The medal recognizes her work expanding awareness of audiology

After working on behalf of patients with hearing loss for over 41 years, Dr. Kathryn Dowd received Spalding University’s Caritas Medal, as the university’s alumna of the year.

The Caritas Medal is the highest award bestowed by Spalding University. Dowd’s work empowering patients and providers in the field of audiology has been a long and fruitful cause.

As the founder of The Audiology Project, Dowd continues to influence healthcare policies on a state and national level. The Audiology Project is dedicated to increasing awareness within healthcare settings of hearing impairments and links to other diseases.

Hearing impairment can be difficult to identify because the condition is invisible. As a result, some patients can be misdiagnosed. For example, children may be diagnosed with behavioral conditions, when the underlying cause is actually a hearing impairment.

“We’re a very small profession,” Dowd said. “There’s only 15,000 audiologists in the United States. Hopefully this will help our profession to grow. We need more people to know about audiology. When I started in audiology, I had never heard the word before. The more I took classes, the more I realized what it does and how it can help people.”

Dowd completed her undergraduate education at Spalding University in 1972. At Spalding, she majored in French Education and spent a junior year abroad at the Catholic Institute of Paris. Her time in France informs her work to this day. Dowd explained that adjusting to a new language often felt like a barrage of sounds, which required adjustment and time to decipher. Patients receiving hearing aids have similar experiences with sounds they have been unable to hear, at a volume that is new to them.

Additionally, Dowd says Spalding laid a great foundation for her to start her career, even though she pivoted away from teaching English in France.

“Spalding gave me the freedom to think outside the box and to not feel that I had to follow a certain path,” Dowd said. “It was a liberating experience. Spalding gave us building blocks for us to understand what it’s like to be out in the world.”

Initially, she pursued a career in nursing and later specialized in the field of audiology. She earned a Master in Education (MEd) in Audiology from the University of Louisville and later a Clinical Doctorate (AuD) in Audiology from Salus University.

In 2020 the Osborne College of Audiology named Dowd the national Audiologist of the Year. She previously received the Audiology Awareness Award from the Academy of Doctors of Audiology. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recognized Dowd for numerous articles in professional journals and increasing awareness regarding hearing loss and chronic diseases.

“I’m very honored to get an award,” Dowd said. “I don’t know that I deserve it over any of the other students that went to school with me. They’ve all excelled in things that they’ve done. We had a lot of people that succeeded in their work over the past 50 years.”

A week before Thanksgiving Day, the Spalding University School of Social Work on Thursday earned its own exciting, memorable spot on the 2019 calendar.

Mayor Greg Fischer recognized the School of Social Work’s contributions to the community by proclaiming Nov. 21, 2019 as Spalding University School of Social Day in Louisville.

Joshua Watkins, Executive Administrator for the city’s Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, announced the proclamation and presented a certificate (see bottom of story) to School of Social Work Chair Dr. Shannon Cambron during a reception to honor Master of Social Work alumni.

The city-wide proclamation came on the day that the School of Social Work was celebrating the 20th anniversary of its first MSW graduating class, of which Cambron was also a member.

“It’s a little overwhelming, and looking at the proclamation, it’s kind of a weighty feeling to have a whole day that’s devoted to what we are doing here,” said Cambron, who oversees a Spalding social work school that began in the 1960s. “We are so grateful for the Office for Safe and Health Neighborhoods and to be able to support the incredible work that they do and that all of our partners do. To be recognized for the work that we support, it makes the 20th anniversary of the MSW even more special. People are acknowledging that for many years we have been out there working hard and doing good things, and now we have our own day.”

Learn More |  Master of Social Work Program

Spalding’s MSW has produced 508 graduates since 1999, with alumni moving on to work in a range of social work settings, including schools, nonprofit organizations, hospitals and government offices that impact individuals, communities and policy at large. At least seven Spalding MSW alumni, Cambron, currently serve as either a dean or chair of a university social work program.

The MSW is a growing program. Cambron said Spalding will have had a record 71 students admitted to the master’s program this year, including, for the first time, a January cohort set to start in 2020.

Additionally, from a community service perspective, the Spalding School of Social Work has been a sponsor since 2017 of the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods’ One Love Louisville Ambassador program, a civic engagement initiative aimed at preventing violence and building community. The Ambassador program’s training sessions are held in the School of Social Work’s building.

Related | Social work course on compassion helps student connect with hospital patients

Members of the social work faculty have also made valuable civic contributions.

* Dr. Cynthia Conley, who serves as the School of Social Work’s Coordinator of Graduate Studies, recently developed a survey for the Louisville Metro Police Department to gather data on how residents who identify as LGBTQ perceive the police.

