Spalding University Chief Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer Dr. Steven Kniffley, a faculty member in the School of Professional Psychology and the leader of Spalding’s Collective Care Center behavioral health specialty clinic for racial trauma, was recently honored by Louisville Business First as a 2021 Health Care Hero.

Dr. Kniffley, a clinical psychologist, was honored in the category of Health Equity Champion following a year in which he helped Collective Care Center fill a key role as the only behavioral health clinic in Louisville to specialize in treating race-based trauma and stress. The Collective Care Center is a division of Spalding’s Center for Behavioral Health, which is a training clinic for clinical psychology doctoral (PsyD) students in the School of Professional Psychology.

Kniffley is a scholar and frequent public speaker on matters of race and racial trauma and has given dozens of presentations, interviews and seminars on those topics.

Dr. Kniffley, who is a graduate of the Spalding PsyD that he now teaches in, was also recognized last year as a member of Louisville Business First’s Forty Under 40 list of outstanding young professionals in Louisville and received a MediStar Award from the Medical News for his work in treating and raising awareness for racial trauma.

He was appointed to the role of Chief Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer in December. A member of President Tori Murden McClure’s senior leadership cabinet – known as the Operational Council – Kniffley plays a broad role in promoting diversity and inclusion in programs across campus. He is also the President-Elect of the Kentucky Psychological Association.

A list of all 2021 Louisville Business First Health Care Heroes can be found here (subscription link), and the honorees will profiled in the April 9 issue of the publication.

Consistent with its mission of promoting peace and justice through education, Spalding University announced on Martin Luther King Jr. Day that it is launching an online training and professional development program in antiracism.

Available nationally to individuals and groups from public-sector, corporate and nonprofit organizations, the range of half- and full-day online courses – collectively titled Restorative Practices for the Antiracist Journey – will teach concepts of cultural humility and restorative practices as a means to bring about positive social change.

Enrollment is open now for Restorative Practices for the Antiracist Journey with live virtual sessions set to start in late January. It is the first featured offering of a reorganized interdisciplinary institute of social justice-themed training at Spalding – called The Well – that will be housed in the School of Social Work. Visit to register.

Spalding’s Restorative Practices for the Antiracist Journey is designed and facilitated by faculty and staff leaders of the university’s Center for Peace and Spiritual Renewal, School of Social Work, School of Professional Psychology and Collective Care Center, which is one of the nation’s only behavioral health clinics to specialize in treating race-based trauma and stress.

REGISTER | Restorative Practices for the Antiracist Journey courses now available on The Well

The faculty and staff serving as facilitators for the program are among Louisville’s leading scholars on matters of restorative practices and dialogue, conflict resolution, polarity management, cultural humility, institutional oppression and racial trauma.

“This program is designed for individuals and groups who are interested in meaningfully and constructively addressing and healing race relations in their professional and personal lives through self-exploration, truth-telling, difficult dialogue and action,” said Spalding Executive Director for Peace and Spiritual Renewal Chandra Irvin, who helped lead the Charleston (South Carolina) Illumination Project of community conversations and healing following the tragic shooting of nine Black parishioners at Emanuel AME Church in 2015. “The Spalding faculty and staff who have collaborated to create this program have a great deal of experience in these spaces and bring a diverse set of perspectives. Organizations that participate in this training at Spalding will be making a valuable investment that demonstrates a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Certified in 2011 as the World’s First Compassionate University, Spalding is a historic, private institution that has been located for 100 years in downtown Louisville – which, as the hometown of Breonna Taylor, saw months of demonstrations last year in the name of racial justice, including several that took place on or near Spalding’s campus.

“Spalding’s mission states that we are a diverse community of learners dedicated to meeting the needs of the times by promoting peace and justice through education and service,” Spalding President Tori Murden McClure said. “As the past year has shown, pain and suffering from racial injustice and inequity remain prevalent in our society. Offering the Restorative Practices for the Antiracist Journey training program is an example of Spalding meeting the needs of the times by using the experience, wisdom and teaching skills of our faculty and staff to help promote a more equitable world.”

