With Commencement approaching on June 1, Spalding is publishing a series of stories and Q&A’s that highlight students from a range of degree programs who are set to graduate. First to be featured is Madison Ezell, a candidate for a bachelor of fine arts in studio art degree, who is also a Spalding residence hall advisor and social media ambassador.  

What is your favorite Spalding memory?
My favorite Spalding memory is when I got the opportunity to go to New York with a group of art students. On that trip I was able to see so much cool art, eat some really unique food and made so many fun memories with my friends. This trip gave me the opportunity to see so much art in real life, and I loved being able to get inspiration from everywhere I looked. Having the opportunity through Spalding to travel helped me develop my work and expand my understanding of art and art history.

What accomplishments are you most proud of during your time at Spalding?
I am most proud of the work I have put into my job as an RA. I feel like I have had the opportunity to constantly learn and grow through doing, and I have been able to develop leadership and organizational skills that I will take with me into my future career. I value the work I have been doing to help residents and to make their campus living experience better.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?
My favorite spot on campus is the main gathering area of the Egan Leadership Center. I have spent so much time with my friends there eating lunch and hanging out. It’s always a good meeting spot for us, and of course the POD is very close by if we want to grab something to eat.

At Spalding, we like to say that, “Today is a great day to change the world.” For many of our students, Commencement is a world-changing experience. After graduation, how do you plan to change the world, big or small, and who inspires you to be a #spaldingworldchanger?
I want to be able to bring art to people. I hope that once I graduate I will have the opportunity to expose people to art that will inspire them. I also want to keep making art that communicates ideas and makes people think about important issues. I am inspired by my group of friends because we help one another to create and encourage one another to pursue ideas. I think having a good network of supportive and creative people in my life has greatly contributed to my development as an artist and as a person.

At commencement on Saturday, Spalding President Tori Murden McClure ended the program with a closing charge to the graduates in the class of 2018. Her remarks included a top 10 list of maxims and words of wisdom. Here, again, is President McClure’s top 10:

1. If the carrot is big enough, you can use it as a stick.

2. Road blocks only block the road. … They do not block the grass, the path, the water or the way less traveled. … Road blocks just block the road.

3. Silence is golden, and if silence should fail you remember that duct tape is silver.

4. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. … I have had several. … I have many more planned. Or the corollary, I may grow old, but I will never be old enough to know better.

5. Not every problem you face can be solved, but no problem can be solved if not faced.

6. Learn from the mistakes of others. You cannot live long enough to make them all yourselves..

7. Do not burn bridges. Just loosen the bolts a little each day.

8. If you have to keep something that you are doing a secret, then perhaps you should not be doing it.

9. This is an important one for university presidents: Don’t take yourself too serious. No one else does.

10. Do not believe everything you think, or as Socrates said, all I know is that I know nothing.

Spalding Director of Student Engagement Anna Foshee is earning her master of science in business communication degree (MSBC), which is a popular program for Spalding employees who choose to continue their education. With commencement coming up at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 2, Foshee, who is Manual High School and Butler University alumna, discussed her experience as a Spalding grad student.

What’s your favorite memory while going through the MSBC program?

I’ve really enjoyed getting to know other people at the university who work here because a lot of folks are in this program, so it’s kind of introduced me to a lot of different departments – advancement, athletics, admissions. One thing that was really meaningful was that I, along with two other Spalding folks from admissions, were asked to do a joint capstone project, which I think was the first time they ever allowed a group capstone. That was something that meant a lot to all of us, and we were excited to present a really good piece and sort of expand the options for students moving forward as far as group projects and assignments moving forward.


What accomplishments are you most proud of as a student at Spalding?

I was really proud of myself for completing the finance course because I’m someone who typically struggles with math and sciences, and Professor (Derek) Bonifer was the instructor for the class, and he was really amazing at sort of relating it back to everyday life and how you can use finance not only in the business sense but in the personal sense. That made it really relatable. That was a class I was really proud to complete with top marks and actually feeling like I learned some really important and useful things.

What is your favorite spot on campus?

I probably spend the most time on campus in the courtyard outside of the library and Teilhard Hall. It’s nice and shady, and I love that space. I also really like the Kentucky Room in the library because it looks out onto that space, and it’s very calming and just sort of a really nice, shaded view of campus. I look to go in there to work and study.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your student experience at Spalding?