* Cambron, a 2018 Bingham Fellow, and Assistant Professor Dr. Laneshia Conner are working with Jefferson County Public Schools to develop cultural humility training for teachers.

*Assistant Professor Glynita Bell is crafting new diagnostic codes around racial trauma, Cambron said.

*Associate Professor and former Chair Dr. Kevin Borders is helping perform evaluations for nonprofit organizations, Cambron said.

Spalding Graduate Dean Dr. Kurt Jefferson said the School of Social Work aligns strongly with the mission of the university and the legacy of education, service and social justice left by Mother Catherine Spalding.

“The world needs more social workers,” Jefferson said. “There’s no question about that when you look at where we are as a culture and society. What you’re doing is important not only in academic sense of research and academics – which are hugely important – but there is a moral element to the work you are doing.”

Cambron said she had been feeling pride all day Thursday as she reflected on the accomplishments of the School of Social Work and the MSW program over the past two decades. She said she is thankful for the contributions and foresight of the late former Chair Jillian Johnson, who led the school at the time the MSW was introduced. ‘

“I think that if Jill could see the work that is going on and that this faculty group is doing, I think we would get a big thumbs up,” Cambron said.

“When you think about what would be the thumbprint of the Spalding University School of Social Work not only in this community but regionally with many of our graduates, it’s our brand of teaching social justice. It’s humbling, and it’s awe-inspiring. And I think this is just the start.”

**Two members of the original MSW faculty –  Patricia Cummings and Dr. Helen Deines – were honored Thursday by Cambron and the current faculty with Legacy Awards.


Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019 marked the 30th anniversary of Spalding University President Tori Murden McClure completing a 50-day, 750-mile skiing expedition in Antarctica that ended with her becoming one of the first two women and first Americans to reach the geographic South Pole overland. She was part of an 11-member travel party who all agreed to reach the pole at the exact same time. At the time, McClure was a 25-year-old graduate student at Harvard University. Ten years later, she became the first woman and first American to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean. On Thursday, McClure, who is also a Spalding MFA in Writing alumna, reflected on the South Pole expedition.

Now 30 years later, which are your most salient memories and the first things that come to mind?

One thing that’s sort of weighing on me is that the oldest members of the expedition team were about my age now. I was the youngest member of the expedition team by about 10 years, maybe even more, and the oldest member of the expedition team was 58 and another was 56. I was like, ‘Man, they are so old!’ (Laughing.) Now I’m 55 and going, ‘Would I ski to the South Pole today?’ The average temperature was minus-25, the terrain was really rough, and you’d ski 20 miles and go to bed in a place that looks just like the place you started in the morning. But it was amazing. It was an amazing expedition.

Summarize the details of the trek – how far you went, where you started, etc.

We started at the edge of the Ronne Ice Shelf and were the first expedition to fly in – most expeditions sail into Antarctica – and we flew into a blue ice runway at latitude-longitude 80° S, 80° W, and then we had to fly out to the edge of the continent to the ice shelf. And then we began our ski in. We skied kind of through our base camp where we’d landed and kind of realized in our first couple days of skiing past back toward base camp that we had way too much stuff that we were hauling. So when we got to base camp, there were lots of big fights – that I wasn’t a part of because I didn’t have enough chutzpah to really be a part of them – about what we were going to bring. We jettisoned all the ropes, jettisoned all the ice axes, jettisoned all the stuff we would need really to get out of a crevasse if anyone fell deeply into a crevasse. So we just dumped a lot of gear and began to ski proper all the way to the South Pole. We did have one crevasse fall, Jerry Corr, but he only went in about shoulder-deep, so we just pulled him out. When we flew out, we sort of flew out over our route, and we crossed over crevasse after crevasse after crevasse and didn’t know what to think. We were lucky.

Describe some of the party you were with.

There were nine men and two women. Joe Murphy was the oldest gentleman and wrote a book about it (called, South to The Pole by Ski: Nine Men and Two Women Pioneer a New Route to the South Pole). Joe Murphy had climbed Everest and done a bunch of other stuff. We teased him and called him, “Three-toe Joe” because he’d lost some toes on Everest. Jerry Corr was 56 and was sort of the next-oldest. He was a businessman and a good skier. We had a gentleman from Chile, Alejandro Contreras-Steading, who was probably the best skier in the group and we called him Directo Alejo because there was all this sastrugi that you had to negotiate, and most of us would find a route skiing around these big hummocks and stuff, but Alejo, even if he was skiing over a book case, he would go straight, up and over, and because he was such a good skier he could pull it off. The rest of us had to go around. We had Col. J.K. Bajaj from the Indian Army who was a great mountaineer in India. He was always complaining about our pace. ‘Slowly and steadily,’ he would say. ‘We will get there, but we most go slowly and steadily. If we come to a stone, we’ll put our heads down and keep walking, but we absolutely must go slowly and steadily.’ The leader of the expedition was Martyn Williams from Canada. He was pretty extraordinary. It was a pretty good group.

