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Meet Our Newest Companions

Faculty take RU education to Chillicothe Correctional Center


“Rockhurst will always be a special place that aided my growth and learning about our humanity.  Embedded in our learning was to seek to serve, putting others first, and seeking  justice; it was about how we show up in community.  This leadership is a discipline to reimagine the process, which is currently inequitable, understanding that there is no neutral. Recently I’ve learned that our humanity allows us to switch from being a leader to being a healer, to resist and rejoice in our search for service and justice.” RANDY LOPEZ , ’06 Program Officer  Wyandotte Health Foundation and Recipient of the NFL Hispanic Leadership Award in Kansas City






LEADING THE WAY Inside Front Cover

Randy Lopez, ’06



New Rockhurst program brings Jesuit education to the Chillicothe Correctional Center.


Leadership Series


Faculty Profile


Student Profile


Athletics News

FOR ALUMNI Class Notes




Alumni Q&A


Career Center


Magis Award


In Memoriam

IN CLOSING Cheryl McConnell, Ph.D.



Priests may be ready to minister but not to manage. That’s where the Helzberg School of Management can help.

TIME AND PLACE Inside Back Cover

Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018


On the cover: Dan Martin, Ph.D., associate professor of English, teaches a class at Chillicothe Correctional Center.

JOBS THAT ROCK It’s fun to go to work each day when you have a really cool job. Meet four RU alumni who love what they do.

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.




What the World Needs Now, Again


mpathy, love and personal engagement are missing in the pursuit of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Surprisingly, the acknowledgment of this shortcoming comes from Kai-Fu Lee, a venture capitalist who has worked as a senior executive with Apple, Microsoft and Google. The Jesuit enterprise in higher education, in fact, the Jesuit way of proceeding, is all about the demonstration of empathy, love and personal engagement. One could say that Jesuit education is all about the delivery of things that big data and artificial intelligence simply cannot provide. Kai-Fu Lee has spent decades analyzing those things considered disruptions, including the invention of printing, the steam engine and the discovery of electricity. He considers information technology as the biggest disruption yet because it can perform physical labor, can engage data and can learn from its errors through a continuum of algorithms. Throughout history, disruptions have spurred innovation. The innovation anticipated through this latest explosion of technology includes such things as driverless cars, the diagnosis of a disease and providing customer support. It’s estimated that these innovations, and more to come, will generate $15.7 trillion in additional wealth for the world by 2030.  While this is exciting and daunting, it also provides an opportunity and invitation to insert the human dimension, social skills and personal interaction. Where will and can we insert human empathy, personal engagement and love? As recently as the summer of 2018, the Pew Research Center canvassed 979 technology pioneers, innovators, developers, business and policy leaders, researchers and activists as to whether or not these changes will be positive in nature. While most believe the changes will be positive and make people’s lives significantly better by 2030, just about all of them expressed concern about the impact the changes will have on the essential elements of being human.



This is where Rockhurst University, as a Jesuit institution of higher learning, can double down on what it does best.

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

Jesuit education is all about engaging the world in which we find ourselves. This has been the case since the first Jesuit school was established in Messina, Italy, in 1548. Educating and forming men and women to be competent, compassionate and people of conscience can help tackle Big Data and tame Artificial Intelligence. Demonstrations of empathy will help address the isolation and alienation associated with things, information alone, spreadsheets and equipment. On our campus, we offer a Master of Arts degree in business information and analytics (MS- BIA) and recently hosted our fourth annual Executive Summit in Business Intelligence and Analytics. The response to these has been very positive in feedback and exceptionally significant in the number of people engaged. It is heartening that Kai-Fu Lee, a worldrenowned technologist, acknowledges the potential as well the shortfalls of this latest and biggest disruption. His recipe for integration calls for the addition of empathy, human engagement and love. He even goes so far as to suggest the protection of those providing care work, community service and education through a social investment stipend. Additionally, he calls for a universal basic income to allow every citizen to meet his or her basic needs. Yes, “these times are a changing,” but the time to embrace and promote the human dignity we all share as a result of common heritage is at the heart of who we are as a Jesuit institution. Personal engagement, empathy and love are needed now more than ever. Be assured that Rockhurst will be there to teach it, provide it and promote it.


Mabee Font Boasts More Than a Century of Jesuit History


ith a new holy water font in Mabee Chapel, every sign of the cross is a little nod to the long history of the Society of Jesus in Kansas City. The solid marble font now at the entrance to the chapel served for years as the baptismal font at St. Aloysius Church, which was established in the 1880s as the first Jesuit parish in Kansas City, and that stood in Kansas City’s northeast neighborhood for more than a century. The font was a recent gift from the McMullen family, whose history is filled with cameos from local Jesuits. Marcia McMullen shared that her mother, Marianne, was baptized at St. Aloysius, and that her family tree is full of Rockhurst grads — her grandfather and great-uncle were actually members of the first graduating class of Rockhurst. Growing up, McMullen said her family home played host to guests that included the Rev. Maurice Van Ackeren, S.J., former president of Rockhurst College (now University) and their mother’s cousin the Rev. Luke Byrne, S.J., among others.

“We have a long family history with Rockhurst and love the Jesuits, so we were happy to bring it back where it had its first home — with the Jesuits.” —Marcia McMullen

“Our mother would just set another place or two or three at the table,” McMullen said. “We thought that was what everyone’s Sunday dinner was like.” McMullen said her father, Ed, purchased the font upon the closure of the St. Aloysius building in the early 1970s, and it was a fixture of their home for almost 50 years. With a hand-forged stand by J.R. Mease from the University’s physical plant and a blessing from University President the Rev. Thomas B. Curran, S.J., on the feast of St. Francis Xavier in December, the symbol of the Kansas City Jesuit community’s past is ready to continue serving into the future. “We have a long family history with Rockhurst and love the Jesuits, so we were happy to bring it back where it had its first home — with the Jesuits,” she said. Rockhurst University President the Rev. Thomas B. Curran, S.J., blesses a historical holy water font given to the University.

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.; Jennifer Knobel; Tim Linn; Cheryl McConnell, Ph.D.; Michelle Smith PHOTOGRAPHY Gabrielle Brancato, ’18; John Dodderidge; Estuardo Garcia; Trinity Hodges, freshman; Kyle Kabance; Tim Linn; Mark McDonald; Earl Richardson; Rockhurst University Archives; 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.



Joe Montana

Former Chief Joe Montana To Headline Rockhurst University Leadership Series


our-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Joe Montana will discuss his model of personal and professional leadership as the guest of the seventh annual Rockhurst University Leadership Series luncheon Tuesday, March 26. The luncheon, with presenting sponsor CommunityAmerica Credit Union, is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at the Marriott Muehlebach Tower, 1213 Wyandotte St. in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. In “Leadership: On and Off the Field,” the legendary quarterback will talk about how over the course of his 18-year career with the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs he earned a reputation not only as a winner, but as a leader, and how that leadership played out in all aspects of his life. Montana’s calmness under pressure, agility and accuracy earned him several nicknames, including “Joe Cool” and “Comeback Kid,” recognizing his formidable talent in the clutch and poise under pressure. He was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player twice and Super Bowl MVP three times, in addition to earning eight Pro Bowl selections and five All-Pro selections. In 2000, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.



More information on the event and individual ticket sales is available at rockhurst.edu/leadershipseries.



Rockhurst University also will honor two deserving alumni — Tom McCullough, ’64, and Tom McDonnell, ’66 — with the 2019 Rashford-Lyon Award for Leadership and Ethics. Together McCullough and McDonnell spent over 60 years at DST Systems. Following their respective retirements, both and have gone on to serve on corporate and nonprofit leadership boards, provided strong voices for business development in Kansas City and given countless hours to charitable causes.


