RU: Summer 2019

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Come Along With Us

The Jesuit order sets its course with four inspirational emphases


“Leadership is all about contemplative action. First, be a deep listener and learner. Then, be willing to get your hands dirty and certainly never ask anyone to do anything that you wouldn’t do yourself. Be of service above all else. And take time to reflect with God on what that service means for yourself, your loved ones, and your community.” MEAGHAN FANNING, ’12 Recipient of the Ignatian Solidarity Network’s Moira Erin O’Donnell Emerging Leader for Justice Award





20 COME ALONG WITH US The Society of Jesus has set its direction for the next decade. It’s no surprise the Jesuits plan to go into the trenches and make a big impact – and they want you to join them.

LEADING THE WAY Inside Front Cover

Meghan Fanning, ’12 ROCK REPORT 3

New Chief Inclusion Officer


Leadership Series


Faculty Profile


Athletics News

FOR ALUMNI Class Notes

25 27

Alumni Q&A


Career Center


Magis Award


In Memoriam

IN CLOSING Maureen Walsh, Ph.D.


TIME AND PLACE Inside Back Cover


FUNDING THE FUTURE One of the largest scholarship funds ever established at Rockhurst – the Hummel Family Scholarship – is making dreams come true.


Wednesday, April 24, 2019 On the cover: Jake Marshall created this watercolor interpretation of the Jesuit seal, which features a sun, cross, three nails the letters IHS – the first three letters of Jesus in Greek.

50 YEARS STRONG It has been a half century since Rockhurst added women to its ranks of students. Now we pause to celebrate how our alumnae are living the Jesuit mission.

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.




Show, Walk, Accompany and Collaborate. Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus, 2019-29


hese four action verbs are at the center of the preferences for the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) for 2019-29. They correspond to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the plight of the marginalized, work with youth, and care for our environment, respectively. Here is their context: »To show the way to God through the Spiritual Exercises and discernment; »To walk with the poor, the outcasts of the world, those whose dignity has been violated, in a mission of reconciliation and justice; »To accompany young people in in the creation of a hope-filled future; and

Rev. Thomas B. Curran, S.J., President, Rockhurst University

»To collaborate in the care for our common home. According to the Rev. Arturo Sosa, S.J., the 31st superior general of the Society of Jesus, these preferences reflect a desire “to make the life and action of the Lord Jesus present in diverse social contexts of today’s world.” They reflect a commitment to care for immigrants, displaced, refugees, victims of war, and human trafficking. Additionally, the young, identified as companions, will teach us about the present times and help us to approach the future with hope. As for the environment, the narrative of the preferences includes a need to acknowledge that the damage to “mother earth” is also damage to the most vulnerable and marginalized. Pope Francis approved and confirmed these worldwide preferences stating, “They are in conformity with the priorities of the Church.” (Vatican News, Feb. 19, 2019). The preferences were reached through a 16-month process that included Jesuits throughout the world along with many of their apostolic companions. Rockhurst University hosted one of the gatherings that included Jesuits and mission partners from the Kansas City region. So, what will this mean for the University for the next decade?



With these preferences as a lens, the University will conduct its strategic planning and evaluate its current work. In this issue, you will find how we are currently attending to the priorities. Additionally, we will be very intentional about the pursuit of these preferences in partnership with Rockhurst High School, St. Francis Xavier Parish in Kansas City, and the Ignatian Spirituality Center. Over the next decade, you will be reading and hearing more about these preferences in this magazine as well as in other University publications, activities and events. Since its inception in 1540, the Society of Jesus has been intent on reading the signs of the times. This list of preferences reflect its collective understanding of the current needs of our society and the Church. More than anything else, Ignatius wanted the “least Society of Jesus” to be focused upon the “Greater glory of God.” For him, this was much more than a pious platitude. In his Spiritual Exercises, he states that “Love ought to manifest itself in deeds rather than words.” In order to be faithful to this “way of proceeding” the preferences are enumerated with action verbs, rooted in love: Show, Walk, Accompany and Collaborate.


Becoming RU’s First Chief Inclusion Officer Is a Homecoming “Walking with one another as true companions is at the core of our educational mission and, as critically, of our identity as a Jesuit institution.” —Rockhurst University President the Rev. Thomas B. Curran, S.J.


ince childhood, Rockhurst University has been very close to Leslie Doyle, Ed.D.

“When I was young, my mother would watch us cross the street to play on campus, that was our playground,” said Doyle, who would later graduate from nearby Paseo High School. So when Doyle was welcomed in April as the University’s first chief inclusion officer, it was both a homecoming and an opportunity to have an impact where she grew up. As director of the newly created Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Doyle will work collaboratively across campus to assist students, faculty and staff from historically marginalized populations and develop offerings for the campus community to create a “home for all.” “This project is about paving a path for our future as an institution,” said Rockhurst University President the Rev. Thomas B. Curran, S.J. “Walking with one another as true companions is at the core of our educational mission and, as critically, of our identity as a Jesuit institution.”

Leslie Doyle, Ed.D.

The charge stems from the 2017 campus climate study, completed by consultants Rankin and Associates, that measured campus inclusivity through anonymous surveys and roundtable discussions with students, faculty and staff. A native of Kansas City, Doyle spent the previous 13 years of her career at St. Louis’ Fontbonne University, most recently serving as director of service, diversity and social justice. Throughout her career, Doyle has worked with students, faculty and staff to develop programming and promote conversations that encourage true understanding of one another. “I admire the work that’s already been done at Rockhurst, and I look forward to continuing to build toward a common goal of making inclusivity our way of proceeding,” she said.

RU, the magazine of Rockhurst University, is published by the Office of University Relations. EDITOR Katherine Frohoff, ’09 EMBA DESIGN JJB Creative Design CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rev. Thomas B. Curran, S.J., John Dodderidge, Jennifer Knobel, Tim Linn, Maureen Walsh, Ph.D. PHOTOGRAPHY Lucinda Biehn with Fusion, Gabrielle Brancato, Storm Ervin, Estuardo Garcia, Bob Greenspan, Kyle Kabance, Julie Koca, Tim Linn, Kevin Lowder, Mark McDonald, Bethany Pearson O’Connor, Earl Richardson, Conor Tierney, Dan Videtich, Kara Volle SEND LETTERS TO Katherine Frohoff, Rockhurst University, 1100 Rockhurst Road, Kansas City, MO 64110-2561 or 816-501-4151 RU magazine is printed on FSC certified uncoated paper.



Joe Montana

Joe Montana Brings Lessons From Hall of Fame Career to Leadership Series


t’s hard to boil down a career that includes four Super Bowl trophies, multiple all-pro honors, more than a few iconic moments and a spot in the NFL Hall of Fame in a single speech.

Thank you to our sponsors, whose generous support makes the Rockhurst University Leadership Series possible:

But that’s just what legendary quarterback and former Kansas City Chief Joe Montana did as the featured guest of the seventh annual Rockhurst University Leadership Series luncheon March 26.

CommunityAmerica Credit Union




Drawing on a storied career, Montana shared lessons on leadership in a morning Q&A session with students, moderated by former Chiefs executive Denny Thum, ’74, and later in a luncheon that included brief remarks and a panel discussion. Turns out, for Montana, leadership and success stem from some fairly simple concepts.

Americo Life Inc.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City


Bukaty Companies

Country Club Bank and Constance M. Cooper Charitable Foundation, Edward J. and John G. Houlehan, co-trustees


“I look back on my career, and it’s three things — preparation, work ethic, and trust, and how those three things get intertwined,” he said. “I think they were responsible for not only my success, but our success as a team.”

Kansas City Southern Charitable Fund

Also at the luncheon, the University recognized two outstanding alumni with the annual Rashford-Lyon Award for Leadership and Ethics. Tom McCullough, ’64, and Tom McDonnell, ’66, together helped build Kansas Citybased DST Systems into one of the largest and most forward-looking mutual fund servicing firms in the nation.


Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation George J. Shaw Construction Co. J.E. Dunn Construction

Marny and John Sherman

Jim and Ellen Glynn


Lathrop Gage

Tria Health

Lockton Companies



Husch Blackwell


J.M. Fahey Construction Company

The Joan Horan Family

Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences

VanTrust Real Estate

SS&C Technologies



Tom and Lynn DeBacco


Professor, Alumnus Partner to Create Mental Health Resource for Students


here are many resources out there for those struggling with mental illness, from therapy, to medications, to support groups. Yet, sometimes those resources remain out of reach for one reason or another.

“At that time I was working with high Younger generations raised on social media and digital communication often just school students need a place to feel like they’re not alone. This was the realization that Risa Stein, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Rockhurst University, recognized as part of her and heard a lot work outside the classroom. “At that time I was working with high school students and heard a lot about what about what they they were experiencing, and it sounded way more difficult than I ever imagined,” were experiencing, she said. “It was overwhelming, keeping me up at night.” and it sounded Stein had a vision for an online resource where college and high school students could share their own experiences with mental illness in the hopes of helping others way more difficult experiencing something similar. But she needed some tech expertise to set it up. than I ever Through a class at the Helzberg School of Management, Stein met Matthew imagined. It was Barksdale, ’04 EMBA, founder and managing director of ZagFirst digital marketing and longtime Kansas City tech entrepreneur. Together, they built overwhelming, and launched GenuineU in late 2018, an online hub hosting personal video testimonials and allowing users to offer anonymous notes of support for those keeping me who might need help. up at night.” “There are three big things we’re trying to break through — we want to remind these students that others have been down this path, that they are not alone, and show that others have successfully come out the other end, and that they can too,” Barksdale said.

– Risa Stein, Ph.D., professor of psychology

FACULTY KUDOS Rocío De la Rosa Duncan, Ph.D., professor of Spanish, presented a paper titled “Ruptura y solidaridad en los personajes femeninos de ‘¡Una madre como ésa!’ de Isabel Herrera de Taylor y ‘Domingo por la noche’ de María Eugenia Ramos” at the 53rd Southwest Council of Latin American Studies Conference in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico, in March. She also chaired a panel at the same conference.

Kelly Meiners, Ph.D., assistant professor of physical therapy, was featured on the University of Kansas Medical System webpage and also pictured in the October editions of Her Life and The Independent for her volunteerism with Bra Couture KC, which raises funds for uninsured and underinsured patients battling cancer in the Kansas City area. Tony Tocco, Ph.D., professor of accounting, was interviewed by KSHB-41 TV for a story about the economic impacts of manufacturing plant closures. NEWS

For more faculty news, visit ROCKHURST.EDU


Research Project on Missouri Politics Finds Inspiration a World Away


hat does a trip halfway across the globe have to do with a research project centered on Missouri political leadership? More than you might think. Tom Ringenberg, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science, was visiting Tom Ringenberg, Ph.D. Vietnam in 2017 when a little kismet yielded inspiration after spotting a marker in the War Remnants Museum with a quote from U.S. Rep. William Clay, a longtime member of the House of Representatives from St. Louis. Clay’s name was a familiar one for Ringenberg, both because of his academic background and because he had been placed in the office of Clay’s son, current U.S. Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay, who now represents the same district, as part of the American Political Science Association’s Congressional Fellowship program in 2015. On the marker was a quote from a 1969 speech the elder Clay gave on the House floor questioning the nation’s continued involvement in Vietnam. The unexpected discovery would prove to be a spark for a new research project for Ringenberg, one of two yearlong fellowships from the Missouri State Historical Society’s Center for Missouri Studies. Currently titled “Representing Dissent: Missouri and Opposition to the Vietnam War in the People’s House,” the project will discuss, through an analysis of historical records from William Clay and three of his contemporaries — Reps. Richard Bolling of Kansas City, Durward Hall of Springfield, and Richard Ichord of Licking — how different viewpoints and constituencies from the Show-Me State were represented in the House on the issue of Vietnam. And though the research is historical, Ringenberg said he hopes to also provide some insight into dissent and political diversity in the current age. “There are classic questions about what a representative should do,” he said. “It’s about place and culture, but also what do we mean by representation?”


“We sometimes say that science answers the ‘how’ questions – how things work. Philosophy answers the deeper questions, the ‘why’ questions. As a human being, you need both.” 6


Brendan Sweetman, Ph.D., professor of philosophy, as a guest on the April 16 edition of the Arts and Sciences podcast, available wherever you get your podcasts.


For Student, Being Involved is “Being There” for Others

Jermal Perkins, sophomore


f you’ve spent enough time walking around campus, there’s a good chance you’ve run into Jermal Perkins.

The sophomore, a communication and English major, definitely has a presence at Rockhurst. You’ll find him smiling and offering handshakes that lead to a warm embrace, jumping into a Shakespeare reading on the quad, or participating in a range of activities from Voices for Justice to Active Minds (a student-led mental health initiative) to Intervarsity Christian student fellowship, among others. He also serves as a peer coach and supplemental instructor for theology in the Aylward-Dunn Learning Center. It’s a lot to balance, but for Perkins, being involved is a pleasure as well as a gift. “As far as my motivation for what I do, I love God, I love people and I show my beliefs with

my actions,” he said. “Whatever a person needs, if I can do it, I’ll do it.” A self-described extrovert, Perkins said he also has found that, from time to time, he needs to recharge his batteries. And he’s found that writing down thoughts from himself or others and daily meditation, in the middle of a busy campus if necessary, do just the trick. The latter is a practice he said he found helpful during a trip to China with Intervarsity last summer. That trip speaks to another personality trait for Perkins — he’s always looking for an adventure, he said — and the immersion in a different culture was profound both for his personal and professional life. “I learned how important it was to be flexible,” he said.

“As far as my motivation for what I do, I love God, I love people and I show my beliefs with my actions.” —Jermal Perkins



OT Scholarship Recipient Juggles Graduate School and Motherhood


hen you think of graduate school, things like endless exams, late-night study sessions and hours spent in labs may come to mind. Now imagine adding first-time motherhood to the mix. That’s exactly what Shannon Howland, ’19 MOT, experienced after learning she was pregnant a month before starting Rockhurst’s Master of Occupational Therapy program. After a busy life abroad providing humanitarian aid, Howland began OT classes and quickly realized she needed financial support. That’s when she learned about the Teresa “Terri” R. LaManno Scholarship – an annual award given to one OT student facing the demands and challenges of being a parent or caregiver while in the master’s program. LaManno’s family created this scholarship in her memory after she was tragically killed outside the Village Shalom retirement community in 2014. She was a 2006 graduate of the program and a dedicated OT professional. “I immediately wanted to know more about Terri,” said Howland. “I read articles about her work at the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired, and quickly discovered what an amazing, loving, persevering person she was.” Perseverance is a quality Howland shares. After completing her first fall semester early, Howland gave birth to a baby boy the day after Thanksgiving. “The challenges were many,” Howland admits. “I was up three to five times per night during the most crucial semesters of the OT program. But I managed by taking things one day at a time.”

Shannon Howland, ’19 MOT

With graduation behind her, she is excited for new adventures but also reflective on how much this scholarship helped her. “I am grateful for the opportunity to honor Terri’s life and legacy, even in this small way,” said Howland. “It is my hope and intent to pay it forward in compassion and love, both in my personal life and my career.”

“I immediately wanted to know more about Terri. I read articles about her work at the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired, and quickly discovered what an amazing, loving, persevering person she was.” —Shannon Howland, ’19 MOT 8



Junior Throws First No-Hitter in RU Baseball History Jack Eisenbarger


n Feb. 28, Rockhurst University junior Jack Eisenbarger did something no other Rockhurst University men’s baseball player has ever done. In the second game of a doubleheader against Bemidji State University, the mechanical engineering major pitched the first no-hitter in school history, striking out 10 and walking three in a scoreless 2-0 Rockhurst victory in Fort Scott, Kansas. It was a moment that Eisenbarger said he’ll never forget as well as one that, unknowingly, he might have predicted beforehand after one of his teammates, Griffin Fletcher, threw a three-hitter in his previous game. “Griffin had done a really good job,” Eisenbarger said. “And my other roommate, Luke Baker, said I had to do

better than him tomorrow, and I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll go throw a no-hitter.’” Eisenbarger said the day felt like any other day on the mound at first, but during the sixth inning, he said the nerves started as he realized he might have a shot at a no-no, especially after getting the silent treatment from his teammates. The moment he recorded the last out, his teammates stormed the mound, and while his name is the one that goes down in history (something Eisenbarger said he didn’t even realize at the time), he said he couldn’t have done it without the team around him. “I definitely had it that day, but there were definitely some key plays from the guys behind me,” he said. “It was a team effort, at the end of the day, it wasn’t just me.”