How long did it take?

It took 50 days to cross Antarctica.

Describe what a day of skiing in Antarctica feels like or what you would see.

We skied nine hours a day, seven days a week. Skied on Christmas, skied on New Year’s, and there was just a couple days when we couldn’t move because the winds were too strong. So we averaged about 20 miles a day. There were seven days when we traveled in whiteout conditions, and whiteouts would come down on the surface of the snow and you couldn’t see anything. We’d build these cairns to help folks navigate. I took great pride in that I led the first hour and a half each morning. Everybody else did one-hour stints, so we had an extra half-hour in the day for a five- or 10-minute break. Each time we changed a leader, we would take time to gather up and put wax on our skis or eat a little something. I discerned the great advantage of having a bra because I could put my Snickers bar or whatever it was I wanted to eat the next hour in my bra and let it thaw. The guys had to put stuff in their underwear, which I’m sure was much less comfortable. (Laughing.)


How long could your skin ever be exposed before it would freeze?

It would freeze pretty quickly. As I recall, true cold begins at minus-40, and there were a couple days that got that cold, and we couldn’t ski because your skis stop at minus-40. Nothing slides. There’s not enough moisture left to let any skis slide, so it didn’t get that cold very much, but there were a couple days. That’s also about where our thermometers stopped. That’s also the place where if you have spit or have any liquid leaving your body, it freezes before it leaves the ground.

Did you ever try that?

In terms of relieving myself, you would end up with a stalagmite when you were peeing, which was pretty funny. (Laughing.)

So going back to the very start, what made you want to do this? How did you even get hooked up with this trip?

It’s one of those shaggy-dog tales where I had been climbing a mountain in Bolivia, and a French woman told me about this expedition where they were looking for a few good women. Obviously men had skied to the South Pole, but no women had skied to the South Pole. I thought, ‘That’s crazy. That’s going to be really cold, and I’d never want to do that.’ But it was one of those ideas that got ahold of me once I heard about it. So I heard that they didn’t want anyone on the expedition under 30. I was 24 at the time. I’d done a bunch of stuff. (But for an expedition like this one), the physical hardship is one thing, but the sort of wear and tear psychologically is even more challenging; hence, they didn’t want any kids on the trip. So I wrote to the expedition leader sort of thinking I’d be set aside just on my age. But they were going to be doing a training exercise on Mount Rainier and invited me to come out. He didn’t make any promises, said, ‘I think you’re too young, but come meet the folks who might be on the expedition.’ So I went out, and I was bigger and stronger than anybody else. We climbed Rainier and did a bunch of skiing around Rainier. It was pretty early in the season – there was still about 10 feet of snow at Paradise Inn. And I got in a snowball fight with Martyn Williams, the expedition leader, and at one point, kind of picked him up and threw him over a car. (Laughing.) We were just tussling. I didn’t really think too much about it. The other thing was it was storming pretty badly on Mount Rainier, and we crested a sort of a ridge. And I remember standing on this hummock and spouting a passage from King Lear: “Blow wind and crack your cheeks! Rage, blow!” So that sense of being comfortable in adversity and then throwing him over the car are what got me on the expedition. (Laughing.)

What was your skiing background?

Oh, virtually none. So I trained on roller skis, skiing the bike paths along the Charles River while I was a student at Harvard. I had to get permission from Harvard to take off 2 ½ months in the middle of the academic year to ski to the South Pole. I said, ‘I think if you let me do this I’ll be able to get a thesis out of it.’ So I wrote thesis at Harvard called, “The Theology of Adventure,’ where I juxtaposed the backcountry adventure with what I consider the vastly important more urban adventure. It’s sort of like where Spalding is. Spalding is the urban adventure, and the backcountry adventure is where you can practice the persistence, the resourcefulness, the endurance to make a difference in this world.

So back to the actual skiing, what did it feel like as you started to get close to the South Pole?

