On Friday, May 7, a total of 268 graduates were recognized in the Newman University spring 2021 commencement ceremonies at the Hartman Arena in Wichita. Undergraduate and graduate program degrees were presented to the class of 2021, as well as to graduates from 2019-20 who were unable to walk the stage last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Graduates of the School of Business and School of Education and Social Work attained their degrees at the 10 a.m. ceremony, while graduates of the School of Arts & Sciences, School of Catholic Studies along with the School of Nursing and Allied Health received their degrees at the 3 p.m. ceremony.
Both ceremonies included an address by Newman University Professor of Biology Sarah Evans, Ph.D., who received the 2020 Teaching Excellence Award. The annual award recognizes a full-time faculty member who has demonstrated an innovative or dynamic approach to courses, course revisions and teaching techniques.
The ceremony also included the naming of the 2021 recipients of the Harvey J. Ablah Award and the Leona J. Ablah Award. Each year, the awards are presented to one graduating male and one graduating female student who exemplify the spirit of Newman University.
“This year’s recipients have made their marks on the entire Newman community,” Father Joseph Gile, S.T.D., said. “So much so, in fact, that when it came to the female winner, the committee decided for the first time in the awards history to present it to two deserving students.”
The 2021 co-recipients of the Leona J. Ablah Award were Gabrielle Altenor, a biology major graduating magna cum laude, and Karen Quynh Do, a biology major with a concentration in pre-physical therapy and psychology. Altenor and Do were both members of Newman’s Honors Program, as well. The recipient of the Harvey J. Ablah Award was Cole T. Schnieders, an English major graduating magna cum laude.
The ceremony also included bestowing the Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa degree upon Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, Most Rev. Carl A. Kemme. The university awards honorary degrees to individuals whose life and work reflect exemplary dedication to one of the university’s four Core Values: Catholic Identity, Culture of Service, Academic Excellence and Global Perspective. Bishop Kemme received the 2021 honor for his dedicated years of service and leadership, as well as his remarkable representation of the Culture of Service core value.
To see the complete list of graduates by hometown, major and other information, click here.