“I definitely had it that day, but there were definitely some key plays from the guys behind me. It was a team effort, at the end of the day, it wasn’t just me.” —Jack Eisenbarger



Athletics Adds Men’s Cross Country, Competitive Dance and Cheer


s the saying goes, a new player has joined the game.

Responding in part to student demand, Rockhurst University will add competitive dance and cheer and men’s cross country to its existing slate of athletics offerings, starting in the fall 2019 semester. The two programs are the first additions to the University’s lineup since 2012, when women’s cross country and men’s and women’s lacrosse were offered for the first time. “We’re really excited to announce these additions to our slate of athletic offerings,” said University Director of Athletics Gary

Members of the Rockhurst University cheerleading squad perform.

Burns. “We always listen to both our current and prospective Hawks when we plan expansions of our existing programs, and we think here we have an exciting opportunity to grow and offer new experiences for students.” Men’s cross country will join its women’s counterpart, established in 2012. Dance and cheer have been club sports in the past, but in the fall will compete at the collegiate level. That means more opportunities for student-athletes and, Burns said, an enhanced game-day experience with routines and stunts honed in competition.

A Perfect Finish


he Hawks finished the 2018-19 academic year with 28 student-athletes posting a perfect 4.0 GPA, earning each of them the Brother James Gaffney, FSC, Distinguished Scholar Award from the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

The award, named after the former president of Lewis University and a two-time chair of the league’s Council of Presidents, was given to 292 student-athletes across the conference that finished the academic year with a 4.0 average in the classroom. The Rockhurst baseball team had five representatives, along with the women’s basketball and men’s soccer teams. The women’s cross country team had four members on the list. In addition, 11 of Rockhurst’s athletic teams earned the 2018-19 GEICO Team Academic All-GLVC Award. The GLVC recognizes each team from member institutions that have maintained a 3.30 grade point average for the academic year. Women’s basketball led the way with a 3.74 GPA.




Lacrosse Player Co-Authors Study With Implications for Health Care


ometimes, an academic study finds its way into popular media, its implications extending beyond the concerns of professionals.

That was the experience for senior biology major and lacrosse player Nicole Twardowski, who recently co-authored a study on the potential link between cannabis use and a need for increased levels of sedation prior to endoscopy. The scientific study followed observations by Twardowski’s father, Mark, an internal medicine physician in Colorado. Nicole said she was a research assistant on the team that included her father and Margaret Link, an endoscopy nurse, and it was during that work that Nicole said they first saw the concrete support of the hypothesis after getting the analyzed data back from the statistician.

“I noticed some trends, and I went back and said, ‘I know you all noticed this, but this is big.’ It was even more significant than we thought.” —Nicole Twardowski

“I noticed some trends, and I went back and said, ‘I know you all noticed this, but this is big,’” she said. “It was even more significant than we thought.” The resulting article, “Effects of Cannabis Use on Sedation Requirements for Endoscopic Procedures,” was published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association in April and quickly led to stories on NBC, CNN, Reuters and other national news outlets, in addition to social media as a featured story on Snapchat. It was great exposure to the world of academic research for Twardowski, who will begin medical school at the Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine in the fall. But, more importantly, she said, the study — along with its second phase, a survey of all procedures and surgeries featuring a larger sample size — helps add to a growing understanding of a substance that is quickly becoming more and more available. “People are willing to admit to their usage a lot more, which is really what made this study possible,” she said. “We’re learning through this research that this could be a conversation that patients need to have with their health care providers.”

Nicole Twardowski, senior



Funding the Future


One of the largest scholarship funds ever established at Rockhurst is designed to benefit deserving students for years to come.


wo years ago, Rockhurst University announced the creation of the Hummel Family Scholarship, an unprecedented gift with a simple idea at its heart — give high-achieving students in need access to an excellent higher education by closing the gap on their existing financial aid. The scholarship has since opened doors to a high-quality, Jesuit education, to those who, for one reason or another, might not otherwise have that opportunity. It’s all made possible through the Hummel Family Foundation and its founders, Robert C. Hummel, DVM, founder of the company that became Animal Health International, and his wife, Carole. Each of Hummel’s children have been asked to choose institutions they attended as a beneficiary for a scholarship. For Rob Hummel, Bob and Carole’s son and a 1993 graduate of Rockhurst University’s MBA program and his wife, Patty, the choice was more than a formality. “It’s about giving forward to these places that helped my family in one way or another improve our lives, like Rockhurst was for me,” he said. In May, five seniors crossed the stage at the University’s commencement ceremony, the first Hummel Scholars to graduate from Rockhurst. Each represents, in their own way, a fulfillment of that vision.

NO LONGER THE UNDERDOG For all their differences, a few common themes emerge when this group of students talks about their experience as Hummel Scholars. For one, they remember a sense of shock when they were informed they received the scholarship. Continued on page 14




“It’s about

giving forward

(From left) Nora Goller, Veronica Clay, Jamie Roberts and Suzanne Phillips.

to these places that helped my family in one way or another improve our lives, like Rockhurst was for me.” —Rob Hummel, ’93 MBA



Continued from page 12

Nora Goller, a communication sciences and disorders major, said she was preparing for a career in a special education setting to help children with autism and hearing impairments at Ozarks Technical Community College, just leaving her adviser’s office when the phone rang with news that she had gotten the scholarship. “I started crying,” she said. “I was so happy. I said I had gotten a full ride in sign language through the window from outside, and they came out with tissues.” She’s not the only one to have that kind of reaction. Another scholar, business communication major Jamie Roberts, said after years of planning her education paycheck to paycheck, to have the final piece of the puzzle fall into place helped her realize her own potential. “I don’t think I’ll ever forget that phone call,” she said. “To be provided a leg up and not have to be the underdog again, that’s indescribable.”

“When I met the Hummels, I really just said thank you so much, the scholarship was such

a blessing to me.” —Gisele Ndifor

CHANGING COLLEGE FOR A GENERATION OF HAWKS Their reactions speak not only to the importance for these students of scholarships in general, but what it can mean to have the pathway completely cleared for their college education. Suzanne Phillips, a history and philosophy major, said she was among the first in her family to earn a college education. Born to a family of union plumbers, she spent many summers helping build the bones of homes herself. College was not a given, and it was not until the final semester of her associate’s program that it was even obvious to her. “The Hummel Scholarship changed the way I was able to go to college,” she said. “I might be here, but I wouldn’t be able to be me.” Phillips dove into history and philosophy and was able to take advantage of opportunities, like a service immersion trip, that she said just might not have been on the table if she had to worry as much about the potential financial burden they might cause. Veronica Clay, an English major, said the four-year college experience helped her discover who she could be. While always a self-driven achiever, and encouraged by her parents to do her best, Clay said she felt that she lacked, because of circumstance, access to the kinds of resources available at an institution like Rockhurst. She was encouraged to submit her writing to journals and grow professionally and personally. “It was a miracle that I was here, honestly, and once I got here, I found all these resources that I needed to succeed,” she said. “I started reaching for more, and not in a greedy way.”




A PERSONAL CONNECTION It can be a struggle to express gratitude for this kind of gesture. Phillips said her family prays for the Hummels every day — her mother even made a prayer quilt for Dr. Hummel during his stay in the hospital as a thank you to his and his family’s generosity. Gisele Ndifor said the scholarship made it possible for her to complete her economics and finance degree in the U.S. and pursue her entrepreneurial dreams. She added that meeting the family gave her an opportunity to try to put into words what the scholarship has meant to both her and her family. “My father wasn’t able to complete his college degree, so education was really important to him — he was the one checking the grades,” she laughed. “When I met the Hummels, I really just said thank you so much, the scholarship was such a blessing to me.” Phillips said knowing the family behind the scholarship makes for a personal connection between the scholars and the family, as well as each other. But it’s also a motivator. “To see people who are not just investing in my education, but invested in educating, was great,” she said. “That allowed me to see a bigger picture and see a future where I could do something similar for students.”