When you’re starting the journey, 750 miles seems daunting. I remember that we had to change our route a little bit because when I was heading into the expedition, I had it in my head that it was going to be 600 or 650 miles. There was something – I forget if it was a political thing or something else – that made us change our route, and it added another 100 miles. I remember thinking that I couldn’t conceive how far that was on foot. I’d been on an expedition that covered about 300 miles on foot, so I knew it was just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other, but that extra distance was like, ‘Wow, I hope we can make it.’ When we started, as soon as we got off the ice shelf, we were in really gnarly sastrugi, and you always had the sense, ‘Over the next hill, this is going to go away. Over the next hill, this is going to go away.’ And it didn’t for, hmm, 700 miles. There were better patches and worse patches. But then you got on the Polar Plateau, and the Polar Plateau was flat, and it was like, ‘Wow, this is awesome.’ So you’re skiing along the Polar Plateau and you hear this (imitates loud rumbling, whooshing, shaking sound). And what was happening was that as we were skiing along the Polar Plateau, we were breaking off huge sheets of frozen snow that were settling down into softer layers of snow. And to anyone who has spent time in avalanche country, the sound of that ice breaking and the sound of the ice settling or really hard snow settling into a softer layer, just makes you think, ‘I’m going to die,’ because it’s just the sound of an avalanche kicking off. We were starting to kick off these big, probably miles-long, these ice cracks. If you’re leading and you’re the one who kicks it off and can kind of feel the ice settle a couple inches down, you’re like, ‘I hope this stops dropping!’ and looking at each other. Then when we realized what was happening and that we were probably just fine, you settled into it. But being on the Polar Plateau was just awesome. As you approach the pole, the wind gets less because the wind blows north off the Polar Plateau toward the ocean, so it doesn’t matter what direction you’re skiing to the South Pole from, you’re going into a headwind and it picks up speed as it approaches near the coast. So in the start of the journey, you’re in the worst snow and the hardest winds. So on the Polar Plateau, the winds started to drop a little bit, the snow settled down and you had a sense, ‘It’s just another 100 miles. I can do that.’ And there is a photograph of that last day of, ‘We’ve done it,’ with the looks on our faces as we’re approaching the pole. There were thoughts of home, thoughts of all sorts of other things in that introspection in that one photograph.

There’s a research station at the South Pole. They have a snow runway for ski planes, and the scientists aren’t allowed out past the runway. There were sort of rules of where they can go and can’t go. So here we are skiing in from across the continent, and there’s this group of people lined up along this line of runway that they’re not allowed to cross. And we come skiing in. There were lots of congratulations. They took us into the South Pole station, which is geodesic dome. And inside the dome are refrigerator trucks that are heated, instead of refrigerated. They took us into a cantina. I don’t really remember what they gave us. (What was memorable) was the heat and the smell of both of the researchers and mostly us, because if your clothes aren’t thawed out, they don’t smell all that badly. But once we started to thaw out, we smelled pretty badly. It had been 50 days since I’d had a shower. And I’d wear two pairs of socks that I’d alternate back and forth, and by the end of the expedition they really could stand up by themselves. (Laughing.)

I don’t remember if we spent the night or not, but as I recall, there was a Twin Otter (airplane) that came out to get us from our base camp, and we packed the airplane and left. As we were flying back, we had dropped the fuel cache for the airplane because it didn’t have the fuel capacity to get back from the South Pole to base camp without that fuel camp. But it was storming and we couldn’t land where the fuel was. So we had to land elsewhere, and the pilot brought us down between two huge crevasses, and we spent a couple days waiting for the weather to break to get back to the fuel cache to get back to our base camp. There was a little bit of radio communication from there but not much, and when we got back to base camp, there was a good communication system. So there were all sorts of folks who wanted to talk to us. I remember feeling kind of ticked off that they were paying all this attention to me (as one of the women on the trip) and none to the men and not paying any attention to the men on the expedition and just feeling the unfairness of that. When we got back to Chile and there was a press conference or something, they’d say, ‘What was it like to be a woman skiing to the South Pole?’ I answered the question as politely as I could and as often as I could, ‘Look, it was just like being a man skiing to the South Pole. I did everything they did. They did everything I did.’ Finally, something in me snapped and said, ‘The only difference is when nature called, I had to drop my trousers and they didn’t.’ (Laughing.)

You all arranged it to where you all would reach and touch the pole at the exact same time. What was that moment like?

There was something really sweet about it. There are sort of two South Poles. There’s the ceremonial South Pole, which is like a barber pole with a globe on top. The actual South Pole is more of a giant nail or a spike, and it says, ‘Geographic South Pole,’ and every year on the first of January, they relocate it and it moves 15 or 20 feet because the ice shifts. So they had just moved it the first of January, and we were there on Jan. 17, so I’m pretty sure we were right over the actual pole. We all circled it and stopped and touched it. Then it was the letdown of going home and making sense of it all.