Case Study Collaboration Results in Cardinal’s Visit


(From left) Cardinal Peter Turkson, Michael Stellern, Ph.D., and the Rev. Thomas B. Curran, S.J., meet on the Rockhurst University campus.

hen Rockhurst University President the Rev. Thomas B. Curran, S.J., and Michael Stellern, Ph.D., professor of economics, began partnering on a case study that examines the issues concerning the European migrant crisis, they had no idea their work would result in a cardinal’s visit to campus. Stellern was working to help launch the Global Jesuit Case Series, a special edition of the Journal of Case Studies, and was enthusiastic about contributing to the new journal. “Refugees,” which weighs the theological, political and economic issues of the crisis, was published in the inaugural issue. At the time, Pope Francis had recently established a new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development in part to deal with the migrant crisis. Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana was appointed by the Pope to head the new

dicastery as of Jan. 1, 2017. To gain more insight into the position of the Catholic Church on the issue, Fr. Curran suggested they contact Cardinal Turkson. Through Cardinal Turkson’s Jesuit secretary, Fr. Curran and Stellern were able to talk through the issues with the cardinal as part of their research and to develop a series of questions for discussion. The conversation with the cardinal also led to his visit to Rockhurst as part of the Visiting Scholar Lecture Series, Jan. 17. Stellern said the final product is a series of questions designed to provoke thoughtful analysis in the classroom. “We are not taking the pedestal and saying we know the answers and this is what should be done,” Stellern said. “The purpose of the case is to stimulate student pursuit of knowledge and student discussion.”

RU Tops U.S. in Number of Females Seeking Secondary Physics Major


ver the last decade, Rockhurst University has been a national leader in the development of an innovative active learning curriculum integrating the study of physics with medicine and health care. The physics of medicine program explores physics principles applicable to the structure and function of the human body in health and the technology used to detect, diagnose and treat various conditions — all designed for students headed to graduate programs in medicine and health care.

Now, years after it began, physics of medicine is thriving. Nancy Donaldson, Ph.D., professor of physics, said program enrollment is growing and 2017 data show that Rockhurst University led the nation in the number of female students whose second major was physics and was No. 7 in the number of overall students declaring a second major in physics. “I was thrilled to receive the stats on the growth of our program. Both when I was in school and at the time we started working on the physics of medicine curriculum, a lot of physics

curriculum was targeted toward future physics Ph.D.s,” Donaldson said. “Our curriculum is very relevant to students’ career interests.” Just this year, RU’s physics program was recognized with the 2019 “Improving Undergraduate Physics Education Award” from the American Physical Society. Currently, Donaldson in collaboration with peers across the country has received two National Science Foundation grants for curriculum development to create an online portal of resources for other institutions to use.



Hands-on Research Paves the Way for New Health Care Model Sunni Alford, OTD


ife can be hard on the hands.

From farmers to office workers, these critical terminals of our upper extremities endure a lot of stress over the course of our lives — it only makes sense they would need some TLC. Sunni Alford, OTD, assistant professor of occupational therapy, has long made this her specialty as a certified hand therapist. Unfortunately, distance and accessibility can make things difficult for those who need specialized care. “I’ve treated a lot of farmers, and seen injuries that have gone without follow-up intervention because they’ve got to be out there working and are unable to make several trips to the city a week for therapy,” she said. “They don’t stop, because they can’t afford to. The crops aren’t going to plant themselves.” So when Alford heard a comment at a conference that smartphones have built-in leveling capabilities, something clicked.




“We are changing the way we deliver health care services with telehealth on the horizon,” she said. “There are OT deserts out there, and we need ways to deliver services to patients who need them.” Alford and her students have looked into whether the measurements offered by a phone are accurate, worked to develop a set of techniques that could produce consistently reliable measurements at home and, with a third group, Alford said she is preparing to look into other ways to deliver remote OT services using everyday technology.

Timothy McDonald, Ph.D., professor of music, led a workshop Sept. 22 on choral blend and sound for choir directors and singers, part of a joint meeting of the chapters of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians for the Diocese of Kansas CitySt. Joseph and the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas.

Keith Brandt, Ph.D., professor of mathematics, was interviewed by Fox 4 News for a story about the incredible string of coin-toss wins by the Kansas City Chiefs at the beginning of the season and the probability of this happening. Joan Z. Delahunt, OTD, assistant professor of occupational therapy; Christina M. Wisdom, DPT, assistant professor of physical therapy; Marcie Swift, Ph.D., associate professor of physical therapy; and Melanie Siscos, ’18 DPT; wrote an article titled “A Pro-Bono Therapy Clinic: Valuable and Viable?” which appeared in the May 2018 issue of The Journal of Case Studies.

Leveling features on smartphones have the potential to fill in for one of the therapist’s most indispensable tools, the goniometer, which measures range of motion. But Alford said she wanted evidence to back that up. Currently, she is leading Rockhurst occupational therapy students in a forward-looking ongoing research project exploring the viability of that technology to make home assessments possible for some patients.


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


Whether on Grass or Clay, Tennis Player is Always Green


hen she was younger, senior Emma Persson admits she rarely reached for video games or other devices to fill her time.

“I remember opening an atlas and reading about how volcanoes are formed,” she said. “I know that sounds super nerdy, but I just love geography and learning about cities and different countries.” Through many years and across a couple continents, that appreciation for natural phenomena and the beauty of the world has remained. Majoring in global studies, Spanish and economics and minoring in environmental studies, Persson hopes to someday work in environmental management and policy or sustainable economic development. Persson was born in Canada, where her mother is from, and raised in Sweden, her father’s native country. A tennis player since she was about 7 years old, the sport brought Persson to the Midwest for the first time to play at Rockhurst. But she quickly found a welcome home among her teammates, many of whom are also international students. Persson has continued to cultivate her passion for the environment, serving currently as president for the campus environmental sustainability group, LEAP — Leaders for Environmental Awareness and Protection — and working to expand the group’s impact. “One of our goals is to reach out to the community, and raise awareness of environmental issues both on and off campus,” she said. “This is something that we hope everyone can be a part of.” Persson said she has helped lead the members in activities like campuswide recycling initiatives during orientation weekend, Earth Week events, and numerous tree plantings in the neighborhoods surrounding campus, including along Kansas City’s Brush Creek.

Emma Persson, senior

“One of our goals is to reach out to the community, and raise awareness of environmental issues both on and off campus. This is something that we hope everyone can be a part of.” —Emma Persson


“We have core values that we follow, and those don’t change from year to year. They don’t depend on the strategic plan or the annual goals. Those core values are going to be with us from year to year as we do our work.”

Martin Kraus, ’84, at the annual Business Leadership and Ethics Day, on how his organization, Unbound, puts its mission first.



Historic Rivalry Returns, Revives Crazy Stories


hen Rockhurst (then College) took on St. Benedict’s (now Benedictine) College on Jan. 8, 1964, Rockhurst President the Rev. Maurice Van Ackeren, S.J., called on all alumni to fill downtown Kansas City’s Municipal Auditorium for “a basketball contest which has become known as the hottest basketball rivalry in the Midwest.” That energy and excitement returned to Mason-Halpin Fieldhouse Dec. 5, 2018, when the historic rivalry was renewed. The occasion prompted plenty of reminiscing and the retelling of legendary student hijinks surrounding the rivalry. Some recall Rockhurst students traveling to Atchison, Kansas, in the 1960s to rearrange rocks on St. Benedict’s campus to spell something un-Ravenlike. But nothing can top Benedictine alumnus Phil Lombardi’s story from Rockhurst’s 1990 homecoming soccer game. You know it will be good when he begins with, “The statute of limitations has expired, right?” Lombardi describes how he and four buddies piled into a Volkswagen bus and headed to Kansas City for the game. When they arrived, they ducked into the Convocation Center to use the restroom and spied the big blue head of the Rockhurst Hawk mascot. He spoke to the athletics secretary, who said the student who was supposed to wear it called in sick and, thinking he was a Rockhurst student, asked Lombardi if he wanted to wear it. Soon he was making his way, incognito, onto Bourke Field, where players were warming up. He returned at halftime with the homecoming court before hightailing it with classmate Dan Andrews (now Fr. Dan Andrews) driving the getaway car. He later wore the costume on Halloween and again at a Benedictine home game until, he says, Rockhurst decided they had had enough and called Benedictine to say they wanted the mascot back. While many at Rockhurst may have been annoyed by the theft, at least one student — Jennifer Buessing, ’94, ’99 MBA — must have been impressed. The two met after someone told her that Lombardi had stolen the mascot and they later married.

