Four individuals and two teams were inducted into the Newman University Athletics Hall of Fame as the Class of 2011. The inductees were honored at the Hall of Fame Banquet and Induction Ceremony, Feb. 5 in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center on the Newman campus.
Paul and Bettie Eck, and Teresa Hall Bartels will be recognized with a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa during the Fall 2010 Commencement ceremony Dec. 11. The university bestows the honorary degrees upon notable and accomplished 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.
Fr. Simone was selected by the Most Rev. Michael O. Jackels, Bishop of the Wichita Diocese, to fill the vacancy left by former Newman chaplain Father Joseph Tatro, who left the university at Bishop Jackels’ request to pursue graduate studies in clinical psychology at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences in Arlington, Va. Following his studies Fr. Tatro will return to the Wichita Diocese to serve fellow priests, seminarians and members of the diocese. Fr. Tatro served at Newman for five years as chaplain, director of Campus Ministry and assistant professor of theology.
“We are very pleased that the Bishop chose to send Fr. Simone to Newman,” said President Noreen M. Carrocci, Ph.D. “I have been very impressed with his education, experience, and devotion to the church. We are saddened that Fr. Tatro left Newman, and will miss his spiritual guidance, his sense of humor and his dedication to students. But, we wish him all the best in his educational and spiritual pursuits, and trust that he is fulfilling God’s plan.”
Fr. Simone brings a strong background of education, spiritual theology and administrative experience to the university. He earned a bachelor of business administration degree at Pittsburg State University in 1995, and is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Kansas. He worked as a staff accountant for Baird, Kurtz, and Dobson, CPAs in Joplin, Mo., until 1997, when he left the firm to attend Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md., where he earned both a master of divinity degree in theology and a master of arts degree in theology with an emphasis on moral theology in 2003. Fr. Simone earned a Licentiate of Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) with an emphasis in spiritual theology in 2008 from the University of St. Thomas Aquino in Urbe, Rome, Italy.
Fr. Simone was ordained a priest in the Wichita Diocese in 2003 and has served in several capacities, including associate pastor for St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, assistant director of the Office of Worship, and vice-chancellor. He became director of vocations for the diocese in June 2008, and is responsible for the formation of seminarian candidates, overseeing the application process of seminary candidates, and recruiting and promoting vocations to the Catholic priesthood in the southeastern 25 counties in Kansas.
Over the years Fr. Simone has received many honors and awards, and held several administrative positions, including secretary of the Priest Retirement and Seminarian Education Fund and chairman of the Committee for Bishop Michael Jackels’ Ordination. He is a member of the National Council of Diocesan Vocation Directors and serves as chaplain for the Serra Club of Wichita – Metro.
As Newman University celebrates the beatification of John Henry Cardinal Newman, the community also follows the cause for sainthood of another figure associated with the university, Father Emil Kapaun, the Army chaplain from Pilsen, Kan., who died in 1951 in a North Korean prisoner of war camp.
Kapaun was ordained in St. John’s Chapel at Newman on June 9, 1940. He is also the subject of a 12-foot by 4 ½-foot painting by artist Wendy Lewis that has hung in the chapel since 2009.
In August, a total of more than 220 people learned more about the priest’s life and cause for sainthood through a presentation by Newman University and The Vagabond Players of “The Miracle of Father Kapaun.” The play, a readers theatre presentation, is based on the original eight-part series on the life of Kapaun written for The Wichita Eagle by Roy Wenzl. The original stage script was written by Anne Welsbacher in collaboration with Dr. Richard Welsbacher.
The first performance on Friday, Aug. 13, featured a reception following the play with cast members and guests of honor the Kear family of Colwich, Kan. In 2008, college student Chase Kear suffered a severe head injury in a pole vaulting accident. He was not expected to live, but recovered in what his doctors and family describe as a miracle because, as the family claims, they prayed to Kapaun to intercede.
For the Saturday, Aug. 14 performance, the event included a dinner featuring guest speakers Wenzl and Joe Davison, M.D., Chase Kear’s physician. Proceeds from both evenings benefited Newman University Fine Arts and provided support for the university’s theatre program.