Which was harder between skiing to the South Pole and rowing solo across the Atlantic Ocean?

Physically, the ski was more difficult. Psychologically, the row was more difficult because of the solitude. You really couldn’t talk much while you were skiing because it was really hard to ski side by side and the wind was always blowing and you had to shout to be heard just a few feet away, but there at least in the evenings and the cook tent, you could converse a little bit.

Now, 30 years later, as this comes up in your speeches and conversations with students, which lessons or themes do you try to impart when you talk about the journey to the South Pole?

(McClure summarized that one story she tells frequently is of the time when, while wearing her glacier glasses, she was skiing toward what she thought was an ice landmark in the distance. She kept trying to ski toward it even as a member of her expedition kept telling her that she was veering off course. And as it turned out, what she was seeing was a piece of ice that was stuck to her glasses.)

The one I tell most often is the glacier glasses story, which is to say we get to choose the path we follow. I don’t know how many times I’ve told that story, but it’s always a little bit different lesson for every audience. For young people in particular, though, it’s we get to choose the landmarks that we follow, the people with which we align ourselves, the organizations we choose to serve. We get to choose those things, and choose with care, because it does matter.


  • Join us at 3 PM ET (2 PM CT/1 PM MT/12 PM PT) to learn more about the Naslund-Mann School of Writing...

    July 30 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

    MFA Virtual Open House

The Spalding University Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program is pleased to announce that award-winning author Leah Henderson has joined the faculty in the area of Writing for Children and Young Adults.

Henderson’s novel One Shadow on the Wall was an Africana Children’s Book Award notable book and a Bank Street Best Book of 2017, starred for outstanding merit. Her short story “Warning: Color May Fade” appears in the YA anthology Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America. Her forthcoming picture books include Mamie on the Mound, A Day for Rememberin’, and Together We March.

A teen mentor and avid traveler, Henderson’s volunteer work has its roots in Mali, West Africa. She attended Callaloo Writing Workshop at Oxford University, is a faculty member of the Highlights Foundation, and volunteers with Kweli Journal and We Need Diverse Books. She holds the MFA in Writing from Spalding University and lives in Washington, D.C.

“Leah Henderson is a rising star among writers for children and young adults and with good reason,” MFA Program Director Kathleen Driskell said. “She’s a marvelous writer— and as a teacher she’s just the sort of faculty member we value at Spalding. She has an adventurous intellect and a deep well of knowledge to draw from, and she is a supportive, generous member of the literary community. She’ll be an engaged and challenging mentor for our students, and I’m elated she’s joined our faculty.”

  • Join us at 3 PM ET (2 PM CT/1 PM MT/12 PM PT) to learn more about the Naslund-Mann School of Writing...

    July 30 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

    MFA Virtual Open House

  • Learn more about the Doctor of Social Work program.

    September 4 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

    Info Session: DSW

  • Learn more about the Doctor of Social Work program.

    October 17 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

    Info Session: DSW

Almost 20 years after she became one of Spalding University’s first graduate-level social work students, Shannon Cambron has ascended to the top leadership position in the School of Social Work.

Cambron, who holds bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Spalding and has been a member of its social work faculty since 2004, was promoted to become the School of Social Work’s new permanent chair in July after spending last year as the acting chair. She previously served nine years as director of Spalding’s Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) program.

“It’s humbling,” Cambron said. “This is a university that has invested in me, has shown a commitment to me and has given me the opportunity to come back and engage and share that commitment with other students. … I feel I’ve been given this privilege, this mantle to take this school that has meant so much to me and to so many in the community and help elevate it to a place that it can reach even more people and prepare even more students to do even greater work.”

It’s been part of a big 2018 for Cambron, who also was selected for the Louisville Leadership Center’s Bingham Fellows, from which she’ll graduate on Jan. 17. The group of civic leaders has been working all year on projects related to the theme of “A Safe and Thriving City: Strengthening Our Community’s Ability to Prevent Violence.” The topic aligns with Cambron’s expertise relating to racial equity and her research pertaining to youth gun violence.

Spalding Provost Dr. Joanne Berryman said Cambron’s work in the classroom and in the community makes her a strong role model for Spalding students.

“Dr. Cambron demonstrates Spalding University’s mission in her role as teacher, mentor and coach to our students,” Berryman said. “We are proud that she was chosen to participate in the prestigious Bingham Fellows program.”

