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Full Immersion

Learn how a week of service can change everything.


“The pace of change in our business and personal lives continues to accelerate. I believe leaders must go well beyond tolerating and embracing change. They must lead others through change and create tomorrow’s reality by making desired change the change that occurs.” TOM GERKE, ’82 MBA General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer, H&R Block





Tom Gerke, ’82 MBA ROCK REPORT 3

Student Research


Faculty Profile


Student Profile


Athletics News

FOR ALUMNI Class Notes




Alumni Q&A


Career Center


Hawk Hangout


In Memoriam

IN CLOSING Catherine Thompson, Ph.D.



A week of service can change someone’s life. But whose lives change may surprise you.

TIME AND PLACE Inside Back Cover

Saturday, April 14, 2018


The number of first-generation college students is increasing. Learn how Rockhurst is helping them succeed.

On the cover: Maggie Hummel, freshman, works on a home damaged by Hurricane Sandy.





Would you save a life if you could? It may be easier than you think.

ROCKHURST UNIVERSITY MISSION & VISION Rockhurst is a comprehensive university and a supportive community that forms lifelong learners in the Catholic, Jesuit, liberal arts tradition who engage with the complexities of our world and serve others as compassionate, thoughtful leaders. Our vision is to create a more just world through inclusive, innovative, and transformative education.




SPRING BREAK 2018: Companions

on the Journey


uring spring break 2018, I had the privilege of accompanying 13 of our students and Molly Sova, a colleague, to Amigos for Christ in Nicaragua. It was my fifth service immersion trip since coming to Rockhurst in 2006. We intentionally call these experiences service immersion trips. The University conducts over 10 such trips throughout each year. Most are international ventures. The format for each is similar: manual labor; experiences with local culture; social and political history background; prayer; and lots of reflection. Folks depart with a focus on being men and women FOR others. They return with the understanding of being men and women WITH others. Our trips are not mission trips. We do not send students, faculty, and staff to proselytize or to convert others. Instead, we are about Rev. Thomas B. Curran, S.J., engagement. It’s intentional and consistent with President, Rockhurst University our identity and way of proceeding as a Jesuit institution of higher learning. And, while great work is accomplished on these excursions, it’s much more than helping to build bridges or schools, dig trenches for water lines, conduct instruction, or provide medical services, just to name a few. It’s all about accompaniment – being companions on the journey. Throughout each service immersion trip there is ample opportunity to work alongside members of the local community. This calls for being fully present to the experience, including the opportunity to learn a few phrases in another language. This whole process reflects a small taste of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola: experiencing God who offers his love and companionship. The theological notion for this is God’s providence. More than anything else, Ignatius considered himself a pilgrim who accompanies another. He modeled his behavior upon the example of Jesus Christ who always started with accompaniment, welcome and hospitality. Jesus immersed himself into people’s lives first. He did not begin with the rules; he first offered hospitality. Think of the familiar Gospel stories that illustrate this – Zacchaeus, the centurion, the woman at the well, and his walking with disciples to Emmaus. Intentionally, we call our trips service immersion experiences. The outcome is mutual transformation. And, I can attest to these conversions being real and substantial. Our service immersion trips assist us in becoming companions on the journey – men and women for and with others.




Student Research Peeks Into the Unseen World in the Trees

Junior Aubrey Habron, sophomore Olivia Rode, sophomore Mary Strecker and Chad Scholes, Ph.D., professor of biology, work on a project to identify different types of bacteria in the local phyllosphere.


here might be more to the trees around us than meets the eye — a lot more.

Just like the human body is home to an ecosystem of microorganisms unique as a fingerprint called the microbiome, an unseen world exists among plants, too — it’s known as the phyllosphere. Recently, a group of Rockhurst University students have been trying to paint a picture of the local phyllosphere. With faculty adviser Chad Scholes, Ph.D., professor of biology, the team scoured campus and Kansas City’s Swope Park for leaf samples, from which they grew cultures to send off for DNA sequencing and later cataloguing. Junior biology major Audrey Habron said she appreciated the opportunity to be part of a project in an emerging field of science. “I’m interested in this as a career path — I love plants,” she said. “As soon as I heard about this, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.”

RU, the magazine of Rockhurst University, is published by the Office of Public Relations and Marketing. STAFF Jeremiah Barber, ’16 EMBA, Alicia Douglas, Katherine Frohoff, ’09 EMBA, Estuardo Garcia, ’18 M.A., Jennifer Knobel, Courtney Lee, Tim Linn, Michelle Smith, Melissa Thompson, Angela Verhulst EDITOR Katherine Frohoff DESIGN JJB Creative Design CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rev. Thomas B. Curran, S.J., Estuardo Garcia, Jennifer Knobel, Tim Linn, Julia Mangan, senior, Michelle Smith, Catherine Thompson, Ph.D. PHOTOGRAPHY Doug Clark, Estuardo Garcia, Rebecca Izquierdo, Tim Linn, Mark McDonald, Earl Richardson, Dan Videtich SEND LETTERS TO Katherine Frohoff, Rockhurst University, 1100 Rockhurst Road, Kansas City, MO 64110-2561 or katherine.frohoff@rockhurst.edu 816-501-4151 RU magazine is printed on FSC certified uncoated paper.



History Calls Us All to Be Leaders, Says Leadership Series Guest Caroline Kennedy


he keynote speaker for the sixth annual Rockhurst University Leadership Series luncheon, former U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, told a sold-out audience at the Muehlebach Tower of the Downtown Marriott on April 5 that leadership is powered by the courage to remain committed to one’s own values. In a morning question-and-answer session with students and the luncheon hosted by the Rockhurst University Leaders Council with presenting sponsor CommunityAmerica Credit Union, Kennedy illustrated through historical examples and her own experience that all are called to leadership. “At the end of the day, we are part of a long running story, we just try to get our paragraph right,” she said. “Getting our paragraph right involves soul searching, but it also involves action. We all must take responsibility for writing the chapter of our time.” Also at the luncheon, the University presented its Rashford-Lyon Award for Leadership and Ethics to Patricia Cleary Miller, Ph.D., professor emerita of English and longtime supporter of Kansas City’s arts communities.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy and Rockhurst University President the Rev. Thomas B. Curran, S.J., at the Rockhurst University Leadership Series luncheon.


The Rockhurst University Leaders Council thanks this year’s sponsors for making the event possible.



Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City

Marny and John Sherman Anonymous

VIP SPONSOR Mike and Denise Strohm



Fendler Family Fund Husch Blackwell J.M. Fahey Construction Company Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences




CommunityAmerica Credit Union

Bukaty Companies Cerner Country Club Bank Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation George J. Shaw Construction Co. J.E. Dunn Construction Lockton Companies Murphy-Hoffman Company PwC ScriptPro The Joan Horan Family Tom and Lynn DeBacco VanTrust Real Estate


Dean and Team Look to Residents to Tell Desegregation Story

Helzberg School Ranked Among the Best


he Helzberg School of Management continued to climb in the latest U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools list.

Jennifer Friend, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, presents findings at a conference.


he ability to tell one’s own story is an important part of coming to grips with sometimes difficult history. That’s why Jennifer Friend, Ph.D., dean of the Rockhurst University College of Arts and Sciences, embarked with a team from the University of MissouriKansas City on a project to preserve and amplify the voices of those who experienced the Kansas City school system’s long journey toward racial integration.

