On Thursday June 1st, Friday June 2nd, and Saturday June 3rd, Spalding University celebrated its 205th commencement with a series of ceremonies honoring 496 graduates. Spalding also recognized its honorary degree recipients: Carolle Jones Clay, Jean West Losavio & C. William Weyland; its Caritas Medal Awardee Barbara Kremer Schmall; the Mother Catherine Spalding Service Learning Award recipient Ciera Carter; and the Mother Rose Meagher Senior Award recipient Lindsay West.
Spalding Alumni James “KJ” Abrams (left) with Caritas Award Winner Barbara Kremer Schmall (right)
The Class of 2023 was called to serve Spalding’s mission during a very challenging time in the world. Over the course of their studies they were made to endure a long-lasting global pandemic that turned most courses inside out. Many of this year’s graduates were also front and center for the turmoil surrounding the protests over the murder of Louisville’s Breonna Taylor. They saw social, political and cultural struggles unfold all around them, and yet they maintained their course of study and managed to earn their degree. The journey of these Golden Eagles is a source of pride and respect, and their persistence and adaptability is something to be admired.
Ciera Carter (left) and Lindsay West (right)
For the past few years Spalding has opted for several small commencement ceremonies instead of one large event for everyone. The result has been a more personal experience for graduates and their families, and a more manageable and enjoyable endeavor for faculty and staff. This year’s celebrations were touching and spirited, with many heartfelt moments all around. The same could be said of the reception for special Honorees. At each of these events, notable Spalding graduates, alums and supporters spoke about their experiences and how Spalding’s mission had a positive impact on their lives. One particularly moving moment came when Barbara Kremer Schmall accepted this year’s Caritas Medal on behalf of all long-term care nurses and said through her work she learned that “we are spirits living a human existence, and that spirit does not age.”
Ciera Carter and Lindsay West, both graduates of the School of Social Work, earned this year’s student awards. Ciara Carter received the Mother Catherine Spalding Service Learning Award, and said this about her choice to attend Spalding and her experience as a student:
I knew Spalding was a community whose goal was diversity, and being the first Deaf student to attend the social work program really appealed to me. I noticed a huge gap in resources for both Deaf and Black families and I want to be able to bridge the gap and show up for both communities. I was so appreciative that Spalding was willing to provide me with interpreters so that I could be involved in classroom learning, internship and the extra activities my class was involved in.
I am a single mother who works one full time job and one part time job, in addition to completing my social work internship. I am a non-traditional student. If I can achieve my goals, I believe anyone who works hard can achieve their goals as well. Don’t give up on your dreams to make a difference in the world. You never know whose life you might change.
Equally inspiring is our 2023 Mother Rose Meagher Senior Award recipient Lindsay West, who offered this:
I was drawn to Spalding because it allowed me an in-person classroom experience. I am a non-traditional student who desires a connection with faculty and class members. This experience did not disappoint! After turning my life around and finding sobriety I knew I wanted to make a difference in my community. Spalding has set me up to be a leader and to fight for the changes I want to see. I am someone who should not be here. I lived a life of a destructive path and I have seen all the ugliness the world has to offer. Spalding has allowed me to share my story and use it as hope for the person coming behind me. The Social Work program has helped me to grow as a person in the helping profession, as a leader in my community, and most importantly as a better human.
In total for 2023, Spalding University awarded 199 undergraduate degrees and 297 graduate degrees. Congratulations to those who were honored, as well as family, friends and supporters! And many thanks to all the faculty and staff of Spalding who worked tirelessly to offer the best commencement ceremonies possible to the deserving graduates and honorees.
The Spalding Alumni Association welcomes the members of the Class of 2023 and recognizes their generosity in contributing to the Class of 2023 gift. Thanks to Spalding Trustee Angela Leet, the 2023 Class Gift donations to Spalding have been matched up to $20.23 per graduate, and the class is guaranteed to have 100% participation in paying it forward for future Spalding students. Thank you to Angela and to all who contributed.
To see pictures of the 2023 Commencement celebrations please visit: