Newman University family embodied in 4th generation ‘legacy’ Andrew Sabala

Sep 15, 2016

Those who know Newman University best often point to its family atmosphere as being one of the school’s strengths. For students like Andrew Sabala, family and Newman just seem to come together naturally.

The new freshman from Wichita is a Newman University “legacy.”

According to, one of the meanings of the term is a “student at a school that was attended by his or her parent.”

Legacy [leg-uh-see] – noun, plural legacies:

    1. Law. a gift of property, especially personal property, as money, by will; a bequest.
    2. anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor:the legacy of ancient Rome
    3. an applicant to or student at a school that was attended by his or her parent.

Actually you might define Andrew Sabala as a “super legacy.” 

Freshman Andrew Sabala is the 4th generation of his family to attend Newman.
Freshman Andrew Sabala is the 4th generation of his family to attend Newman.

His father and mother, Michael and Lisa Sabala, are graduates of Newman, but that’s just the start of the Newman family tree.

Sabala’s grandmother, three aunts, an uncle, four great-aunts and two great-great-aunts all attended Newman or Sacred Heart.

Newman Associate Director for Admissions Processing Linda Sabala is Andrew Sabala’s grandmother, and she’s excited that her grandson has decided to join the family higher education tradition.

“I am so glad Andrew made the decision to come here. I think that there is no school to better prepare him for the career he is hoping to go into,” Linda Sabala said. “But that’s not the most important reason he chose this school.  Andrew takes his Catholic heritage very seriously, and is so glad he will be taking classes from instructors that uphold Catholic morals and values.”

Although Andrew knew Newman University had a special connection for his family, his choice for college was not an automatic.

“I was thinking of Emporia State because they have a good pharmacy and chemistry-biology department. I actually was thinking about going there but I ended up getting a pretty good scholarship and it made it about even to go there or here, so I chose Newman,” Andrew said.

Andrew said his parents let him make his own decisions about where to attend college.

“Yea, my dad wanted me to go to Newman because he said it was a great school. It’s really good academically and spiritually as well. And, he didn’t want me to leave town. He really did influence me. Mom just wanted me to go wherever I wanted to go, wherever I felt was right. I ended up feeling that Newman was the right school for me,” Andrew explained.

Mom Lisa Sabala was not necessarily rooting for her son to stay in town but she did want him to be able to experience campus life.

“I did not have that dorm experience (when I went to school) and I thought if he went here he’d go back and forth. To get that experience I thought probably he would have to go out of city but with Newman he got a really nice scholarship and [the student residences] are extremely affordable, so he’s here and I’m excited,” Lisa said.

In addition to the benefits of the full student life experience, staying on campus gives Andrew the opportunity to see his grandmother often. “I’m sure that will be a huge support. He loves going over to visit grandma and if he could visit daily, that would be perfect for him,” Lisa said.

Andrew Sabala's grandfather, aunt and grandmother, (l to r) Michael Sabala, Melissa (Sabala) Nelson and Linda Sabala
Andrew Sabala’s grandfather, aunt and grandmother, (l – r) Michael Sabala, Melissa (Sabala) Nelson and Linda Sabala.

“I hope Andrew will immerse himself into all aspects of life at Newman….the classes, the clubs, the get-togethers with other students,” Linda Sabala said.  “I hope his faith will be strengthened during his time here, and he will gain a deeper appreciation of his family, even as he grows in independence and maturity. I’m glad he will be exposed to the history and mission of the university, so he will understand the sacrifices of those who went before him, and become an example for those who will follow him to Newman.

“He’s also very attached to the extended family, and even though he has the freedom that living away from home affords during college, he knows he’s not going too far to check in on the family brunch every Sunday morning or show up at a birthday party or game of football with his cousins now and then,” Linda added.

“We’ve had Andrew in Catholic schools his whole life and I think that developed a really strong faith in him. I think he just yearned to be around students and to be around the faith. We visited other campuses and he kept coming back to Newman. I think this is a beautiful, wonderful Catholic college so I’m excited for him to come,” Lisa said.  

Even though the Sabala family knows all about Newman, mom and dad did give their son some advice. “They just said ‘be you’ and don’t get into too much trouble,” Andrew said.


Sabala – Newman Family Tree

4th Generation:

Andrew Sabala – current Newman freshman

3rd Generation:

Michael Joseph Sabala, ’00  (Married Lisa (Wonka) Sabala, ’02)

Mary Christine (Sabala) Rittlinger, ’01, ’03 and ’05 (three different degrees  – two B.S., one MSEd)

Melissa (Sabala) Nelson, ’10 (Married David Louis Nelson, ’08)

2nd Generation:

Linda Kay (Watson) Sabala, ’72 and ’98

Phyllis Jean (Watson) Zeller, ’75

Geralyn Diane (Watson) Hough, ’76

Pamela Sue Watson, ’78

Janet Watson, ’81

1st Generation:

Dolores (Smarsh) Watson, ’46

Bernetta (Dold) Watson