In the 2019 rankings, released in spring 2018, the Helzberg School’s parttime MBA is ranked among the top 100 programs in the country for the first time at No. 92, while the management MBA earned a No. 12 ranking and the MBA data analytics and business intelligence concentrations are ranked No. 13 nationally among peers in the information systems category. “Our goal is to continue to improve our offerings at every level, so to have core programs like our part-time MBA ranked alongside the cutting-edge data analytics program shows the success we’ve had in that effort,” said Cheryl McConnell, Ph.D., dean of the Helzberg School of Management. In the spring the Helzberg School also launched its first online degree program, the Master of Science in business intelligence and analytics, along with online analytics and insights and health care management certificates. These programs makes use of video streaming technology to give students flexibility to earn their degree on campus, from home, or both.

Hawks to Get New Place to Work Out

The heart of the multiyear project is a website, featuring video interviews of former students, teachers, parents and others who experienced racial segregation and desegregation; resources for educators; and a community yearbook, which seeks to collect even more stories and artifacts from those who experienced this period. Through the project, Friend said she and her colleagues on the research team hope to provide a fuller historical picture and lessons for the future. “People have studied the financial impact, the policy and the politics of desegregation here,” Friend said. “Nobody’s ever really listened to the people who went through it.” PROJECT


Visit the site at rockhur.st/kcdeseg.

Kermit J. Fendler, Pharm.D., ’68, outgoing board of trustees chair, University President the Rev. Thomas B. Curran, S.J., and board of trustees chair Thomas F. Hastings, M.D., FACP, ’81, break ground on the Health and Wellness Center.


ockhurst University celebrated the ceremonial groundbreaking of the new Health and Wellness Center on May 31. The recreational facility will feature fitness spaces for cardio equipment, free weights, stretching and group exercise, which will be available for all Rockhurst students, faculty and staff. Additionally, the Health and Wellness Center will include locker rooms for the men’s and women’s soccer teams and an event space looking out toward the soccer field. Construction is anticipated to begin in fall 2018.



FACULTY KUDOS Wenbin Sun, Ph.D., associate professor of marketing, wrote an article titled “Re-examining Corporate Social Responsibility and Shareholder Value: The Inverted-U Shaped Relationship and the Moderation of Marketing Capability,” which has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Business Ethics.

Anne Pearce, MFA, associate professor of art and director of the Greenlease Gallery, had an exhibition titled “Everything is Going to Be Alright” at the Bradbury Art Museum at Arkansas State University.

Marcie Swift, PT, Ph.D., FAAOMPT, associate professor of physical therapy, and Tobey Stosberg, MSN, MAE, R.N., assistant professor of nursing, presented their research study that involved physical therapy and nursing students working together in an acute care simulation at the 2018 International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare. It was titled “Interprofessional Simulation Enhances Nursing Program Outcomes.” NEWS

For more faculty news, visit rockhurst.edu/facultykudos.

Literature and Values Guide English Professor


nteraction with students is what Elizabeth Barnett, Ph.D., said she values most about her career as an assistant professor of English at Rockhurst. Whether it is coaching students through literary journal submissions or discussing books with former students who drop by her office, those moments of connection are what drive her. “Having student-centered outcomes as a value at Rockhurst is refreshing,” Barnett said. “Research is important, but students shouldn’t be second to that.”

Elizabeth Barnett, Ph.D.

Whether for comfort, pleasure, inspiration or to exercise intellect, Barnett said that whatever paths her students take, she hopes they keep literature in their lives. According to Barnett, career is important, but not enough to have a complete life. That is why the Jesuit core value cura personalis – care for the whole person – resonates with her. “To have something else to refer to other than a business model – something that values the soul – is a great thing,” Barnett said.



Barnett has recently expanded her love for literary art beyond the classroom as the new director of the Midwest Poets Series, which brings renowned poets from across the country to Rockhurst. As a writer, Barnett looks forward to connecting with other poets and expanding her taste through student and community suggestions. As the director, she says she feels fortunate to carry on the 35-year-old tradition started by her predecessor, Robert Stewart, who will be the featured poet at the launch of next year’s series. “He has been so gracious and generous about turning over the series and what I can accomplish. It is a nice symmetry for him to go from curating poets to being the poet,” Barnett said of Stewart. “It feels right to both of us.” Barnett, who has poems published in national literary journals, also serves as faculty editor of the Rockhurst Review, a literary journal published by Rockhurst University.


Rockhurst Says Goodbye to Retirees At the end of each academic year, we say goodbye to hundreds of our graduating students, but it also means we have to say goodbye to many of the faculty and staff who have called Rockhurst home for decades. We thank the following for their service to the University.

(From left) Ellen Spake, Ph.D.; Acey Lampe, Ph.D.; Curtis Hancock, Ph.D.; Joseph Cirincione, Ph.D.; Sandy Waddell; Lynn Ross; and Rick Graham.

JOSEPH CIRINCIONE, PH.D. For the last two years of his phased retirement, Joseph Cirincione, Ph.D., has been working as office assistant to Mission and Ministry. This has allowed him to spend more time working toward his post-retirement goals of teaching Ignatian spiritual ability and leading the spiritual exercises and working with the Seton Center, Serra Club and the Ignatian Spirituality Center. Prior to this role, Cirincione was professor of English for many years. ELLEN SPAKE, PH.D. Ellen Spake, Ph.D., assistant to the president, Mission and Ministry, officially ended her 35-year tenure as a faculty and staff member for Rockhurst University June 1. For the past seven years, Spake has served as the chief mission officer for the University. This followed a long and successful career as a physical therapy professor, where she was instrumental in starting the physical therapy program at Rockhurst. While she plans to spend more time with her family, she says she wants to keep her fingers on the world of physical therapy in some capacity. She’s also considering becoming an associate member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolet. ACEY LAMPE, PH.D. Sometime later this year, Acey Lampe, Ph.D., executive assistant professor of management, will set up a permanent residence on the West Coast, but she’ll still be connected to Rockhurst. Lampe, who has taught at the University since 2006,

is retiring, but will help the Helzberg School of Management pilot more online courses by teaching a managerial communications course remotely from somewhere in Portland, Oregon. Lampe and her husband, Peter Florzak, will be moving to Oregon to be closer to their only daughter, who has been living there for a few years. CURTIS HANCOCK, PH.D. Curtis Hancock, Ph.D., professor of philosophy, says that during the more than three decades he has been at Rockhurst, he and his colleagues have built a department that he is really proud of and one that will continue to get better and serve the needs of the students. For retirement, Hancock says he will continue to travel to Warsaw, Poland, to give lectures, and he will focus more on writing about what is happening in the current culture and in politics. He will also spend more time with his wife, Sandy Wadell, whom he met at Rockhurst. SANDY WADDELL Sandy Waddell, associate dean of students, director of new students, retention and access services, started her career working part of the time in the counseling center and the other part for career services. Decades later, she has come full circle to oversee those two departments. Waddell said she always enjoyed working with individual students to help them get whatever resources they need to have a successful education.