Kapaun was given the title “Servant of God” in 1993 by the Catholic Church. Father John Hotze, judicial vicar of the Diocese of Wichita, has spent many years as the postulator of Kapaun’s cause for canonization, gathering information to determine if Kapaun performed a miracle and is worthy of being beatified. Kapaun’s cause for sainthood was officially opened June 29, 2008.
The diocese and the Archdiocese of the Military Services have received and are investigating several reports of miracles involving Kapaun, including accounts by survivors of the POW camp who witnessed Kapaun’s acts of kindness and faith. In June 2009, the Roman Postulator of Kapaun’s cause Dr. Andrea Ambrosi investigated Kear’s case and others.
Kapaun is also being considered by the Vatican for possible designation as a martyr for the faith, which would allow him to be beatified without performing a miracle. As of the time Challenge went to press, a decision has not been made on either consideration.
The U.S. Army and U.S. Congressman Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) have also pursued awarding Kapaun a Medal of Honor. Both the Secretary of the Army and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have recommended him for the nation’s highest military honor. Because of a three-year statute of limitations on receiving the medal, however, an exception must be granted by Congress.
In May, Tiahrt successfully added language to the House of Representatives version of the National Defense Authorization Act that would waive the limitation. As of the time Challenge went to press, Congress had not yet acted.
One of the goals of the Newman University Strategic Plan is to establish partnerships with organizations and businesses that will benefit existing students, help make the university more accessible to prospective students, and create programs that meet the needs of both.
Partnerships are especially important in today’s increasingly complex and interconnected world. They enhance the well-being of the university and our students in many ways. By increasing our involvement with members of the community, partnerships can make Newman stronger. They also make it possible for the university to offer new programs for students, and discover new opportunities for growth and success.
From making agreements with public schools and colleges to help students better prepare for careers, to joining forces with area dioceses and health care providers to create academic programs that benefit their employees and the broader community, partnerships just make good sense. A look at a few current partnerships shows why.
Over the past two years, Newman has developed partnerships with area community colleges to help prepare students in two-year institutions who want to finish a four-year degree at Newman. The partnerships center on articulation agreements, which help students transfer more hours and eliminate duplicating classes by identifying the specific courses in two-year schools that will be accepted as equivalent to Newman courses.
Newman currently has articulation agreements with 10 community colleges. Based on the agreement and the major, students can transfer from 62 to 74 credit hours to Newman.
“Enrollment at community colleges is growing faster than any other type of higher education institution, mostly because of cost,” said Newman Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Michael Austin, Ph.D. “Students go to a two-year college to get an associate’s degree then transfer to a four-year to finish. We can’t ignore this. It’s best to partner with community colleges to make it easier and more attractive for their students to come to Newman. And, the community colleges want to work with us.”
Public school initiatives
In a partnership with the Wichita Public Schools that will begin next fall, Newman and the school system will offer scholarships to qualifying high school students in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program who are interested in pursuing careers in education.
AVID is a national program designed primarily for minority and least-served students who are “in the middle” scholastically. Students are enrolled in Honors and AP courses and provided the academic and social support to help them succeed. Under the “AVID Future Teacher Scholarship Program,” AVID students will receive a $3,000 scholarship per year from Newman University, and some will receive an additional $1,650 scholarship per year from the school system, to earn their teaching degrees at Newman. In turn, students will help in the AVID tutoring program for 60 hours per academic year, and those who receive a school district scholarship will agree to teach one year in the district for each year they receive tuition assistance.
Newman Dean of Admissions John Clayton said Newman and the AVID programs in public schools have worked together over the past year to help students expand their awareness of private higher education. He has already seen a positive response to the future teacher program – as of mid-March, six students had been interviewed for acceptance into the program.
Partnerships with Wichita Diocese help future teachers
A partnership with the Catholic Diocese of Wichita and the Catholic schools system has resulted in several programs to benefit college and high school students.
