Newman University hosted a reception for President Noreen M. Carrocci, Ph.D., on Dec. 11 to celebrate her retirement at the close of 2019. More than 200 members of the Newman community attended to wish her well.
Her presidency at Newman will be remembered for its collaborative leadership, authentic relationship-building, genuine involvement in community development and positive vision and direction for Newman.
Upon her departure, Carrocci’s presidency term will have been the longest in Newman history. During her 12 1/2 years as president, she played a role in major fundraising campaigns, dedications and numerous program introductions.
Teresa Hall Bartels, former chair of the Newman University Board of Trustees, will act as interim president while Newman searches for its next leader.
She said, “Noreen has really put Newman University on the map in the region by being such a great ambassador. She has really enhanced Newman’s visibility, not only by being out in the community but by also bringing people to campus so they could see what a wonderful place this really is.”
Hall Bartels added, “She has put both her professional as well as her personal time into building up opportunities for people to advance and gain the education that they need for better jobs and better lives.”
But the accomplishment she knows Carrocci is most proud of, she said, is awarding thousands of degrees during her tenure to students who are now out in the world transforming society.
Carrocci, the fourth female and first laywoman to hold the presidency at Newman, started in 2007. Since she arrived on campus, the first-time student population has grown, the four-year graduation rate improved and student retention rates are at an all-time high.
In addition, Newman was named on the U.S. President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll six times between 2008 and 2016 in recognition of its commitment to serving others.
Carrocci said she is proud of all the successes Newman has seen during her tenure but a few of the most memorable are the successful Facing Forward campaign, the 10-year reaffirmation of accreditation received by The Higher Learning Commission and the four-year undergraduate seminarian program and partnership with the Catholic Diocese of Wichita.
She said, “I didn’t do anything by myself. All of it happened through the good relationships that people have in this community, in this university, this faculty and staff who are amazing. But we got it right because people worked together.”
She said her time at Newman has been wonderful, full of memories, and involving a little bit of everything she loves.
“I love being out in the community, but I also enjoy doing a freshman seminar with our students and working with cabinet and faculty and staff. I appreciate working with the board and the ASC (Adorers of the Blood of Christ) sisters. We’ve had the luxury of great boards and board chairs, and the Adorers’ leadership teams with whom I’ve worked have been terrific.”
During the retirement celebration, Carrocci and her husband, Bob, were each presented with captain’s chairs in honor of the time and commitment they dedicated to Newman University. In addition, Carrocci was presented with a certificate stating an endowed scholarship has been created in her name that friends from the Newman community helped start.
Carrocci said, “I don’t know what God has planned for me next. I have not focused on it. I just trust that all of this to this point has been so good that I can’t imagine whatever comes next isn’t going to be great as well. But I can tell you this has been the most joyful. I never felt it was work.
“(It’s been) the most joyful time that I’ve had in my career … to be president of Newman University. It’s been a privilege. It’s been a pleasure. It’s been an honor.”