Newman University to award Honorary Degrees to Paul and Bettie Eck, Teresa Hall Bartels

Oct 20, 2010

Newman University officials have announced that Paul and Bettie Eck and Teresa Hall Bartels will be awarded Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa degrees during the Fall 2010 Commencement ceremony, beginning at 10 a.m. Dec. 11 at Central Community Church, 6100 W. Maple in Wichita.

The university bestows the honorary degrees at each Fall and Spring Commencement upon notable 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. Newman President Noreen M. Carrocci, Ph.D., said the Ecks and Bartels reflect Newman University’s core values of Catholic Identity and Global Perspective, respectively.

“It will be a privilege to bestow honorary degrees upon these individuals,” Carrocci said. “Paul and Bettie Eck are pillars of the Catholic community, and Teresa Hall Bartels’ work has had global impact as well as local. The work of these individuals will be an inspiration for our graduates and for us all.”

Paul and Bettie Eck
Paul and Bettie Eck have a long history of service to and philanthropic support of the Church, the Wichita community, and Catholic education at Newman University, but not at the expense of their family life, which is their first and foremost treasure.

Paul & Bettie Eck
Paul & Bettie Eck

The Ecks, who own Eck and Eck Machine Company, Inc. of Wichita, are active parishioners and have served on numerous church committees over the years, first as members of the St. Francis of Assisi Parish and continuing today as members of St. Catherine of Siena Parish. While at St. Francis they worked extensively with Monsignor Thomas McGread on the Stewardship Committee, and are quoted in the anniversary edition of Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response, a Pastoral Letter on Stewardship published by the committee of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in December 2002. They continue to actively live the stewardship way of life at their new parish home.

“Their generosity and volunteerism is person oriented, and their love for the Catholic Church has led quite naturally to their devotion to Bishops, priests, and those in vowed religious life,” said Bishop Emeritus Eugene Gerber, Catholic Diocese of Wichita.

Gerber added, in the same ‘person orientation,’ the Ecks have devoted themselves to the multi-faceted services of several Catholic institutions including Catholic Charities of Wichita, the Anthony Family Shelter, the Totus Tuus Catholic youth program and the Lord’s Diner. They are also longtime and very active members and supporters of the Wichita Serra Club – Metro. Both have served on various committees and as chapter presidents, and attended many Serra Club regional and international conferences. The Ecks serve on the Via Christi Foundation Board of Directors, and provide support for young people in FOCUS, a Catholic missionary organization that works on college campuses. They are currently Honorary Committee Members for “TOGETHER Vision” for the Diocese of Wichita. Paul is active with the Knights of Columbus and has served in multiple positions at the state level.

Paul and Bettie have been supportive of Catholic education on all levels, and have provided strong support to Newman University over many years through contributions to several capital campaigns and other gifts, long before any of their grandchildren were old enough to attend college. Because of this commitment to Catholic education, they are happy that their older grandchildren are continuing their Catholic education. Jacob, who graduated from Newman last year, is continuing with the Master’s of Theological Studies Degree there, Katy and Luke are current students at Newman, and Christina attends the University of Kansas and is active in the Newman Center there.

Teresa Hall Bartels
Through her work and service to others spanning more than three decades, Teresa Hall Bartels has lived the Newman University mission and brought the institution’s values to people around the world.

Teresa Hall Bartels
Teresa Hall Bartels

Bartels, former president and CEO of United Way International, is a native of Wichita, the oldest of 12 children, and the first to attend college. She came to Sacred Heart College on a partial scholarship in the 1970s, and soon developed strong business and leadership skills, serving as president of her sophomore class and helping draft the student government constitution. She transferred to Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff to pursue a degree in public relations, and later earned a graduate degree in organizational leadership from Dominican University.

“Both Teresa and her husband are always willing to reach beyond normal limits to support Catholic education as well as peace and social justice issues,” said Charlotte Rohrbach, ASC. “Their efforts have improved the living conditions for numerous individuals all over the world.”

Bartels first came to the United Way in the mid-1970s, and over the years worked in a variety of positions at the local, national and international level. In 2002, she was co-chair of the World Assembly Program Committee in Cape Town, South Africa, and in 2006 she was a presenter and facilitator at the World Assembly in Melbourne, Australia. Most recently she served as senior vice president of international network management and development for United Way Worldwide. During her time as president, she was responsible for the global network of United Way nonprofit member organizations spanning six continents, which served communities in 46 countries and territories. Through her guidance, more than $800 million was raised annually to strengthen communities and improve lives around the world.

Bartels left the organization in July 2010. She is married to Charles Bartels, the mother of five grown sons, and has been a successful private business owner. She has received multiple humanitarian and achievement awards, served on numerous boards and committees including a capital campaign at Newman, and in 2006 ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in Illinois.