Ask anyone who has spent time with Thomasine Stoecklein, ASC to describe her, and you will hear many of the same words and phrases: kind; helpful; likeable; genuinely caring; enthusiastic; supportive; cheerful, unflappably positive.
Those sentiments – and more – were on many people’s tongues last May, when Newman University faculty and staff members gathered for a card shower and reception to honor Sister Thomasine, who retired from Newman late last year after close to 50 years of service.
The event included comments on Sister Thomasine’s involvement and achievements at Newman and its predecessor institutions by President Noreen M. Carrocci, Ph.D., Associate Dean and Associate Professor of Education Steven E Dunn, Ed.D., Registrar Shirley Rueb, and Head Men’s Basketball Coach Mark Potter.
Sister Thomasine was born July 25, 1923 in Bazine, Kan. She entered the Adorers convent on Aug. 29, 1939, professed her first vows Aug. 10, 1941, and professed her final vows Aug. 11, 1946. Her sister, Joyce Stoecklein, was also an Adorer. Sister Joyce recently passed away.
Sister Thomasine graduated from St. John’s Academy in 1942, earned a bachelor of science degree in education from Mt. St. Scholastica College in 1953, and received a master of science degree in education from St. Louis University in 1960. After working as a teacher and principal in parochial schools in several locations in Kansas and Oklahoma, she came to Sacred Heart College as an instructor of education (she was in fact the only instructor of education) in 1961, a position she held until 1977. From 1977 to 1984, she was associate professor of education and the first chair of the Department of Education. Sister Thomasine is credited with creating the teacher education program at Newman, and with launching many aspects of the program that are now used by the education program at Newman and other universities nationwide.
After a sabbatical at St. Louis University and turns as staff member at the Acuto Center and provincial house administrator in Wichita, she returned to Newman in 1992 as a part-time transfer data recorder in the Registrar’s Office, where she worked until November 2010. Known as a loyal and enthusiastic fan of men’s basketball at Newman (she has attended most every home game since the program began in 1967), she was the inspiration for and first recipient of The Thomasine Stoecklein, ASC Spirit Award, which is bestowed by the NU Athletics Hall of Fame upon a person or group who has demonstrated outstanding spirit and sportsmanship at Newman athletic events. Sister Thomasine was awarded the Cardinal Newman Medal, the university’s highest honor, in 2009. She is now retired and resides at the ASC Wichita Center.
Photos by Edwina Pope, ASC.