Gisele Ndifor, center, and Patty and Rob Hummel

A LIFELONG PROMISE According to Rob Hummel, that’s the hope from the family. With an expanding number of scholarships across the country, and a pledge to support the recipients should they decide to pursue graduate studies, the Hummel Family Scholarship is designed to give qualified students a chance to act on their ambition. He said his father often tells a story of living on a farm in Fostoria, Ohio. One day a gentleman, who was a friend of Bob’s dad, came by for a visit. When he heard Bob was continuing his education at The Ohio State University and pursuing a doctorate in veterinary medicine, he offered to give Bob $100 but made him promise that he would use his degree to help others. The scholarship, he said, was born of that promise. “This is definitely a stepping stone, we hope, to something bigger,” he said. “It comes from the heart.”






Jan Holland Stacy interacts with Mason during her weekly time as a volunteer at Operation Breakthrough.


was a historic year for Rockhurst College (now University) as it officially became coeducational. That fall, 126 women enrolled as full-time students. Today, more than half the undergraduate student population is female. From CEOs to attorneys to physicians, nonprofit leaders, mothers, educators, volunteers and beyond, each graduate has a unique story all her own. We’re proud to share five of these stories – one from each decade – as a way to say, “Thank you for being women for and with others.”






For Jan Holland Stacy, ’76, being part of one of the first classes of women to graduate from Rockhurst was not something to which she gave much thought. “Back then, there was one female student for every seven male students,” said Stacy. “But I grew up in a family of four brothers, so I was not intimidated by this in the least.” In fact, Stacy was the first female president of student government. After graduating, she completed an internship in public affairs with the Coro Foundation in Kansas City, then went on to work for Southwestern Bell until 1980 when her oldest child was born. From there, Stacy had a successful career in investment real estate management.

A few years ago, she combined her company, JS Management, with her husband’s consulting business, Stacy Company LLC. Stacy has stayed closely connected with RU, serving on a number of boards and search committees. Once a week, you can find her at Operation Breakthrough working one-on-one with children. “It has been really rewarding, she said. “Rockhurst’s focus on service is something that has stayed with me all these years.” She also champions other women. Nineteen years ago, she helped establish the Mother Evelyn O’Neill Award at St. Teresa’s Academy – an honor given annually to local women making a difference.



Several years after Rockhurst went coed, Ann Johannesman Tollefson, ’80, and her roommate were the only two females majoring in mathematics and computer science. After graduation, she worked for Southwestern Bell and even assisted in relocating their damaged data center after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Tollefson and her husband, Kevin, have four internationally adopted children. “My husband was adopted domestically so we decided to be open to adoption before we got married,” she said. “After we adopted Mary and saw the great need, we just continued down that path.” Mary, 23, is from China and is a business analyst and Sophie, 22, is from India and is a preschool teacher. Their third child, Peter, 20, is from Vietnam and is studying business at State Technical College of Missouri, and their fourth child, Andrew, also from Vietnam, will be attending Maryville University this fall to study sports business management. Andrew’s story is especially inspiring. He was born with bilateral open-lip schizencephaly, which means he is missing the entire motor center of his brain. Because of this, he has been driving a power wheelchair and using an augmentative communications device since he was three years old. Despite his special needs, he recently graduated high school with a 3.97 GPA, perfect attendance and a multitude of special awards.

Andrew and Ann Tollefson, ’80

“He has always been supported by a paraprofessional at school, but we were having issues finding someone who could do everything to support him in college,” said Tollefson. In typical fashion, she won’t let anything stand in his way. Tollefson will be serving as Andrew’s at college. “I’ll be Continuedpara on page 18 earning a degree by osmosis,” she said.

Continued on page 18



Continued from page 17



Angela Ashby Grojean, ’97, remembers the camaraderie she felt as a Hawk and how her time at Rockhurst instilled a true love of service. After she graduated, Grojean was an event planner for Levy Sports and Entertainment at Arrowhead Stadium. “I worked my way up and was there for 10 years, eventually becoming the director of sales and events,” she said. Last November, Grojean was diagnosed with breast cancer. Despite the struggles she faces with this, she has found a way to not only remain positive but to give back to others with those same struggles. She does this through her blog, Living in Abundance, and by making one special item available. “After my double mastectomy in December 2018, my friends gave me a hoodie they found on Etsy that would hide the four drains I carried post-surgery,” said Grojean. “We had been looking everywhere for something like this, and it was a lifesaver. Then it dawned on me – so many other women need one of these hoodies.” Angela Grojean, ’97

So, she made it happen. The hoodies are now available for free by request on her site.


KIA ANDERSON TURNER, ’05, ’09 M.ED., ED.D. Her first night in McGee Hall, Kia Anderson Turner, ’05, ’09 M.Ed., was not sure what to expect. “Within minutes I felt like I was surrounded by a group of friends,” she said. “I knew I was in the right place.” As a student, she worked for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kansas City, serving as a counselor in their afterschool program. She also had a chance to travel outside the U.S. for the first time, helping build houses in Mexico on a service trip. “I was the first person in my family to do anything like this,” said Turner. “I thought I was poor, but when I saw children with rotting teeth, I quickly realized my



Americanized version of poverty was coming from a place of privilege. I knew it was my responsibility to thrive and help others where I live.” She took this experience with her after graduation, heading right into the classroom to teach at University Academy. She came back to RU for her Master of Education, then taught at a number of middle and high schools, and eventually earned her Ed.D. from Saint Louis University. With years of experience at a variety of different schools and colleges, Turner recently launched a nonprofit called Fired Up Teaching. “We aim to reduce burnout by providing teachers the support they need to be effective, authentic classroom leaders,” she said.




The summer before her senior year, Hilary Fields Mackin, ’14, a nursing student, went on a service trip to a hospital in Gulu, Uganda. Nuns from the nearby convent saw the students volunteering and invited them over for dinner as a thank-you. “They sang, danced – it was an experience like no other,” said Mackin. “The next day, I went back and met Sister Lucy Arombo. We talked a long time and decided to exchange emails. Before I left, I asked her to say a prayer I find a husband.” Sister Lucy took that request very seriously. She dedicated Masses and even fasted for the intention, which she told Mackin in one of the many emails they exchanged over the next five years. Her prayers worked. In 2016, Mackin met her husband, Andrew, and by 2018 they were engaged. Mackin invited Sister Lucy to attend their 2019 wedding. (From left) Sister Lucy Arombo attended the wedding of Hilary Fields Mackin, ’14, and her husband, Andrew.

When she arrived, Mackin and her mom quickly realized Sister Lucy was legally blind. “We discovered she had bilateral cataracts,” said Mackin. “They gave her a pair of temporary glasses and when she put them on she started crying. She could see well for the first time in 10 years.” From that point on, people in Mackin’s life stepped up, covering the cost of Sister Lucy’s surgery. And that’s not all. Mackin and her community of family and friends have raised more than $13,000 to help Sister Lucy’s convent and donated items like shoes, a refrigerator, oven, dental work and Wi-Fi. “It has been a life-changing friendship for both of us,” said Mackin.

Kia Anderson Turner, ’05, ’09 M.Ed., Ed.D. (Center) visits with presenters at her Wildfire 2019 conference, Ericka Mabion (Left) and Kelli Cronk.



Come Along With Us The Society of Jesus announces its direction for the next decade BY KATHERINE FROHOFF, ’09 EMBA


he phrase “universal apostolic preferences” may sound dry at first hearing, but leave it to the Jesuits, a religious order working on a grand scale “for the greater glory of God,” to make its focus areas for the next 10 years sing, dance and shout, “Come along with us.” True to Ignatian spirituality, the Society of Jesus received the preferences from the Holy Spirit after a period of discernment, according to a letter penned by the Rev. Arturo Sosa, S.J., superior general of the Society. They will guide the efforts of all Jesuit apostolates – which includes Rockhurst University – from 2019 to 2029. To breathe life into each of the preferences, we searched for Rockhurst companions to help us tell this story.