As for the outcome of this year’s basketball game, the Hawks won 75-69 and the athletics department hopes to host (From top) The Hawks Nest student section rocks at the Dec. 5, 2018, game with Benedictine College. The rivalry often headed downtown Benedictine again. to Municipal Auditorium in the 1960s. In the early ’80s, Mason-Halpin Fieldhouse sported signs, such as the one that read “Bury the Ravens under the Rock.”




Volleyball Earns Second GLVC Championship Title

Hawks volleyball finishes with a 32-7 record and a Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament championship.


he Hawks finished another successful season with a 32-7 record, capturing the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament championship title for the second time and making their 12th appearance in school history at the NCAA Division II Tournament. After battling to the NCAA Midwest Regional championship, Rockhurst fell to Lewis University 3-1. The American Volleyball Coaches Association took note of the Hawks’ hard-fought season, ranking them No. 16 in the AVCA Division II Coaches Top 25 poll. This is Rockhurst’s 11th time ranking in the poll since becoming an NCAA member in 1998. Leading the Hawks were juniors Karli Reichert and Alyssa Woodman and senior Kalie Arnold. The three were recognized as AVCA All-Americans, named to the All-GLVC First Team and NCAA Midwest Regional All-Tournament Team. Sophomore Dani Prusha was also named

to the All-Tournament Team. For their achievements on the court and in the classroom, Reichert and Woodman were named to the Google Cloud Division II Women’s Volleyball Academic All-District Team by the College Sports Information Directors of America. Head coach Tracy Rietzke attributes the team’s success to their work ethic and cohesiveness. Rietzke has high hopes that this season’s success will continue next year.

“I’m looking forward to next season as we have a good nucleus returning.” — Tracy Rietzke

“I’m looking forward to next season as we have a good nucleus returning,” Rietzke said. Rietzke currently ranks No. 1 among NCAA Division II women’s coaches in career victories and No. 4 among NCAA Division I, II and III women’s coaches. He has led the Hawks to an impressive 1,072 wins since 1988 and has 1,244 career victories.



Women’s Soccer Nets First-ever GLVC Title


he 2018 season was a historic one for the Hawks women’s soccer team.

After having missed the previous year’s Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament entirely, head coach Greg Herdlick said he didn’t quite know what to expect from his team. But time and time again, Herdlick said the players proved themselves up to the challenge, winning close game after close game in a season culminating in the program’s first-ever GLVC Tournament title in an overtime thriller over Bellarmine in November.

“They were resilient,” he said of the team’s strength. “Even if we got down a goal, they just never stopped. They never stopped believing.” Herdlick said leaders on the team included Stephanie Ostrander, a junior forward who was named to the NCAA Division II Conference Commissioners Association AllMidwest Region First Team; Maddie Dierkes, a senior forward who scored the winning goal in overtime of the GLVC Tournament; and McKenna Leetch, a freshman midfielder who earned GLVC’s Freshman of the Year honors.

Hawks women’s soccer captures their first Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament title.

And though the team fell in the first round of the NCAA Division II Tournament to the No. 1-ranked Grand Valley State University, Herdlick said he’s confident for the coming years because of the example his upperclassmen set, and the experience his younger players received, this season.

Tocco Joins Exclusive Club With 700th Win


f men’s soccer head coach Tony Tocco’s place in the history books was not already secure enough, it is now.

This past season, Tocco entered the top tier of collegiate soccer coaches, becoming only the second collegiate coach ever to win 700 career games. He ended the season with a total of 704 wins. Tocco has coached the Hawks for 48 seasons, and his list of accomplishments in that time is impressive — he’s led the team to 44 winning seasons, 27 total tournament appearances between the NAIA and the NCAA, and 15 Final Four appearances. One quality in particular has stood out throughout those nearly five decades — consistency.


Men’s soccer head coach Tony Tocco ends season with 704 career wins.

“To be able to go to the postseason and go deep into the postseason year after year is huge, and that really attracts great players to the program,” he said.

of players to come through the program and his coaching staff through the years — including former assistant head coaches Rich Suit and Denny Lee and current assistant head coach Giorgio Antongirolami — for delivering top-notch performances.

While it has certainly been under his leadership, Tocco said he does not alone deserve credit. He credits the hundreds

“It’s not one person doing this,” he said. “It’s the culmination of me having great people on the field and on the sidelines.”



Baseball coach Gary Burns has coached and mentored Rockhurst players for 25 years.

Head Baseball Coach Celebrates 25 Years at RU

“The men of Rockhurst baseball have represented the program and the University in the best possible manner. I love them all. Sharing the experience of growth with them over four years is a true blessing.” — Gary Burns


n spring of 1993, Gary Burns was convinced that coaching baseball at a university that had gone without a program for 17 years was not for him. He had finished three years coaching at Indiana State University and seven years at Vanderbilt University and was considering pulling himself out of the coaching game altogether. “I’m so glad God knew better,” Burns said 25 years later. Once he visited campus that spring, he knew Rockhurst was the right place for him. Burns spent that summer recruiting the new team of 28 young men who went on to have the most wins of any Kansas or Missouri collegiate team in 1995. “But most importantly,” Burns said, “27 of those 28 men went on to graduate from Rockhurst.” Burns said the environment of academic excellence in a Catholic, Jesuit tradition was one of the factors that influenced his decision to coach at RU.

Since the inaugural team, Burns has coached and mentored many more players on and off the field. In fact, the student-athletes are what he is most proud of in his 25 years at Rockhurst. “The men of Rockhurst baseball have represented the program and the University in the best possible manner. I love them all,” Burns said. “Sharing the experience of growth with them over four years is a true blessing.” Burns says he is grateful for the generosity of donors and former players who have made possible the recent upgrades to Loyola Park Stadium. His goals for the future include continuing to attract the best student-athletes in the Midwest and building an athletics endowment for further facility enhancements for all Rockhurst athletics programs.



Higher Powers BY TIM LINN


Helzberg School of Management program helps priests learn the business side of running a parish

iocesan priests are expected to fill a wide variety of roles. They celebrate life from cradle to grave. They offer counsel and consolation in equal measure. And that’s just the spiritual realm. Parish priests are also, importantly, managers responsible for day-to-day operations of their church. Seminary and advanced theological training prepare them for these aspects of leading a flock. But for many priests, the education is far from over after ordination. The learning curve for those other aspects of the job can be steep, according to the Rev. Justin Hoye, pastor of Kansas City’s St. Thomas More Parish and the director of priestly life and ministry for the Kansas CitySt. Joseph Catholic Diocese. “There is an understanding that priests will simply pick up the management skills they need, that they will learn that as they go along,” he said. “But there’s a need for development of those skills in addition to the spiritual development that we continue to go through after ordination.” That’s why, three years ago, the diocese partnered with Rockhurst University’s Helzberg School of Management for a new, ongoing program called the priest leadership formation program, designed to give those same priests the very information they need as they embark on new responsibilities. At the time he was named to his diocesan post, Fr. Hoye said conversations were already happening among leadership about a multiyear formation experience for priests in the Kansas City area’s parishes. The Rev. William Oulvey, S.J., former assistant in Rockhurst’s mission and ministry office, suggested talking to the Helzberg School of Management for one part of that program. From a collaboration perspective, it’s a great match. The Helzberg School has been in the business of business education for more than 40 years, with a dedicated faculty and extended alumni network who bring real-world experience to the classroom. “Some priests struggle with these day-to-day things because their vocation is to deal with the soul, and they might think secular concerns should come second,” said Myles Gartland, Ph.D., director of graduate business programs for the Helzberg School of Management. “But when a pipe bursts and the roof opens up, literally, you have to be able to deal with that, too.” Continued on page 14




“There is an understanding that priests will simply pick up the management skills they need, that they will learn that as they go along. But there’s a need for development of those skills in addition to the spiritual development that we continue to go through after ordination.” —Rev. Justin Hoye

The Revs. Felipe Suarez, Justin Hoye and Joshua Barlett on campus.



