Newman University to award honorary degrees to Mickey Armstrong, Marj Chance May 14

Mar 08, 2011

Newman University will honor Mildred “Mickey” Armstrong and Marjorie “Marj” Chance with Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa degrees during the Newman Spring 2011 Commencement ceremony, beginning at 10 a.m. May 14 at Central Community Church, 6100 W. Maple in Wichita.

The university bestows the honorary degrees upon notable and accomplished members of the extended Newman community based on exemplary dedication to one of the university’s four Core Values: Catholic Identity, Culture of Service, Academic Excellence, and Global Perspective. Armstrong will be recognized for the Core Value of Culture of Service, while Chance will be honored for the Core Value of Academic Excellence.

“These two women exemplify the concepts of service and academic excellence,” said Newman President Noreen M. Carrocci, Ph.D. “Mickey has contributed greatly to the Wichita community through her longtime support of many charitable, educational and cultural organizations, while Marj has helped promote nursing education and opened doors for many people to pursue a college education. We are proud to honor each of them for their gifts to Newman and the Wichita community.”

Mickey Armstrong
Mildred “Mickey” Frances (McCoy) Armstrong is a 1945 graduate of Wichita University (now Wichita tate University) where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature, and minored in history and secretarial science. After college, she worked at McCormick-Armstrong Co. Inc. Her husband, Pete, also a WU graduate who passed away in 2009, was the chairman and principal owner of McCormick-Armstrong. She later worked for the WSU Alumni Association. The Armstrongs had four daughters and eight grandchildren.

The Armstrongs have been lifelong supporters of WSU, including the creation of three scholarships, one of which is the Mildred (Mickey) McCoy Armstrong Endowed Excellence in Fine Arts Scholarship. In recognition of their service and support, the Armstrongs were recipients of the Fairmount Founders Award in 1991 and the Outstanding Philanthropist Award in 2000.

At Newman University, Mickey Armstrong has created two scholarships, The E.W. “Pete” Armstrong Memorial Fine Arts Scholarship and The E.W. “Pete” Armstrong Endowed Memorial Fine Arts Scholarship Fund. She has also been a generous donor to Newman over the years, and gave substantial gifts to support the creation of both O’Shaughnessy Hall and the Dugan Library and Campus Center.

In the Wichita community, Armstrong has worked with the Junior League, the Women’s Campaign for United Way and the Wichita Art Museum, and was active in the Women’s Symphony. She is a supporter of Wichita Grand Opera and WSU’s Ulrich Art Museum, and has been a board member of Music Theatre of Wichita and the Wichita Historical Museum. She has also been active in church groups, and is a member of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Wichita.

Marj Chance
Marjorie “Marj” (Westwood) Chance is a Wichita native, who in 1946 graduated from the St. Francis School of Nursing in Wichita as a Registered Nurse. Shortly after graduating, she met the man who would become her husband, Harold Chance, also a Wichita native who would later found Chance Manufacturing Co., Inc., which became the largest manufacturer of amusement rides in America.

In 2010, after 63 years of marriage, Harold passed away. Marj Chance is a longtime member of St. Francis of Assisi Church, and, as her husband Harold was, is devoted to her family, which includes a son, three daughters, 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Chance worked briefly at a psychiatrist’s office after graduating from nursing school, but spent much of her working career serving at Chance Manufacturing. She was actively involved in the business, and often served as hostess or company representative for industry trade shows, conventions and conferences. She also was involved in the international business activities of Chance Manufacturing.

In addition to her work for Chance, Marj Chance served on several boards. She was the first lay woman to serve on the Kansas Newman College Board of Directors for three terms (1977-80, 1980-83, and 1983-86), and she was a member of the Lay Advisory Board of St. Francis Hospital. When the nursing program at St. Francis needed a collegiate home, Chance played a key role in connecting St. Francis with Newman and establishing the nursing program at the university. From that beginning in 1979 has evolved a strong and vibrant School of Nursing and Allied Health with the University’s most sought-after programs in Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Respiratory Care, Radiologic Technology, Sonography, and Healthcare Science. The master’s degree in Nurse Anesthesia has many more applicants than can be accommodated each year.

Chance also served two terms as president of the St. Francis Hospital Auxiliary, and one as president of the Hospital Auxiliaries of Kansas. She is a longtime supporter of Newman through sponsorship of the annual Jet Open Charity Golf Tournament for many years, and contributions to the Beyond the Renaissance 2000 and Dugan Library and Campus Center capital campaigns. She and her husband also created a scholarship fund for the children of Chance Manufacturing employees.