An aerial photo of campus.

Cardinal Dolan Addresses Benedictine College Graduates

Published: Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Commencement 2016 Another Special Day on Campus

Benedictine College was pleased to welcome Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, as the keynote speaker for its annual Commencement Exercises on May 14, 2016. Nearly 400 students participated in the event, receiving either undergraduate or graduate degrees. Cardinal Dolan was honored with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

“You took a dream and a dare to entrust your future to a college that believes, contrary to the reigning ideology of our country, that faith and reason are hardly foes, but allies,” he said in his address.

He went on to do what he called the “national pastime, talking about other people.” Among the other people he talked about were the graduates themselves, their parents and families, Benedictine College President Stephen Minnis and the “first-rate” faculty at the school, the Benedictine monks and sisters, Josh Radick, a Benedictine alumnus from the Class of 2014 now teaching English to Christian refugees in war-torn Kurdistan in northern Iraq, a young French woman working with the Benedictine sisters to teach refugee children to pray, a graduate’s father who was dealing with a terminal illness, and finally, the Virgin Mary, a young woman who Cardinal Dolan said had never been to college, yet is known as the “Seed of Wisdom.”

“Wisdom is more important than even knowledge,” he said. “Faith and family and friends are more essential than anything functional. Dreams and dares hardly diminish when sickness and adversity come. And the call to greatness that has echoed on this campus with you for four years is answered in eternal life.”

Cardinal Dolan is originally from the Midwest, having attended prep school in Shrewsbury, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, and graduating from Cardinal Glennon College in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. He was named Archbishop of New York by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009. Time Magazine named him one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2012 when he was president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Prior to that, he served the Catholic Church in many capacities, including Auxilary Bishop of St. Louis, Archbishop of Milwaukee, chairman of Catholic Relief Services, as a member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization and as a member of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. The work of the Cardinal in the area of seminary education has influenced the life and ministry of a great number of priests and bishops of the new millennium.

Jerome Roehm was the 2016 Valedictorian. Completing double majors in Mathematics and Secondary Education with a perfect 4.0 GPA, he was also a captain of the Raven football team and a Varsity Catholic leader. He will work on his Master’s in School Leadership at Benedictine College and then plans to teach and coach at the junior high or high school level.

The day also featured the announcement of the annual Fran Jabara Leadership Award winners. Each year, the award is given to one male and one female graduating senior at each private, four-year Kansas college. The award indicates the high level of ability the recipients have displayed as well as the respect with which their peers and teachers view them. This year, the Jabara Leadership Awards went to Angela Lorang, an English and Theatre Arts major, and James Nistler, a Mechanical Engineering and General Engineering major. Both had been active in the college and surrounding communities and had served in residence life and ministry programs.

In another special moment during Commencement, President Minnis introduced the students who were going into religious life. Bridget Collart, Luke Friess, Janelle Guerin, Bernadette Hockel, Heidi Jirak, Colm Larkin and Emily Papini will be entering the convent, religious order or seminary after graduation. Minnis called them “the next leaders of the Church.”

Near the end of the ceremony, one of the graduates, JonElliott Brubaker, was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force during the ceremony.  Brubaker, who completed majors in Chemistry and Biochemistry, will serve in the Air Force reserves while he completes his medical schooling at Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Indianapolis.

The ceremony concluded with one of the graduates, Clare Nowak, a Music and Theatre Arts major, singing the Benedictine College Alma Mater, O Lord of Ev’ry Blessing.


Benedictine College

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is honored to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, the best private college in Kansas by The Wall Street Journal, and one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. Benedictine College is dedicated to transforming culture in America through its mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.