The life and legacy of Sister Mary Thomasine Stoecklein

Sep 17, 2019

Sister Mary Thomasine Stoecklein, ASC, passed away Sept. 4, 2019, at age 96. Her contributions to education and athletic achievement at Newman University will be remembered by the Newman community.

Sr. Thomasine entered the Adorers of the Blood of Christ (ASC) when she was 16 years old and took her final vows in 1946. From 1957 to 1959, she taught at Sacred Heart Academy, the high school that was housed on the university’s campus.

In 1961, she began working in the education department as an associate professor of education at Sacred Heart College. She taught at Newman University for 25 years and served as the education department chair for four years. In 1992, Sr. Thomasine returned to the university as the transcript analyst until she retired in 2011.

According to her own calculations, Sr. Thomasine helped more than 800 students become teachers. She also established the Teacher Placement Office.

Sister Charlotte Rohrbach said she remembers Sr. Thomasine as a passionate educator who was competitive in nature, which made her an even better teacher.

“She wanted her students and our athletes, to do well,” said Rohrbach. “She did a good job of making sure we had a great reputation within the state’s department of education. She worked really well with all the students, but especially with the ones that needed the extra help.

In 1991, she was named a professor emeritus of Kansas. She was also awarded the De Mattias Alumni Award in 1994.

A scholarship was recently named for her to honor her long history with Newman University and her dedication to educating future teachers.

The Sister Thomasine Stoecklein Teaching Academy Scholarship is renewable for eight semesters provided the student remains full time and holds a 3.0 GPA or higher.

Her involvement stretched outside the education department as a big supporter and informal ambassador of Newman University athletics. Former Men’s Head Basketball Coach Mark Potter said Sr. Thomasine played an important role in supporting the men’s basketball program.

Former Men’s Head Basketball Coach Mark Potter poses with Sr. Thomasine Stoecklein.

“She was truly a gem of a woman,” said Potter. “She was spunky, yet with this incredible attitude. You just never wanted to let her down, whether as a student or as a coach. She’d sit behind the bench at the games and would recruit other sisters to come to cheer on the team, too.”

Sr. Thomasine was the first recipient and namesake of the Sr. Thomasine Stoecklein, ASC, Spirit Award, which is presented to individuals who promote spirit and pride among fans alongside an atmosphere of support and encouragement for student-athletes.

The award is presented to this day to deserving individuals during the Newman University Sports Hall of Fame award ceremony.

Sr. Thomasine was also presented with the highest honor awarded by the Newman University Board of Trustees, the Cardinal Newman Medal, in 2009.

A wake service was held on Sept. 6. Her funeral took place on Sept. 7 at the ASC Wichita Center. She was buried at the center’s community cemetery.