Newman University staged a number of ceremonies and special events May 13 and 14 to celebrate Spring 2016 graduation.
Several pinning ceremonies were held by various academic disciplines as part of the graduation festivities.
The first event was the traditional Nurses’ Pinning ceremony, which took place Friday, May 13 in Performance Hall, inside the De Mattias Fine Arts Center on the Newman campus. During the event, Director of Nursing Teresa Vetter, M.S.N. placed nursing pins on graduate candidates’ lapels as a symbol of their completion of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. The ceremony also featured the Distinguished BSN Graduate Award, which was presented to Mallory Vickery of Arkansas City, Kan.
Read more about the Nurses’ Pinning here.
On Saturday, May 14, a luncheon and awards ceremony for candidates for the Master of Education degree was held at Botanica, 701 Amidon. The ceremony recognized the accomplishments of graduate education students across the state of Kansas.
Students in the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program were also honored during the annual OTA Pinning Ceremony, which took place Saturday, May 14 in Performance Hall, inside the De Mattias Fine Arts Center. The ceremony honors the completion of coursework and the beginning of two professional internships for students in the program. Upon completion of the internships, students will receive their degrees in December 2016.
Read more about the OTA Pinning here.
The Spring 2016 Baccalaureate Mass took place Friday, May 13, in the historic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at 430 N. Broadway. The Mass was celebrated by the Most Rev. Carl A. Kemme, bishop of the Diocese of Wichita, and featured reflections by two Newman graduates, Susan Harris and Anna Nicole C. Aniel, on their experiences at the university.
Read more about Baccalaureate Mass here.
The Spring 2016 Commencement for undergraduate students took place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 14 at Central Community Church, 6100 W. Maple. The ceremony included the awarding of degrees to 29 candidates for associate’s degrees, and 174 candidates for bachelor’s degrees.
The ceremony included an address by Newman University Associate Professor of English Susan Crane-Laracuente, Ph.D. Crane-Laracuente received the 2015 Newman University Teaching Excellence Award, an annual recognition to a full-time faculty member who has demonstrated an innovative or dynamic approach to courses, course revisions, and teaching techniques. The award recipient also has the honor of speaking at the following spring commencement ceremonies.
A special feature at the Commencement ceremony for undergraduate students was the naming of the 2016 recipients of the Harvey J. Ablah Award and the Leona J. Ablah Award. The awards are presented each year to a graduating male and a graduating female student who exemplify the mission and spirit of Newman University, and who show great promise to make a strong and positive contribution to society. For 2016, the Harvey J. Ablah Award went to Brandon Gollhofer of Fort Worth, Texas. The Leona J. Ablah Award was presented to Brandi Boese of LaCrosse, Kan.
The Ablah Awards were established by Fran and Geri (Ablah) Jabara to honor the memory of Geri’s parents Harvey J. and Leona J. Ablah, and to perpetuate their vision of entrepreneurism and the American dream. Award recipients must have completed at least 62 credit hours at Newman and graduate with a grade point average of 3.2 or higher. Each student receives a $2,500 award.
Elementary Education major Brandi Boese was very surprised to win the award. “It’s a pretty big deal. I worked pretty hard, I love Newman,” Boese said. “Newman is an easy place to fall in love with. It’s awesome that Brandon got it, too. We’ve been best friends since Freshmen year.”
Gollhofer, a biology major who plans to attend medical school next fall in Galveston, Texas, said he was deeply honored to receive the award.
“Honestly I couldn’t have done it without Newman,” Gollhofer said. “The faculty, the staff, the support, and my fellow classmates just made it possible for me to do all the material and do all the MCAT [medical school entrance exam] interview and get into med school. Without Newman and all the stuff I learned here I wouldn’t have been able to do all that.”
Other graduates had similar feelings about their experiences at Newman.
Easton Julian, who earned an accounting and general business degree, said he already has a job waiting for him at Textron Aviation as a customer account coordinator. Julian said one of things he will remember about his time at Newman is the relationships he made.
