By: Madeline Alvarez, Managing Editor
Dr. Kathleen Jagger has been Newman University’s president since the 2020-2021 academic year but was unable to be officially inaugurated because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Oct. 7, she will finally be installed as Newman’s 12th president with a day filled with activities.
No day classes will be held that day, though night classes will happen as usual.
Sr. Therese Wetta, director of mission effectiveness and the chair of the inauguration committee, said that the custom for inaugurating a president of a higher education institution is to invite the members of all colleges and universities in the state, public officials, the state’s representatives in congress and more.
“This is a big celebration,” Wetta said. “It's campus-wide, and so everybody is free from the usual activity to celebrate the day, to celebrate the university and to celebrate Dr. Jagger.”
The ceremonies will start with Mass at 10 a.m. in St. John’s Chapel. Everyone is welcome to attend. Overflow space will be set up in the Sacred Heart Basement, Eck Hall and Bishop Gerber 105, where people can watch a livestream of the Mass and the afternoon inauguration ceremony. Social distancing will be observed. The Newman Chorale and Troubadours will be singing during both the Mass and the inauguration.
After Mass, lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. A formal luncheon for invited guests will be held in the Tarcisia Roths ASC Alumni Center in Dugan Library. All other guests, faculty and staff will be served a special lunch in the Mabee Dining Center.
The installation ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. in the Performance Hall in DeMattias Hall.
Audrey Hane, professor of communication and associate dean of arts and sciences,will be the Master of Ceremonies, and Dr. Jagger will be inaugurated by receiving a special medallion, Wetta said.
Senior Shanice Gitungo, SGA president, will extend a greeting to Jagger on behalf of the student body. Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple will be offering congratulations to Jagger on behalf of the city. There will also be words of congratulations from representatives from the Diocese of Wichita, from the Adorers of the Blood of Christ and from other organizations.
Jagger will have the chance to respond in closing.
“She will give her speech of acceptance, which will outline her vision of Newman for the next few years,” Wetta said. “So that is a very significant part of that ceremony.”
After the ceremony, a reception will be hosted at 3:30 p.m. on Heritage Plaza. All are invited to attend.
Apart from the all-day ceremonies on Oct. 7, different events will also be held throughout the week of Oct. 3-9 in celebration of Jagger’s inauguration.
The week will kick off with Mass at 5 p.m. on Oct. 3 in St. John’s Chapel. A picnic hosted by Campus Ministry will follow on Dresselhaus Plaza. All students are invited to meet Dr. Jagger and celebrate.
Another event, a snack social with Jagger, will be hosted by SGA. The event will happen from 1:30 to 3 p.m. on Wednesday. Students will have the chance to hear the president’s personal story and have a Q&A session with her. This will either take place at the beginning or end of the event, Gitungo said.
Attendees can also play a game of Kahoot during the event. Gitungo said the questions will mainly be about Jagger, but other questions about Newman’s history will be included, such as who the previous NU president was.
“The goal of the snack social is to bring all the students together so they can be with Dr. Jagger,” Gitungo said. “Even though Dr. Jagger's obviously made herself very open with her drop-in hours, or she comes to a lot of events, there are still people, especially, of course, our first-year students, who aren't as close to her as maybe some of us older students are.”
Gitungo said that she believes Jagger is well-liked by the student body and that she’s been happy to work closely with her over the past two years.
“She's super awesome, jovial, very helpful, always giving good advice. And so I'm really excited to continue that work,” Gitungo said. “I'm sad that I'll be graduating and that I will be kind of moving away from her. She's an amazing person.”
PHOTO: Courtesy Photo, Newman University Magazine