Upon completion, participants in Restorative Practices for the Antiracist Journey will be awarded three tiers of certification badges by Spalding – Bronze, Silver and Ebony (highest level) – based on the number of sessions completed, and these credentials will be appropriate to share on resumes and online professional profiles. Completed hours in the program can be applied to continuing education requirements for social workers, and Spalding plans to seek approval for continuing education credits from other professions’ governance boards in the future.

“Spalding’s School of Social Work has a rich tradition of providing quality continuing education for practitioners and community members throughout Kentucky,” School of Social Work Chair Dr. Shannon Cambron said. “The Well is the next chapter for us. It’s a reflection of our commitment to meet the needs of the times by co-creating an interdisciplinary space of training and engagement with a justice and equity lens – a space that equips people with the skills to begin the work of dismantling white supremacy and injustice. Restorative Practices for the Antiracist Journey is evidence of that commitment, and we are excited about this new chapter.”

For more information on participating in Restorative Practices for the Antiracist Journey, visit

Spalding’s Board of Trustees has bestowed the rank of Professor Emeritus and the title of Emeritus Professor of Psychology on Kenneth Linfield, PhD, a long-serving faculty member in the School of Professional Psychology.

Professor Emeritus Linfield has left a lasting mark on the University by displaying an intense love of learning and teaching, a powerful dedication to their students and a strong loyalty to Spalding that will be remembered and appreciated for years to come.

Ken Linfield
Dr. Kenneth Linfield

Following a career as a Methodist pastor, Dr. Linfield has served 21 years at Spalding. He is said to have always viewed his work as an extension of his ministry.

Dr. Linfield has spent the past 13 years as the Director of Graduate Training, taking on the major responsibilities of student advisement, admissions, tracking, and policy execution. He is an expert in quantitative methods, statistics, program evaluation and design and research ethics. His interests also include various elements of religious faith and spirituality, and the relation of religion and spirituality to a broad range of mental health issues, including positive elements such as well-being.

He is an associate editor of the American Psychological Association journal Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. He wrote a graduate textbook on Program Evaluation, and he has coauthored a wide range of articles and chapters.

Dr. Linfield is said to have “left an indelible mark of quality on all of his professional activities, both within the School of Professional Psychology and across the broader Spalding community. He has embodied the concept of compassion across all his professional endeavors.”

Mayor Greg Fischer and the Louisville Metro Police Department have called upon the community-building expertise of staff and faculty members at Spalding University to assist in a key initiative to improve relations between the police and residents in Louisville.

Chandra Irvin, Spalding’s Executive Director of Peace and Spiritual Renewal; Janelle Rae, Director of Inclusive Engagement; and Dr. Steven Kniffley, Assistant Professor in the School of Professional Psychology and the Associate Director of the Center for Behavioral Health; are members of the project management team of the city’s Synergy Project, a year-long program designed to bring police and residents together to discuss ways to strengthen their relationship. The Synergy Project is part of the city’s Lean Into Louisville initiative.

The public is invited to Spalding’s campus on Tuesday, Dec. 17 to learn about the Synergy Project and join the discussion. Spalding will host a public action session – a guided conversation in which residents can communicate and share ideas directly with police officers – from 6-7:30 p.m. at the College Street Ballroom, 812 S. Second St. It’s one of several action sessions that will take place around town in the coming year.

“When people talk about an issue that’s going on, they’ll say, ‘What can I do?’ (Participating in Tuesday’s action session) is definitely something you can do,” Irvin said.

Synergy Project Public Action Session
When: 6-7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 17
Where: College Street Ballroom, 812 S. Second Street

In the News | Courier Journal feature on the Synergy Project

Residents speak at a Synergy Project meeting on Spalding's campus
Mayor Greg Fischer, standing, and residents talked at a recent meeting for the Synergy Project that was held on Spalding’s campus. A public action session will take place 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, at Spalding’s College Street Ballroom.

The Synergy Project is intended to explore the tensions that exist between the significant societal values of public safety and individual rights and determine how to create and maintain a balance between the two, according to the city. Synergy will explore these tensions in order to mobilize actions for city-wide systemic change so every person in every part of the community can thrive.

