Spalding commencement set for June 2; Christopher 2X, Trager, Thomas to receive honorary degrees

Steve Jones

Spalding University will hold its annual commencement ceremony on June 2 to celebrate 645 students who have completed or will complete bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees during the 2017-18 school year.

The ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. at Canaan Christian Church, 2840 Hikes Lane.

Spalding will also recognize five individuals with honorary degrees or special awards that recognize service, philanthropy, leadership and dedication to the greater good.

Community activist Christopher 2X, retired banking executive and current nonprofit leader Carl M. Thomas and banking executive Steve Trager will each receive an honorary doctorate of public service.

Nursing leader Christe Coe (Master of Science in Nursing, 2008), will receive the Caritas Medal as the university’s alumna of the year – the highest honor Spalding annually bestows. Additionally, Barbara Carter, field director for the Spalding School of Social Work, will receive this year’s Outstanding Faculty Award.

Here’s more on those five honorees:

Honorary doctorate of public service

**Christopher 2X is an anti-violence and peace advocate in Louisville who has sought to be a “voice for the voiceless” since 2004, and he has been called upon multiple times to smooth difficult situations that arise in the community. He has created or co-created campaigns such as Fight Crimes Against Children, Connected Voices, Voices of the Survivors, Put Down the Gun, Project Build a Rapport, Let the Kids Grow, Team Hope NOLA, the Respect Project and Justice for LIL 1s. In 2012, he was appointed to the mayor’s Violence Prevention Work Group, and he has been featured in national media for his work related to violent crime and incarceration issues.

He serves as ambassador of public relations for the Global Mixed Gender Basketball League, recently created by the rapper and entrepreneur Percy Miller, aka Master P, and he has started a series of Balling for a Cause youth basketball camps that focus on leadership skills.

**Carl M. Thomas is the executive director of the V.V. Cooke Foundation, which provides grants to nonprofit organizations that support religious, educational and humanitarian causes.  He retired in 2015 as president and treasurer of the Gheens Foundation after 10 years in that position. He retired in 2005 as chairman and CEO of Commonwealth Bank and Trust Co., where he worked for 14 years and was one of its founding employees. He also is former senior vice president and director of the banking division at First National Bank of Louisville/National City Bank.

Among his civic and nonprofit roles, Thomas is the board chairman of the Filson Historical Society and is on the boards of the Home of the Innocents, the Lincoln Heritage Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the Fund for the Arts, Stage One Family Theatre and Future Up. He is a former Spalding trustee.

**Steve Trager is the chairman and CEO of Republic Bank, where he has worked since 1987, and has held myriad roles in other professional, educational and charitable organizations. Trager is actively involved in the operation and retail management of Republic’s 45 banking centers in Kentucky, Indiana, Florida, Ohio and Tennessee with total assets of $5.1 billion. He is also past chairman for the Kentucky Bankers Association, the University of Louisville Board of Overseers, the 2016 Fund for the Arts Campaign and Leadership Kentucky. He is a former board member of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ Louisville Branch and the Louisville Regional Airport Authority. Trager currently serves on the Bellarmine University Board of Trustees.

Among his accolades, Trager was in 2003 named the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Man of the Year and the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Southern Ohio and Kentucky region. He was a 2004 inductee into the Atherton High School Alumni Association’s Hall of Fame and the 2005 winner of the Distinguished Alumni Award for the U of L Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. Trager served as council chair with the Boy Scouts of America for the 2009 Friends of Scouting Campaign, and he was inducted into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame in 2015.

Caritas Medal (Alumna of the year)

Christe Coe, who came to Spalding as an adult to earn her MSN, is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who has served 12 years on the Kentucky Board of Nursing, currently as the financial officer. She has been active with the Kentucky Coalition of Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Midwives and has served as a board member at Spalding, a CPR instructor for the American Heart Association and a committee member for St. Agnes parish and school. Coe is a supporter of Kosair Charities, Little Sisters of the Poor, Louisville Metro Animal Services and other charitable causes.

The Caritas Medal is presented to an alumna or alumnus who has made a significant contribution to a particular field and who embodies the qualities and spirit of service encompassed in the mission of Spalding. “Caritas” – Latin for “charity”- is included in “Caritas Christi Urget Nos” (The Charity of Christ Urges Us), which is the motto of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, the Catholic order that founded Spalding.

Outstanding Faculty Award

Barbara Carter has served as the field director for undergraduate and master’s students in the School of Social Work for more than 10 years, ensuring that students receive rigorous and relevant field experience prior to joining the profession of social work. During her time at Spalding, Carter maintains a 100 percent placement rate for students, having placed more than 700 of them in social service agencies in Kentucky and other states.

Christopher 2X head shot
Christopher 2X
Carl Thomas head shot
Carl Thomas
Steve Trager professional head shot
Steve Trager