SHOWING THE WAY TO GOD All Jesuits are required to make the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola twice before they profess final vows and to undertake an annual eight-day spiritual retreat thereafter. It’s logical, then, that the first preference is to show the way to God through the Spiritual Exercises and discernment. This summer, the Rev. Jim Caime, S.J., joins Rockhurst as director of mission and identity. He calls the exercises a grounding foundational experience for every Jesuit. “The experience brings one into an intimacy and personal relationship with God,” Fr. Caime said. “It’s not just knowing about God, but knowing God – a God who reaches out to us constantly.” Understandably, not everyone can make the exercises in a 30-day silent retreat format like Jesuits do. There are also other “annotations” — opportunities to experience them over nine months with a spiritual guide, in a three-day retreat setting and other options.

“It takes an effort on our own part.”

—Rev. Jim Caime, S.J.,

No matter the format, be prepared to work at it. “That’s why they are called exercises,” Fr. Caime said. “It’s like going to the gym or not. It takes an effort on our own part.”

WALKING WITH THE EXCLUDED The list of places Mary Schletzbaum, ’13, has visited would make any traveler swoon – Tanzania, Madagascar, Cambodia, the Philippines. She wasn’t in any of these countries on vacation, however, but to reach across cultures, build bridges and improve lives whenever possible. The Jesuits’ second apostolic preference is “to walk with the poor, the outcasts of the world, those whose dignity has been violated, in a mission of reconciliation and justice.” This reads like a job description for Shletzbaum, who majored in global studies at Rockhurst and who earned a master of global social work at Boston College. Currently she works on the development team for a global health NGO called PIVOT that has partnered with Madagascar’s Ministry of Health to strengthen the health system and provide some of the most remote communities in the world with access to dignified care. Her motivation?

Mary Schletzbaum, ’13

Continued on page 22



Continued from page 21

“The understanding that there is much to be done, and my one small role has a part in it,” said Schletzbaum. “The people I have worked with inspire me to never give up and hold on to some optimism that society and people are changing for the better.”

Whatever the source, anxiety can be a stumbling block to living a fulfilling life while in college and beyond. In their third apostolic preference, the Jesuits seek “to accompany the young in the creation of a hope-filled future.” Within this framework, it becomes even more important for works such as Rockhurst University to practice “cura personalis,” or “care for the whole person.” “When we’re walking with students through the process of being mindful and focusing on what they can do today, it goes a long way toward relieving anxiety,” Darden said. “If the University can help people focus their attention and accept their humanity and its limitations, that will help set them on solid ground.”

CARING FOR OUR COMMON HOME After serving terms with Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Los Angeles and moving to Nashville, Tennessee, Tina Hayes, ’13, and her wife, Carleigh Lanclos, launched fulfilling careers with nonprofits and rented what she calls their dream home. The problem? They realized they were just buying stuff to fill the space and it didn’t feel right to them.

JOURNEYING WITH YOUTH Doctors. Lawyers. Educators. Researchers. Business leaders. It’s no secret that Rockhurst University is home to generations of students with high aspirations and the ability to achieve them. One of the biggest struggles for today’s students is managing anxiety, said Elbert Darden, Ph.D., director of the counseling center. Sometimes the anxiety comes from pressures students place on themselves or from parents or peers. In addition to wanting to measure up in the classroom, they can be concerned about fitting in socially or meeting the expectations of their faculty members.



Because they had already discussed “tiny living,” when the opportunity opened to buy and convert a bus to become their home, they decided to drastically reduce their amount of material possessions and “Happy,” the bus, was born. “We wanted to live with less and love with more,” Hayes said. The Jesuits’ fourth universal apostolic preference is “to collaborate in the care of our common home.” Fr. Sosa’s letter says action is needed to avoid further environmental damage and to bring about lifestyle changes “so that the goods of creation are used for the benefit of all.” Hayes says they wanted to be very intentional with their efforts.


“We wanted to live with less and love with more.”

—Tina Hayes, ’13

“Everything that is in Happy is meant to be in Happy,” she said. “The less stuff we have, the more we’re able to embrace who we want to be.” Living simply has allowed them to have more time to spend with the people they love and to travel, Hayes said. And, they hope to eventually follow their big dream of buying some land and creating a sustainable bed and breakfast.

ROCKHURST IS READY Rockhurst University has already made inroads in all of the areas that have developed into the Jesuits’ universal apostolic preferences and is prepared to sharpen its focus on each, according to Cindy Schmersal, M.A., vice president for mission and ministry. “The remarkable alignment between the universal apostolic preferences and the University’s missioninformed strategic priorities is confirmation of the Spirit at work,” Schmersal said. “As we look to the future and our ever-deepening commitment to the work of reconciliation at the heart of the Jesuit mission, these four preferences will increasingly serve as the lens through which we approach the embodiment of our mission.” Carleigh Lanclos and Tina Hayes, ’13

LEARN MORE To learn more about the universal apostolic preferences of the Society of Jesus, visit



Outgoing Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Sly James, ’80, gave his final State of the City address in Rockhurst University’s Arrupe Auditorium March 26.





’73, ’80 MBA


Diane Carlson retired as director in 2013 after 41 years at USBA. In 2012, she married Cameron Carlson.

’82, ’95 MBA

Dennis Huber has been named a board member of Zubie, a connected-car platform.


Eloísa Gordon-Mora, Ph.D., has been named the university diversity and inclusion officer at the University of Nevada, Reno.




Dan Petree has been invited to serve as interim dean of the school of business and economics at Sonoma State University in northern California. He retired in July 2017 after more than 20 years as a faculty member, dean and vice president of the institution.

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Joseph Fox has been named CEO of Vroozi, a procurement and business software startup in California.

’89 MBA

Jon Carlson was named the chief operating officer of digital insurance broker Mylo.


Andrew Janson has been appointed president of MTC Logistics, Baltimore. He also has been appointed chairman of the board of International Refrigerated Warehouses for 2019-20.

Charles Pinzino published a book titled Like Sunlight Falling Into Water: Poetics Along the Way to the Horizon. It contains poems, anecdotal stories and reflections. Royalties benefit literacy projects, food pantries and children’s charities.

Gigi Lombrano, owner of Gigi Lombrano Interiors, was named the winner of the Ladue News Platinum List for Interior Design. This is the second year in a row that Gigi Lombrano Interiors was named the winner in this category.


Lynnette Procopio, technology support service manager at Kansas City Public Schools, was named a 2019-20 Influencer by the International Association of Women. Jeff Villmer, the head of the global project management office at RGA (Reinsurance Group of America) in Chesterfield, Missouri, was the lead speaker for the Washington University Project Management Roundtable, held in March. 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.

Anthony Calcara accepted the position of principal at St. Andrew the Apostle Parish School in Gladstone, Missouri. He was featured in a story highlighting new principals in The Catholic Key.

’98, ’02 MBA

Jared Danilson has joined Faegre Baker Daniels law firm in Indianapolis, Indiana, as a partner.



’00 MBA

Chris Plotz has been named director of education and technical affairs of INDA, the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry.​​​​​​

’01 MBA

Duane Lock was the featured guest speaker of the Inspired Leaders Series at the University of Southern Mississippi in February. Lock is the president of River Oaks Energy.


James C. Knapp, managing partner of the Knapp Advisory Group, has been named a 2019 Five Star Wealth Manager. The award is based on 10 objective criteria associated with providing quality services to clients, such as credentials, experience and assets under management.


Andrew Eck has been named deputy assistant secretary for legislative affairs at the Department of the Treasury.

’05 MBA

John Felton has been named vice president of enterprise services at The Standard insurance company.


Deanna Johnson recently launched a business, Kansas City Like a Local. Kansas City Like a Local creates personalized itineraries for visitors to the city, or for people looking to explore their hometown with fresh eyes. Each itinerary has custom recommendations for sights, activities, food and drinks based on users’ interests.