The Synergy Project is modeled after The Illumination Project, an initiative undertaken in Charleston, South Carolina, after the 2015 hate crimes at Emanuel AME Church.

Irvin helped develop the Illumination Project, which also was a year-long program in which dozens of facilitated community conversations were held to discuss tensions between police and residents. At the end of the year, a strategic plan was unveiled, which continues to be revised and implemented today.

“There are lessons that we learned in Charleston that helped to inform how I am viewing and receiving feedback here,” Irvin said. “What I know is important is that we lean into the tension rather than leaning away from it. Really, that’s the only way that we’re going to connect in very genuine ways because clearly we don’t all have the same experiences and we don’t all think the same way.”

Irvin has helped the Synergy Project use a “polarity” framework that recognizes and values people’s different points of view.  It’s an approach that Irvin, Rae and others at Spalding have used to foster meaningful conversations on campus about a range of issues.

“We want to bring people together  despite differences – and actually invite differences – so that we can learn from one another and learn how to move to greater places with one another,” Irvin said.

The Synergy Project is bringing together individuals from all parts of the community – residents, academia, business, youth, faith-based organizations, law enforcement, and political leaders – in hopes of creating an opportunity for police and community to work together in a safe, open and respectful environment. The project hopes to identify root causes of distrust and find actionable solutions to move the city forward.

Irvin and Rae are helping to devise and carry out the programming and guided discussions of the Synergy Project. Kniffley, meanwhile, is researching and collecting data, along with Spalding Doctor of Clinical Psychology students Carson Haynes and Heather Dombrowsky.

Spalding's Chandra Irvin and Janelle Rae standing in front of a room of people seated around tables
Spalding staff members Irvin and Janelle Rae are part of the Synergy Project project management team. Psychology faculty Dr. Steven Kniffley is as well, working with grad students to collect and analyze data.

“This is a great example of a way to change the world,” Rae said of Spalding’s involvement. “Doing this work with the community and on behalf of community is in line with our Spalding mission. It’s our mission to embrace diverse people, and it’s our mission to create peace and promote social justice and to be of service in our communities. A big piece of this is learning from one another, learning about each other’s experiences so that we can actually be a connected community.

“I think it makes sense with our mission to train more and more people to engage productively with each other.”

Kniffley said that as a citizen of Louisville, he felt it was important to be a part of the Synergy Project.

“But then specifically as an African-American male,” he said, “just recognizing that there has always been tension between communities of color, specifically black communities, and law enforcement, to be a part of the effort that’s going to create a more meaningful relationship between the groups, I’m happy to be a part of that. Our goal is to use meaningful conversations that lead to actionable, tangible recommendations that the steering committee will then vote on and formulate into our final report.”

He added: “I think Spalding’s affiliation with the Synergy Project is consistent with our values of being a compassionate university, with being committed to issues of social justice and being at the forefront of change in the Louisville community.”





It’s Commencement weekend at Spalding University! Festivities kicked off Friday with the Baccalaureate service and individual college, school and program award ceremonies. There are tons of pictures from the day on Spalding’s Facebook page within the “Commencement Activities 2019” album. Please like, share and tag yourself or others in the pictures, and do the same after the university Commencement service (10 a.m. Saturday at Canaan Christian Church). Here’s a look at some of Spalding’s new grads who participated in Friday’s events.

Haitian earthquake victim now a Spalding nursing grad
Nine years ago, Witchina Liberal’s home in Haiti was destroyed by the earthquake that devastated that country.

This weekend, she is graduating with the degree of bachelor of science in nursing from Spalding and set to add a member to her young family.

Liberal attended Friday’s Baccalaureate service on Friday nearly nine months pregnant with her son, who is due on June 23 and will be named Jeremiah. She said she expects to look back on pictures from this weekend years from now with him.

“I can say I have a career now, and I will be able to provide for him, give him everything I didn’t have growing up. I’m happy,” said Liberal, who was accompanied Friday by her husband and friends from their church.

She added with a laugh: “He’s been a good boy. I didn’t have too much trouble with him while I did the nursing program.”

At the time of the earthquake, 15-year-old Liberal was at home, but she was cooking in a kitchen that was in a different part of the building.

