USM Honors Students and Faculty at Convocation and Hooding Ceremony

4/30/2014 12:00:00 AM

(Leavenworth, Kan.)—In the lead up to its May 10 Commencement Ceremony, the University of Saint Mary community gathered to recognize the remarkable achievements of the undergraduate class of 2014 at USM’s annual Spring Convocation Honors & Hooding Ceremony on Tuesday, April 29, in Annunciation Chapel on the university’s main campus in Leavenworth.

Reflecting on the students’ academic journeys—from admission to the present day—USM President Sr. Diane Steele said, “we gather to acknowledge what you have accomplished and who you have become… Now, you are young professionals—liberally educated men and women ready to take your place in our world; ready to advance the cause of peace and justice, to work for what is right… Now you are ready to assume your responsibility of building your piece of the kingdom of God.

“In short, you have become Saint Marians. And today, we gather to mark that transformation in this hooding ceremony—that transformation we call education.”

The University of Saint Mary is one of the few universities in the U.S. that continues the time-honored tradition of hooding its undergraduates. The hoods are worn over the graduation robes and denote a student’s specific academic discipline, and are presented to the graduating students by Sr. Steele.

“The hooding ceremony at the University of Saint Mary is one of the things that makes us unique,” Dr. Bryan Le Beau, USM’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, told the attendees on Tuesday. “Very few colleges and universities have a hooding ceremony for undergraduates. In fact, at some places, the actual hooding ceremony is only for Ph.D.’s. At Saint Mary, hooding has always been for all of our graduates, and we consider it a very special way to honor your achievement in a personal way.”

Among the students and faculty members honored at the event:

Nicholas McMillan, of Garden City, Kan., won the top student service honor—the Mother Mary Ancilla Award for Service.

During his four years at USM, McMillan was involved in multiple social justice projects and earned a well-deserved reputation as a ready and willing volunteer wherever needs arose.

“Whether it has been on campus, the Kansas City/Leavenworth area, or across the country, (Nick) has not only gotten involved in doing service, but he has initiated it,” said Sister Julie Marsh, director of USM’s campus ministry program. “He has encouraged students to serve at the food kitchen, to participate in city-wide clean-up days, to experience packaging food through our USM SWIPE program, and to participate in week long service opportunities across the country.”

Dr. Caroline Mackintosh, associate professor and director of USM’s biology program, won the Sullivan Award for Teaching Excellence. The award, plus $1,000, is presented to a full-time faculty member who has made a distinct difference in the teaching climate at USM. The Sullivan Award was created in 1990 and named for the late Sister Mary Louise Sullivan, former academic dean. The winner is nominated by students, faculty, and staff.

Dr. Le Beau said peers and students praised Dr. Mackintosh as “‘the supreme professional’… She has held a number of leadership positions in which she has made significant contributions to the university. But even more important, she has also proven herself to be an exemplary teacher, who takes a personal interest in her students and is always available to them when they need her—even after they graduate.” Dr. Mackintosh is known for “refusing to allow her students to settle for mediocrity,” Dr. Le Beau said.

Other USM student awards presented at Spring Convocation included:

  • Students Appreciating Students Award: Bridget O’Neil, of Leavenworth, Kan.
  • The Chase Student Award in Biology: John Cothern and Bridget O’Neil, both of Leavenworth, Kan.
  • The Outstanding Business Student Award: Nathan EuDaly of Kansas City, Mo.
  • All-University Honors (requires a 3.70 cumulative grade point average, participation in honors work within the major and in Honors Seminar, and Recommendation of the Honors Council for All-University Honors.):
    • Grace Behrens, of Leavenworth, Kan., Departmental Honors in English and All-University Honors
    • Jessica Budke, of Leavenworth, Kan., Departmental Honors in Psychology and All-University Honors
    • Amy Fine, of Williamsburg, Kan., Departmental Honors in Biology and Chemistry and All-University Honors
    • Jennifer Harmon, of Effingham, Kan., Departmental Honors in Psychology and All-University Honors
    • Bridget O’Neil, of Leavenworth, Kan., Departmental Honors in Biology and Chemistry and All-University Honors