’04, ’06 MBA

Patrick Britt, managing director at Clayton Financial Group, was highlighted as part of a feature in Ladue News on the company.

››››››››››››› SUBMIT





Maggie Schuh has been named St. Louis Public Schools English Educator of the Year and the SLPS Educator of the Year. Schuh teaches at St. Louis’ Central Visual and Performing Arts High School.

’07 MBA

Craig Colucci was featured in an article in The VirginianPilot about the opening of his new baseball training facility, D-BAT, in Virginia Beach, Virginia.


Brad Kelsheimer and Katie Cotter Kelsheimer welcomed their daughter, Molly Perll, on March 13. Anne Lehwald and her husband, Steven, welcomed a son, Beau Edward, on Feb. 11. Beau is little brother to Sadie and Dean.


Tom Heinemann has been named assistant men’s soccer coach at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

’09 EMBA

John Heiman, director of experiential marketing at Sprint, was selected to the 2019 Event Marketer Dream Team.


Nathan Wilson, Ph.D., joined the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital as a postdoctoral researcher investigating the genetic causes of craniofacial deformities.

We’d love to hear from you. Submit a class note online at





Johnny Waller Jr. is the director of community outreach at Choose Your Passion KC and co-founder of Determination Incorporated. Formerly incarcerated himself, for more than a decade Waller has worked for ex-offenders and violence prevention, including as an advocate for local and state legislation and as a business owner, nonprofit business executive and mentor to adults and youth.

Q: What is Determination, Incorporated? A: Determination, Incorporated is a Kansas City-based nonprofit creating a pathway to opportunity for formerly incarcerated people through entrepreneurship. We know that many formerly incarcerated people have what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur, but lack the formal knowledge, guidance and capital to get there. Q: How did you connect to the organization? A: Back in September 2018, I was part of a panel discussion regarding violence in Kansas City. That’s when I first met Kyle Smith, founder of Determination, Incorporated. What he was doing had always been a dream of mine, so I offered to help in any way I could. Q: Tell us about the Rise Up, Get Started competition — why is it important to you to help build the skills of entrepreneurship in formerly incarcerated people? A: Rise Up, Get Started is Kansas City’s first entrepreneurship competition

for formerly incarcerated people. Applicants in the Kansas City metro compete across three project categories. It is important to build these skills because this population is part of our community. Ninety-five percent of incarcerated people return to their community. People see ex-offenders as career criminals and think that is what they will always be. We want to show the community that exoffenders can be so much more — they can be innovators, job creators and a benefit to society. Q: What are some of the other ways that you’ve tried to help formerly incarcerated people? A: Over the last decade or so I have taught an employment skills workshop, provided spiritual counseling and taught basic business workshops to ex-offenders. I have worked on several laws, including the reversal of the lifetime ban on food stamps for people with drug convictions, ban the box and raise the age. I go into prisons and jails and let those incarcerated know they too can change their lives.

Q: What part did your Rockhurst education play in the work you’re doing now? A: Everyone at the University embraced me with open arms and taught me that my past did not define my future. I learned to recognize my own biases and what it means to be a true servant leader. Rockhurst taught me “cura personalis,” or “care for the whole person,” and I use those teachings to help others in the community reach their highest potential. I use the wisdom gained through my life and education to help others discover their gifts and talents. Rockhurst taught me to be a change agent and fight for what’s right. It was more than academics, it helped me find my purpose and for that I will always be grateful.





through your favorite social networks.


Jasmine Taylor has been named e-learning developer and learning management system administrator at the Morehouse School of Medicine. Daniel Winkeler earned a doctorate in educational leadership from Maryville University in December 2018.

’11, ’12 MBA

Shea Geist, CEO of Shark Repellent Jewelry, and her husband, Geoff, traveled to The Hague in the Netherlands to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in June 2019. Only 400 companies are chosen from the United States to attend this event.

Andrew Ponder Williams has been quoted in several publications, including the Washington Post, about the vote by the United Methodist Church to uphold opposition to same-sex marriage and LGBT clergy. Ponder Williams is a candidate for ministry in the UMC.

’15, ’18 MA

Luke Beckett recently was featured in stories on KMBCTV 9 and Fox 4 News when he met the young boy who was the recipient of his bone marrow transplant. Beckett became a donor after becoming part of the bone marrow registry at an on-campus registry drive.


Sgt. Piotr Drwal was named the 2019 U.S. Army Europe’s Best Noncommissioned Officer, 2nd Cavalry Regiment.


Logan Heggemann has been named manager of donor and grant relations for the Union League Boys & Girls Clubs in Chicago.


Andy Boland has been teaching theology at St. Teresa’s Academy since 2016, along with coaching cross country and basketball. He also serves as head coach for the STA track and field team. In 2018, the STA track and field team competed at the Missouri State High Schools Activities Association Class 5, Section 4 Championship, May 19, 2018, at William Chrisman High School. The Stars finished fourth as a team and nine athletes in seven events for the state championships.


Claire Burns and Benjamin Evans, ’15, were married Oct. 13, 2018, at Queen of the Holy Rosary Church in Overland Park, Kansas. They reside in Kansas City. Several Rockhurst University alumni were part of the wedding party or in attendance and the Rev. Thomas B. Curran, S.J., officiated the ceremony.



’15, ’18 DPT

Brittany Oppland married Caleb Witt, ’13, at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Kansas City, Missouri, Oct. 12, 2018. Several Rockhurst University alumni were part of the wedding party or in attendance and the Rev. Thomas B. Curran, S.J., officiated the ceremony.


CAREER CENTER TIPS for Becoming a Published Author

1 MEET THE EXPERT Vanessa Lillie, ’03, signed a two-book deal with Thomas & Mercer, and her debut thriller, Little Voices, will be published Oct. 1. She was an English major and considers herself an all-around English department groupie, editing the Rockhurst Review and Sentinel student newspaper. Lillie moved to Washington, D.C., for graduate school, and spent 10 years working in communications for national education groups while also working toward her dream of becoming a published author.

2 3 4 5



Publishing is an exciting place right now. With e-books and audiobooks and Amazon and book subscription services, authors can sell millions of copies (literally) and never be on a bestseller list. It’s important to be honest with yourself about what “success” looks like for you. Research the many, many paths to publication.


I’ve observed that debut authors (like me) often write the book that finally snags an agent and publishing deal with a story that is rooted in something deeply personal. That doesn’t mean you can’t write your life on Mars novel. In fact, if you’re like Andy Weir, mega-bestselling author of The Martian, use your science background to infuse your expertise into the story. If you’re passionate and knowledgeable, that will come through in the writing.


I was working toward publication for 13 years before I found an agent and she sold my book. Thankfully, none of those were spent alone. I met other writers in national associations, regional chapters, online forums and in-person critique groups. The more people you can connect with and cheer on their success (and they yours), the happier you’ll be.


My debut thriller came from a longing when I was a new mother to read a book about a woman struggling postpartum but still capable enough to solve her friend’s murder. I read a lot of thrillers but when I searched for that book, I didn’t find it. I wrote it because I wanted to read it and, hopefully, others will too.


Writing is like any job, good days and bad. If you’re trying to get published because you love creating stories and want to share them, then you’re in it for reasons that can sustain a career. Write because you love it and want to share your stories.




SEPT. 20



Watch the 2019 edition of the I-70 Series at St. Louis’ Failoni’s Restaurant and Bar.

Join us for the Friday tailgate, the Hopkins Skip and Run 5K, class reunions, and more.

OCT. 2

OCT. 17



Spend the evening with Rockhurst and fellow alumni professionals at the Overland Park, Kansas, based wealth management firm.

Get a preview of the Hawks team as they prepare for their upcoming season.

