Graduation: a family affair

May 24, 2019

Hamersky was a popular last name at the May 2019 commencement ceremony. It’s been said many times in Newman graduation history but never three times in one day.

Shellie Hamersky, Anthony Hamersky and Annemarie Hamersky walked across the stage to receive their diplomas this year. Nontraditional student Shellie is Anthony’s mom and Annemarie’s aunt.

Steve Hamersky at Baccalaureate

To add to the Hamersky presence on campus, Shellie’s husband and Anthony’s father, Steve Hamersky, works full time as a faculty member in the library at Newman.

Shellie decided to return to school as a nontraditional student to advance her career. She graduated with a bachelor degree in interdisciplinary studies and hopes to move into a management position soon with the Wichita Public Schools.

Shellie said she enjoyed the small class sizes, especially in her favorite course, photography and digital imaging. She also appreciated the flexible schedule and online courses that Newman provides for working adults.

“I really could not have finished my degree without the helpful staff of Newman, past employee Michelle Ruder and the support of library staff, mainly, Jeannette Parker,” she said.

Though Shellie didn’t often see her son or niece on campus, she did get to take an online course with her eldest son in 2015.

Shellie’s and Steve’s family has a history at Newman. Steve’s mother graduated from Sacred Heart Academy in 1956, their oldest son graduated from Newman in 2016, and of course, Anthony and Shellie both graduated in May 2019.

Anthony graduated with a degree in history and plans to continue with law school in 2020 after working for law firm Triplett Woolf Garretson, LLC in Wichita.

Anthony Hamersky sitting next to Shellie Hamersky at graduation

While at Newman, Anthony was heavily involved in campus organizations including History Club and Future Legal Professionals of Newman, where he held various leadership positions. He worked as an intern in the Newman archives department and was also a charter member of Knights of Columbus.

Anthony spent much of his time staying involved with faith life at Newman as well. He spent time with Campus Ministry and volunteered as a server for four years. He also spent most of his senior year as a campus minister under University Chaplain Father John Fogliasso and Campus Ministry Administrative Assistant Monica Borger.

Though he didn’t see his mother on campus, as her classes were in the evenings and his in the day, he saw his cousin Annemarie a few times and made sure to stop by and see his dad often.

“I made sure to stop in at least once a day, if not more, to say hi and see how his day was going. It was always nice because even though my father is the librarian, it never came up in classes or in friendships. I was always my own person and they knew me as Anthony Hamersky; not Steve’s son, and I appreciated that all throughout my career.”

Anthony said he has grown a lot since his freshman year at Newman in many aspects but especially socially.

“My freshman year, I was always afraid of speaking in front of people, I was extremely reserved; and while I still remain reserved today, I find myself a lot more open than I used to be and willing and able to speak comfortably in front of people without a large amount of anxiety or stress.”

He credits this growth to the friendships he’s made and to those friends who pushed him out of his comfort zone.

The small campus not only allowed him small class sizes but helped him create strong bonds between much of the student population.

Like Anthony, Annemarie also has family history at Newman. Annemarie’s mother graduated in 1990 and returned for her teaching degree in 2010.

Brooke Ward, director of diagnostic medical sonography, and Annemarie Hamersky with the Sunflower Award.

Annemarie received a degree in diagnostic medical sonography and graduated cum laude. She was also honored with the sonography DMS Sunflower Award at the Honors and Academic Awards banquet.

Steve enjoyed getting to see a different side of his family. He also enjoyed getting to see them on campus here and there.

“For as much as kids don’t like their parents around, mine didn’t mind having lunch every so often with me,” he said.