Retiring together with her husband, Curtis Hancock, Ph.D., was part of their plan to spend more time with each other but, for now, she still plans on taking her own vacation while Hancock goes to Poland to lecture. LYNN ROSS Leaving any job can be bittersweet, especially when it’s a job you’ve called home for 23 years. This will be the case for Lynn Ross, Helzberg School of Management faculty secretary, who has been the warm welcoming face of the school. Ross said she is eager to spend time with her four grandkids, two of whom live in Maryland. She said she is also eager to go back to doing the things she loves, which is to use her fine arts degree by expressing herself through quilting. Besides trips to Maryland to see family Ross is also eager for her upcoming trip to Ireland with her husband. RICK GRAHAM During his nearly 19 years at the Helzberg School of Management, Rick Graham has worn many hats, including director of the information technology leadership program, assistant dean for operations, associate dean for operations, and finally associate dean. That’s in addition to teaching. Graham said he is eager to start his post-Rockhurst life, which will include gardening at home, traveling to national parks, fly fishing, hiking and camping.



Student “Never Forgot Rockhurst” in Winding Path to Undergraduate Degree


t one point in her long career in telecommunications, Jo Ann Herron was stuck.

The Rockhurst University sophomore, 76, was working at AT&T as an engineer. But for some reason, she was struggling with circuit design. She found her answers, surprisingly, in philosophy courses at Rockhurst. “I could not think at the level I needed to be at,” she said. “I guess in those classes I was exercising that muscle that I don’t normally use in my brain, because after that, I was able to sit in engineering training and understand everything a lot better.” Herron’s work would move her from Kansas City to New Jersey and back again. She’s stayed busy, even in retirement — working at Kansas City’s Thomas Roque YMCA Head Start Center; serving as public relations chair for the Johnson County, Kansas, NAACP; and ministering to inmates in Cameron, Missouri. But, thanks to spotting the brochure at Thomas Roque YMCA for the KC Scholars adult learners program, she’s also found time to return to Rockhurst and continue to pursue her degree in theology and religious studies. This time, it’s not about learning the skills to excel in her job — it’s about being a lifelong learner. “I never forgot Rockhurst. I read the story of Ignatius of Loyola, and I love the Jesuit philosophy and the mission here,” she said. “Finding God in everything — that’s what I’ve tried to do my whole life.” Jo Ann Herron, sophomore

“I read the story of Ignatius of Loyola, and I love the Jesuit philosophy and the mission here. Finding God in everything — that’s what I’ve tried to do my whole life.” —Jo Ann Herron

HEARD ON CAMPUS “I do think a lot of success and great things that happen are a magical trifecta of timing and place and the actual market. Don’t ignore the magical points, constantly look for those opportunities.” 8


Audrey Masoner, ’00, author of Mayor Sly and the Magic Bow Tie, speaking at February’s Meet the Makers event.


Adversity Serves as Teacher for Softball Coach Bailey Wittenhauer, head coach of the Rockhurst University softball team.


fter five years of experience playing and coaching in the GLVC, Baily Wittenauer headed to Rockhurst University in July 2017 as head coach of the softball team. Before Wittenauer herself went to college, she was used to starting on her high school team. She loved to hit and catch, and relied on her strong arm to throw hard and get people out.

“I tell the women all the time that softball is just a practice for life. I’m showing them not to get caught up and dwell on their mistakes, because when they do that, they lose sight of future opportunities.” Wittenauer explains that this year is about the changing culture.

“However,” Wittenauer says, “My freshman year of college, I tore my labrum. My arm didn’t heal the way I wanted it to and I had to learn a new position.”

“It has been a really good experience and I feel like our players are growing as women. I have seen complete growth in their attitude and effort, too.”

In addition to learning new field positions, Wittenauer also took time to reflect and understand her role as a teammate and develop as a person. Her personal growth in this challenging time reflects on her coaching style today.

At the close of her first season, Wittenauer set goals for the future. She can check off work ethic, skills and hard-working athletes and now it’s time to see where those will take the team in year two.

Men’s Lacrosse Earns First-Ever National Ranking The men’s lacrosse program has wasted no time getting noticed, considering it was only founded in 2013. In April the squad, led by head coach Kevin Kelley, was ranked No. 20 nationally by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association. It was the first time the program was listed among the best in the U.S. and came amidst a successful campaign overall. The team posted its best record yet at 14-2, netted 12 all-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference team honors, and took home RMAC Coach of the Year honors for Kelley and a Defensive Player of the Year award for sophomore Connor Bateman.



Twins Mean Double Trouble on Soccer Field Jillian Leetch, freshman, and McKenna Leetch, freshman

“When we play, sometimes I will be running down the field, I won’t see her, but I know where she’s at and I can pass the ball without looking and she will be there. It’s like we were both thinking the same thing.” – McKenna Leetch


t’s not that uncommon to play on the same sports team as your best friend. However, it’s more uncommon when your best friend is also your identical twin.

Since they were four years old, freshmen Jillian Leetch and McKenna Leetch have almost always played on the same team. They started playing a variety of sports, but soon found their love of soccer. Years of playing together, living together and sharing the same DNA have given them some competitive advantages. For example, they believe they have some kind of twin telepathy when they’re on the field. “When we play, sometimes I will be running down the field, I won’t see her, but I know where she’s at and I can pass the ball without looking and she will be there,” McKenna said. “It’s weird. It’s like we were both thinking the same thing.” Being a twin also has its advantage when it comes to tricking opponents. Jillian is a left-footed left forward. McKenna is a right-footed right forward. The women will occasionally switch positions and attack the defense from a direction their opponents were not expecting. But one of the biggest advantages of playing with your twin is having someone who knows you so deeply, who knows how to celebrate accomplishments and how to lift you up when you’re down. “If McKenna is not playing well, then I feel like I’m not playing well,” Jillian said. “I know she’s feeling mad at herself and I can go and talk to her.”




Rockhurst Dedicates Improvements to Loyola Park

Rockhurst University Athletics Director Gary Burns, donors and alumni help dedicate the second phase of improvements to Loyola Park.


he Rockhurst University baseball team has hit a home run with the improvements at Loyola Park. On April 28, the athletics department invited the community for the dedication of the new features at the baseball field. Stadium and grandstand seating, a press box, a new scoreboard and restrooms were added as part of a second phase of improvements. “We have a beautiful new facility at the University that will give our spectators and fans in attendance a much better experience,” said Gary Burns, director of athletics and head coach of the baseball team. Burns said the upgrades to the park will help the Hawks be more competitive in recruiting new talent and will allow the University to rent the field for high school tournaments. An earlier phase of improvements added dugouts and improved backstop netting. A large part of the more than $1 million dollars’ worth of improvements came from Jim Myers, ’68, and the Skala family: Donna, Joe and Taylor, ’15. Myers and the Skalas, as well as Mark Sappington, ’13, and Charlie Tholl, ’03, were honored during the dedication event. Funds for the improvements also came from the sale of stadium seating. There are still 50 seats available for purchase through the R Club. For more information, contact Brent Blazek, assistant director of alumni and parent relations, at brent.blazek@rockhurst.edu. Burns said the University was blessed to have such generous donors who have supported the baseball team since the program restarted 25 years ago.


Loyola Park


through the R Club. For more information, contact Brent Blazek, assistant director of alumni and parent relations, at brent.blazek@rockhurst.edu.