›››››››››››››››››››››››››› For more information, visit

From Tragedy Comes Gift of Education for Others


ollowing the tragic loss of their son, Margie and Steve West wanted to ensure his legacy would live on, so they founded the Stephen West Memorial Fund, which focuses its philanthropic initiatives on education. For their work, Rockhurst University will honor the Wests with the Magis Award at this fall’s Rockhurst University Leadership Series luncheon in St. Louis. Stephen M. West, ’11, graduated with a B.S. in business administration and was enrolled in Rockhurst University’s MBA program at the time of his death from injuries sustained after a tragic accident. Stephen’s life is celebrated by his family and friends each year in the Stephen M. West Memorial Golf Tournament in St. Louis. The tournament raises funds for all of Stephen’s alma maters, including Rockhurst University, Christian Brothers College High School and St. Joan of Arc Parochial school, now known as South City Catholic Academy. The Stephen West Memorial Fund has raised more than $150,000. Steve and Margie West The annual Magis Award honors members of the Rockhurst community who live in or who are from the St. Louis areas and who epitomize the Jesuit core value “magis,” or “more.” The University will also recognize the winners of the Faber Young Alumni Award, Fred, ’12, and Kristin, ’11, Grossman for their leadership, service and commitment to the Rockhurst University mission.

Details about the fall luncheon, including keynote speaker, date and location will be announced in early August.

1950s RETRO


The bishop was on hand for the dedication of the new Faculty Residence May 2, 1954. The residence, which became home to members of the Rockhurst Jesuit community, contained a chapel on the third floor. The building was renamed Van Ackeren Hall in 1976. (From left) The Rev. John Gerst, S.J.; Bishop Edwin O’Hara; and the Rev. Maurice Van Ackeren, S.J.




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 Looking to organize a Rockhurst gathering where you live? Contact Brent Blazek at


Golden Hawks Golf Several members of the Golden Hawks classes of 1968 and 1969 took advantage of February in Arizona by hitting the links together. (From left) Jim Huber, ’69; Tim Smith, ’69; Bob Ziegler, ’69; Gary Vontz, ’69; Kerm Fendler, ’68; Ray Sonnenberg, ’69; Joe Buehler, ’68; and Bob Gleeson, ’69

^ Alumni Road Trip Kansas City Royals Preview A group of Rockhurst alumni, parents and ^ friends got a sneak peek at the Royals during a spring training game in Surprise, Arizona. (From left) Andrew Kurz, ’11, ’13 MOT; Julie Kovarik; Victoria Kovarik; Nancy Spavale, ’91 EMBA; Vincent Spavale; Lynette Procopio, ’87; Lisa Lecomte, ’88; Nunzio Howard; Marinela Stratulat; Dottie Giza; and Stan Giza

A group of friends hit the road and ended up at the big, blue chair on the Rockhurst University campus during their visit to Kansas City. (From left, starting with first row) Tim Harris, ’81; Debbie Whittaker, ’82; Linda Potzman, ’82; Anne Seiler, ’82; Tom Potzman, ’81; Guy Slay, ’82; Walter Nesbit, ’81; Ed Brennan; Gregg Hollabaugh, ’81; Joe Kerber, ’81; Tom Lawder, ’81; and Kathie Harris, ‘81.

Do you get together with fellow Hawks for fun, fellowship or service? WE WANT TO SEE YOUR PHOTOS! Send them to



Faber Young Alumni Award Winner Honored for Leadership


eadership, service and a demonstrated commitment to Rockhurst University – that’s just a few of the characteristics an alumnus must have in order to be considered for the University’s annual Faber Young Alumni Award. This year’s recipient, Allison Rank, ’08, exemplifies these qualities and so many more. Rank is a realtor for Reece and Nichols in the Kansas City area. She also serves on Rockhurst’s Leaders Council and was co-chair of the 2018 Leadership Series event featuring Caroline Kennedy. “I stay connected to RU because it played a foundational role in my success,” said Rank. “It was one of the best experiences of my life. Rockhurst graduates hold a special connection

that is hard to explain. It’s like an unspoken family.” Even with her job and Rockhurst keeping her busy, she places service in the forefront of her life, volunteering her time to organizations like the Rose Brooks Center, Turner House Children’s Clinic, and Turn the Page KC. “I believe we’re all here to help others and make a lasting contribution to the world,” said Rank. “I want to help as many people as possible – that’s the legacy I want to leave.” As for her leadership style, Rank admits she has more than one. “With my clients, I am take-charge oriented and focus on providing superior service,” she says. “With my colleagues, I lead by example, set my

Allison Rank, ’08

standards up front and let them learn by doing. I allow them to make mistakes.” Rank received the award at the Young Alumni Speaker Series, which featured Peter Vermes, manager and technical director of Sporting Kansas City, on April 30. In her speech, she elaborated on the importance of the Jesuit term “magis” or “more” in her personal life and career.

Interfaith Trip Blends Lessons About History With the Present


he idea of a pilgrimage — bolstering one’s faith by visiting its most sacred places — is something shared by many of the world’s faithful, regardless of religion.

In February, two alumni were able to experience this firsthand as part of the Israel-Rome Interfaith Trip organized by the Jewish Community Relations Bureau/American Jewish Committee, for which Joe, ’90, and Amy, ’92, ’98 MBA, Reardon served as co-chairs. Touring sites such as the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican, and Jerusalem’s Western Wall were about much more than sightseeing — the trip was designed to highlight both the unique history of the world’s religions as well as the bonds that they share.

Amy, ’92, ’98 MBA, and Joe, ’90, Reardon

“We jumped at the opportunity because we knew we would be able to share the experience with others in a way that would allow us to see the common threads of our faiths,” Amy said. Along the way, the group heard from government, policy and faith leaders, who put into context the significance of the sites from the past to the present. By the end of the experience, Joe said he had an even deeper appreciation for the living history of religion throughout the world. “While we grew in our own Catholic faith, we gain such a wonderful knowledge and appreciation for the Jewish faith and those of other Christian traditions,” he said.




IN MEMORIAM Joseph E. Carr, ’42 – Jan. 14

Elmer D. Hale, ’61 – Dec. 7, 2018

Kathy A. King, ’80 – April 27

Bro. John G. Doran, CSC, ’42 – Feb. 10

Dr. John W. Cavanaugh Jr., ’62 – Feb. 10

Marcia I. Fennesy, ’81 – Jan. 14

Darwin Gervais, ’48 – Dec. 26, 2018

Raymond F. Clarke, ’63 – May 20

Edward J. Hudson, ’81 – Dec. 10, 2018

James P. Tierney, ’48 – Feb. 4

Robert J. Schloegel, ’64 – Feb. 23

John R. Seiler, ’81 – Jan. 1

William J. Donnelly, ’49 – Feb. 4

Richard W. Witthar, ’64 – April 23

Gary W. Hicks, ’82 – May 27

James R. Richter, ’50 – Feb. 9

Thomas P. Barket, ’65 – March 12

Thomas A. Gregg, ’83 – Feb. 26

John J. Jurcyk Jr., ’52 – Dec. 29, 2018

Dr. Stephen P. Morrow III, ’66 – May 6

Donatus A. Anwuzia, ’87 – March 24

Gen. (Ret.) John G. Sullivan, ’52 – Jan. 29

Clifford P. Spitser, ’66 – March 31

Lyle I. Van Vleet, ’89 – Jan. 17

James H. King, ’67 – April 2

William D. Poyser, ’90 – March 8

Thomas J. Sullivan, ’53 – March 18

William P. Mullins, ’67 – April 2

Rachel E. Bartel, ’93 – May 20

Robert E. Perusse, ’54 – Dec. 31, 2018

James R. McPike, ’68 – Dec. 24. 2018

Blair G. Turnbull, ’93 – Dec. 31, 2018

Gerald J. Wille, ’54 – Feb. 1

John F. Keeney, ’69 – Jan. 8

Douglas D. Wagner, ’93 – May 3

Carl A. Bua, ’55 – Dec. 13, 2018

John H. Kearney, ’71 – May 19

Elaine T. Ward, ’93 – April 14

Gerald R. Van Booven, ’55 – March 20

Eugene J. McCarthy, ’71 – March 8

Julie A. Henry, ’96 – March 26

James D. Buche, ’56 – May 14

Victor F. Swyden II, ’72 – Dec. 9, 2018

John D. Reed, ’97 – April 14

William F. O'Neill, ’56 – April 17

Jerry J. Courter, ’73 – March 18

Kaleen Tiber, ’97 – Dec. 19, 2018

Thomas G. Scanlon Jr., ’56 – April 14

Patrick T. Arisman, ’99 – Feb. 13

Hugh W. Beck, ’57 – Jan. 13

Beverly Jean Rehm-Coomer, ’73 – Dec. 27, 2018

Blake B. Mulvany, ’57 – June 4

Michael D. Strohm, ’73 – April 24

Robert L. Boland, ’58 – April 16

Elizabeth F. Barnes, ’74 – Jan. 22

Carlton L. Milby, ’58 – Jan. 18

Elbert L. Calkins, ’74 – Dec. 23, 2018

Edward C. Mangold, ’59 – April 9

Charles E. Peoples Jr., ’74 – April 24

Jerome K. Powell, ’60 – April 6

Stephen C. Benskin, ’76 – April 2

James P. Devine, ’61 – May 18

James W. Biggar, ’79 – May 22

John D. McEnroe, ’52 – March 4

Dr. Arthur P. Vogel, ’88 – April 24

Craig Stinson, ’00 – Dec. 19, 2018 Lana L. Carlson, ’01 – March 3 Monica Lippold, ’08 – May 14 Miles Borden, ’17 – April 20






