80th Anniversary Celebration features ‘Cyberhunt,’ bells and more


Newman University students, staff, faculty and friends enjoyed a number of special events Sept. 12 to mark the 80th Anniversary of the institution’s founding. Among the activities were a “cyberhunt,” where students, staff and faculty were challenged to solve emailed clues throughout the day to find a “virtual” medallion, as well as “birthday” receptions, bells chiming, and a prayer service and gathering with the Adorers of the Blood of Christ. Also featured were an expanded historic video, and special editions of the Vantage student newspaper and Up to the Minute e-newsletter.

Part of the 80th Anniversary Celebration included the unveiling and dedication of an Historic Cedar Tree Slab, now on display in the Heritage Room in Sacred Heart Hall. The slab was made from a tree that stood on the west side of Sacred Heart Hall, which is thought to be one of several planted in 1888-89 by the Most Rev. J.J. Hennessy, first bishop of the Diocese of Wichita, on the grounds of what is now Newman University. The tree was felled in a lightning storm Aug. 3, 2011. It was believed to be one of the oldest trees in west Wichita at the time. The cross section of the tree is decorated with small flags near rings corresponding to years of significant development for Newman, and are noted in the overall display.

In addition to the slab, wood from the tree was used by Newman University Board of Trustees member and former Newman chaplain and coach Tom Welk, CPPS, to make four benches. Two now sit at the entrance to St. John’s Chapel in Sacred Heart Hall. Some of the wood from the tree was also fashioned into blocks used as centerpieces at the 2013 Party on the Plaza. Blocks will also be used as alumni awards in the future.


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