Ravens Voted ‘Most Likely to Change the World’

The Fran Jabara award does not exactly mean Most Likely to Change the World, but Benedictine College presented two graduating seniors as examples of the college’s mission of community, faith and scholarship at the May 14 commencement ceremony. The college launched its new plan Transforming Culture in America to do what the early Benedictines did, using the unique Benedictine mission to make a deep and lasting difference in the world.

As Benedictine College President Stephen D. Minnis explained, “Dr. Fran Jabara established this award in 2002 to help recognize graduating seniors who display exemplary leadership skills. 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.” 

The first award recipient announced was Olivia Ortiz. She is from Olathe, Kansas and majored in Political Science and Philosophy. On campus, she served as a Resident Assistant for 3 years. She was a Constitutional Fellow, a Raven Standard mentor, a FOCUS Bible Study leader, a SOAR group leader, and a member of the Hunger Coalition. She was also a varsity athlete in Track & Field and played on the college’s club rugby team.

Along with leading on campus, Ortiz was actively engaged in the Atchison community. She served as the assistant track coach for St. Benedict Catholic School and created a summer program for the Atchison public known as Citizens Academy to inform the community about the functions and purpose of local government. She was a City Management Intern at the City of Atchison and a Case Management Intern at Hillcrest Hope Ministries. Ortiz will soon attend KU’s Master’s in Public Administration, rated as the #1 local government program in the country.

The second Fran Jabara Leadership Award recipient announced was Isaac Rudolph. He is a native of Peoria, Illinois and majored in Secondary Education, Social Science and Theology. Rudolph served the college as a Resident Assistant for 3 years and was honored with the Fr. Brendan Rolling Award for selflessness in service to Residence Life. He also participated in our first Student Conference for Transforming Culture in America. He was a Battalion Leader for the Raven Baseball team and was the team’s community service coordinator. 

Within the Atchison community, he served as a Red Cross Blood Drive leader and worked with the college’s Sleep in Heavenly Peace organization to provide beds for needy children in the area. In the fall, Rudolph plans to teach at his alma mater, Notre Dame High School in Peoria.

As Minnis commented, “He fits the Jabara criteria as a quiet leader who has contributed much to the Benedictine and Atchison communities.”


Angelica Nelson