Vicki Bergkamp, ASC, returned to Newman University in the spring of 2013 after a 10-year absence, but her role as a professor and an advisor go back to 1979.
"One of the activities of a full-time university professor is to advise students," Sister Vicki said.
While much of the advising work is making sure students get proper paperwork and coursework completed to meet the requirements of their degrees, Sister Vicki said "many other issues of life emerge."
"Some of these issues form a bond of shared life experiences and sometimes the conversations become relationships -- some relationships that last a lifetime," she said. "I've often been amazed at the things alumni tell me about discussions we have had during advising sessions."
As the work of 2016 began, Sister Vicki heard from a student in Brazil who planned to return to Newman University.
"He wanted my advice about what courses he should take this semester," she said, but the student wasn't yet included on her Spring 2016 list of advisees.
Sister Vicki realized he'd be on the master list and that she didn't need to specify a semester to find his information and provide the advising he needed.
"So, in the database, I left the semester box blank and up popped 944 names of people I have advised over my years at Newman," she said.
Besides making her feel old, she said, the number created a sense of wonder that her life has been enriched by so many determined people who come to Newman University to learn how to "transform society."
"You could imagine the number of stories I could tell about these advisees," she said. She did share a specific instance from November.
At a Saturday open house for students considering attending Newman University, a young woman approached the "Business" table. Her name tag was half-hidden by her coat.
"I could see her first name and that she was from Kingman, where my mom worked and goes to church," Sister Vicki said.
She asked the young woman what her last name was, and she gave it, and then Sister Vicki turned to the young woman's father.
"With a big grin on his face, he said his name and added: 'You were my advisor when I graduated in 1981.'"
About Vicki Bergkamp, ASC
Sister Vicki currently teaches business at Newman University. Previously, she entered the Adorers of the Blood of Christ (ASC) just after graduating in 1967 from Sacred Heart Academy. She earned a degree in business from then-Sacred Heart College, an MBA from the University of Kansas and a doctorate in education from the University of St. Thomas. She has been a member of the Board of Trustees, worked as ASC corporate treasurer and, from 1988-1989, was acting president of the university in the interim period following the departure of President Robert Giroux, Ph.D. Her resume also includes teaching math at middle school and high school levels, serving as treasurer for the ASC U.S. Region and being a professor and dean of the Adult College at Friends University.