Newman University’s Director of Admissions Christy Hawks has many reasons to take pride in the university.
At Newman’s commencement on May 12, five of her family members received their diplomas.
Hawks’ husband, Shawn, earned his Master of Business Administration (MBA); her sons Avery and Carson both received bachelor’s degrees in organizational leadership; her niece, Abbie Swett, earned a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice; and her nephew, Evan Swett, received his Bachelor of Science in accounting.
In fact, it was Abbie and Evan who initially introduced Christy to Newman.
When the Dallas natives chose to enroll at the university for their studies, Christy’s sister (their mom) contacted her.
“She asked me to come on campus to help walk through the admissions process and financial aid, since that was my background,” Christy explained. “That was my first experience with Newman.”
Fast forward two years, Christy and her own family moved to Wichita for her new role as Newman’s director of admissions. At that time, her son Carson was still in Dallas, but was looking for a college and a place to play baseball. He had two teammates from his junior college who signed with Newman, so it seemed like a great fit for Carson as well. His brother, Avery, eventually came to the university, too.
Once commencement day arrived and Christy could celebrate so many of her family members, she felt great joy.
“This has been a work in progress by God’s design and how we ended up here,” she said. “I’m a happy mom, a happy aunt and a happy wife today as we celebrate this joyous occasion. We’ve been planning this party and this day for a year. And all I can say is, thank you, Lord. What a blessing this day has been.”
Avery, who pursued his organizational leadership degree online while working a full-time sales engineering job, said doing both at the same time was challenging, but he found ways to overcome that. For other students like him who want to earn a degree, he shared this piece of advice:
“You’re going to have to take the time. You have to take it from other places, but it’s worth it once you get through it.”
Avery feels his degree gives him a backup plan if he ever becomes unhappy in his current role.
“It gives me the freedom to make the decision to go out and find another career that I am happier in that utilizes my degree a little more if I choose to,” he said.
His brother, Carson, also pursued a degree in organizational leadership with a sports medicine minor, which will benefit him as he soon begins chiropractic school.
“Being a chiropractor, it’s going to be a long journey and a hard one, but I think the science classes here make you appreciate when you’re done with them, and I think that’s going to be pretty similar to how chiropractor school is,” he said. “The classes are going to be very difficult, but I got through these, so I think that I’m going to do just fine there, too.”
And for Christy’s husband, Shawn, who pursued his MBA online, having the advanced degree will further aid him as he runs his three aerospace companies.
“I wanted to have more time to focus on original thinking so that I had more to offer my team,” he explained of why he chose to get his MBA. “That was a real important piece for me. Newman definitely delivered on that. All of the articles and the books that we read have really helped me create more original thoughts for myself that I could pass on to my team. So that’s made me much more effective as their leader.”
Shawn added that he’s glad he chose to pursue his degree at Newman.
“I was very pleasantly surprised with how professional the university was,” he said. “I feel like I’ve had plenty of flexibility to work around my job, but I felt like it was academic enough that I felt really proud of the accomplishment.”
Finally, both Abbie and Evan Swett feel their Newman degrees will help them excel as they move forward.
Today, Abbie works for the district attorney’s office — a role her professor, Jill Fort, helped her secure. And for Evan, who hopes to find a job at a CPA firm, reflecting on his Newman journey gives him pride.
“I’ve just been excited to cherish every moment of it and am looking forward to the future,” he said.
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