The Rev. Joshua Barlett speaks prior to the priest leadership formation program graduation ceremony in May 2018.

Continued from page 12

The program is designed around a yearlong calendar of monthly sessions for a small group of priests. There are bits and pieces from some of the courses in the Master of Arts in management program alongside other subjects tailored to meet the needs of the working clergy. Each session is led by an expert facilitator — either a faculty member or professional in that given subject area — and zeroes in for a deep dive on one particular subject. For the first course, the priests came from a variety of different stages of their formation process. In the second session, Gartland said the priests chosen were in a similar place in that timeline. “Three years into the priesthood, we think, is kind of a sweet spot in their formation where the sessions are relevant,” Fr. Hoye said. “Earlier than that, you might not know the questions to ask. After being out for a couple of years, you have some exposure and some awareness of what you want to work on.” Even the simple act of gathering somewhere other than a church is something that the Rev. Leonard Gicheru, parochial administrator at St. Monica Church in Kansas City, Missouri, said removes the priests from their more formal confines and frees up the conversation. “I thought it was beautiful, because it gave us a chance to be outside of our parishes, and to interact with each other and the professors directly,” he said.




“I thought it was beautiful, because it gave us a chance to be outside of our parishes, and to interact with each other and the professors directly.” —Rev. Leonard Gicheru

Ellen Martin leads a discussion of human resources with students in the priest formation leadership program at Rockhurst University.

Together, they learn how to run effective meetings and successful fundraising campaigns, how to hire a good team, and how to communicate with different constituencies, including the broader public. The information shared is itself useful, but being able to sit down with peers each month is invaluable as the students share stories and ideas about how to approach their daily work and talk through some of the situations they’ve encountered. Collaboration is an integral part of the leadership formation course experience —the discussions have an evolving, organic feel and give the students plenty of space to help each other. “One of the things that diocesan priests don’t always get to do is be together to compare notes,” Fr. Hoye said. “You can start to believe that you’re the only one who struggles to do XYZ well. The priests in this class become aware that they don’t have a monopoly on problems.” For Rockhurst University and the Helzberg School, the priest formation program is about more than doing what they do best. Gartland said he sees the program as not only a partnership with, but a form of service to, the Catholic Church. “We really do feel that this is an important part of our work with our diocese,” Gartland said. “This is one of the many ways that we want to serve the Church and the diocese, and it also serves to deepen the relationships between the Jesuit community and the diocesan priests elsewhere in our community.” That ripple effect is obvious in the ways the priests who have completed the program talk about it. The Rev. Joshua Barlett, part of the cohort that graduated in May 2018, said he came to realize that being a better servant of God means serving well in all of his capacities — an approach the Jesuits might call “cura personalis,” meaning “care for the whole person,” or “magis,” meaning “more.” It definitely gives him a motivation and a renewed sense of purpose moving forward. “Not only do I feel more equipped with those tools on the administrative side, but there’s a certain excitement to get into it now and start trying some of these things,” Fr. Barlett said. “It’s almost like another ordination on the other side of the priesthood that you get to explore.” A version of this story first appeared in Jesuits Central and Southern magazine.



Going Within the Walls


Companions in Chillicothe Program Fulfills Call to the Margins

Lisa Suter





wenty-six long years ago, Lisa Suter received a sentence that changed her life. That’s when she became an inmate at Chillicothe Correctional Center, approximately 90 minutes northeast of Kansas City. Throughout that time she has communicated with her father, but those interactions had always largely concerned the day to day. Her incarceration seemed to have sapped the conversations of their warmth. Recently, that changed with a different, also profound, sentence — a message from her father, saying how proud he was of her. “To have my dad be so excited about this and what I’m doing,” she said, eyes welling behind thickrimmed glasses, “that was the most amazing thing that had happened to me in 26 years.” In May 2018, Suter and 19 other offenders at the Chillicothe Correctional Center, in addition to a slightly smaller class of staff members at the facility, stepped into their respective classrooms for the first time as Rockhurst University students, part of a program called Companions in Chillicothe in which Rockhurst University faculty members lead a series of courses for college credit.

The program was first announced in 2016, echoing St. Ignatius Loyola’s call to minister at the margins, and comes to fruition at a time when the University community is committing itself more deeply to inclusion and being companions to all. Rockhurst University President the Rev. Thomas B. Curran, S.J., who helped move the idea forward using examples from other institutions such as Saint Louis University, said he hopes the value of the program extends well beyond the content of the weekly lessons. “On our campus in Kansas City, when we welcome students, we invite them into this experience of transformation,” he said. “But those students also transform us. It is no different in Chillicothe — I think true companionship should be a reminder of what it means to be human.” Continued on page 18



Continued from page 17

Chillicothe Correctional Center’s warden, Chris McBee, said the Companions in Chillicothe program is also a perfect complement to the work the staff inside the facility tries to do every day. “I think overall, the department’s mission is improving the lives of offenders, which will result in safer communities,” he said. “The better equipped the offenders are with education and job skills, the better prepared they will be for life outside of the institution. I think that’s something we all want.” The state’s high school equivalency curriculum is available to all offenders at the facility alongside technical courses in subjects such as culinary arts and auto repair, but routes to traditional higher education were otherwise correspondence courses that involve costs and logistical challenges. The Companions in Chillicothe program is free to all of its qualified students. One offender, Lucille Duncan, said she almost missed the deadline to apply for the Rockhurst program entirely because she didn’t believe it was real. “I would cry every time I would talk about it into the first few months,” Duncan said. “It was that overwhelming to have something like this.” Research shows that similar programs do more than bolster self-esteem or good behavior. In a 2013 analysis by the RAND Corporation and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, recidivism among those who participated in educational opportunities while incarcerated was estimated to be 43 percent lower than that of the overall inmate population, and those participants were also much more likely to maintain employment upon release. It’s a potentially life-altering opportunity for staff, too. Tayluer Dunks, who became a correctional officer at age 19, said she had put college on hold when she became pregnant. Going back was daunting, but the companions program pointed her, and others, toward that goal. “I actually inspired my mom to go back to school,” she said. The first course offered in the companions program was composition, taught by Dan Martin, Ph.D., associate professor of English. Nerve-wracking at first, he said the experience has exceeded every expectation. In both classes, students take an enormous amount of pride in being part of the Rockhurst University community. “I found them to be among the sweetest, most eager students I’ve ever had — they crave instruction and are full of questions,” he said.

(Top): Tayluer Dunks, a student in the staff class. (Bottom): Dan Martin, Ph.D., associate professor of English and the instructor for the first course.