“It’s a very family atmosphere,” he said. “You get to know everyone very closely – all your professors – and I love it.” Julian, who played basketball for Newman, added, “I’ll remember Newman basketball more than anything. I’ve got a special place in my heart for the Newman basketball team, and will forever.”
“I think probably the people” is what art major Kati Bush from Wichita said she will remember the most about her experience at Newman. “That includes the students, the faculty and the sisters. I also developed a lot of great friends. I was part of The Vantage [student newspaper] and that was an absolute blast.”
Honorary Degree – Robert L. and Rosalie Goebel
During the undergraduate Commencement, Newman officials bestowed a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa degree on Robert L. and Rosalie Goebel. The university awards honorary degrees to notable and accomplished members of the extended Newman community 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. The Goebels were honored for Culture of Service.
Robert is the son of Earl Goebel, founder and former president of Star Lumber & Supply Co., Inc. For many years Robert operated the business with his brother William, who passed away in 2006. Robert served as the chairman of the Star Lumber Board of Directors until January 2010 and still serves on the board.
The relationship between Newman, Goebel family members, family-owned businesses and related foundations began almost a half century ago, when Star provided materials for a removable wood basketball floor at Century II – which served as the Jets’ “home court” – then donated the floor to Century II in exchange for seven years’ free use of the facility by Newman. The Goebel family and Star Lumber have provided generous financial and material support to Newman ever since. They made a major gift to help build Ryan Library, and donated wood for the original 8-foot fence surrounding McCarthy Baseball Field, and for a larger fence when the facility was expanded. Star also provided many part-time jobs for Newman student-athletes. More recent gifts include materials for a press box and dugout. In recognition of their support, Robert was named an honorary alumnus, and in 1994 Robert and Rosalie received the Cardinal Newman Medal. Star Lumber was also inducted into the Newman Sports Hall of Fame in 2008 as a Newman booster.
Robert and Rosalie made a major gift to the Beyond 2000 campaign to build O’Shaughnessy Hall. They have also been generous supporters of the Laurie Bell Memorial Jet Open Golf Tournament and other Newman events. Since 2001, Robert and Rosalie have provided annual student scholarships through the Robert L. and Rosalie Goebel Endowed Scholarship. They have also made a significant gift to the current Facing Forward campaign.
In their personal lives, Rosalie has been an active member of the Kansas Women’s Golf Association for many years, where she is a rules official and has served on and led other golfing committees. She is also a volunteer judge for Music Theatre of Wichita’s annual Jester Awards. With Robert, she is active in Christ the King Parish, where she weekly serves as organist. Both Rosalie and Robert also support Junior Achievement, and for several years made service trips to Panama along with high school students through the Rotary Club of West Wichita.
Watch a video of the complete Undergraduate Commencement here.
See photos from the Undergraduate Commencement here.
Spring 2016 Commencement for graduate students took place on Saturday, May 14 at Central Community Church, 6100 W. Maple. The ceremony included the awarding of degrees to 184 candidates for master’s degrees. The ceremony began with a procession of men playing bagpipes and drums. After commencement, students spoke about their time at Newman.
MBA graduate Freaya Koshy said one of the things that impressed her about the Newman graduate program was the faculty.
“They helped us,” Koshy said. “They were willing to sit with us and go over problems with us. Overall, I think Newman is just a great school.”
Krista Greenlee, who earned a master’s degree in education – organizational leadership, said she thought the graduate education program at Newman was “amazing.”
“I just learned so many different areas,” Greenlee said. “I really like the coaching aspect of it, and it really brought me outside of my comfort zone.” She added, “I was an undergraduate student [at Newman], and it’s worth any amount of money because you’re a person there. You get to know everyone. I know so many of the faculty. There’s nothing like it.”
Watch a video of the complete Graduate Commencement here.
See photos from the Graduate Commencement here.