_
The Class of 1984 celebrates during the Raven Alumni Reunion Weekend.

Raven Reunion Showcases Alumni

Benedictine College welcomed home all Raven alumni for Reunion Weekend on June 7-9. Individuals reunited as they celebrated one another’s accomplishments, successes, and trials they have faced since attending the school. It was apparent that each person present embraced their personal calling of greatness. There was a real sense of purpose in their walk of life.

Beginning the celebratory weekend, the graduates were welcomed to attend a Golden Raven Banquet honoring the 50th anniversary reunion of the Class of 1974. This included a social hour, followed by an evening meal, an address from Benedictine College President Stephen D. Minnis, a distribution of blessed rosaries, and an opportunity for the alumni to speak about fond memories they held from their time in Atchison. Connections were reestablished and the faces of the attendees reflected the feeling of being welcomed home again. Hundreds of alumni had traveled for hours by car, train, and airplane to attend the event and reunite with their former classmates.

After dinner, President Minnis addressed these exceptional individuals. As he spoke, a variety of topics were touched upon, but his focus was on the influence and impact of the alumni on the current-day students.

“The place is the same, the mission is the same and we’re trying to get more and more students just like you to graduate from Benedictine College and do great things,” he said. “Pope Benedict XVI said, ‘The world promises you comfort, you are not made for comfort, you are made for greatness.’ We want our students to strive for greatness just as you have striven for greatness.”

Minnis encouraged and honored the alumni and noted that current students use alumni as models for their own lives. From the talk by President Minnis to the alumni telling their stories, it was clear that the group consisted of excellent role models.

On the evening of Saturday, June 8, the college hosted a banquet for all alumni during which three individuals were honored for their lifetime achievements, contributions to their communities, and loyalty to Benedictine College. Although different, each individual reflected the model of how to live in greatness.

The Offeramus Medal was presented to Sister Esther Fangman OSB ’72 and Mary Ketter Landon ’49, and the Kansas Monk Award went to Mike Gangel ’69.

Prioress S. Mary Elizabeth Schweiger, OSB, left, and President Stephen Minnis present the Offeramus Medal to S. Esther Fangman, OSB.

Prioress S. Mary Elizabeth Schweiger, OSB, left, and President Stephen Minnis present the Offeramus Medal to S. Esther Fangman, OSB.

Sister Esther is well-known for her compassion and empathetic response to victims of torture and violence. She obtained a doctorate in counseling at Idaho State University and made it her mission to seek out and help individuals who have experienced sexual and physical abuse. Through her listening ear and professionalism, she has empowered individuals to lead their lives in the direction in which God calls them. The impact and legacy of Sister Esther has not gone unnoticed, however, she acknowledged that the impact she has left would not have been possible without God.

“Everything else that Sister Mary Elizabeth (Schweiger, who introduced her) talked about was not possible in my imagination,” she said. “I didn’t have that imagination…there is only One Person that directed me in that, and that would be God.”

Sister Esther Fangman models a life that has been lived in greatness. She embraced her Heavenly Father and lived a life of service. Undoubtedly, she is deserving of the Offeramus Medal.

President Stephen Minnis, left, and Prioress S. Mary Elizabeth Schweiger, right, present the Offeramus Medal to Mary Ketter Landon.

President Stephen Minnis, left, and Prioress S. Mary Elizabeth Schweiger, right, present the Offeramus Medal to Mary Ketter Landon.

The second recipient of the Offeramus Medal was Mary Ketter Landon. She attended Mount St. Scholastica College in the 1940s as one of many members of the family to attend the Mount, St. Benedict’s College and Benedictine College. She was acknowledged for her everlasting impact on the Benedictine community, both through the large number of Ravens the Ketter and Landon families sent here, as well as a family scholarship, to which she still contributes.

Her family has sent 25 members through Benedictine College and the founding institutions, beginning in 1909 with her father. She was the mother of 8 children and demonstrated strong Christian beliefs and impeccable leadership qualities. The household of the Landon family reflected the values that correlate with Benedictine College’s mission, vision and values. She lives in greatness, not shying away from adversity, nor conforming to comfort.

Fr. Jay Kythe, OSB, left, and President Stephen Minnis, right, present the Kansas Monk Award to Mike Gangel.

Fr. Jay Kythe, OSB, left, and President Stephen Minnis, right, present the Kansas Monk Award to Mike Gangel.

Mike Gangel earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics at Benedictine College and went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Economics at the University of Notre Dame. After several years in sales and marketing, he acquired the Chad Company, the leading equipment designer and manufacturer of food safety products for the meat processing industry. Although he sold the business in 2011, he continued to manage it and received numerous patents. He also became a member of the College’s Board of Directors, and established an investment company that focuses on real estate. Throughout these accomplishments, he most importantly cultivated Faith into his everyday ventures. In his speech given to the gathered alumni, he spoke on how the college has impacted him on a foundational level.

“A lot of the values that I have learned while I was here have helped me through my life,” he said. As his life demonstrated, Mike sought to live remarkably.


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.