Newman U. will award honorary degrees to Msgr. Carr, Fran and Geri Jabara

WICHITA – Monsignor William M. Carr, a priest of the Diocese of Wichita, and Fran and Geri Jabara will be awarded Doctor of Humane Letters degrees by Newman University during the Fall 2009 Commencement ceremony. The ceremony will bgin at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, at Central Community Church, 6100 W. Maple.
The university bestows the honorary degrees at each Fall and Spring Commencement 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. Newman President Noreen M. Carrocci, Ph.D., said the Jabaras and Msgr. Carr are excellent examples of the university’s principles and ideals.
Monsignor William M. Carr - Catholic Identity
Msgr. Carr, who was selected as a model of Catholic Identity, has served the church and the diocese for close to 50 years. A convert to the Catholic faith, he was ordained March 14, 1959, and has had many appointments in his lifetime of service. His first appointment was as Assistant at St. Mary Cathedral in Wichita. From there he went on to serve as a teacher, a Chaplain and then Pastor in many parishes in the Wichita, Hutchinson and Pittsburg, Kan., areas. He was Chairman of the Liturgy Commission, and served on the Diocesan Clergy Conference Committee. He was also Diocesan Director for the Department of Religious Education. He was Pastor-Chaplain of the St. Paul Parish/Newman Center at Wichita State University for seven years. After serving as Pastor of Resurrection Parish, Wichita, he became Rector of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, an appointment he held until his retirement.
On May 16, 2001 he was named Prelate of Honor to His Holiness Pope John Paul II (Monsignor). He retired in July 2002 but continues to contribute articles for the Wichita Diocese Catholic Advance newspaper.
Fran and Geri Jabara – Academic Excellence
The Jabaras were selected for their commitment to Academic Excellence. Fran joined the faculty of Wichita State University as an assistant professor of accounting in 1949, and served at WSU for 40 years. He was named Distinguished Professor in 1971 and was Dean of the College of Business Administration for seven years. A longtime advocate for teaching students both the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and how to apply them, Fran established one of the first Centers for Entrepreneurship in 1977 at WSU. Since that time, Fran and Geri have established academic entrepreneurship programs at universities nationwide.
Fran, a Certified Public Account, is founder of the merchant banking and investment company Jabara Ventures Group. With Geri, Fran also founded the Jabara Family Foundation, now known as the Fran Jabara Family Foundation, Inc. Geri currently serves on the boards of the Fran Jabara Family Foundation, Inc., as well as the Professor Fran and Geri Jabara Fund, Inc.
The Jabaras have also established many student scholarship programs, and are known for their generous philanthropic support to institutions of higher learning. In 1994, the Jabaras established the Harvey J. and Leona J. Ablah Awards at Newman University, in honor of Geri’s parents. These awards 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 to society. Fran also served on the Newman Board of Directors from 1973 to 1984, and in recent years on the School of Business Advisory Board.