Just in general, this program has been challenging for me because it was the first time I’d ever had to do coursework online, which I think is a really important skill to have in today’s world. And I think it’s important for me to have experience for when I communicate with students that I’ll have a better understanding of where they’re coming from and the situations they might be in when it comes to online learning. Also, I’m just really excited to utilize the skills I learned in the MSBC program in my work here at Spalding to help better serve as a developer of student leadership and positive communication and effective communication in the workplace. I think it’s going to serve me well.

Chris Muncy didn’t want to just attend college. He wanted to attend college and be an involved student. Like really, really involved.

When Muncy walks across the stage at the Spalding commencement ceremony on Saturday, he’ll be putting a wrap on a college career in which he became a model of student leadership and involvement.

Muncy, who is graduating with a bachelor’s in health science (BSHS), was president of the Student Government Association from 2016-18 after previously serving as an SGA vice president and Campus Activities Board president. The former nursing major also served as president of the Kentucky Association of Nursing Students – the first Spalding student to hold that position in several years – and he was on a state board of university student body presidents that helped organize a rally in Frankfort for higher education.

In addition to all that, the Nelson County High School product managed to play four years of soccer for the NCAA Division III Golden Eagles, including in 2016, when Spalding captured the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular-season title.

“When I got to college – and I don’ t know where it came from – I was just like, ‘I need to do something more,'” Muncy said. “I wanted to prepare myself for the future. I wanted to do as many things as possible to grow as a person.”

Muncy said that of all the organizations he’s been involved with, he’s probably committed the most time and energy into SGA.

While he was president, he said he’s proud of how SGA has increased awareness for Spalding’s recognized student organizations (RSOs), encouraging them to have more and better events on campus.

He also has worked to strengthen the SGA Senate and House of Representatives and helped SGA land a permanent home with an office in the Egan Leadership Center. Muncy also made sure SGA began to take advantage of opportunities to have an attendee at meetings of the university’s trustees and faculty senate.

Muncy and his SGA colleagues also made a successful push to get the hours of operation extended at the fitness center in the Columbia Gym, and he helped convince Spalding to invest in getting its first mascot, Ollie the Golden Eagle.

During his three years on the Campus Activities Board, the number of CAB-sponsored campus events grew from three all year to one per week.

“I really tried to do everything I could to improve campus life,” he said. “There is always going to be work to be done, especially with it being a smaller campus. But I feel like I’ve definitely left campus life in a better state than when I got here.”

Muncy said his Spalding experiences inside and outside of the classroom helped him land a high-quality job right out of college. He started this month as a sales representative for an orthopedic device company.

His background in health science and nursing and experience in health care settings bolstered his resume, he said, and his familiarity with public speaking, leading meetings and working with seasoned professionals and business leaders, such as those on Spalding’s board of trustees, helped him during a long interview process.

Muncy said that the networking, communication and organizational skills he has learned at Spalding will help him succeed in building relationships with doctors and other clients.

During that job interview process, “it seemed like for every other question I answered, I was going back to my leadership experience,” Muncy said. “I said, ‘If I can do this type of stuff while I’m in school, I can do this for you.'”

Muncy’s ties and memories to Spalding will only grow in the coming months. He and his future wife are having their wedding ceremony at Trager Park in September.

More from Chris after the video:

How do you look back on all that you did at Spalding?

“I definitely got to network with a lot of people and a lot of mentors who helped me grow as a person and a leader. That’s something I wouldn’t have been able to get if I’d gone to a big state school. I wouldn’t have been able to do the multiple things I was able to do. I really credit being at a smaller institution for giving me opportunities to do whatever I want.

“I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I didn’t come to Spalding and get involved with leadership, play soccer and do all the things I was able to do.

“Academics and education, leadership experience and directly impacting campus life, and being a student-athlete. Spalding is one of the only places where I think you can be involved in all three of those and get the full experience of college.

Would you encourage other students to get involved in organizations on campus?

“Absolutely. It doesn’t have to be CAB, doesn’t have to be SGA, but find something that you’re passionate about and you can work toward and improve. It doesn’t have to be an organization that’s already here. You can start your own organization.”

Who is someone memorable you’ve gotten to meet as a result of your roles in student leadership?