First-generation BY MICHELLE SMITH


College Students Blaze Their Own Trail

n the couch of a living room condo in a St. Louis suburb, a mother and two sisters crowded around a large blue envelope, the contents of which would set the trajectory for the small family’s future.

“We all cried. It was like this coming to fruition or crossing of the finish line type of joy,” said Claire Webster, ’19, on receiving her acceptance letter to Rockhurst University. Webster is the first of her family to attend college, no small feat for the middle daughter of a single mother. Webster is in good company at Rockhurst and across the U.S. Thirty-four percent of undergraduate students attending college in the 2011-12 academic year were the first in their families to do so, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. While the majority of first-generation students attend public institutions, 20 percent of Rockhurst’s most recent freshman class falls into this category. Without the cultural capital of parents’ higher education experience to rely on, navigating the complexities of college can be tricky for first-generation students, particularly when it comes to financing their education. Many parents of firstgeneration students have no experience with applying for federal student aid or scholarships, creating a learning curve for students to find their own financial path. These are the families for whom financial assistance is most pertinent, compared to their non-first-generation counterparts. The median family income for freshmen whose parents did not attend college is $37,565, compared to $99,635 for those whose parents did, according to the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. For many first-generation students, this means supplementing financial aid and scholarships with jobs. Continued on page 14



of the undergraduate students in the 2011-12 academic year were first-generation.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

(Left) Alexandra Meyer, junior, first-generation college student, works at a medical lab and grocery store to help finance her Rockhurst education.




% of first-generation

college students graduate within four years.

The median family income for freshmen whose parents did not attend college is



compared to



for those whose parents did. Source: Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA

Mary Haskins, Ph.D., professor of biology, is both a first-generation high school and college student.

Continued from page 13

Alexandra Meyer, ’19, works two jobs to support herself during her time as a Rockhurst student. “I made an agreement with myself that I would not leave college with debt. I would pay off all of my loans every semester. Which I have done successfully,” said Meyer. Meyer, Webster and their fellow first-generation students have the commendable ability to follow through on their goals despite overwhelming obstacles. Their experiences bring great perspective and value to institutions of higher education, and this resiliency is one of their many characteristics to be applauded. Wisdom is another, according to Mary Haskins, Ph.D., professor of biology and firstgeneration high school and college student. “There is a big difference between wisdom and knowledge,” said Haskins. “Many first-generation college students have, in my opinion, the opportunity to gain knowledge through their academic studies and a great deal of wisdom from their family.” Haskins says her mother did not have a formal education past eighth grade but was the wisest person she knew. A recent study by social psychologist Igor Grossmann at the University of Waterloo in Canada found that people in challenging situations develop strong wise-reasoning characteristics, such as conflict resolution, social skills and problem-solving.






Risa Stein, Ph.D., professor of psychology and first-generation college student, encourages students to seek mentors and fellow first-generation students at Rockhurst.

Speaking from her own experience, Haskins says that being a first-generation student can often feel as if one has each foot in separate worlds: one with family and one with school. Both worlds offer valuable learning opportunities that should be embraced. “It’s not all about the responsibility of being a first-generation student,” said Risa Stein, Ph.D., professor of psychology and first-generation college student. “It’s about growing as a person.” Stein hopes that students at Rockhurst pursue mentors for guidance and fellow first-generation students for camaraderie. A growing number of first-generation students are discovering success in higher education due to a combination of self-efficacy, social integration and college programs. To support first-generation Rockhurst students, Success Coach Ashley Halter has championed RU First, an organization that provides resources to help students navigate first-time college logistics like applying for financial aid, registering for classes and getting involved in campus organizations. But the primary focus of RU First is connecting, belonging and celebrating each of Rockhurst’s first-generation students, says Halter.

of first-generation students attend public institutions. Source: National Center for Education Statistics


% of first-

generation students are low-income. Source: Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA

“Being a first-generation student isn’t a deficit or something to be hidden, but rather a strength and place of pride. A true pioneer spirit. They are adventuring into the unknown and this is something to be celebrated,” said Halter. “We welcome them – and all of their experience and knowledge – into our community with open arms.”



Full Immersion

A week of service can change everything



t’s 4:30 in the morning and Bill Kriege, director of campus ministry, waits in the parking lot of the community center, ready to load the shuttle bus with luggage and students who are anxiously awaiting their international flights.

These early-morning airport runs have become a semesterly tradition for Kriege, who is in charge of planning service immersion trips for the University. For him, the travel days are the most nerve-wracking part of the week. He won’t get much rest until he knows all planes have successfully landed and students have reached their destinations, but it’s worth it for him because of the invaluable service these trips provide to students. “We are counting that this will be a transformative experience that will change them for the rest of their lives,” he said. He believes there is something powerful and profound when the students work shoulder to shoulder with the people of the area, break bread with them and pray and reflect with each other. Continued on page 19

During the 2017-18 academic year, 83 students and 16 faculty and staff companions traveled to service sites in Jamaica, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, New York, Philadelphia and Houston during the winter, spring and summer months.









Continued from page 16

Molly Sova, ’14, witnessed firsthand the power these trips have on students as both a student participant and recently as a staff companion. In 2012, she traveled to Belize as a sophomore. In March, she traveled to Nicaragua as a member of the alumni relations staff. “From a companion’s perspective, I got to see each student have a lightbulb moment when they made that connection or fully understood their purpose on the service trip,” she said. “They saw how they were making a difference in an individual’s life. As a student, you don’t see yourself being transformed, but as companion you get to see it happening.” Grant Otte, ’17, was one of those students who wasn’t expecting a transformation, let alone a complete change in the trajectory of his life. In the early days of his undergraduate career, Otte had no desire to study abroad or travel to a foreign country for a service project. Only after hearing about this transformative experience and witnessing the profound impact an international service trip had on his good friend and roommate did he finally agree. In January 2016, he was on a plane to Nicaragua where his life would never be the same. He spent a week digging trenches and laying down water pipes for a small remote town. During that time, he formed a good relationship with one of the young villagers. At the end of the week, he found himself not wanting to leave, nor did his new friend want to see him leave. “During our end-of-the-week devotional reflection, I remember this little kid left the room because he started to cry,” Otte said. “Then I started crying. I hadn’t cried in years, but something during the week really touched me. When I left, I knew I had to figure out a way to come back.” And he did. That summer he would spend three weeks as a servant leader at Amigos for Christ. By the time he graduated in 2017, he would sign up for a two-year commitment in Nicaragua with Amigos. With half of his initial contract already over, he’s already considering extending his stay at least another year. “The service trip really opened my eyes.” Otte said. “I feel like a more compassionate and empathetic person. I’m more aware of the ways people live and the needs in their lives that aren’t being addressed.” Kriege understands that not every student, staff member or faculty who is able to go on one of the service trips is willing or able to devote years of their lives to serving abroad, but his big hope is that each person will forever be changed in some meaningful, if small, way. “We don’t view the trips as an end unto themselves,” Kriege said. “We view them as a springboard or a step along a student’s path to greater solidarity.”




A Perfect Match You may not realize the role you can play in saving another’s life. Several members of the Rockhurst University family are ready to fill you in.

John Murry, ’55, and Dustin Schroeder, ’16, meet for the first time at a 2014 bone marrow drive for DKMS on campus.




“It’s a fantastic feeling to know that you’re having such an impact on not only an individual’s life, but a family’s life.”


