Newman University to Award Highest Honor to John and Marilyn Dugan

Oct 26, 2009

Wichita, Kan. – Newman University officials announced Monday, Oct. 26, that the Cardinal Newman Medal, the university’s highest honor, will be awarded to John and Marilyn (Gorges) Dugan of Wichita for their distinguished service to the university. The medal will be awarded at the Cardinal Newman Banquet and Awards Ceremony, Feb. 27, 2010 in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center on the Newman campus. The banquet is the capstone of the university’s annual Cardinal Newman Week activities, a celebration of the life and teachings of 19th century Catholic theologian and educator John Henry Cardinal Newman, for whom Newman University is named.

“John and Marilyn Dugan have demonstrated their support of Newman University and Catholic higher education in many ways over the past several decades,” said Newman President Noreen M. Carrocci, Ph.D. “Their commitment to Newman and our mission has already brought a wealth of benefits to our students, and will continue to help students for many years to come. Newman University simply would not be what it is today without the generosity and support of these two individuals and other members of the Dugan family.”

The Newman Medal is conferred upon those who demonstrate in their daily lives an appreciation of the spirit and ideals of John Henry Cardinal Newman and who have been instrumental in the growth and development of the university. Carrocci said the Dugan family has clearly had a major impact on Newman’s growth from its beginnings up to the present day, as evidenced by the many gifts the family has made to the institution.

John’s great grandparents Ellen and Henry Dugan came to Wichita in the 1880s and established one of their many homesteads in the area of McCormick and Sheridan Streets, the land where Newman University sits today. It was a dream of Henry’s to build a Catholic university on this land, and in 1888 he donated the land to the Catholic Diocese of Wichita.

The land was then obtained by the Adorers of the Blood of Christ (ASC), Newman University’s sponsoring order, which sent four Sisters to Wichita in 1902. The Sisters established St. John’s Institute on the site, a boarding school for children that over the years grew to become Sacred Heart Academy, Sacred Heart Junior College, Sacred Heart College, Kansas Newman College and now Newman University.

The Dugans’ relationship with the ASCs and Newman continued through the years in many ways. John Dugan attended St. John’s in the 1940s, and remembers delivering milk from the family’s dairy farm to the Sisters. Marilyn Dugan is related to the ASC community through two cousins, Sister Evelyn Gorges and her sibling Sister Sylvia Gorges, who was president of Sacred Heart College from 1961 to 1971.

The Dugans have continued to be loyal supporters of the mission of the ASC and of Newman University, and have shown a continuing commitment to providing an excellent education for Newman students through many generous contributions. In 2007, they made a $2 million naming gift for what became The Dugan Library and Campus Center, a $14.25 million facility that was created to replace the university’s previous campus library. A later additional gift of $500,000 from the Dugans helped underwrite costs of a conference center that is part of the Campus Center named the Dugan – Gorges Conference Center, in memory of the couple’s parents John and Rose (Green) Dugan, and Mathias and Catherine (Simon) Gorges.

John and Marilyn Dugan have been married since Nov. 17, 1956 and raised 10 children in west Wichita. Three of the children have graduated from Newman University and several of their grandchildren have attended the institution as well. The Dugans’ son Mark has served on the Newman Board of Trustees; their son Glenn is currently on the Board. In the late 1990s, the Dugans helped with the start-up funds for Holy Spirit Parish in Goddard, where they are currently members.

The Cardinal Newman Banquet and Awards Ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center, following a Mass in St. John’s Chapel and a social in the Dugan Library atrium. Information on reservations and ticket prices will be available in the near future on the Newman Web site,, or by calling or 316-942-4291, ext. 2228. The complete schedule of Cardinal Newman Week events is as follows:

Sunday, Feb. 21
7 p.m. – Sunday Mass – St. John’s Chapel
8 p.m. –  Student Social – Heritage Room, Sacred Heart Hall

Tuesday, Feb. 23
11 a.m. – Cardinal Newman Mass – St. John’s Chapel

Wednesday, Feb. 24
2 – 4 p.m. – High Tea  – Gorges Atrium

Thursday, Feb. 25
7 p.m. – Featured Speaker: – Father Drew Morgan, Oratorian of Pittsburgh Oratory – Dugan-Gorges Conference Center

Saturday, Feb. 27
5 p.m. –  Sunday Vigil Mass – St. John’s Chapel
6 p.m. – Wine and Cheese Social – Entrance to Dugan Library
7 p.m. – Cardinal Newman Banquet – Dugan-Gorges Conference Center