The diocese and Newman jointly cover two-thirds of the tuition for students in the master of education building leadership program who are employed by a diocese school, while the diocese pays full tuition for diocese school employees in the ESL endorsement program. The diocese also helped Newman’s new graduate theology program off to a strong start last fall by awarding 30 full scholarships from the diocese’s St. Maria De Mattias Endowment.
The Newman School of Education also recently collaborated with the diocese’s Catholic school system to create the Tom Seiler Teacher Academy at Bishop Carroll Catholic High School. The program is named for a 1976 Newman graduate and popular Bishop Carroll physics teacher who died in 1997 of cystic fibrosis. It is designed to help senior students explore teaching as a vocation while they receive a college credit.
Each week, students visit Catholic grade school classrooms to observe different teachers at work and help with various tasks, including tutoring students. Academy students also do research projects, build a portfolio and attend an education course at Newman.
School of Education Director Steven E Dunn, Ed.D. said the semester-long program was launched this fall and currently has eight students who have a strong interest in education as a career.
He added that based on the success of the program, the School of Education is looking at expanding it to other schools in Wichita next year.
St. Gianna Academy
The Tom Seiler Academy was modeled after another collaborative effort that included Newman, the Catholic school system and Via Christi Health – the St. Gianna Catholic Healthcare Academy. This program, founded in 2002, offers qualifying seniors from Bishop Carroll and Kapaun Mt. Carmel Catholic High School an in-depth look at all types of health care careers.
In the program, students spend half of each school day at a hospital, working on the medical floors or completing projects and studying in a computer classroom. Students are introduced to 15 clinical areas including the lab, pharmacy, surgery and the ER, and are partnered with doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care professionals, who work as mentors as students observe actual medical procedures during daily operations.
Students earn high school and college credit during the program, and are eligible for scholarships from Newman and Via Christi if they pursue a health care career. The health academy was the first hospital-based high school program of its type in the nation, and accepts only 25 students each year. A total of 294 students have graduated from the program since its inception.
In addition to helping students determine their career interests, the program helps Via Christi Health attract graduates to meet the growing demand for skilled health care professionals. A survey of academy students before and after the spring 2004 semester showed students’ interest in pursuing a health care career increased from 60 percent to 96 percent – with 78 percent planning to work at Via Christi. The percentage of students who planned to attend Newman University also increased.
Many academy graduates have earned their degrees at Newman and now work at Via Christi in respiratory therapy, radiologic technology, patient care, the pharmacy and other areas. One is Sofia Jaramillo, a first-generation college graduate who received the 2008 St. Catherine of Siena New to Nursing Award from Via Christi Health.
Jaramillo, who was in the first St. Gianna Academy class, earned a nursing degree at Newman in December 2006. She is now a registered nurse in the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) at Via Christi Hospital, 929 N. St. Francis, and is pursuing a master’s degree to become a nurse practitioner.
Jaramillo said she always had an interest in medicine, but wasn’t sure what field she wanted to pursue. Gaining a realistic look at health care while in high school helped her decide on a nursing career and focus her efforts in college, she said.
Her experience at St. Gianna also helped open doors professionally. She was hired by Via Christi immediately after high school as a unit clerk in the MICU, and soon moved up to other positions as she completed her degree.
Jaramillo said she likes most every aspect of her job as a nurse, and that her training through St. Gianna and Newman provided her with a good perspective on her job.
“At Newman we were taught to look at patients differently,” she said. “People can get very involved in the tasks of nursing. At Newman, it’s about the person. We were taught, it’s not just the patient in Room 20, it’s the whole person.”
Via Christi Health assists in new RN-to-BSN program
Over the past year, Via Christi Health and the Newman School of Nursing and Allied Health have worked together to develop an innovative new RN-to-BSN program. The program, designed for registered nurses with an associate’s degree to earn a bachelor’s degree, will begin in the fall 2010 semester.
The new program will be delivered almost completely online, with just a few instances where students may be on campus or at a health care agency for clinical experiences. Students will do coursework via modules, which include taped lectures, video presentations, discussion boards, Web-based group interactions and other media-rich features using technology developed for the master’s in theology programs (see Fall 2009 Challenge). This format allows students to do coursework at a convenient time, completing the program as they continue to work. It also makes it possible for RNs who live in rural areas where a four-year program is not available to earn a BSN degree.