—John Murry, ’55

aving a life can be deceptively simple.

Stories of everyday people making huge sacrifices for strangers are more commonly heard, of course, for good reason. But that doesn’t strip the significance from smaller acts of selflessness that can, in the same way, mean everything to another person. Even in a community of students, staff and alumni as big as Rockhurst, it’s not hard to trace small acts and the ways they can have life-altering impacts.

THE CATALYST John Murry, ’55, had never heard of diamond blackfan anemia, until he heard the words from his son, Tim, explaining the doctor’s diagnosis for his first-born son, Sean, Murry’s grandson. Diamond blackfan anemia is a rare condition that renders bone marrow incapable of producing the red blood cells the body needs. That has meant regular blood transfusions for not only Sean, but the three other children who followed — Patrick, Danny and Timmy. “The odds of all of them being born with it are like getting struck by lightning,” Murry said. “Four different times.” From that day forward, the Murrys were a clan on a mission. After learning that anyone could offer to host a drive on behalf of bone marrow registration organization DKMS, family members began to use every connection they had to set them

Schroeder during the donation process in summer 2014.

up at churches, high schools and universities — including, in 2012, Rockhurst University. None have so far resulted in a match for his grandsons, but Murry said the effort has been rewarding nonetheless. To date, they’ve added approximately 37,500 people to the donor registry in 418 different drives, yielding 1,100 matches and 114 transplants. “It’s a fantastic feeling to know that you’re having such an impact on not only an individual’s life, but a family’s life,” Murry said. “And quite frankly, it’s brought our own family a lot closer.” Continued on page 22



Luke Beckett, ’15, ’18 M.A., plays with his son, Corbin Beckett, on campus. 

Continued from page 21

THE DONORS In the five years since, the cheek swab that had taken a few moments of his day in 2012 rarely re-entered the mind of Luke Beckett, ’15, ’18 M.A. He had graduated from Rockhurst, landed a job in the University’s Office of Admission, gotten married and, mostly recently, become a first-time parent. Then the phone rang. “It was five years since that drive, almost to the day,” he said. “My son, Corbin, was born two weeks beforehand, so my whole world had just been flipped on its head. That was the very last thing in the entire world I had been expecting.” Beckett, now a college counselor at Cristo Rey High School in Kansas City, said he always knew if he got the call, he would donate his bone marrow if he could. In late 2017, Beckett underwent outpatient surgery to draw bone marrow stem cells from his hip. The core value of cura personalis ran through his mind. And if anything, his son only gave that feeling a new dimension, especially when he learned he was matched to a young boy. “I couldn’t see any other option but to dive right into the process, especially because I would



hope that someone else would do this for my son,” he said. Dustin Schroeder, ’16, said he just happened to be walking by the DKMS drive on campus in 2012, his sophomore year. He didn’t know what it was or how it worked. But he had five minutes to spare. Months later, an email came notifying him that he was a potential match. “There was this initial shock, immediately,” he said. “I had to look it up and see what the whole process was. But it was this opportunity you don’t get twice. I had to go.” Schroeder said the process of donating itself was easy — he was flown to Texas with a friend for the procedure, which involved drawing his blood to extract peripheral stem cells from it. And hearing a little about the patient the transplant was going to made him more than a donor — it made him an advocate. “Knowing where it was going was a big deal for me, and it really put it in perspective,” he said. “I always tell everyone how easy it is.”


“I couldn’t see any other option but to dive right into the process, especially because I would hope that someone else would do this for my son.” —Luke Beckett, ’15, ’18 M.A.

THE ADVOCATE Junior Kori Hines knows what it’s like to be on the other side of a call like the ones Schroeder and Beckett received. In January 2011, during her eighth-grade year in Olathe, Kansas, she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a type of cancer rarely diagnosed in young people. She was considered in remission after spending most of the year in and out the hospital for chemotherapy and radiation. “Then in August, right before I was supposed to start my freshman year in high school, we found out I had relapsed,” she said. Her doctors considered another treatment — a cord blood stem cell transplant, similar to bone marrow in that it gives the body the tools to fight the disease, and in that success lies in the ability to find a match. “Neither of my parents were matches, or my sister,” Hines said. “The odds of finding a match on the registry are low, and being a person of color, the options are even smaller.” There were, it turns out, two matches from the registry, and following her transplant Hines said she returned to a mostly typical life. But she never forgot what a stranger’s act did for her. She’s tried to pay that anonymous gift forward ever since by founding her own nonprofit organization, Kori Cares Foundation, that assembles and delivers care packages for parents with children undergoing cancer treatment; and by volunteering with organizations like Gift of Life, which advocates for organ donation registries.

Kori Hines, junior, speaks at the Festival of Student Achievement.

Want to Help? Both DKMS and Be the Match offer swab kits that can be mailed in to join the registry. Visit www.dkms.org/en/register or join.bethematch.org for more info or to request a kit.

“I made a promise to myself that when I got better, I was going to live as best I could,” she said.







Robert Crossley appears in the documentary film Bluespace — a meditation on climate change, the terraforming of Mars, and the waterways of New York City — by award-winning director Ian Cheney.




You’re part of the Rockhurst University community. That means you belong to an organization that’s changing the world one leader at a time. Don’t miss out on news meant for you. Go to engage.rockhurst.edu/

register/update and update your information today.

Be sure to share your email address to receive the latest University and alumni news.

1982 Ed McKee and Linda (Raidt) McKee celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this year. They were married May 4, 1968, in St. Louis.


Ronald Luebben was recognized by Sertoma Inc., a KC based service organization, as its National Sertoman of the Year at the recent annual convention. Luebben has been a member of Sertoma since 1981, volunteering hundreds of hours to help the hard of hearing and other causes through his Sertoma Club memberships and leadership activities.


David Huff has been appointed management coordinator of the docent program for the Lake Chapala Society of Ajijic in Mexico where he and his wife, Catherine, retired in 2007.


Paul Lombardo, Ph.D., J.D., was featured on Hidden Brains podcast on American eugenics.

1974, 1981 MBA

Steven Michael Jones returned from a one-year tour in Afghanistan, where he supported Operations Resolute Support and Freedom’s Sentinel.

Richard Hyman retired from Avaya Communications in New Jersey. Inspired by the spirit of community instilled in him by Rockhurst professor the Rev. Nick Rashford, S.J., Hyman is dedicating his new free time to the homeless through volunteer work on the New York City Relief Bus, Market Street Mission, Family Promise and hurricane relief programs.


Jennifer Loper was promoted to president of C3, a local children- and family-focused marketing and design agency based in Overland Park, Kansas, that works with large restaurant and retail brands like Sonic, Arby’s, Raising Canes, Denny’s and others.


James C. Knapp has been recognized as a 2018 Five Star Wealth Manager through Five Star Professionals, as seen in 435 magazine’s February issue. Knapp is the managing partner of the Knapp Advisory Group, a wealth management firm serving retirees and specialized professionals who seek a work-optional lifestyle.

The editorial staff reserves the right to edit for content, accuracy and length, and cannot guarantee that items received will appear in the magazine. Publication of an item does not constitute endorsement by Rockhurst University.



››››››››››››› SUBMIT


We’d love to hear from you. Submit a class note online at engage.rockhurst.edu/register/update

2008 2003, 2004 M.ED.