For assignments, Martin said he had the students write about the environment around them: a personal essay based around an object important to them, a literacy narrative, and an ethnographic essay about a subculture within the facility, fine-tuning each in small groups. In a facility where separation and factions are common, they have become close-knit cohorts. Students talked about how the


experience has transformed their relationships with each other, with new connections growing among those who had passed each other in the halls for years. Normal is relative inside a correctional facility, but the companions program helps diffuse tension, relieve stress, and increase a sense of belonging. “There are other nerds here,” said Vermonn Roberts, a student in the offender class. “For these few hours, it’s not like being in prison.” Roberts has been in Chillicothe since she was 18 years old, describing the day she arrived as one of her lowest points. Many offenders say they know exactly why they’re in Chillicothe. They express remorse, guilt, shame, and recognize that in many cases, they can never truly atone for what they’ve done. But even for those unlikely to see the world outside the institution’s walls again, the course offers a way to reconcile with their own past and channel their energy into something positive for themselves and for others. “I carried so much self-doubt, shame, all of that, in here with me, and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Roberts said. “But I think I learned from this program that it doesn’t have to be that way — we can change our course in life.” Another offender, Nena Hickman, echoed that. Offenders yearn to be free, she said — but short of that, education and the ability to tell one’s own story can help deliver a measure of lost humanity. “We’re your family members, your sisters, whatever,” she said. “People tend to think when we come here, that’s where our story ends — but it’s not.”

Vermonn Roberts

You Can Help The Chillicothe Companions program is supported by foundation grants and gifts from individual donors, including Rockhurst University faculty and staff members.

To make a gift, visit rockhurst.edu/give.



Jobs that



Rockhurst University alumni can be found throughout the world as teachers, lawyers, physical therapists, business executives, you name it. Each career is unique, but did you know there are Hawks out there experimenting with artificial intelligence? Saving companies? What about a Hawk who creates family heirlooms, or another who interviews senators? Here’s a peek into the professional lives of four RU alumni who do all this and so much more.


Reporter at WFSB Channel 3 Eyewitness News New England Carolina Cruz, ’16, wakes up at 2 a.m. and is on air by 4:30 a.m., bringing the latest news to counties across Connecticut. “The only typical part of my day is my morning coffee,” said Cruz. “After that, typical goes out the window. That’s what I love most about my job – every day is different.” In her current role, Cruz covers breaking news, nor’easters, regional events and whatever else comes across her desk. But her first on-air gig was in southern Texas as a bilingual reporter and fill-in anchor at KRGV Channel 5 News where she focused her stories on immigration, border issues, and transnational trade, interviewing everyone from community members to senators and local leaders. “I get a front row seat, figuratively and sometimes literally, to all the action,” she said. “But with that access comes the responsibility to ask questions, gather information and disseminate it to the public. I’ve been witness to many historic moments, and am always inspired seeing the difference one person can make in a community.” But her on-the-air time makes up only half of her working day. The other half is spent covering an assignment or following up on story leads. “I’m off by 11 a.m., but, then again, what journalist is ever really ‘off’ the clock?” said Cruz. As for what got her where she is today, Cruz credits her willingness to learn, network and seek out opportunities. “I carry Rockhurst’s core values with me in my work,” she said. “I do this by identifying voices that aren’t being heard, amplifying issues that are going unnoticed, and serving my community.”





Head of Conversational Commerce Product Management at Apple Although Lance Williams, ’05 EMBA, calls Silicon Valley home, his team spans the globe in places like Ireland, Singapore, China, Japan and the United Kingdom, supporting Apple’s retail organization and serving customers in more than 40 countries. “One of the emerging trends we’re working on is the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to enable the future of conversational commerce,” said Williams. “We aim to create products that offer a user experience that surprises and delights while pushing the limits of available technology.” He and his team often work on projects for years before they can be discussed with family and friends. “Creating products that are delightful to customers while also locally relevant in the different markets is a challenging yet amazingly cool thing to do.” But Williams’ job gets even cooler. “Apple employees work very hard, but there are perks such as when musicians like Stevie Wonder, Gwen Stefani or Gary Clark Jr. show up to do an impromptu set on Apple’s quad.” And don’t forget part of his job is to host fun activities for visiting employees, doing things like taking evening hikes in the coastal redwood forest or hosting dinner at one of San Francisco’s Mission District restaurants. Aside from the business skills Williams acquired as an Executive MBA student, he says he strives to model the leadership philosophy, ethical behaviors and global awareness practices he learned during his time at RU. “I have found that my ability to collaborate and put others’ interests ahead of my own has helped me grow my career to a level I never could have imagined.” Continued on page 22

“Apple employees work very hard, but there are perks such as when musicians like Stevie Wonder, Gwen Stefani or Gary Clark Jr. show up to do an impromptu set on Apple’s quad.” —Lance Williams, ’05 EMBA



Continued from page 21


Senior Business Development Adviser at Enterprise Ireland Immersed in Kansas City’s Irish scene since childhood, Eileen Bell, ’82, has always had Ireland on her mind. Which is why she traveled there right after her graduation from RU. “I planned to stay a few months, but I’m still here,” Bell said. Right away, she found a little job that supported her travels throughout Europe. Eventually she wanted something more solid, so she found her way to the Irish Trade Board, which later became Enterprise Ireland – a government agency that invests in companies and supports their growth. “A lot of what I do is facilitate growth of Irish companies, focusing on increasing exports,” said Bell. “These are not multinational companies, but ones oftentimes just getting off the ground.” She often thinks back to the international business class taught by the Rev. Nick Rashford, S.J., she says. “His lessons on business culture, transformative growth and leadership development really stuck with me.” Bell’s mixed portfolio of companies she has supported includes industries such as animation and film, e-commerce, medical technology and beyond. In her role, Bell works with entrepreneurs every day. “I revere them,” she said. “These are people who take real business risks and look to me for support.” The coolest part of her job? “That’s easy,” she said. “It’s helping. Contributing to an entrepreneur’s journey, seeing them succeed, nurturing their talents. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to assist businesses in achieving profitable growth and creating jobs. Playing a part in helping a company realize its ambition is a big win for me.”




“It’s like Christmas every day. Especially if you’re lucky enough to be the person who met and scanned that particular customer.” —Malik James, ’11 MALIK JAMES, ’11

Co-owner of doob USA and Partner at James & Noland LLC Malik James, ’11, has not one but two cool jobs. His latest endeavor was to help bring doob – a German company that creates photo-realistic 3D replicas and avatars – to Kansas City. After getting the business off the ground, James transitioned to the role of promoting it. “I do the talking,” James said. “I find and develop new business relationships, tout the technology and, hopefully, drive growth.” James admits the coolest part of this job is cutting open the boxes of replicas after they deliver. “It’s like Christmas every day,” he said. “Especially if you’re lucky enough to be the person who met and scanned that particular customer.” As if doob doesn’t keep him busy enough, James is also a partner at James & Noland law firm. “I’m proud to be one of 47,000 black attorneys in the U.S.,” he said. “Even in the midst of bringing doob to Kansas City, I knew I’d never let go of being an attorney.” James enjoys the battle of persuading people toward his point of view. “I love taking someone who’s seeing one side and bringing them over to my side,” he said. “It’s important to be able to forget you’re an attorney and realize you’re really there to help someone who needs it.” After his first stint as a Rockhurst student, James left to join the U.S. Marines, then came back to RU to complete his degree. “The pillars of a Jesuit education really resonated with me,” said James. “I heard similar code in the Marine Corps. Both experiences gave me a drive to live life audaciously. To squeeze every experience dry.”



The Cheer Team entertains Hawks soccer fans during Family and Alumni Weekend.







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.

Joseph D. Mancano, ’76 (left), and Mark E. Cedrone (right) accept the Beccaria Award from Susan Lin (center), on behalf of the Justinian Society and the Criminal Justice Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association.


Joseph D. Mancano, founding partner of Cedrone & Mancano LLC, and the firm’s other founding partner, Mark E. Cedrone, were presented with the annual Beccaria Award by the Justinian Society of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section. The award recognizes their contribution to the cause of justice and the advancement of legal education. In addition, Mancano presented at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers eighth annual West Coast White Collar Conference in Santa Monica, California. He moderated a panel presentation titled “Defending Health Care Defendants — Fighting the Multi-Front War.” He also was included in The Best Lawyers in America 2019.