Cambron, who holds a doctorate of education in leadership (EdD) from Spalding, is confident that Spalding can establish itself as the premier social work school in the region by building on a renewed emphasis on community engagement while developing innovative programs to meet the needs of the times in the profession. She said the School of Social Work at Spalding has a faculty of “rock stars.”

“These are people with passion and energy, who when you ask what they think about something, there’s no reticence to tell you what they think,” Cambron said. “My job is to get my track shoes on and keep up with them and help them do the things we want to do. We’re going to do some amazing things because the challenges of our community and our world require it.”

To that end, Cambron said the School of Social Work has expanded its list of elective courses for its major students, with classes related to sexuality, addiction, trauma, racism and other issues that face today’s social workers.

Cambron said Spalding plans to expand training programs for social workers, post-degree, who are interested in becoming cutting-edge, justice-oriented leaders of social service organizations and agencies. The launch for this expanded programming is set for summer of 2019.

Chauncey Burnett, who received his bachelor’s degree from the School of Social Work in June and is now in the master’s program, said Spalding’s social work programs will be in good hands with Cambron.

He said “truth” is the one word that comes to mind when he thinks of everything Cambron does and says.

He said Cambron has always been there for him and has always made him feel comfortable in opening up and expressing his ideas and concerns.

“That’s why I was able to be successful,” Burnett said. “If there’s a person I need, I can always call on Dr. Cambron.”

Earlier this year, upon her selection to Bingham Fellows, Cambron said that she believes she has found herself in a “phenomenal sweet spot” in her career, enjoying the opportunity to work with students at Spalding while also being encouraged by the university to maintain a role outside the classroom in social work and civic engagement.

“It’s really evident that the university is living out its mission with every opportunity it gets,” she said.

Cambron, who has served on boards and committees of the Jefferson County Juvenile Justice Advisory Council and the Race Community and Child Welfare initiative, has brought relevant experience and expertise to this year’s Bingham Fellows topic, which focuses on finding solutions to violence in the city.

In 2016, she, along with community activist Christopher 2X, held focus groups with teenagers on topics related to access to guns and the causes of violent conflicts. The project originated through their connections with University of Louisville Hospital’s trauma center, whose doctors and nurses treat victims of violence.

Cambron said some of the information she gathered from the teenagers was “eye-opening and “shocking,” especially as they discussed the ease at which young people can get access to a gun by communicating over social media and the speed at which minor conflicts can escalate when pictures, videos and messages are shared.

Cambron said it’s important that everyone in the city recognizes and understands these serious issues, regardless of whether or not they’ve personally experienced violence in their own neighborhood.

“If it happens to you, it happens to me,” she said. “If it enhances your life, it enhances my life. If it reduces your life, it reduces mine.”

Christopher 2X, who last summer received an honorary doctorate in public service from Spalding, called Cambron “a phenomenal talent.”

“With her skill sets on listening,” he said, “and then using her God-given gifts to relate back and let that person know, ‘I understand the place you’re coming from. Now let’s work on a way for a better way forward for you,’ she’s phenomenal in the way she relays that kind of message.”

  • Learn more about the Doctor of Social Work program.

    September 4 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

    Info Session: DSW

  • Learn more about the Doctor of Social Work program.

    October 17 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

    Info Session: DSW

NAZARETH, Kentucky – As Spalding University celebrates its founding body – the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth – and all Spalding alumni the next two days during Founders’ Weekend, the university will welcome the new leaders of that founding body to campus, and, appropriately, they’re all Spalding alumni.

The new SCN Central Leadership Team was installed on Aug. 25 with three Spalding alumnae at the helm: Sister Sangeeta Ayithamattam as president and Sisters Jackulin Jesu and Adeline Fehribach as vice presidents. Sisters Sangeeta and Jackulin are both from India, and it’s the first time that two India natives are on the Central Leadership Team.

All three are expected to attend the Spalding Founders’ Weekend reunion dinner on Saturday evening.

They’ll serve a five-year term leading an SCN congregation that includes hundreds of sisters participating in ministries in five countries: the United States, India, Nepal, Botswana and Belize.

“We keep searching for ways to reach out in compassion and justice and to speak our truth in the spirit of the gospel,” Sister Sangeeta said. “I believe Spalding is following in that path and tradition.”

As a 26-year-old, Sister Sangeeta came to Nazareth and Spalding in 1985, her first time ever in the United States. She majored in business administration with a minor in biology. The business program was a small one at the time, and she was its only international student. She knew that when she came to Spalding that she would eventually be headed back to India to pursue SCN ministries and to work in hospitals, and she said her college education prepared her well.

“There was such a friendly atmosphere, a welcoming atmosphere, which helped me a lot to get adjusted,” she said. “That time really stretched my world view about things, and I found the education system as very broadening. It really prepared me.”