Andrew Halaz was named head volleyball coach at Missouri S&T. He will begin competing against RU next fall.

Michael Padow has been named principal of Christo Rey Kansas City.


Cory L. Atkins has been appointed associate circuit court judge for the Missouri 16th Judicial Court, which covers Jackson County.

Raquel Garcia and Danielle K. Garcia, ’12, opened a small business called Strand by Strand in the urban Kansas City community. They are both certified in The Shepherd Method of lice removal, Trauma Informed Care, and bilingual in Spanish.


Erica Dianne Ries (Ledwon) completed her certification for lactation counselor in January 2017 and has been working with mothers in the NICU at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa. Erica and her husband Vince also welcomed their second child, Keegan, on Oct. 2, 2017. He joins his 2-year-old sister Kalina.


Lauren Budde married Joshua Smith on March 10, 2018, surrounded by family and friends in St. Louis.

2010, 2013 DPT

Brianna LeGrand earned the distinguished title of Fellow from the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy in November, following a three-year residency program through the Manual Therapy Institute. She currently resides and practices in Tennessee.


Mary Rae Staples married Rory Parry in Aberystwyth, Wales, on Sept. 2, 2017. They were excited so many Rockhurst Hawks were able to join them in celebrating abroad.






WITH DARRYL GETTER, PH.D., ’87 Darryl Getter is a specialist in financial economics for the Congressional Research Service. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Washington University in St. Louis. Q: What does the Congressional Research Service do? A: The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a unit of the Library of Congress that provides research and analysis on all legislative and oversight issues of interest to Congress. In short, CRS is Congress’ own nonpartisan think tank. Q: What is your role within the organization? A: I focus on legislative proposals debated primarily in the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and House Financial Services committees. My portfolio of research topics includes consumer credit markets, banking, fair lending, funding loans in the secondary markets and systemic risk. My research is used to help Congress hold more informed deliberations when performing its oversight responsibilities over the federal financial regulators as well as when debating the ramifications of policy proposals introduced in the committees of jurisdiction. Q: Can you tell us about some of the more interesting projects to which you’ve contributed?

A: Shortly after arriving at CRS, the housing market and the financial markets experienced a downturn generally referred to as the Great Recession. In response, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, which potentially may have an impact on the banking and financial landscape comparable to the historic GlassStegall Act of 1933. While the House and Senate deliberated on their versions of the bill, I provided objective, nonpartisan analysis in the form of reports and briefings on various provisions, specifically on possible intended and unintended consequences. Q: What about economics intrigued you to make it your life’s work? A: When I was an undergraduate, the discipline of economics seemed to be a culmination of many individual disciplines. Economics relies on concepts from mathematics, statistics, history, political science, psychology, and business. Because I had never traveled outside of the Midwest (until after graduating from Rockhurst), I just assumed people

gained knowledge by choosing the right major. Thus, a major that included a little bit of everything seemed to be the way to go. Needless to say, I had no formal strategy; I pursued this path because I really did not have a better plan in mind at the time! Q: How does your Rockhurst education shape your approach to your work? A: During my junior and senior years, I worked at Rockhurst’s tutoring center as an economics and statistics tutor. Given how much I enjoyed teaching, a faculty member suggested that I get an advanced degree and talked me into applying for graduate school. It was a blessing to have someone recognize my potential as a future professor and subsequently push me in that direction when I lacked the self-confidence or know-how to make such informed choices on my own. My experiences at Rockhurst, therefore, have inspired me to “pay it forward” or reach out to those students who, like me, need help figuring out “next steps.”



Andrew Ponder Williams accepted a position as coordinator of marketing and communications for Providence Speech and Hearing Centers in Orange County, California, which is a Catholic health nonprofit. He is also co-founder and principal consultant with Climb Consulting firm, working with churches and nonprofits.

2014 DPT

Lindsay Pierson married Adam Wright, associate attorney general for Missouri, on Oct. 28, 2017. She is currently employed by Visiting Nurses Association in the Kansas City area.


Kyle and Katelyn (Menolascino) Hartman were married on July 22, 2017, in Omaha, Nebraska.

Nicholas Traxler was named assistant director, alumni annual fund at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. The Alumni Annual Fund supports student financial aid, learning, teaching, student life and the Carleton athletic initiative.


Amy Meyers married Jacob Burch in April 2017. Both graduated from medical school at A.T. Still University in May 2018. Amy will be doing her residency in orthopedic surgery at Genesys Regional Medical Center in Grand Blanc, Michigan, while her husband will be doing his residency in internal medicine at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Michigan.



through your favorite social networks.




CAREER CENTER Rockhurst Launches Alumni Medical Network R

ockhurst University has launched a new alumni network that provides support to Rockhurst students and young alumni preparing for careers in health care. Experienced medical professionals in the network serve as mentors to young Rockhurst alumni, providing guidance through the medical school application process, residency and more. Additionally, undergraduate students get exposure to various medical specializations through connections with young alumni and seasoned medical professionals at network events. The Alumni Medical Network launched in February at a pre-health symposium event co-hosted by the biology department and the alumni office. Event attendees included alumni in medical fields and students interested in learning from their insight and experience. The event included an alumni panel, small group discussions and keynote by Francis Dailey, M.D., ’10, gastroenterology fellow at University of Missouri Health Care. “I learned about a very exciting career path I didn’t even know existed from a successful Rockhurst alumnus,” said Chloe Wessel, sophomore, biochemistry major. “I do plan on going to more events that the Alumni Medical Network hosts.”

Alumni in health care fields connect with current students at the inaugural Alumni Medical Network event.

The Alumni Medical Network will host its NEXT EVENT JANUARY 2019 in St. Louis. For more information, contact Brent Blazek at 816-501-4375.

Rockhurst alumni were asked to join the Alumni Medical Network with an annual philanthropic contribution of $100. Funds generated from network memberships support travel to medical schools to establish partnerships, attendance at national health care advising meetings and regular Alumni Medical Network events that continue to foster studentalumni connections. “I made contact with physicians I can shadow or ask for assistance with the application process for medical school in the future,” said Audrey Arand, freshman, a biology major on the pre-medicine track.



rockhurst.edu/hireahawk Looking for the perfect addition to your team? Contact Rockhurst University’s Career Services to connect with RU alumni and students looking to start their careers and secure internships.




OCT. 11

OCT. 24






Family and Alumni Weekend Join us for a carnival-style tailgate, soccer, the Hopkins Skip and Run 5k, reunions and more.

Business of Beer Learn about the business side of the brew from Martin Stack, Ph.D., from the Helzberg School of Management, while sipping a cold one.

Breakfast With Chris Lowney Rockhurst University and the Jesuit Friends and Alumni Network present Chris Lowney, author and speaker, on ethical leadership.

RU Leadership Series Joe Montana joins our annual event to talk leadership on and off the field.

