by: Viola Ranjha
Benedictine University celebrated its 127th anniversary with the annual Founder’s Day event on the second floor of Krasa on Friday, February 28th.
Faculty and staff came together for a few hours to enjoy a formal event with delicious food and inspirational speakers in celebration of those who work year round to in the Benedictine community.
In the spirit of the Benedictine tradition, the event opened and closed with prayer. Following, presenter Alice Cordoba Tait, D.M.A, presented the Kevin Doyle Faculty Award to Ralph Meeker Ph.D. to honor his leadership in Mission and Catholic identity. Dr. Meeker, a professor of computer science and the former interim chair of the college of science, expressed how receiving this award left him feeling “honored and humbled, as Kevin was a close friend.” He then proceeded to thank his family and talk about the accomplishments of Kevin Doyle.
“Doyle accomplished more in his 11 years here than any other faculty member,” said Meeker.
Meeker alongside with Dr. Doyle, Dr. Tracey, Abbot Hugh Anderson, and Fr. David Turner conducted a review of how Benedictine University measured up to other Catholic Universities by the Apostolic Constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae in 2003. This review was later incorporated into the University’s center for Mission and Identity.
The next speaker was an alum of Illinois Benedictine College, as it was formally known. Ray Konopka, class of ‘89, is the founder of Raize Software, which is a company dedicated to helping software developers create innovative software. Konopka double majored in mathematics and computer science, and he now works on software for Disney. After spending a semester down at University of Illinois, he realized how much he missed Benedictine and the opportunities he had.
“Not only did I start my career here, but continued to develop it in all the courses I took. The mentoring concept I experienced here I’ve continued in my company,” said Konopka.
A second award was given to eight distinguished employees of Benedictine. The Hospitality Award thanked those faculty and staff that live by the Benedictine value of respecting and loving other people first. President William J. Carroll and Vice President Charlie Gregory handed out the awards to Cathy Gaddis (Fine Arts), Jennifer Golminas (Student Success Center), Phil Hardy, Ph.D., (Political Science), Courtney Hatcher (Graduate Business Administration), Joan Henehan (Student Engagement and Leadership Development), Debbie Kirk (Business and Finance Services), Hazel Williams (Student Life) and Ellen Ziliak, Ph.D., (Mathematics).
The event ended with a prayer, and the closing remarks of Dr. Carroll. Bringing to light the important theme of “founding being a continuing process,” the university has a bright future for many years to come.