First-year students, Newman faculty and staff gathered to celebrate the start of a new academic journey during the Mass of the Holy Spirit and Matriculation Ceremony Thursday, Aug. 24 in St. John’s Chapel.
The Matriculation Ceremony is a beloved Newman tradition that welcomes the first-year class and marks the transition from accepted student to full-fledged student of Newman University. The Newman Troubadours performed under the direction of Music Director Deanne Zogleman and were accompanied by pianist Carole Pracht.
“Today we celebrate our Catholic identity and officially welcome these students to the community of degree-seeking students at Newman University,” Newman President Kathleen Jagger, Ph.D., MPH, said. “It is a privilege to walk with them on their college journey and we hope they realize it is a privilege to be here.”
The Most Rev. Carl A. Kemme, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, offered the Mass for his 10th consecutive year alongside celebrants the Rev. Adam Grelinger, the Rev. Chad Arnold, the Rev. Joseph Gile and the Rev. Jeff Jacobs. The master of ceremonies was the Rev. Jacob Carlin.
In his homily, Bishop Kemme reflected on the powerful guidance of the Holy Spirit as students begin their academic, personal and professional journeys at Newman. He also noted the significance of celebrating the Mass on the feast day of St. Bartholomew, who was chosen by Jesus to be one of the first apostles.
“St. Bartholomew witnessed Jesus’ miracles, was present when he taught multitudes and was also present at the Last Supper and Pentecost,” Bishop Kemme said. “St. Bartholomew received the gift of the Holy Spirit, not fearful but full of courage to proclaim the word of Jesus to others, right up until his martyrdom.”
He continued, “We celebrate that faith, and in his words, are invited to ‘come and see’ — that is the great invitation of the Gospel to us. And that’s what we’re inviting you to do — to come and witness Christ here, in the chapel, in your friendships, in the very subjects that you’ll study as you expand your knowledge not only in this world, but the world to come.”
Bishop Kemme invited the students to live their authentic lives and to be who they are.
“When you bring that authenticity to all your endeavors and relationships, that’s powerful,” he said. “It’s enough for God and it’s enough for us.”
Director of Admissions Christy Hawks addressed the incoming class during the Matriculation Ceremony that immediately followed the Mass of the Holy Spirit.
Students of the first-year class come from 22 different states and 18 foreign countries.
“Faculty, staff and continuing Newman students, this class comes to us after achieving high levels of academic distinction in their previous studies and includes students who have demonstrated excellence not only in academics but also in leadership, community service, fine and performing arts and athletics,” Hawks said.
The commonality, Hawks continued, “is that these students have selected Newman as the place to fulfill their dreams.”
As class representatives, first-year students Tryphena and Tryphosa Kayode shared a reflection with the class of 2027.
“We come with enthusiasm, hope and anticipation,” Tryphosa said. “We come to learn. We come to grow.”
Tryphena added: “On behalf of the entering class of 2023, we commit to honesty, to academic integrity and to share ideas openly. We will respect the rights and dignity of others. We will dedicate ourselves to meet our own learning potential while supporting the intellectual development of others. And we are grateful to be part of the Newman academic community.”
“As a member of the Newman community, I pledge to live in the spirit of critical consciousness by respecting the dignity of every person, honoring both personal and institutional integrity, and striving to embrace all humanity.”
Jagger encouraged all students — regardless of their chosen faith — to use St. John’s Chapel as a place for reflection, worship and peace as they invest in one another and make a difference.
“By your mere presence here you set yourself apart, making a statement about your aspirations for this opportunity, your persistence and grit, demonstrating that you have the ambition to grow, to be made new and to use your God-given talents well,” Jagger said. “I hope as you continue your journey here at Newman University you will continue striving for excellence using your own imagination with guidance from the almighty.”
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Newman University is a Catholic university named for St. John Henry Newman and founded by the Adorers of the Blood of Christ for the purpose of empowering graduates to transform society.