›››››››››››››››››››››››››› For more information, visit rockhurst.edu/alumni

First-Ever St. Louis Leadership Series to Feature Olympic Track and Field Legend


ackie Joyner-Kersee, one of the world’s most decorated female athletes and a St. Louis-area native, will be the inaugural guest of Rockhurst University’s St. Louis Leadership Series, scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, at the Old Warson Country Club in St. Louis. She will be joined by longtime St. Louis TV and radio sports personality Frank Cusumano for the presentation, “Leadership and Perseverance.” Kersee was the dominant force on the track and field circuit for 16 years, earning three gold, one silver and two bronze medals across four different Olympic games. She helped establish the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Youth Center Foundation in her hometown of East St. Louis, Illinois, and is a national advocate for healthful eating and lifestyles. Also during the luncheon, the University will recognize Scott and Kathleen Hummel, ’86, founders of Our Little Haven, with the Magis Award, given to a Rockhurst community member from St. Louis who exemplifies the Jesuit core value of magis, or “more.” The University will also recognize the winner of the Faber Young Alumni Award, Samantha Whited Fechter, ’09, for her leadership, service and a commitment to the Rockhurst University mission.

RETRO ROCKHURST Times change, and so do student fitness routines. While today’s students might enjoy a yoga session, these courts behind Bourke Field were a popular spot in the 1950s for handball games.

1950s 30


Jackie Joyner-Kersee


HAWK HANGOUT After you leave the Rockhurst University campus, you remain a Hawk for life. Connect with Hawks in your hometown by checking the calendar at rockhurst.edu/alumni. Looking to organize a Rockhurst gathering where you live? Contact Brent Blazek at brent.blazek@rockhurst.edu.

Meet the Makers ^ Audrey Masoner, ’00, co-author of Alumni Night at the Ballgame ^ Alumni and friends gathered in the Convocation Center Feb. 8 for an Olympic-themed evening of RU basketball and pre-game festivities. Coach Tony Tocco’s family took advantage of the photo booth: (From left) Phyllis Tocco, Leonard Tocco, Hallie Herbert, Julie Tocco, Charley Herbert, Amy Herbert, AJ Herbert and Tony. Jesuit Leadership Series The St. Louis Alumni Council welcomed the Rev. Michael J. Sheeran, S.J., president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, for a May 2 discussion on the future and value of Jesuit education, advocacy work he is doing on behalf of Jesuit universities in Washington, D.C., and trends in higher education.

children’s book Mayor Sly and the Magic Bow Tie, spoke to a packed Arrupe Auditorium Feb. 28 during Meet the Makers — a TED Talk-style event sponsored by the RU Young Alumni Council. The event included presentations from innovative Kansas City leaders and their experiences in the local marketplace, along with an opportunity for guests to shop booths featuring local goods.

Do you get together with fellow Hawks outside of Kansas City and St. Louis?


Send them to brent.blazek@rockhurst.edu.



Board of Trustees Welcomes New Members The Rockhurst University Board of Trustees recently welcomed five new members. In addition, Thomas F. Hastings, M.D., FACP, ’81, became the chairman, following Kermit J. Fendler, Pharm.D., ’68, who served as chair since 2016 and a board member since 2009.


Fr. Beausoleil is special assistant for the vice provost of faculty affairs and the vice president for student affairs at Marquette University. He holds a Ph.D. in student affairs from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.



Ginter is CEO of CommunityAmerica Credit Union. She earned the designation of Certified Chief Executive Officer from the Credit Union Executives Society and is a graduate of the Advanced Leadership Institute at Harvard Business School.

Reavey is CEO and president of Vixxo Inc., which offers fullservice asset management and maintenance solutions to multisite facilities across North America. Previously, he served as CEO and president of FM Facility Maintenance LLC, where he led the firm’s growth-oriented business strategy.


Rios is a residential college director at Washington University in St. Louis. After graduating from Rockhurst, he earned a Master of Arts in college student personnel from Bowling Green State University.




Stewart entered the Society of Jesus in 2009 and professed his vows in 2011. He holds a master of music in choral conducting from the University of Denver and is currently studying theology at Boston College in his final stage of preparation for ordination.



George A. Loftus, ’60 — Jan. 15

longtime faculty member in the Helzberg School of Management, died March 10. A Kansas City native, Miller earned his undergraduate degree from St. Benedict’s College and received a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Notre Dame. For 35 years, Miller was a well-known and loved part of the economics department at Rockhurst, known for his passion for social justice and commitment to the classroom.

Sean P. Maguire, ’60 — Nov. 2, 2017


Thomas N. Holman, ’67 — Dec. 8, 2017

died Jan. 24 in Kansas City, Missouri. Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, Smist earned degrees from American International College and the University of Oklahoma. While a faculty member in the University’s political science department, Smist was a frequent guest on national television, weighing in on matters of legislative politics and national intelligence, and the author of several books.


member of the Rockhurst University Board of Trustees, died Dec. 15, 2017, at age 69. Born in Topeka, Kansas, Fr. Stewart was honorably discharged from the Army National Guard in 1978 and ordained as a priest in 1982. He served for 35 years with the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, including as pastor at Blessed Sacrament, Holy Family, St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Patrick parishes and in instructional and vocational roles at Bishop Hogan High School and St. Teresa’s Academy. James D. Carney, ’46 — April 4 Richard L. Owens, M.D., ’47 — Feb. 5

Harold R. Gildermeister, ’53 — Feb. 14

August V. Spallo, ’48 — Feb. 5

Robert J. Williams, ’53 — April 4

Remi E. Amelunxen, Ph.D., ’49 — Dec. 24, 2017

Robert K. Bonar, ’55 — Jan. 25 John R. Couture, ’56 — March 10

Joseph F. Basso, ’49 — Dec. 8, 2017

Arthur C. Meiners Jr., Ph.D., ’56 — Dec. 5, 2017

Emery J. Doyle, ’49 — April 9 Douglas H. Irwin Jr., M.D., ’49 — Jan. 12 Clifford P. Cutler, ’50 — Oct. 31, 2017 John E. Schultz, ’50 — April 10 Thomas R. Belser, ’51 — March 10 Joseph F. Pisciotta, ’51 — Jan. 23 D. Victor Hodes, ’52 — Dec. 5, 2017 William J. Honan, ’52 — Feb. 23 Jack R. Stubbs, ’52 — Nov. 22, 2017 Joseph C. Egle, ’53 — Dec. 17, 2017

David Ragan, ’56 — Feb. 7 Eugene O. Livingston, ’57 — Nov. 15, 2017 Rev. Roger W. Hough, ’58 — March 4 Richard A. Jacobs, ’58 — April 7 Arthur McElhenie II, ’58 — Jan. 4 Ronald F. Debus, ’59 — Jan. 30 Joseph M. Medina, ’59 — Feb. 7 Reland D. Brumfield, ’60 — Dec. 29, 2017

Terry E. Gray, ’61 — March 7 Brian F. Billings, ’62 — Jan. 24 John C. Gudenkauf, ’64 — Feb. 7 James S. Marcel, ’64 — Jan. 2 Daniel M. Duffin, ’66 — March 3