Rockhurst Basketball Standout Named Head Coach in Missouri Aaron Hill, ’08, ’10 MBA

“As we try and build our program here, I want to hopefully put our young men in a situation where they can have the same types of relationships that I’ve had from Rockhurst over the past 10 years.” —Aaron Hill, ’08, ’10 MBA


aron Hill returned to his roots last year when he was named the head coach of the men’s basketball program at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri.

Hill, ’08, ’10 MBA, had grown up watching his father, Steve Hill, coach the Culver-Stockton men’s basketball team from 1990-2004. That made the transition easier for the former Rockhurst All-American guard, who was an assistant basketball coach at East Central University in Oklahoma from 2014-18 and Eastern Arizona College from 2012-14. “The process took a little longer than I thought it might this year,” Hill said. “I was proud of the way we finished the year. Winning a home playoff game was a cool moment for our seniors.” Culver-Stockton posted a 16-16 record in Hill’s first season after the Wildcats had struggled to combine for eight wins in its two previous seasons. “People were genuinely excited that my wife (Andrea) and I were here. Our community support has been great,” said Hill, who met his wife when he started his coaching career at Quincy (Illinois) High School in 2011. At Rockhurst, Hill was a First Team Academic All-American in 2010. He ranks fifth on the career scoring list at Rockhurst with 1,786 points. “As we try and build our program here, I want to hopefully put our young men in a situation where they can have the same types of relationships that I’ve had from Rockhurst over the past 10 years,” Hill said.




SUMMER 2019 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.



“I'll never forget my first philosophy course with Dr. Curtis Hancock, in my freshman year. Dr. Hancock was all business from the moment he stepped in the class — authoritative, lightning quick, engaging and sneakily funny. He set high standards and as a student you wanted to meet them. I ended up taking four more courses with Dr. Hancock and enjoyed conversing with him outside of class. I will cherish those times forever.” – Ron Filipowicz, ’98 Curtis Hancock, Ph.D., retired in 2018 and was named professor emeritus of philosophy.

EVERYDAY LEADERS Alumnus and Wife Give Back to Community Through St. Vincent de Paul Society


ob Kalinich, ’63, and his wife Mary Beth are servant leaders who bring joy, relief and, at times, a sense of belonging to others. Even in retirement, they work up to 20 hours a week in a variety of leadership roles within Ascension Catholic Church’s conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Chesterfield, Missouri – an international Catholic lay organization dedicated to serving those in need. “Our members provide financial support to parishioners going through hardships, make home visits, fund and operate a food pantry, organize meal programs, blanket drives, shoe collections and more,” said Bob, who is wrapping up his second and final term as Ascension SVdP conference president. “One special program that’s really taken off is ‘Blessing Bags’ – an effort led by Mary Beth,” he said. “Each month, we meet to fill 40 one-gallon bags with essential items to give to the homeless,” said Mary Beth. “This includes things like tissues, a toothbrush, toothpaste, bottle of water, poncho, socks, bandages, snacks and a prayer card.” They also enclose a resource list with information about local shelters and free meals. Many bags are given to an inner-city parish where they are distributed at a monthly meal prepared by SVdP members. Remaining bags are kept by Kalinich’s team to hand out to people in need.

Bob, ’63, and Mary Beth Kalinich gather essential items for homeless people.

“It’s about more than the items,” said Bob. “It’s about taking a few moments to talk to the person receiving it. We ask their name, where they are from, and try to use the person’s name a few times. Hopefully they find some relief and encouragement in this gesture.” As for why they do all of this? “We acknowledge our own blessings and simply want to pay it forward,” said Bob.




Looking at Pregnancy Loss Through Two Faith Traditions BY MAUREEN WALSH, PH.D.


hen I met a mentor for coffee in 2007, little did I know that the conversation we were about to have would in the years to come shape the trajectory of my career and send me across the country and halfway around the world doing research. He told me about a type of ritual done by Buddhists in Japan following a pregnancy loss experience, that is, a miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion. My interest was immediately piqued, and I would go on to spend two summers learning about the ritual up close in Japan as well as studying it from afar for more than a decade. The practice, called “mizuko,” or “water children” rites, takes place throughout Japan and has been common since the post-war period, though its precise origins are unknown. Some say that the term “water child” is used to connote the fluidity of life in its earliest stages, particularly in light of the Buddhist belief in reincarnation. In these rites, prayers are said and offerings are made to Ojizōsan, a sort of Buddhist patron saint of the unborn, who is asked to protect the lost mizuko and care for them in the afterlife. Learning about mizuko rites in Japanese Buddhism led me to wonder if there was anything similar within the religion that was my primary area of research, Roman Catholicism in the United States. What I found is that, while there is no Church-wide, officially sanctioned rite in place, there is instead a large number of American Catholic parishes and ministers who have taken it upon themselves to create memorials of some sort. My research into these memorials led me to places like New York, Illinois, California, and even right here in Kansas City. The practices I uncovered range from dedicating commemorative plaques at memorial gardens to Masses held at individual parishes around the country focused on grieving miscarriages and stillbirths, to healing rites that involve “mothering” baby dolls as part of post-abortion ministry retreats. The experience of pregnancy loss has always been a part of women’s lives, yet only relatively recently has it started garnering attention from religious leaders and scholars in a way that is on par with its prevalence. This isn’t to say that all individuals mourn their pregnancy losses, but for those for whom a miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion is an occasion for grief, these memorials often offer an opportunity to remember what was lost—whether that is seen as a hoped-for child, lost potential, or something else altogether. The memorial goals of the Japanese Buddhist and American Catholic pregnancy loss memorials are distinct despite targeting the same issue. What the practices in each setting share, however, is a common concern for the wellbeing of those who take part in the rites and memorials and the possibility of creating a new understanding of experiences characterized by loss and brokenness by transforming them into stories of relationship and healing. Maureen Walsh, Ph.D., is assistant professor of theology and religious studies. She earned her doctorate in theological and religious studies from Georgetown University and began teaching at Rockhurst University in 2014. She is currently working on a book titled “Ritual and Re-narration: Commemorating Pregnancy Loss in American Catholicism and Japanese Buddhism.”




WEDNESDAY, APRIL 24, KINERK COMMONS Students stop for a photo during the first-ever Celebrate RU, a single day of giving for students, faculty, staff and alumni that raised more than $59,000.

Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage


1100 Rockhurst Road Kansas City, MO 64110-2561


Weekend SEPTEMBER 20-22, 2019

LET US KNOW YOU’RE COMING! Register for Family & Alumni Weekend at

Kansas City, M0. Permit No. 782

Join fellow Rockhurst alumni, family and friends for a weekend celebrating your RU pride. You can expect a weekend filled with Hawks soccer, fireworks, Mass, Hopkins Skip and Run 5K, all fraternity and sorority reunion, class reunions, and more. Be sure to also check out Kansas City’s famous Plaza Art Fair between Rockhurst events on the Country Club Plaza!

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