Six selected to receive honorary degrees


Newman University officials selected six individuals to recognize with a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa during the Fall 2011 and Spring 2012 Commencement ceremonies. The university bestows the honorary degrees at each Fall and Spring Commencement upon notable and accomplished members of the extended Newman community based on exemplary dedication to one of the university’s four Core Values: Catholic Identity, Culture of Service, Academic Excellence, and Global Perspective.

Clare Vanderpool '87

At the Fall 2011 ceremony held Dec. 17, the university honored Clare Vanderpool for the Core Value of Academic Excellence, for her work guiding and educating young people and for her achievements as an author. After graduating from Newman in 1987 with degrees in English and Elementary Education, Vanderpool served as Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Wichita, where she planned and conducted retreats, leadership training and other projects and programs for high school students and young adults.

In 2010 she published her first novel, Moon Over Manifest, which won the prestigious Newbery Medal in January 2011. The American Library Association bestows the award each year to recognize, “the best contribution to American children’s literature.”


Kris Schrader, ASC

Dani Brought, ASC

At the Fall 2011 ceremony, Guatemala missionaries Kris Schrader, ASC and Dani Brought, ASC were honored for the Core Value Global Perspective in recognition of their ministry of education and health care for the poor in Guatemala in the name of the ASC. Schrader helped to build and now operates a school, the Maria De Mattias Education Center, which offers secondary, technical and adult education and serves as a community center. The school includes a library that serves all age groups from 14 area communities in rural Guatemala.

Brought manages the Sangre de Cristo Health Care Project, which operates medical and dental clinics and provides other services and programs to help meet the basic needs of hundreds of families. Under her leadership, the clinic is helping to improve the conditions that make Guatemala the third-most malnourished country in the world.

Most Rev. Michael O. Jackels

The Most Rev. Michael O. Jackels will receive an honorary degree during the Spring 2012 Commencement set for May 12. Bishop Jackels will be honored for the Core Value of Catholic Identity. He was appointed the 10th Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita on Jan. 28, 2005 by Pope John Paul II. Since that time, he has gained the admiration and respect of people throughout the region for his dedication to the tenets of the Catholic faith, leadership abilities, vision and intellect. He has been a staunch supporter of Newman since his arrival in the Diocese, and has appeared at the university many times to celebrate Mass and to speak in other settings, including a recent visit where he spoke on the university and Ex corde Ecclesiae (See related story in this issue).

Bishop Jackels worked for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome for eight years under Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. He earned a Doctorate in Sacred Theology (spiritual theology) at Pontifical University of St. Thomas in Rome.

Alice '85 and Dale Wiggins

Also at the Spring 2012 ceremony, Dale and Alice Wiggins will be recognized for significantly demonstrating the Core Value of Culture of Service. Alice, now retired from a career in nursing, earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Newman in 1985. Dale is a two-time graduate of Wichita State University. He is a founding partner of Daland Corporation, a management company and independent franchisee that operates 11 separate corporations that own Pizza Hut restaurants in several states. Dale and Alice have been generous supporters through both time and resources to many Catholic charitable organizations, including the Guadalupe Clinic, now a ministry of the Wichita Diocese that offers free or low-cost medical services to low-income residents. They have also been longstanding supporters of Newman University, and Dale served on the Newman Board of Trustees from 1985 to 1988.

The Wiggins have served on many Diocese committees, and recently worked on fundraising campaigns for the Diocese and for Bishop Carroll Catholic High School. They have also supported many educational and civic organizations, including Wichita State University, The Boys and Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas, Rainbows United, and others.

For more on this story, visit