Anonymous donors honor Father Emil Kapaun with scholarship for Newman University Campus Ministry students

Jun 26, 2012

Anonymous donors recently made a gift of $75,000 to create a scholarship for students involved in Campus Ministry at Newman University, and to honor the life and work of Father Emil J. Kapaun, the Kansas-born Catholic priest and Army chaplain who died in a North Korean prisoner of war camp in 1951.

Kapaun has been recommended for the Medal of Honor bestowed by the president on behalf of Congress, and is being considered by the Vatican for possible sainthood.

The Fr. Emil Kapaun Annual Scholarship will be available each year to students, beginning with the 2012-2013 academic year. In most cases, selected students will receive $3,000 each year, awarded as $1,500 per semester, although the award can fluctuate.

To be eligible, students must be Catholic and actively practicing their faith. Students also must be full time, interested in Campus Ministry, and able and willing to assist the Campus Ministry Office in its liturgical, spiritual, service and campus-related activities. The award will not be automatically renewed, so students must reapply and meet eligibility criteria each year. The scholarship is available to all new, returning and transfer students at Newman.

The deadline to apply is July 16, 2012. Applications are available online at the Newman Financial Aid web site, Click on the “Scholarships & Aid” tab, then on “Scholarships & Grants.” Applications may also be requested by calling 316-942-4291, ext. 2103. Completed applications should be submitted to the Newman University Financial Aid Office, 3100 McCormick, Wichita, KS 67213. For more information, contact the Campus Ministry Office at 316-942-4291, ext. 2223, or [email protected].

“The goal of the donors is to get students involved with Campus Ministry activities,” said Father Michael Linnebur, Newman University chaplain. “With Father Kapaun being ordained a priest right here on campus, it would be very appropriate to keep this connection.”

Fr. Emil Kapaun used the hood of a jeep to create a makeshift altar while serving as a U.S. Army chaplain in the Korean War.

Fr. Kapaun was born in Pilsen, Kan., in 1916 and was ordained a priest for the Catholic Diocese of Wichita on June 9, 1940 in historic St. John’s Chapel, inside Sacred Heart Hall on the Newman campus. He entered the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps in 1944, and was sent to Korea in July 1950.

On Nov. 2, 1950, he and several other men were captured and held in prison. In his time there Kapaun cared for the sick and afflicted, and only stopped when a blood clot in his leg prevented him from making his usual rounds. He was denied medical assistance at the prison hospital and died on May 23, 1951.

The Army has recommended Kapaun for the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration awarded by the U.S. government, and members of the Kansas Congressional delegation have recently asked President Barrack Obama to consider the request. The Catholic Diocese of Wichita has petitioned to have Kapaun named a saint. He has been declared a Servant of God by the Vatican, the first step toward possible sainthood.

Fr. Kapaun is also the subject of a 12-foot by 4 ½-foot painting by artist Wendy Lewis that was unveiled in St. John’s Chapel Aug. 5, 2009.

Any donor can make additional contributions to the Fr. Emil Kapaun Annual Scholarship fund at any time to further its mission. For more information or to make a contribution, contact the Newman University Advancement Office at 316-942-4291, ext. 2163.


This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: June 28, 2012
A previous version of this article contained incorrect information regarding the amount of the scholarship award.