During this run-up to Commencement May 12, 2012 I have remarked to several people that the school year seems to go by faster as I get older. But it’s not just me, I was reminded, when I had lunch with three sophomores today who can’t believe they will be juniors already in the fall. Two of them were in freshmen seminar with me in fall 2010, and I marvel at how they’ve changed and grown these past two years. Our faculty and staff do such a wonderful job of challenging and supporting our students – undergraduate and graduate – so that during the two, three, or four years they are here they are truly transformed.
Among those who will graduate on Saturday will be some who have served the homeless and hungry at the Lord’s Diner, others who have traveled to Guatemala and served with Sisters Adorers in their school or clinic and later studied Spanish for several weeks. Nearly all will have done some service in the local, regional or international community. Many student athletes will graduate having excelled academically and in their sports – e.g., a tennis player graduating summa cum laude, our women’s national champion bowler receiving her Master’s in Theological Studies degree. And we will send 10 graduates to medical school in the fall, and several others to pharmacy, dental, physical therapy, mathematics, law and other graduate programs! Our pass rate of 96% on the national Nursing board test is the highest of 34 programs in the state of Kansas for 2011. One graduate is discerning a vocation with our sponsors, The Adorers. Although we don’t have any current students entering the seminary that we know of yet, we still have seven young men with Newman “roots” in various stages of study for the priesthood.
Year after year we can see our core values exemplified in our students and graduates – Catholic, Academic Excellence, Culture of Service, and Global Perspective. Yes, they are transformed while at Newman as we work toward our mission of empowering our graduates to transform society no matter what their chosen graduate schools and/or career choices. And our annual alumnae/i awardees each year demonstrate such dedication – e.g., this year’s Ami Angell (’99) who works to rehabilitate terrorists, our Dr. John Pyles (’76) who volunteers medical service in distaster areas such as Haiti.
And so at Commencement Saturday morning, we will celebrate our honorary degree recipients for their modeling our Core Values of Catholic (Bishop Michael O. Jackels) and Culture of Service (Alice & Dale Wiggins) – great examples for our graduates. We will celebrate 350+ associates, bachelors, and masters degree graduates, and commission them to work to transform society, and admonish them to continue to live by the Newman code for they will always be part of the Newman family:
The Newman Code
As a member of the Newman community,
I pledge to live in the spirit of critical consciousness
by respecting the dignity of every person,
honoring both personal and institutional integrity,
and striving to embrace all humanity.
Congratulations, graduates, faculty, and staff for jobs well-done!
Noreen M. Carrocci