Sister Sangeeta graduated in 1988 and went on to earn a master’s in hospital administration at Xavier University. She worked in administration at three hospitals in India and has served in various SCN leadership roles, including the term that just ended as vice president alongside President Susan Gatz, SCN, who’s also a Spalding alumna.

Sister Adeline, who is a Louisville native and alumna of Angela Marici High School, graduated from Spalding in 1974. She also served on the Spalding faculty from 1996 to 2007 as a religious studies professor.

“It was a good time for me,” she said of her undergraduate years. “I had some really good teachers, many of whom were our own sisters. My time there (as a student and a faculty member), especially my early days, were quite fulfilling. I thoroughly enjoyed working with the people in what was then the College of Arts and Sciences. We had a great group.”

Sister Adeline, who was the provincial of the SCN Western Province from 2012-17 and vice provincial from 2007-12, also holds a master’s in theological studies from Catholic Theological Union and a doctorate in scripture from Vanderbilt.

“I was the first college graduate in my family,” she said, “and I know many of the students at Spalding are first-generation college students. It’s important that Spalding continues to be that niche in Louisville.”

Sister Jackulin, whose work has also primarily been in hospital administration, studied nursing at Spalding from 1990 to ’94. Known as “Jackie from India” because she had three classmates and a dean who were also named Jackie, she was, like Sister Sangeeta, the only international student in her program.

“It was a great experience,” Sister Jackulin said. “My classmates were so good to me.”

She fondly recalls her commencement ceremony in which she won the nursing class’ humanitarian award as voted on by faculty and students.

Sister Jackulin passed her nursing boards and did a brief stint as a nurse in Lexington before returning to India to work in nursing, then administration at various hospitals.

By doing her clinical work in hospitals all around Louisville, “nursing at Spalding gave me a good foundation” for her work in India, she said.

Sister Jackulin said there are many Spalding SCN alumni serving outside the United States, spreading the spirit of service and compassion that Mother Catherine Spalding helped foster.

“But even if they have not studied at Spalding, the Spalding spirit is there – in ministries across India, Nepal, Botswana,” Sister Jackulin said. “Mother Catherine found that spirit, and we carry it everywhere we go. She responded to whatever the need was at that time, whether it be cholera, caring for orphans, whatever it was at that time, and her legacy is lived out today wherever the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth are.”





Two authors who are faculty members of the Spalding University Master’s of Fine Arts in Writing program have received new accolades.

Silas House, who is a member of the Spalding MFA program’s fiction faculty as well as a Spalding MFA alumnus, had his new novel, Southernmost, placed on the 25-member longlist of candidates for the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.

Meanwhile, Lesléa Newman, a Spalding MFA faculty member in the concentration of writing for children and young adults, has been named a winner of the Matthew Shepard Foundation’s Making a Difference Award for her writing and work involving the LGBTQ community.

The Carnegie Medal for which House has been longlisted recognizes the best fiction book for adult readers published in the United States in the previous year while serving as a guide to help adults select quality reading material. The award is presented by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the American Library Association’s Booklist publication and the Reference and User Services Association.

The short list of three finalists will be announced on Oct. 24, and the winner of the Carnegie Medal for fiction will be announced on Jan. 27.

House, who won Spalding’s 2015 Caritas Medal as the university’s alumnus of the year, is teaching a community writing workshop next month at Spalding in conjunction with the program’s fall residency.  He is also the National Endowment for the Humanities Chair in Appalachian Studies at Berea College.

Lesléa Newman MFA faculty headshot
Lesléa Newman

Newman’s award comes from the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which advocates for the LGBTQ community while seeking “to erase hate by replacing it with understanding, compassion and acceptance,” according to its website. The organization was started by the parents of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student who died after being brutally attacked in 1998.

Newman is the creator of 70 books, including many children’s books that feature LGBTQ characters. In 2012, she published October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard, which explores the impact of Shepard’s murder through many poetic voices. Her newest children’s book, Gittel’s Journey: An Ellis Island Story, based on her own family history of immigration, will be published in February 2019.

Olympic figure skater and bronze medalist Adam Rippon is the Matthew Shepard Foundation’s other 2018 Making a Difference Award honoree.

RELATED: Read bios on all Spalding MFA in Writing faculty members

As part of Founders’ Weekend, Spalding University hopes alumni and the community at large will come get acquainted with its newest campus green space on Oct. 5-6 and take time to eat, drink and play some games.