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Jim Powers has been named CFO of Dent Wizard, an automotive reconditioning service provider.

1985 MBA

John Sweeney was highlighted in the Midwest Real Estate News “Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame” issue.

2000 MBA

Brett Richmond has been named president of the Methodist Fremont Health organization.

1979 MBA

Glen Gabert, Ph.D., retired as president of Hudson County Community College, Jersey City, New Jersey, after serving in the position for more than 25 years — longer than any of the college’s other presidents. At his retirement celebration, the college honored him with a ceremony to rename the library the Gabert Library, where a plaque was unveiled to commemorate the occasion. During Gabert’s tenure, enrollment more than tripled, two state-of-the-art campuses were built and more than 60 degree and certificate programs were put in place. 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.



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Sean Brennan, associate professor of history at the University of Scranton, recently had his second book, The Priest Who Put Europe Back Together: The Life of Fabian Flynn, CP, published by The Catholic University of America Press. He also authored an article published in the fall issue of the academic journal U.S. Catholic Historian titled “Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. and the Catholic Church.”

2001 EMBA

Duane Lock has joined Nexus Ventures LLC, a Texas-based solar developer, as a board member and partner. 

2003, 2004 M.ED.

Joseph Hicks was awarded the Children’s Mercy Hospital Clinical Excellence Award-Perioperative Services. He was among the selected few to be recognized during the National Nurses Week celebration in May 2018.


Theresa Mattingly, M.D., recently joined U.S. Dermatology Partners Lee’s Summit, Missouri.

2010 MOT

William (Doc) Bates is the author of You Are A Genius!: How To Master The Secrets Of The Creative Elite, recently listed as the Amazon No. 1 new release book.


Michael Padow was appointed principal of Christo Rey in Kansas City, Missouri. He was the subject of a feature story in The Catholic Key. 

Marisa Smith was interviewed by KSHB-41 news for her work to set up a bed sheet pantry through the Kansas City Police Department for victims of sexual assault, whose sheets are often taken as evidence.

2003 MBA

Nathan Stewart was named assistant principal of Cecil Floyd Elementary School in Joplin, Missouri.

Robert Cummings has been named head men’s soccer coach at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

2005 EMBA

Jane Chu, Ph.D., has joined PBS as an arts adviser. Previously, she served for four years as the chairwoman of the National Endowment for the Arts.





Israel Perez married Mackenzie Sparks on Sept. 1, 2018. Several Rockhurst alumni from the class of 2013 served as groomsmen: Steven Bokel, Andy Boland, Nick Traxler, and Phil Hageman.

Nick Traxler, assistant director of the alumni annual fund at Carleton College, was interviewed for an article on launching a career in fundraising in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, July 31, 2018. 





Luke Norris earned his BSBA in 2001 and his MBA in international business in 2015. He is managing director of strategy and government relations for OpenCities — a Kansas City and Melbourne, Australia, based government technology firm. He also serves as founding board chair of Citizens of the World Charter Schools (CWC) Kansas City, in addition to other board roles, including the Housing Authority of Kansas City. Q: Tell us about OpenCities and your role there. A: OpenCities is an Australia-based provider of website and digital services technology for governments across the world. I interact with hundreds of U.S. mayors and city managers to help them understand the part technology plays in building trust and customer satisfaction among their citizens. If I do my job right, they’ll understand the value of better engaging citizens in the digital age by creating digital services that work for all residents. Q: What do you focus on at CWC? A: In 2014, I was brought on to help take the original parent-led initiative through the formal process of becoming a state-sponsored 501(c)(3). My experience growing startups and with government, navigating through bureaucratic red tape, made me a good match for this position. In October 2015, state approval came in. We opened our doors for kindergarten and firstgrade classes in August 2016. Today, my role is to confirm compliance

with state laws and ensure we’re good fiduciaries of taxpayer dollars. I also serve as an ambassador to the school, actively fundraising, working with the executive director and partners to help guide strategy. I joke that it’s the best full-time, part-time, unpaid job I have, but the truth is I’ve fallen in love with the school’s mission. Q: What sets CWC apart from other schools? A: The biggest differentiator is the diverse learning environment, which boasts racial, ethnic, social and economic diversity to allow students to learn from peers of different backgrounds. Second, CWC connects students directly to their community with a projectbased approach. Like our name, we aim to empower students to become “citizens of the world” by helping them understand how they play a part in community success. They are taught how to interact with people who are different, work through conflict and channel their energy to do the most good.

Q: What inspires you to do all of this? A: Anyone who knows me knows I’m always hyper involved in everything. It’s just who I am. And with all of this experience, I’ve become keenly aware of the impact education can or can’t have in people’s lives. I’ve witnessed how education creates an ability to self-advocate, and that it’s the strongest driver of economic success and mobility. Q: How do you use your RU education in these roles? A: I use my degrees, absolutely. I also look back and realize I took so many nonprofit leadership courses I could have earned a minor. I guess this has always been part of my trajectory – mixing business acumen with the mission of nonprofits to help them grow. Most of all, RU’s focus on social justice and helping students become “men and women for and with others” fits into the work I do every day.





through your favorite social networks.




Sarah Pezold received the Generous Spirit Award from Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority in recognition of her outstanding service at its national convention and leadership conference.

Emily Pearl married Kyle Shillings June 2, 2018. They moved to Nebraska City, Nebraska, and Emily works at Children’s Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska, as a child life specialist.

Christopher Triplett married Sarah Hambley in July 2018. He works at Ad Astra Information Systems in Overland Park, Kansas.


Katherine Blanner was selected to be an official photographer for New York Fashion Week. She served as a KC Fashion Week photographer in 2017.

Mia Zanaboni wrote an article titled “Active Minds Project Breaks Stigma,” which appeared in the fall 2018 edition of Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education.

"Dr. Katie Madigan is one of the most encouraging professors I know. While tutoring in the learning center, I would hear this from her other students as well. In fact, I might not be where I am today without her: from receiving my first scholarship to study abroad in Paris the summer after junior year at RU, to participating in the Teaching Assistant Program in France last school year, to my current endeavor to obtain a Master of Arts in teaching a foreign language at the Middlebury Institute at Monterey, she has not only written me a recommendation every time, but also often gave me the idea to apply in the first place. I now hope to inspire students (to speak French and in general) the way she has inspired me!" – Lillian Barrilleaux, ’15


Bishop Charles Helmsing of the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph speaks at the dedication of Rockhurst University’s Convocation Center in 1973.




CAREER CENTER TIPS for Working Your Way Up in an Organization

FROM BRIDGETTE WILLIAMS, ’16 EMBA MEET THE EXPERT Bridgette Williams, ’16 EMBA, is executive director of the Heavy Constructors Association of Greater Kansas City. At age 20, Williams was a part-time receptionist for the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). By age 27, she rose to the title of president of the organization. Williams sits on the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce board and the Economic Advisory Council for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, and has been named to the Kansas City Business Journal’s Power 100 list in 2014, 2017 and 2018.

1 2 3 4 5


Learn all you can about how your company or organization works. Familiarize yourself with operations beyond your current role. Build an advisory group of veteran colleagues who can offer you advice.


Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity to knock on your door. Go knocking. You’re in charge of your own career. Most people who job search don’t think they’re qualified for positions because they can’t check off all qualifications. In reality, many hiring managers understand there will be some on-the-job learning. Don’t let the fact that you might not get the job stop you from pursuing it.


Proactively ask for and successfully carry out work that goes beyond your current role. Show your managers you’re capable of more.


If a promotion is available, be prepared to go after it quickly. Do your research (see #1), and come to the interview with questions, ideas and plans for the future. Prepare to talk about where you will take the company if given the new position.


