Newman University honors fall graduates

WICHITA - The Newman University Fall 2009 Commencement ceremony was held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 12 at Central Community Church, 6100 W. Maple. A total of 183 students graduated, including 28 who earned associate’s degrees, 94 who earned bachelor’s degrees, and 61 who earned master’s degrees.
The Commencement ceremony included an address by Newman Assistant Professor of English Marguerite Regan, Ph.D. Regan received the 2009 Newman University Teaching Excellence Award, an annual recognition to a full-time faculty member who has demonstrated an innovative or dynamic approach to courses, course revisions, and teaching techniques. The award recipient also has the honor of speaking at the fall and spring commencement ceremonies.
The ceremony also included the awarding of an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, to three notable and accomplished members of the extended Newman community. The honorary degrees are awarded each fall and spring commencement to individuals whose life and work reflect exemplary dedication to one of the university’s four Core Values: Catholic Identity, Culture of Service, Academic Excellence, and Global Perspective.
For fall 2009, Monsignor William M. Carr received an honorary degree as a model of Catholic Identity. Msgr. Carr has served the Church and the Wichita Diocese for close to 50 years in a variety of appointments. He is also highly respected for his scriptural and liturgical scholarship, and since 1966 has written for several publications produced by the Sunday Missal Service, a national publisher of periodical missals and background materials for the liturgy.
Fran and Geri Jabara received degrees for their work in support of Academic Excellence. Fran, an accounting faculty member at Wichita State University for more than 40 years, established one of the first Centers for Entrepreneurship in 1977 at WSU.
The Jabaras have provided generous philanthropic support to institutions of higher learning across the nation, including Newman University, where Fran served on the Board of Trustees from 1973 to 1984. In 1994, Fran and Geri established the Harvey J. and Leona J. Ablah Leadership Awards for graduating male and female students who exemplify the spirit of Newman, demonstrate academic excellence, and show great promise to make positive contributions to society. The awards are named in honor of Geri’s parents.