John N. Rupard, ’68 — Feb. 9 Michael E. Donaldson, ’69 — April 18 Edward Darby, ’70 — Feb. 10 Alan D. Hays, ’71 — Dec. 6, 2017 Rev. Robert H. Stewart, ’72 — Dec. 15, 2017 Gerard F. McDonald, ’73 — Feb. 3 Timothy M. Trabon, ’73 — March 17 Susan M. Cook, ’76 — March 30 Jill M. Schuetz, ’76 — Nov. 7, 2017 Timothy D. Walkenhorst, ’76 — Jan. 8 Virginia A. DeVeney, ’78 — April 15 Thomas J. Pallo, ’79 — April 7 William S. Gorman, ’80 — Jan. 1 Myron L. Wheeler, ’80 — Feb. 3 Fred V. Dellett Jr., ’81 — April 12 Joseph J. Folz, ’81 — Nov. 11, 2017 Thomas E. Rhoades, ’81 — April 11 William C. Ploehn, ’82 — Nov. 28, 2017 Dennis A. Stoufer, ’82 — Jan. 17 Cyndra E. Melville, ’84 — April 3 Michael J. Davide, ’86 — Dec. 10, 2017 Ray E. O’Dell, ’88 — Dec. 7, 2017 Lisa Sloan, ’90 — Nov. 10, 2017 Joseph M. Rooney, ’94 — Feb. 28 Peter E. Knobel, ’95 — March 30 Wendi Merbitz-Balda, ’05 — Nov. 6, 2017 Joseph S. Brokaw, ’12 — Oct. 30, 2017





His Wild Side to Help Animals


fter about a 16-year absence from Kansas City, Tristen Woods, ’02, came swinging back in a big way. The former Rockhurst University golfer returned to his hometown to practice law under his alter ego Tarzan the Lawman for the Jungle Law Group. While the Jungle Law Group may not be your traditional legal firm, it works for Woods because it combines his legal expertise with his love and passion for animal rights and animal advocacy. “I’ve always loved animals,” Woods said, “I’ve always been attached to them. They have such a good energy. If you are having a bad day, you can look at or play with an animal and feel better.” After leaving Rockhurst, Woods traveled to Los Angeles to try to break into show business. After a few years, he traveled to San Diego to teach golf before a friend encouraged him to look into law school. He graduated from the St. Thomas University School of Law in 2015.

Tristen Woods, ’02,

During all of this time, Woods traveled around the world to work and spend time with animals. He worked with birds in Costa Rica, avalanche rescue dogs in Switzerland and elephants in Thailand. His work with animals and his long blond hair is what earned him the nickname Tarzan, which he now uses as a marketing tool for his firm. While his firm mostly focuses on criminal defense and personal injury, he says those cases pay the bills so he and his fiancé can focus on pro bono work for various organizations that help animals. “When people call me with an issue that involves an animal, I can’t put down the phone,” he said. “I feel like I am the voice for the animals who don’t have a voice.”




EVERYDAY LEADERS What Goes Around Comes Around for Alumna Giving Circle Founder

“There are a lot of everyday folks who want to give back, too, and they are never asked. We just don’t cast a wide enough net.” —Nicole Jacobs Silvey, ’93


n her time both in education and in fundraising, Nicole Jacobs Silvey, ’93, has made it her job to find new ways to connect people to resources.

So in 2016, Silvey relished the opportunity to engage a new audience by founding Sisters’ Circle KC, aimed at encouraging philanthropy among women in the African-American community. Despite having the passion and the career experience, Silvey said Sisters’ Circle started with little more than a metaphorical raise of her hand in a Facebook post about giving circles — smaller groups of donors who pool their money and decide what to fund. Pat Macdonald, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation senior philanthropic adviser, guided her in setting up one. “There are a lot of everyday folks who want to give back, too, and they are never asked,” Silvey said. “We just don’t cast a wide enough net.” In a national landscape that left many people in communities of color around her feeling hopeless, Silvey said she hoped Sisters’ Circle could offer a way to empower individual donors to make a tangible difference by connecting them in a meaningful way to the initiatives they fund. In the first round, the circle funded projects that included TV newscaster Cynthia Newsome’s Awesome Ambitions, a college preparatory program for eighth- through 12th-grade girls. Seeing that impact has energized not just the members of Sisters’ Circle, but Silvey herself.

Nicole Jacobs Silvey, ’93


“It was a catalyst,” she said. “This is giving that is intentional and that has a visible impact for the donors.”

“I was fortunate to have had Glenn Young, Ph.D., for my very first class as a freshman and also my very last class at Rockhurst as a senior. His genuine spirit and passion for his discipline are at the core of all that he does. He strives for his students’ success and actively takes the time to keep in touch outside of the classroom.” – Hannah Tarwater, ’18




What’s L.O.V.E. Got to Do with It? BY CATHERINE THOMPSON, PT, PH.D., M.S.


t happened unexpectedly and, despite my healthcare background, I felt sadly unprepared for what was to follow. At the young age of 49 my husband was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer that comes in many forms. With the desperate need to provide love and support to my husband and two sons while trying to comprehend this complex disease process, I began to deeply appreciate my lack of knowledge and my need for experts to help me manage this illness that was wholly altering our lives. This was before the time of interprofessional collaboration in health care. While the best doctors could not save his life, it opened the door to my appreciating the importance of teamwork for helping families cope during stressful times. It takes a team that appreciates the skills, knowledge and experience of others to tackle these daunting situations. Unsurprisingly, research supports the use of interprofessional teams to improve patient outcomes. Since that time, I have embraced interprofessional education to help prepare my students for serving families in crisis. Rockhurst’s culture encourages us to strive for excellence, pursue justice, care for the poor and marginalized, recognize the complexity of each individual, and act responsibly to better our world. This transformative culture magnifies the importance of interprofessional education and collaborative teamwork. With this in mind, I have shared key



concepts of interprofessional health care with my students in hopes that they too will appreciate the need to combine their skills, knowledge and experience with other experts for the best patient care. What’s L.O.V.E. got to do with it? I created the acronym L.O.V.E. to encourage students and others to engage in reflective practice when working collaboratively with others. L.O.V.E. stands for “Listen, Observe, Verify, and Empower.” While simplistic, the acronym L.O.V.E. is based upon Jesuit pedagogy that encourages well-informed action through a process involving experience, reflection, action, and evaluation. At this time of growing information that may or may not be accurate, L.O.V.E. reminds us to actively listen, to closely observe factors impacting a situation, to verify information through reliable sources, and, finally, to empower those who are able to take needed actions. We live in a complex world with diverse cultures, experiences, and perspectives that requires well-informed discourse. It takes teamwork and it has everything to do with love. Catherine Thomspon, PT, Ph.D., M.S., is professor of physical therapy. She is the editor of a recently published book titled Pediatric Therapy: An Interprofessional Framework for Practice. She has continually practiced as a clinician in addition to her teaching, community service and scholarship.


SATURDAY, APRIL 14, 2018 Rockhurst students participate in gardening, cooking meals and cleaning the neighborhood around Cherith Brook Catholic Worker House for Service Saturdays.

Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage


1100 Rockhurst Road Kansas City, MO 64110-2561


Kansas City, M0. Permit No. 782

Mark Your Calendar for Family and Alumni Weekend.

Spend the weekend with family and friends celebrating your Rockhurst pride. You can expect a weekend full of Hawks soccer, fireworks, Mass, Hopkins Skip and Run 5K, class reunions and much more. In between Rockhurst events, visit Kansas City’s famous Plaza Art Fair, located just minutes from the RU campus on the Country Club Plaza Sept. 21 – 23 only!

Visit rockhurst.edu/weekend to view a full list of activities and registration information.

Profile for Rockhurst University

RU: Summer 2018  

The magazine for Rockhurst University.

RU: Summer 2018  

The magazine for Rockhurst University.

Profile for rockhurst