Listen to your gut. I’ve had family members and colleagues tell me not to pursue an opportunity, worrying I was unqualified and would be disappointed. Now’s the time to use your reflection and discernment skills. If you find yourself lacking passion for a possible new position, let it go. It’s about confidence, not ego.





Rockhurst Goes to Spring Training Join Phoenix-area alumni when the Kansas City Royals take on the Milwaukee Brewers in sunny Surprise, Arizona.







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

Palm Sunday Mass and Brunch Rockhurst President the Rev. Thomas. B. Curran, S.J., celebrates Mass at this popular annual tradition.

Young Alumni Speaker Series Peter Vermes, manager and technical director for Sporting Kansas City, is the guest of the Young Alumni Council.

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

Couple Honored for Work Helping St. Louis’ Most Vulnerable


or 25 years, Our Little Haven has provided refuge for thousands of members of St. Louis’ most vulnerable population — abused and neglected children. And it all started as a dream. On Nov. 8, 2018, as part of the first-ever St. Louis Leadership Series luncheon, headlined by Olympian Jackie-Joyner Kersee, Our Little Haven’s founders Scott and Kathleen Hummel, ’86, received the Magis Award. The honor is given to a member or members of the Rockhurst community who live in or are from the St. Louis area and who epitomize the Jesuit core value of “magis,” or “more.” The Hummels founded the center in 1993, building on a shared vision of early intervention to break the cycle of trauma in the lives of children in the St. Louis community. In the years since, they’ve worked continuously to expand their reach and their roster of services. “Now that we have done this for 25 years, I’m looking forward to what the calling and what the invitation will be for the next step,” Kathleen said. They both said the center is a long-term project that relied not only on their own commitment, but to a community of friends and fellow Hawks who helped, and continue to help, along the way. “We call it the Rockhurst ‘it’ – trying to define the dynamic is difficult, but you know it when you see it,” Scott said. “The premise of men and women for and with others is the foundation of this place.”



(From left) Rockhurst President the Rev. Thomas B. Curran, S.J., presents the Magis award to Kathleen and Scott Hummel, ’86

“Now that we have done this for 25 years, I’m looking forward to what the calling and what the invitation will be for the next step.” – Kathleen Hummel, ’86


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.

^ Rockhurst Presence A large contingent from the Rockhurst University community of alumni and friends attended the funeral Mass and reception for John Seiler, ’81, Jan. 5 in St. Louis, showing support for his family with their ministry of presence. ^

Support Fellow Hawk ^Friends as His Team Takes on RU Andy Halaz, ’08, is in his first year as head volleyball coach at Missouri S&T. When the Miners hosted the Hawks Sept. 7, several of Halaz’s classmates headed to Rolla for the game to surprise him. RU won the match 3-0 and also won 3-2 Nov. 3 when the Miners visited Mason-Halpin Fieldhouse. (From left) Kyle Beulke, ’08, Joe Krienert, ’08, Andy Halaz, ’08, Tyler Marquart, ’08, Tim Zorich, ’10, and Kyle Kargacin, ’08.


Glams of ’91 Gather ^ ^ A group of Hawks calling themselves the Glams of ’91

regroup regularly for fun and fellowship. They met in December to enjoy their annual holiday lunch. (Front row, from left) Maryann Panijan, ’91, Tracey Vetter, ’91, Lisa Conner, ’91, (Back row, from left) Amy Cusumano, Amy Rudolph, ’91, Carrie Munsch, ’91, Cesa Alcazar, Helen Reece, ’91, Kelly Ranallo, ’91

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



Alumni Awards Honor Life-saving Service and Professional Accomplishments

2018 Alumni award winners (From left) Nick Suarez, ’08, John Murry, ’55, Rich Shaw, ’88, ’92 MBA, and Samantha Whited Fechter, ’09


he four alumni honored last fall by Rockhurst University have literally saved lives. They’ve reached the pinnacle of their field. They’ve made a name for themselves as leaders in their young careers. In other words, they boast some serious resumes.

As part of the annual Family and Alumni Weekend, held in September 2018, the University honored John Murry, ’55, with the Xavier Medal of Honor for his work, along with his family, to organize hundreds of bone marrow registration drives to find donors for life-saving bone marrow transplants. Another honoree, Rich Shaw, ’88, ’92 MBA, received the St. Ignatius Award honoring his significant career achievements. Shaw is the vice president for voice and collaboration product management at AT&T, leading a worldwide team responsible for a variety of communication products for businesses of all sizes. Two young alumni were honored for their leadership this year, as well —Nick Suarez, ’08, and Samantha Whited Fechter, ’09, both received the Faber Young Alumni Award for their emerging leadership in the Kansas City and St. Louis communities, respectively. Suarez is the current senior managing director of Newmark Grubb Zimmer commercial real estate firm whose leadership includes membership on the board of the Kansas City, Kansas, Chamber of Commerce. Fechter is a senior associate attorney with Seck and Associates who is a constant leader in her alumni community, including through service on the Rockhurst University Young Alumni Council.





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.



THE REV. JOHN “JACK” VALENTA, S.J., died July 10, 2018, in St. Louis, at

the age of 95. A Jesuit for 68 years, Fr. Valenta spent the majority of his apostolic life at Rockhurst University, teaching chemistry for more than 20 years, serving as the rector of the University’s Jesuit community, and later spending several years as a counselor. Fr. Valenta, a native of St. Louis, graduated from both St. Louis University High School and Saint Louis University, where he also later earned a Ph.D. in chemistry. He served as a deck officer with the U.S. Navy during World War II in the Pacific theater and entered the Society of Jesus several years after his discharge from the Navy in 1948. William C. Powers Jr., ’41 — Aug. 14

Robert P. Boner, ’63 — Sept. 6

John H. Klotz, ’76 — May 11

Thomas L. Allen, ’45 — Sept. 22

Michael R. Bosch Jr., ’63 — Oct. 13

Stephen R. Parke, ’76 — May 25

George W. Richter, ’48 — July 19

Michael A. Kleinman, ’63 — July 29

Gerard E. Serrone, ’77 — Sept. 24

Robert A. Cunningham Sr., ’49 — Nov. 7

Arthur H. Ruff, ’63 — Nov. 3

Stephanie A. Reed, ’79 — Nov. 12

Thomas H. Hodes, ’49 — July 23

Robert L. Steen, ’63 — June 25 Patrick H. Crowe, ’64 — Sept. 21

Jacquelyn K. Saunders-Dixon, ’80 — Aug. 26

Robert W. Locke, ’49 — Nov. 12 James H. Fancher, ’51 — Oct. 11 Eugene J. Laughlin, ’51 — Oct. 7 Robert Brancato, ’52 — May 29 Joseph A. Flaherty, ’52 — Aug. 7 Thaddeus E. Nugent, ’53 — May 6 Thomas U. Derr, ’54 — May 29 William B. LaGue, ’55 — Sept. 7 Ronald R. Nye, ’56 — Sept. 16 George Zammar, ’57 — Nov. 10 Dennis G. Collins, ’58 — July 5 Francis B. Kueser, ’58 — Aug. 7 Lt. Col. James P. Souders, ’59 — Sept. 16 Matthew J. Dowd, ’60 — May 15 Joseph M. Steffen, ’60 — Sept. 30 Philip A. Farley, ’61 — Oct. 20 John P. Becker, ’62 — May 13 Richard N. Donaldson, ’62 — Nov. 15