To help develop the curriculum for the new program, Via Christi Health “loaned” the services of Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner Carol O’Mara, DNP to Newman for 16 hours a week. O’Mara has been a clinical instructor in several nursing programs, and currently works in the Emergency Departments at the two Via Christi Hospitals in Wichita.
“I think this can be a big win-win,” said Director of the School of Nursing and Allied Health Bernadette Fetterolf, Ph.D. “Via Christi has a number of associate degree prepared RNs, so this could be a good way for them to develop more highly skilled employees, and we get the benefit of Via Christi’s expertise in developing this program.”
“Via Christi is very supportive of RNs continuing their education and completing the BSN degree,” said O’Mara, who will also teach when the program begins this fall. “We highly encourage it, so they can gain in their knowledge and go on to higher levels in their career.”
Fetterolf said the program will be offered at a reduced tuition as one of Newman’s Career Advantage Programs. In addition, the RN-to-BSN curriculum is especially geared to practicing RNs. The courses are designed to incorporate the interests and needs of nurses in practice and to allow them some flexibility in meeting their own profession goals.
Fetterolf noted that Newman and Via Christi have collaborated for many years. The Newman nursing program grew out of the diploma awarding School of Nursing at St. Francis Hospital, now part of Via Christi Health. Via Christi also provides a wide variety of clinical sites for Newman students.
“Via Christi has always been a good partner,” Fetterolf said. “We are both Catholic institutions, so we have common bonds and common values. This program will continue that partnership, and should draw many professional, career adult students to Newman.”
“I’ve seen a lot of employee interest,” she said. “People in my department maybe hadn’t considered getting a BSN before, but now they can see it’s very possible.”
Dear Alumni and Friends,
Partnerships play an important role in life. In fact, it is highly unlikely that you will go through life without entering into at least a few partnerships with others, be it a marriage, a business agreement, a carpool, a church or civic committee, or any number of other mutually beneficial relationships.
Partnerships certainly play an important role in education, as administrators, faculty and staff work together to produce the best outcomes possible for the university and its students. And while traditional methods of education such as lecture continue to have a place in the classroom, more and more of today’s faculty work to become partners in their students’ learning, guiding them to self-discovery rather than simply imparting knowledge or ideas.
Newman has participated in many partnerships over the years, which have played a crucial role in our development and success. These partnerships include professional connections with local businesses and government, as well as our ties to our founders the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, and the Diocese of Wichita.
Today, we’re working to forge more associations with businesses, educational institutions, dioceses across Kansas and other organizations to reach a variety of objectives – among them to increase enrollment among underserved populations, help local couples and families, boost fundraising and scholarship support, and create new academic programs people want and need. In this issue you’ll learn about some of these partnerships, and meet students whose lives have been enriched because of them.
Of course, our most important partners have been and will continue to be you – our alumni, parents, benefactors and other friends of the university. Your support makes it possible for us to do all the things we do each day, and will help make it possible for us to meet the objectives outlined above. As we work to create new scholarship support to make Newman accessible to more students and establish new academic programs to serve the needs of the community, I hope we can continue to count on our partnership with you. It truly can make a difference for many students today and tomorrow.
Thank you for all you do.
Noreen M. Carrocci, Ph.D.
The Newman University Board of Trustees recently elected four new members. John Rapp ’00 also joined the board as Newman Alumni Association representative.
Fran and Geri Jabara and Monsignor William Carr will be awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa during the Fall 2009 Commencement ceremony Dec. 12. The university bestows the honorary degrees 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.