“The person I’m most proud to have met and talked to is definitely President (Tori Murden) McClure. I’ve always been interested in outdoors and backpacking and camping, and to be able to have her as a leader and a mentor with all the stuff I’ve done on campus – and also to look up to her as an outdoorswoman – that’s been the greatest experience for me. We had her come on our SGA backpacking trip, a retreat, and she hiked with us, and she let me lead it. She’s this person who has rowed across the Atlantic Ocean and skied to the geographic South Pole, and she wants me to lead this backpacking trip through the woods? That’s probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced. That’s been one of the best experiences is to be with SGA and be able to look up to her as a mentor. I feel that’s something that’s come up in all the interviews I did, ‘Who’s someone you look up to?’ I feel like that’s my No. 1 mentor for sure.”







Candice Johnson will participate in Spalding commencement on June 2, having earned her doctorate of education in leadership (EdD) from Spalding. Dr. Johnson, a senior outreach counselor with the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, discusses some more about her Spalding experience in this interview.

What is your favorite Spalding memory?

It’s hard to name just one. Spending time on campus during weekend classes, having lunch outside in the library courtyard.

What accomplishments are you most proud of during your time at Spalding?

Successfully defending my dissertation on Dec. 14, 2017, all while raising an amazing daughter, Miss Kyla Brooklyn Ford, working full-time, and serving the community.

What is your favorite spot on campus?

Second floor of the library, second table to the right by the window. It became my home away from home.

Is there anything else that you would like to share?

Wow, I am so excited to participate in commencement weekend at Spalding. Spalding is a special place, and I knew it was where I was supposed to be to do my doctoral studies. Lately I’ve been sharing with students that they are worth it, so they have to work it. I pray that by my actions of “working it,” I am continuing to show students that their own goals and dreams can come to fruition with faith and work. And really that goes for everyone!

If you gave Katie Suiters something – anything – to throw during a Spalding track and field competition the past four years, the results tended to turn out well.

The senior standout from Indianapolis became one of the Golden Eagles’ most successful and versatile athletes by participating in all four field throwing disciplines: discus, shot put, hammer and javelin.

That versatility has helped Suiters, who is receiving her bachelor of science in natural science (BSNS) degree while working toward a master’s in athletic training (MSAT), earn as many on-field accomplishments as any student-athlete who’ll participate in Spalding’s commencement on June 2. This spring she was named the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Field Athlete of the Year after winning the league championship in discus and finishing second in shot put, fifth in hammer and sixth in javelin. She also won the SLIAC discus and shot put titles in 2016 and holds multiple school records.

“(Participating in four events for four years in college) was a big opportunity that not many people have,” Suiters said. “I definitely took advantage of it, and I think it’ll definitely be something cool to talk about.”

She laughed and imitated an old lady’s voice, “Back in my day …”

Suiters said discus is probably her best and favorite event. Hammer throw is a “love-hate, but I learned to love it more this year,” she said. Javelin she started throwing just for fun  in high school because she could throw a football 60 yards and figured it would be a similar skill.

“I took it and threw it and slapped myself in the back of the head with it,” she said with a laugh. “I said, ‘OK, this is not a football.’ So I watched a lot of YouTube videos and taught myself over the past couple years a lot of basics. I pretty much winged it, but, hey, I did all right at it.”

Suiters credited head coach Bradley Sowder and throws assistant Kyle Jenkins, a former Spalding All-American, for helping her thrive.

“It started off as a challenge (to participate in so many events),” said Suiters, who was Spalding’s only female thrower her freshman year. “But coming here with track, it was a big family. The track team has pretty much built everything (up during my college years). You’ve got people to go to if you need someone. Coach is always a big help for everyone. It was kind of like an area for me to grow, and it’s a big confidence booster to have achieved what I have.”

Suiters’ athletic experience has motivated her to want to become an athletic trainer. She wants to help other athletes feel supported the same way she’s felt with Spalding’s trainers.

“They’ve definitely helped me, and I want to people able to give that back to somebody else,” Suiters said. “I’ve had my share of injuries. I know what you’re going through. I know when you’re faking it. I know when you want to stop and you’re having a bad day but you need to get back out there.”

Suiters will continue at Spalding next year to finish her’s master’s in athletic training. She said she’s confident she’ll be well-trained when she enters the professional world.