Thomas L. Jordan, ’64 — April 27 J. Thomas Kelly, ’65 — May 20 Edward Lucas Jr., ’65 — Nov. 15 Patrick J. Campbell, ’66 — Aug. 21 John E. Sulzen, ’66 — June 21 Thomas L. McKittrick, ’67 — June 16 Richard J. Olson, ’68 — May 20 Lawrence E. Boeding, ’69 — July 19 Robert J. Pennington, ’69 — Nov. 25 James A. Killackey, ’70 — Sept. 7 Michael G. Reintjes, ’70 — May 1 James D. Schell, ’71 — Aug. 29 James R. Chesus, ’72 — July 22 Aristides M. Simoes, ’72 — Nov. 5 Charles W. Anderson, ’74 — April 30 Jay D. Justice, ’74 — Sept. 18 Susan A. Gerhard, ’75 — Aug. 26

Eric L. McKamey, ’81 — Oct. 25 Buckley J. Owens, ’82 — May 15 Dan Kramer, ’87 — Aug. 9 Charles A. Jennings, ’89 — June 6 Dale D. Myers, ’89 — Oct. 26 Jeffrey M. Johnson, ’91 — July 10 David W. Butler, ’92 — July 31 Brock S. Moon, ’93 — June 17 Stephen J. Oakes, ’93 — Nov. 20 Emily F. Strabala, ’97 — Nov. 3 Thomas J. Thornburg, ’97 — Sept. 19 Dean V. Glorioso, ’99 — Nov. 23 Annie L. Neidel, ’02 — Nov. 15 Rose T. Leising, ’03 — July 22 Julie Campbell, ’04 — Aug. 23 Ryan Owenby, ’07 — May 9 Kevin M. Lamb, ’13 — Oct. 4

Franklin F. Henson, ’75 — June 7 Tommy L. Hasley, ’76 — Sept. 29




WHERE ARE THEY NOW For Former Hawks Goalkeeper, Poetry is Language of Life


Garret Loehr, ’17, with members of the Rockhurst High School soccer team, of which he was once a member, and the Regis Jesuit High School team, of which he is the current coach, at the Jesuit Soccer Classic.


anguage is critical for a sports team — if you don’t talk out there, generally, you don’t play well.

That might begin to explain the longtime fascination Garrett Loehr, ’17, a former goalkeeper for the Rockhurst University men’s soccer team, has had for the ways we communicate with each other. For Loehr, learning to speak other languages was a necessity as he and players from countries including Italy and Germany competed side by side. A French and Spanish major at Rockhurst, he said language allows us to feel welcomed as well as understood by others. His unique senior capstone — a series of poems written in Spanish, German, Italian, French and English — was built around exploring language’s power to convey meaning. “I have friends from all over the world,” Loehr said. “Being able to talk to them makes the world seem a little bit smaller.” Now in Denver, Colorado, Loehr is teaching French full time and coaching soccer at Regis Jesuit High School after a year with the Alumni Service Corps at the school. And he’s continued to immerse himself in language through writing. A series of 27 chronological poems, You and the Moon, the Sun and the Stars, was published in June 2018 by London-based Olympia Publishing. His second collection is scheduled to be released in the spring. Call him a Renaissance man if you want, but Loehr said it’s tied to the Jesuit motto, “ad majorem Dei gloriam,” or “for the greater glory of God.” “The core of everything I do goes back to AMDG — what can I do to glorify God?” he said. “I’m a Catholic man before I’m a teacher, or a poet or a soccer coach.”




EVERYDAY LEADERS Mom Works to Marshall Resources for Rare Diseases


fter losing her daughter, Katie, at 5 months to a rare genetic condition and later having her first-born daughter, Allie, diagnosed with a second rare condition, Kelly Ranallo, ’91, knew she wanted to help other families like hers. Ranallo graduated from Rockhurst with a Bachelor of Science in physical therapy and worked in several P.T.related jobs, including starting her own medical staffing company, Quantum Health Professionals. She met her future husband, George, and they married and had four children. After Allie was diagnosed, Ranallo decided to take a break from the for-profit world and joined the family advisory board of Children’s Mercy Hospital. That connection helped her to establish a coordinated care clinic for girls and families with Turner syndrome and later the Turner Syndrome Global Alliance, which earned its nonprofit status in 2014. Ranallo wasn’t satisfied with stopping there. She says her Rockhurst education challenged her to “think big” and in this case that translated into a vision for putting Kansas City on the map as a national leader for rare disease research. In 2015, she founded RareKC as a way to bring together fragmented resources devoted to rare conditions under an umbrella nonprofit organization. The collaborative effort allows an ability to accelerate the diagnosis, research, drug development and treatment for a host of rare diseases. The organization raised $70,000 at its inaugural event in

Kelly Ranallo, ’91

September 2018 and will host the fourth annual RareKC Summit on March 4 at the Ewing Kauffman Foundation Conference Center. RareKC is not Ranallo’s sole venture. She works full time as a clinical account associate for Sanofi Genzyme – a biotech pharmaceutical firm that develops treatments for rare diseases. She learned through her nonprofit work that the roadmap to new cures and treatments is long and requires extensive innovation, commitment and resources by various stakeholders. “In rare disease, we have to figure out how to best collaborate and understand the resources the biotech and pharmaceutical industry have to offer,” she says. “And I decided the best way to get that knowledge was to be employed in the industry.”

Ranallo says her Rockhurst education challenged her to “think big” and in this case that translated into a vision for putting Kansas City on the map as a national leader for rare disease research. ROCKHURST.EDU



If You Want to Lead, Learn to Scout BY CHERYL MCCONNELL, PH.D.


ave you ever watched an expert quickly diagnose a problem? One of my favorite bodies of research is how differently experts and novices approach problem-solving and decision-making. The differences go far beyond content knowledge – experts differ in how they recognize patterns, how they quickly determine relevant and irrelevant information, and how they know what questions to ask. Think of the last time you saw an expert in action. For me, it was a physician treating my mother and quickly narrowing down the possible problems and solutions. As much as I admire experts, this deep knowledge isn’t enough when you are part of a senior leadership team. It is necessary, but not sufficient. Individuals who are also in positions of leadership must develop in another key area – they must cultivate and nurture a scout mentality. Knowing that part of their leadership responsibility is to move an organization toward a shared vision, they must intentionally and consistently turn from the whirlwind of the day-to-day to scout the future. In the recent past, it wasn’t unusual for organizations to have chief creativity officers or chief innovation officers who were responsible for scouting, sharing, and building an adaptive culture. However, many organizations have eliminated the position – not because they were successful and no longer needed, but rather because they weren’t successful. Fundamentally, scouting is an essential trait and mindset that all leaders must own.



What does having a scout mentality mean? It means building upon your expert experience to intentionally rise above the day-to-day to build for the future. All leaders should be asking themselves the following questions: What should I be reading? With whom should I be talking? What should I be attending? What should I be experiencing? For me, it is allocating at least 20 percent of my time to scouting the future so that Rockhurst University is relevant now and will continue to be relevant for our second hundred years. It means reading broadly; searching out and connecting with thought leaders; participating in regional, national, and international conversations about the future of work; and experiencing new and emerging trends and technologies. These actions are not optional but rather essential to our future. So, the next time you see me, ask me about Twitch or the latest article on the impact of machine learning. I swear it is part of my job. Cheryl McConnell, Ph.D., is associate provost of academic affairs and dean of the College of Business, Influence and Information Analysis. Her research interests include gender issues related to career advancement and performance reviews, and she frequently speaks on the need for ethical leadership in a time of change and uncertainty.


WEDNESDAY, OCT. 31, 2018 Students, such as Jordan Wright, ’21, work to make Rockhurst’s annual Safe Trick or Treat a frighteningly fun experience for neighborhood children. She had a little help from Rock E. Hawk.

Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage


1100 Rockhurst Road Kansas City, MO 64110-2561

Attendees at the annual World Cultures Day are invited to place markers on a world map indicating where their ancestors came from.

Kansas City, M0. Permit No. 782

Profile for Rockhurst University

RU: Winter 2019  

The magazine for Rockhurst University.

RU: Winter 2019  

The magazine for Rockhurst University.

Profile for rockhurst