President Noreen M. Carrocci, Ph.D., receives honorary degree

Nov 01, 2018
Carrocci Honorary Degree

Newman University President Noreen M. Carrocci, Ph.D., received an honorary degree from Newman University, Birmingham in the United Kingdom Oct. 23, 2018.

The honor was given, in part, to celebrate the partnership between the two universities while honoring Carrocci for her many charitable works and her work as an academic leader.

This is Carrocci’s first honorary degree and she was surprised when she received the invitation, she said.

Both universities have similarities in their mission statements, with community service and impacting and transforming society at the heart of its context.

Carrocci said in her acceptance speech, “Newman University Wichita was founded by the Adorers of the Blood of Christ 85 years ago as Sacred Heart Junior College, primarily to train sisters and laywomen to be teachers. That is still at the heart of our Mission of Service, which so matches yours.”

During her remarks, Carrocci quoted Cardinal Newman: “If then a practical end must be assigned to a University course, I say it is that of training good members of society.”

What is an honorary degree?

Receiving an honorary degree is what the name implies — an honor. Hundreds of universities present honorary degrees to individuals for many different reasons. In all cases, the course requirements to earn the degree, of course, is waived.

Honorary degrees have been presented to individuals for decades and are symbolic in nature. Newman University in Wichita, Kansas, also presents an honorary degree at each of its annual commencement ceremonies.

Newman awards this honor to an extended member of the 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.

Celebrating milestones

Noreen M. Carrocci, Ph.D., poses with husband Bob Benson after receiving her honorary degree from Newman University, Birmingham.

Newman University, Birmingham is also celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018 as Newman University in Wichita, Kansas, is celebrating its 85th anniversary in the same year.

Carrocci said the two milestones are important ones to celebrate and added that she is very proud to share a name and a valuable partnership with the university in Birmingham.

Cheryl Golden, Ph.D., Wichita professor of history and director of International Studies, plays a key role in the partnership. She works with university staff and faculty in Birmingham to create study abroad opportunities for students at either university. The universities have been exchanging students for nearly five years and the program continues to grow.

Carrocci added her strong appreciation for the work Golden has done.

“She helped prepare me for this visit. Her efforts with the students and with the Birmingham faculty are tireless. She’s worked it out with the Newman University Birmingham faculty what types of courses they can take so students don’t lose time when they come to Wichita.”

Carrocci said her visit was a memorable one and she is very grateful to have had the experience.

“They have this wonderful globe outside a building they recently renovated, and on it is the prayer of Cardinal Newman’s that our chaplain always reads at orientation for our new students. Their mission is very similar to ours, they’re very much into service. They were founded as a teacher college like we were, mainly because they needed Catholic school teachers. They expanded programming over the years, adding many new majors, and became a university in 2013.”

Carrocci said she was thankful to have met the leadership team, registrar, deans and receive a tour of campus.

“We had a nice dinner and talked about our exchanges, how they do things versus how we do things here. They were very interested in our Newman Studies Program as they think it’s really special.

“I’m glad we’re partners and I look forward to continuing our student exchange program,” said Carrocci. “I’m working on getting Vice-Chancellor (J. Scott) Davidson here to Wichita within the next year or so. We’d love to have him visit our campus.”