The Jabaras were selected for their commitment to Academic Excellence. Fran Jabara is a longtime businessman, philanthropist and Wichita State University accounting professor. He and Geri have created academic entrepreneurship and student scholarship programs at universities nationwide. Fran served on the Newman Board of Directors from 1972 to 1984, and in recent years on the School of Business Advisory Board. The Jabaras have been generous benefactors to Newman, and for many years have sponsored the Harvey J. and Leona J. Ablah Awards (named for Geri’s parents), which are presented annually to a male and female graduating senior who exemplify the spirit of Newman, demonstrate academic excellence, and show great promise to make positive contributions
Msgr. Carr, who was selected as a model of Catholic Identity, has served the Church and the Wichita Diocese for close to 50 years. He is respected for his scriptural and liturgical scholarship, writings, lectures, and study of Latin and Biblical Greek. Since 1966, he has written for several publications of Sunday Missal Service, a national publisher of periodical missals and background materials for the liturgy. Among his many appointments, he has been a teacher, chaplain and pastor in many parishes in Wichita and south-central Kansas, chairman of the Liturgy Commission, diocesan director for the Department of Religious Education, and rector at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. He retired in 2002, but continues to write Instruction for Presiders, Lectors, and Commentators for Sunday Missal Service and columns for the diocese newspaper the Catholic Advance.
Jamey Findling likes to think about the “big ideas.” Ideas like the nature of existence. Or how the process of interpretation affects our understanding. Or the role presuppositions play in acquiring knowledge.
It was that kind of thinking that led Findling away from a career in engineering to one in philosophy and education, where he could not only explore such ideas, he could make a living at it.
“I’ve always been interested in ideas, and I like bringing people together to discusvs them,” said Findling, associate professor of philosophy and director of the Gerber Institute for Catholic Studies. “I think there’s a real need for that in society.”
Findling was born in Louisville, Ky., and raised in neighboring Floyds Knobs, Ind. He made good grades in high school math and science, and went to Rice University with the idea of doing “something” in engineering. He soon learned that, “college math and science are hard. And, I never liked doing lab work.”
What he did like was a philosophy class – so much so that he stayed up nights with classmates discussing course topics. During his sophomore and junior years he took more philosophy courses, and spent his senior year studying the discipline in Germany. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Rice, he earned a master’s and doctorate in philosophy, both from Villanova University.
From Socrates to Gadamer
Findling came to Wichita and Newman in 2003 with his wife Jenny. The Findlings now have two sons, Charley, 4, and Emerson, 7 months. Findling’s areas of specialization are ancient philosophy – the works of Socrates, Plato and others – and modern hermeneutics – the exploration of how our interpretation of everything from a blade of grass to our concept of God is affected by presuppositions, cultural beliefs, personal experience, and many other things.
Findling has done extensive research on German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer, a proponent of this view, and has published many papers, including his dissertation, related to Gadamer’s work.
Since coming to Newman, Findling and his colleague, Associate Professor of Philosophy Christopher Fox, Ph.D., co-established a philosophy major (it was previously offered only as a minor). Findling has also played a key role in several university initiatives, including chairing a task force that created the Newman Code,* and leading a committee to define Newman’s Core Values, a two-year process that involved people from across the university.
Catholic thought and practice
In 2007, Findling was also part of a group asked to examine how the Gerber Institute for Catholic Studies might be revitalized. The institute, founded in 1995, had sponsored an endowed chair for visiting professors, and hosted lectures and other public discourse on Catholic thought and practice. It recent years, however, it had become inactive.
To re-establish the institute in keeping with its original mission, the group decided to present visiting speakers, conferences and other activities for the community that focused on an annual theme. Again, Findling was asked to lead the project, and was later named the institute’s director.
For 2009, the institute has explored the theme of “reconciliation,” beginning in March with a lecture by theology professor and peacebuilding expert Father Robert Schreiter. A Nov. 5 reading by award-winning writer Ron Hansen is also scheduled.
Although Findling feels the Gerber Institute is just getting underway, he has big aspirations for its future. But then, what would you expect from a man who likes the big ideas?
“I’d like for the institute to be recognized within Wichita, the diocese and the region as the place where great speakers bring insights into Catholic principles and ideas that go beyond the standard, expected rhetoric,” he said. “I’d like this to be a place where creative things happen, where we see glimpses of new solutions to old problems.”