Spalding welcomes the public to its inaugural free Founders’ Weekend Fall Festival at newly opened Trager Park from 4-9 p.m. that Friday and Saturday. There will be lawn games, including a nine-hole miniature golf course, inflatables, food trucks and beer served by Great Flood Brewing. AT&T Fiber is another sponsor.

The park is located at the corner of South Second and West Kentucky streets, and free parking will be available at the former Kroger building.

Bellissimo and Georgia Sweet Potato Pie Co. will offer food on Friday, and Street Food King will on both days.

“I think there will be a good variety of activities – food, games, music, the Spalding community and the nearby community, too, “ said Shaun McDonough, Spalding’s new director of student activities and recreation. “So I think it’ll be a great mixture for everyone.

“This being a big activity in Trager Park is really great, and I know in my role, I’m looking at what can we use that space for, whether it be intramurals or other things in the future.”

Trager Park is a 2.2-acre grassy park with 100 newly planted trees. It opened in November 2017 after the property was transformed from an unused asphalt lot. The fall festival will be one of the first official university events held at the park, and it’ll certain to be the biggest so far.

“We’re just seeing how things are growing at Spalding and how we’re just trying to do more,” McDonough said.

With alumni in town for reunion weekend and visiting prospects and their parents on campus, Spalding is hoping for a big festival crowd. The Spalding festival will also be the same weekend as the St. James Court Art Show, held up a short distance away in Old Louisville, and Spalding hopes St. James fans will stop by Trager Park afterward.



While dozens of graduates from Spalding University Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy work in and around Louisville, many other alumni have found jobs across the country that they said pay well and are personally fulfilling. Here, we highlight one of them, Clarissa Tenido Perry, who works at the Villa Pueblo Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center in Pueblo, Colorado.

Clarissa Tenido Perry, a native of Hawaii who attended high school in West Virginia, got job offers in Southern Indiana and in Colorado – where she wanted to be – shortly after graduation from ASOT in 2015.

“Anywhere on the West Coast, there are a lot of jobs,” she said. “Anywhere in the South and in any rural areas there are plenty of jobs.”

She said she felt eager and prepared to go work out west after Spalding placed her at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland for her Level II fieldwork.

Tenido also got her bachelor’s in health science from Spalding, participating in the bridge program in which senior undergraduates can begin working toward their graduate-level OT coursework and finish a year sooner. She said she enjoyed the small class size of the ASOT program.

“I felt like it was more of a family atmosphere, and that was really nice,” she said. “They promoted that feeling and culture. … I think Spalding helped me become a well-rounded therapist. I’m doing a little bit of outpatient and a little bit of skilled nursing. But if I wanted to go on into mental health, or community therapy, I would be able to do it with all the knowledge and all the education I received from Spalding. So I would highly recommend it. I think they did an excellent job in educating and getting me ready for whatever setting I chose to work in.”

Learn more about the Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy.

Watch a video about the Spalding Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program.

Register for a Aug. 28, 2018 Spalding OTD info session.

Tom CoxWhile dozens of graduates of Spalding Univesity’s Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy  work in and around Louisville, many other alumni have found jobs across the country that they said pay well and are personally fulfilling. Here, we highlight one of them – 2015 alumnus Tom Cox, who is a hand therapist in Florida. 

Tom Cox credits his Spalding Level II fieldwork under and current ASOT faculty member Dr. Greg Pitts for setting him on the path to success in hand therapy. He said that right after graduation, he earned a job in Washington, D.C., making $79,000 initially and that within the first year received a raise to six figures. As of the summer 2018, he works under a group of hand surgeons and orthopedic surgeons in South Florida.

Cox said Pitts instilled in him the “Four C’s” of a successful therapy practice – caring, communication, confidence and competence. “His big philosophy is that if you love patients, they recognize that, and you’ll never be slow at your clinic,” Cox said. “That’s how I’ve operated, based on his philosophy. If patients know you genuinely care about them, genuinely love them, and are genuinely invested in them getting better, they’ll bend over backwards for you with what you ask of them.”

From 2013-17, 95 percent of Spalding graduates passed the National Board Certification of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam, which is required to become a registered and licensed occupational therapist. Cox said he was impressed by the way the Spalding faculty prioritizes board exam preparation.

“At Spalding, you’ve got some of the best professors in the nation, in my opinion,” Cox said. “You had really good professors who were passionate about the subjects, so they armed you with the information you need. And they prepare you for that NBCOT extremely well, and that’s what you want to be prepared for. If a program doesn’t prepare you for the boards, it’s not worth going to. … If anyone wants to be set up for success, Spalding would be the place to go.”

Learn more about the Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy and its new doctor of occupational therapy (OTD) program.