“I had the opportunity to go to a lot of places, and I visited many places,” Suiters said. “I have not had a single day that I regretted picking here. I got to experience the city and the downtown atmosphere. You get open to a lot of things because of that. I’ve met so many people, and I have the best friends I’ll ever have in my life. The professors are hands on. You’re not a number, and I love that aspect of it. It’s home.”

More about Katie …

What is your favorite Spalding memory?

My conference meet my sophomore year, I went up for my last throw, and I was the last person to go. I knew I had already won because I was the last person to go, but there was a storm coming in. I went to go throw, and you can see the storm moving toward us and the wind taking everything. The whole team had to stay and Kyle stopped all of them, and they announced my throw, and it was a huge personal record. We all started screaming. As soon as I threw, we all had to leave because it started downpouring. I had to grab all my stuff because I was the only person. I had a javelin, shot put, discus, hammer, all this stuff, and I’m just trying to run down this street to the bus. We all went, ‘Woohoo!’ Then they all took off. Everyone left me. (laughing)

What are the accomplishments you’re most proud of during your time at Spalding?

It would probably be SLIAC Field Athlete of the Year. I never expected that. That’s probably my biggest accomplishment.

What is your favorite spot on campus?

The University Center (now called Columbia Gym). You’ve got to go down to the weight room. That’s where all the fun happens. There’s a lot of hard work that goes on there, but there’s also a lot of good conversations that happen between everybody. I love (strength and conditioning coach) Sarah (Clinton) to death.



Katie Goben ’18 graduates from Spalding’s Master of Science in Business Communication (MSBC) on June 2 with a 4.0 GPA. Goben, who earned her master’s degree while working full time, discusses her experience as well as her favorite memory at Spalding.

What is your favorite Spalding memory?

Goben: My favorite memory of the MSBC program is simply all of the people I have met throughout the program. Dr. Hinkle has quickly become a mentor to me and my peers never stop amazing me with their determination to reach their goals. I know I have met lifelong friends and created a network that will help me reach my goals in the future.

What accomplishments are you most proud of during your time at Spalding?

Goben: I am most proud to be graduating from the MSBC program with a 4.0. This is not something I have done before, so it feels good to see all my hard work pay off. It is especially nice since I completed the program in one year while working full time.

What is your favorite spot on campus?

My favorite spot on campus is the patio off the second floor of the ELC. It is a great spot to hideaway in, relax, eat and take naps in the hammocks! It has even helped me get a few unintentional sunburns this spring.

Is there anything else that you would like to share?

Spalding will forever hold a special place in my heart. The last year has been full of ups and downs but the support that this school gives is second to none. I was very nervous coming into the Master of Science in Business Communication, but I realized early on I was going to be okay. I would encourage anyone who is considering furthering their education to not only consider Spalding but especially the MSBC program.

Spalding commencement is almost here! On June 2, the university will continue its long tradition of holding a ceremony that celebrates the hard work and commitment of Spalding students who have completed their degree. Some of the same questions about commencement come up over and over from graduates, so we compiled what we hope is a helpful Q&A about the big weekend. Also visit Spalding.edu/commencement for information.

When and where is commencement?

Commencement is always held on the first Saturday of June; this year that’s June 2. The commencement ceremony will take place from 10 a.m.-noon, at Canaan Christian Church, 2840 Hikes Lane.

How many tickets do I get?

Four (not counting yourself).

Where do I pick up my tickets?

Follow the signs on the third floor of the Egan Leadership Center, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday.

How do I get extra tickets?

Sorry, Spalding can only guarantee four. Your best shot is to attempt to find classmates who are not using their full allotment and ask them if they have spare tickets.

When should I show up to the church on June 2?

Graduates must check in at 8:30 Saturday morning at Canaan, and the graduate lineup starts at 9. The actual commencement ceremony starts at 10.

When should my relatives show up?

Doors open at 8:30 a.m. Seats on the first floor and in the balcony of the sanctuary are available on first-come, first-served basis, and not every ticketed guest is guaranteed a seat. Guests arriving after 9:45, even if they have a ticket, will have to go to the overflow seating room (see below), so tell them to make sure not to be late if they want to sit in the sanctuary.

How does the overflow seating work?

If guests don’t have a ticket, they’ll be directed upstairs to the overflow room with seats where they can view a screen that shows the commencement ceremony. That said, there is also limited seating in the overflow room, so there’s no guarantee that every person who doesn’t have a ticket will get in the building. Spalding encourages only guests with tickets to come to commencement.

