Micah Kiel, Jim Hannon Will Address Two SAU Winter Commencements


St. Ambrose University will host two commencement ceremonies at the Davenport RiverCenter on Dec. 18.

A graduate and doctoral hooding/commencement will begin at 9 a.m. Micah Kiel, PhD, Professor in the SAU Theology Department, will deliver the commencement address to 74 students earning their master's degrees and another 37 doctoral degree candidates.

At 1 p.m., the University will celebrate the 145 candidates for Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees. Longtime Physical Plant Director Jim Hannon '84 will address the graduating class.

The commencement ceremonies will be the first at St. Ambrose presided over by Amy Novak, EdD, the University's first-year president."We are excited to honor our graduates in person, something St. Ambrose and many other schools were unable to do last December," Novak said. "Our graduates put in a lot of work and effort and they deserve to celebrate and be celebrated."

Kiel teaches undergraduate Theology courses and as well as courses for the Master of Pastoral Theology program. As such, his address will come from "a broad perspective from which to view the various ways the university tries to accomplish its mission and the types of values it hopes to instill in its graduates," he said. "While there are a wide variety of disciplines, there ought to be a thread connecting them all that relates to God's justice and human dignity," he added.

He said his message to 74 students earning their Masters degrees as well as 37 doctoral degree candidates will address the topic of "encounter." Inspired by Pope Francis, Kiel said he will touch upon the idea of "genuine encounter with the world, with the people around us, with people whom we might not want to encounter."

Hannon has been a member of the Ambrosian community since 1981 and his personal history is deeply tied to St. Ambrose. He met his wife, Cathy (Luksetich) '82 as a student, and each of their four sons earned SAU degrees.

Hannon has seen St. Ambrose grow both in enrollment and size through the years. He played a major role in the latter, overseeing the construction or renovation of a dozen University facilities, including Christ the King Chapel, Wellness and Recreation Center,  Rogalski Center, and the Center for Health Sciences Education at Genesis, as well as four new residence halls.

When he enrolled, Hannon said, "there were 600 beds on campus. We have 1,700 beds now."

He plans to build his commencement remarks around the concepts of mind, body, and spirit, components of the student experience Hannon's role in the renovation of Christ the King Chapel, the Wellness and Recreation Cente, and numerous campus academic facilities certainly enhanced. He will also talk about how students have enhanced his experiences as well.

"I'll try to share some insights into the things I learned from these students through the years - how they've helped open my mind to things to maybe I didn't grow up with," he said.

Hannon also said he'll express the gratitude of the campus community from beyond the classroom to the students and their parents for choosing St. Ambrose.

"A lot of people have supported them here and some they don't even know about," he noted. "There is so much that takes place behind the scenes. And we do it because we believe in the students and believe in St. Ambrose."


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