Kathleen S. Jagger, Ph.D., MPH, will be officially installed as Newman University’s 12th president during an inauguration ceremony at 2 p.m. on Thursday, October 7, in Performance Hall of the De Mattias Fine Arts Center.
The installation ceremony is the highlight of a week filled with inauguration activities to honor Newman’s fifth female and second laywoman to hold the office of the president at Newman in its 88-year history.
Jagger arrived on Wichita’s Catholic university campus after spending five years at Thomas More University in Crestview Hills, Kentucky, including serving as acting president for the 2018-19 academic year. Her career in Higher Education has been filled with dozens of service-focused initiatives and a variety of leadership roles.
“I felt called to this presidency,” Jagger said. “One of the reasons I believed Newman was going to be a good place for me is the culture of service the Adorers of the Blood of Christ (ASC) have instilled throughout their eight decades of sponsoring and forming the Newman community.
The Adorers’ example and that of their foundress St. Maria De Mattias to rely on the Providence of God and help others in need, is an inspiration for me, for our students, employees and alumni.”
Inauguration day begins in chapel
In addition to the installation, Inauguration Day begins with a eucharistic liturgy, Mass, at 10 a.m. in St. John’s Chapel. Like the installment ceremony, it will be live-streamed for those who do not have the opportunity to be in attendance.
Jagger began serving in her role July 1, 2020 and has already made an impact on Newman.
In her first year, the university added its first doctoral programs, Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) and Doctor of Business Administration (DBA). Additionally, a number of certificate programs and new graduate concentrations were added this past year to better meet the needs of the region.
“Newman is unique in that very few institutions across the nation serve students by offering degree programs from associate through doctorate levels,” Jagger said.
To increase engagement with students and gather input from a wide range of the Newman student body, Jagger created a President’s Student Cabinet.
“We’re here to help them (students), and knowing them better as a group, hearing what they’re interested in, what they’re concerned about and what they’re happy about, I think is…valuable to me…gives me a better lens with which to think about the future of Newman,” Jagger said.
First year highlights
Her background in public health helped lead Newman through the pandemic as Newman navigated many challenges while remaining open all year with a relatively small number of COVID-19 cases and no hospitalizations due to the coronavirus.
A few other highlights from her first year include the establishment of two new grants to help make a Newman education more affordable for Catholic families, a focus on student success and outlining a vision for a bright future.
“Our mission to empower students to transform society is an action-oriented objective,” Jagger said.
“This mission requires that we teach students valuable critical thinking, speaking and writing skills but also inculcate in them the responsibility that comes with that education to change the world through a lens of critical consciousness that hungers for peace and justice.”
She added. “I truly believe there is no better education for these times than a Catholic, values-based, liberal arts education.
Links to Inauguration live streams:
Eucharistic Liturgy – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAlx0pPus6k
Installment Ceremony – https://www.youtube.com/c/newmanuniversity/live