What about accessible seating at commencement?

Wheelchair and scooter-accessible space for guests with tickets is available on a limited basis within the direct viewing area in the sanctuary.  Please reserve one of these spaces in advance by emailing [email protected].

Do infants require a ticket?

No, so long as they don’t require their own seat. They must be sitting in an adult’s lap.

Where do I pick up my cap and gown?

The campus bookstore in the Egan Leadership Center. Students that placed their order at the Jostens Grad Fair on April 3-4 must have their student ID or driver’s license present during package purchase. As of May 17, there are also doctoral and master’s degree hoods there.

Can I still order a cap and gown?

Yes, a limited amount of extra regalia is available at the bookstore that be can purchased first come, first served while supplies last.

What should I wear under my cap and gown during commencement?

Whatever you want that feels comfortable. Be as formal or as casual as you want to be on your big day.

If my loved ones can’t make it, will commencement be livestreamed?

Yes, the home page of Spalding.edu will have a link to watch the same live video feed that is on screen in the sanctuary.

Is there a Facebook event for the commencement?

Yes, here’s our Facebook commencement event page. Click to let people know you’re coming. Speaking of Facebook, now that you’ll be transitioning from current Spalding student to proud Spalding alumnus, be sure to like the Spalding University Facebook page in order to keep up with everything going on at your alma mater.

How many are graduating?

As of May 17, the commencement list has 645 students.  This includes anyone who graduated in October 2017, November 2017, January 2018, March 2018 or May 2018 and anyone who is expected to finish in June 2018 or August 2018.  It also includes some doctor of clinical psychology (Psy.D.) students who will finish internships by October 2018. Of those nearly 650 total students, usually between 300-400 walk at commencement.

When do I get my diploma?

With its six-week schedules, Spalding actually is conferring degrees all year-round, so many of the people going through commencement already have officially graduated and received their diploma. This is now their opportunity to walk across the stage. For those just now completing degrees, assuming the students finish in good standing with the registrar – having paid their account balances and completed exit counseling with financial aid – paper diplomas will be mailed out and an email link to electronic versions of the diplomas will sent in about 2-4 weeks.

When you walk across the stage at commencement, you’ll receive a ceremonial diploma tube that includes various letters from the university and a coupon for a free transcript.

What other events are scheduled around commencement?

Friday is also a big day, with the annual Baccalaureate Celebration and College and School Awards Ceremonies and receptions being held. The ceremonies are a time for family and friends to commemorate the graduate’s accomplishments.

The Baccalaureate Celebration will be 9-10 a.m. Friday at the First Unitarian Church, 809 S. Fourth Street, right next to campus.

The awards ceremonies, held at different times and locations on or near campus, are personalized to the individual degree program or school and often feature visiting, faculty or student speakers. Degrees are not conferred at these events. Friends and family of graduates are welcome to attend a reception immediately following their graduate’s award ceremony.

11 a.m.

School of Professional Psychology (Calvary Episcopal Church, 821 S. Fourth St.)

Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy (Spalding University Auditorium, 824 S. Fourth St.)

College of Education (Greater Bethel Temple, 834 S. Third St.)

School of Liberal Studies & School of Natural Science (First Unitarian Church, 809 S. Fourth St.)

Athletic Training program (Egan Leadership Center Troutman Lectorium, 901 S. Fourth St.)

1 p.m.

School of Business & School of Communication (First Unitarian Church, 809 S. Third St.)

School of Social Work (Greater Bethel Temple, 834 S. Third St.)

School of Nursing (Spalding University Auditorium, 824 S. Fourth St.)

Kentucky College of Art and Design (849 Gallery, 849 S. Third St.)

11:30 a.m.- 3 p.m. (following each College & School Awards Ceremony), College Street Ballroom, 812 S. Second St.

Should I wear my cap and gown to Baccalaureate and the awards ceremony?

Yes, to both.

What’s going on the day after commencement?

Take your family to Spalding’s 14th annual Day at the Downs! Spalding hosts a trip to Churchill Downs – and specifically Millionaire’s Row – every year on the Sunday after commencement. It’s a really fun event with a buffet lunch, cash bar, door prizes, silent auction and more. Tickets are $45 per person or $340 for a table of eight. Order your tickets. Hundreds of members of the Spalding community – and their families – will be there, so join the fun.