Park University was founded in 1875, with its flagship campus located in Parkville, Missouri, about 10 miles north of downtown Kansas City. The private school serves more than 13,000 students at 41 campuses in 22 states and online — including 31 military installations across the United States.

“It is missional for us to teach and serve those that serve our country,” he said. “The U.S. armed forces have been an important part of our history.”

In recent years, Park University opened its newest campus in Gilbert, Arizona.