Rosemary Niedens personal connection with Salvation Army led to board decision


Newman University Associate Vice President of Academic Services and Student Development Rosemary Niedens has been very active with the Salvation Army since 2000. When she was asked to serve as Chair of the Advisory Board Council, she was honored, but wanted to be sure it was the right job for her.

Associate Vice President for Academic Services and Student  Development Rosemary Niedens in her office in Sacred Heart  Hall.

Associate Vice President for Academic Services and Student
Development Rosemary Niedens in her office in Sacred Heart

Niedens came to the organization because she was recommended by former Newman University President Tarcisia Roths, ASC., who served on the Advisory Board Council until 2000.

Niedens knew that accepting the Chair position was a three-year commitment – one year as board Vice Chair, one as Chair, and one as Past Chair.

She ultimately decided to accept the appointment, in large part because of two personal connections with the organization and its mission.

“When I was talking to my mom and dad about doing it, my dad told a story about when he was in World War II and the kindness the Salvation Army had shown him and all the troops many times,” Niedens said. “He said he always remembered them giving them coffee and donuts when they were on trains moving from here to there. He said ‘Rosemary, I would be so proud if you worked for the Salvation Army because they are such good people. They care so much about the people they serve.’”

Niedens said her family has always been very involved in service.

“The last service my dad did before he passed away was for the Salvation Army,” she said. “He rang bells the Christmas before he passed away. He was always so happy to ring bells.

The Advisory Board oversees major planning and administration of Salvation Army activities in Wichita. The board develops goals and creates a strategic plan to achieve them. As Chair, Niedens leads meetings, develops consensus and plays a part in ceremonial events. She estimates that it takes roughly 15 hours per month.

“[The position] is very enjoyable in many ways,” she said. “Is it more enjoyable than ringing bells, or handing out toys to a little kid at Christmas distribution, or helping with a homeless person, or of 101 other things that they do? I don’t know if it’s more fun but you feel like you’re helping make these other things happen.”

Over the past 14 years, Niedens has been a part of the organization’s Nominating Committee, Youth Advisory Council, Executive Committee and Christmas Committee. She was also one of the founders of the Program and Services Committee, of which she is also chair, and served as a bell ringer.

Over the years, the Newman community has worked closely with the Salvation Army. Among other things, Newman has sent a large group of volunteers to help with the Christmas distribution for more than 25 years. Niedens said she consistently strives to maintain a strong relationship between Newman and the Army.

Niedens said because of her personal connection to the Salvation Army through her father, her love of the organization, and the university, accepting the post was actually an easy decision.

“They talk in their mission about meeting human need where it exists without discrimination. It doesn’t make a difference who it is; if somebody is in need, you have to try to meet that need. That’s very consistent with the core values and the foundational identity documents of Newman, and very consistent with the mission of the Sisters: being a compassionate companion, walking together with people in need, and always being there for the outcast and marginalized.”

–Kati Bush ’16