“Fortunately, none of my family members died, but we lost everything,” she said. “None of us were in the house at the time. But it was horrifying. A lot of people died.”

Liberal moved from Haiti to Florida in 2010 to finish high school. She also attended a community college in that state before moving in 2016 to Louisville, where she had family. She picked Spalding to finish out her BSN the next year because she “liked how they were so welcoming,” Liberal said.

“It’s hard, but it’s doable,” she said of the nursing degree. “It can be done, but it’s challenging. I enjoyed it. The professors were really helpful, really helpful.”

Commencement weekend felt bittersweet for Liberal. In November, a few weeks after she learned she was pregnant, Liberal lost her mother, who was still living in Haiti. She has had her mom on her mind as she approaches graduation. Liberal said she barely slept Thursday night as she stayed up thinking about her.

“I’m proud of what I have done, but it has been rough,” she said.

Liberal plans to be a neonatal intensive care unit nurse. At some point, she’d like to provide nursing and medical care in her home country, which she has visited every year since moving to the United States.

“That’s part of my plan,” she said. “I’d like to go back and help.”

Former Spalding golfer now a mom and grad
Bachelor of science in natural science graduate and former Spalding golfer Megan Shirley Faust had a special young guest at Friday’s Baccalaureate Service – her 2-month-old daughter, Madalyn.

Spalding student Megan Faust, in blue cap and gown, holding baby, Madalyn, in a car seat
Spalding student Megan Faust and 2-month-old daughter Madalyn after Baccalaureate service on May 31, 2019.

“It’s pretty awesome being able to experience it with her and her be in the moment with me,” Megan Faust said. Years from now, “I can show her what I did, and she’ll want to do the same.”

She said attending Spalding has been “a really great experience,” citing the experience of being an athlete and a student, as well as the bond she had with the golf team.

Faust was a senior on the 2017-18 Spalding team that won the first-ever St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship for women’s golf.

“That history is pretty awesome, being one of the first people to set those standards,” Faust said.

During her final academic year, Faust has had a new experience.

“Instead of going to practices and workouts and tournaments, I’m a mom and a student,” she said.

Faust currently works as a Certified Nursing Assistant in a nursing home. She said she may at some point pursue a job in human resources.

College of Ed master’s grad: ‘I feel like I’ve gained a family here’
Destiny Nichole Livers, a teacher a Foster Elementary School who is earning the degree of master of education in teacher leadership, said she would recommend Spalding to other aspiring or current teachers.

“I loved Spalding. The staff is very supportive,” she said.

Livers, who taught fifth grade the last three years and who will move to third grade as a team leader next year, said she’s learned about methods and best practices at Spalding that she is eager to take back to her school and share with her colleagues.

“If someone is looking for a supportive family, not just professors – I feel like I’ve gained a family here at Spalding – then you would like Spalding,” Livers said. “If you want the college where you really don’t know your professors, then go somewhere else. But here, like I told Dr. (Kristen) Harris, (the Spalding program director), ‘You’re stuck with me for life.'”

Livers was the winner of the Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award for her program.


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. Next up is Cristi Embry, who is receiving the degree of bachelor of arts in psychology.

That Cristi Embry is now the first member of her family to graduate college is a memorable achievement. The fact that she’s achieved it as a 39-year-old mother of four adds even more to the accomplishment.

But most remarkably, she also overcame a brain tumor in order to earn the right to walk across the stage at Spalding’s Commencement on Saturday.

That walk will be a proud moment for a woman who achieved a lifelong goal by fighting through the pain caused by the noncancerous tumor as well as the effects it had on her ability to concentrate and study.

“I was strong, and I persevered,” said Embry, who is graduating cum laude.

Three years ago – during her second year at Spalding – Embry went to see a doctor after suffering from increasingly severe headaches and sudden problems with depth perception and her balance and coordination. She thought she might have a inner-ear infection.

The tumor was discovered. She was transported immediately in an ambulance to another hospital for surgery the next day.

“I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t die. Who’s going to take care of my kids?'” Embry recalled.

Embry underwent 10 hours of surgery to remove the tumor, which was found to be the size of the surgeon’s fist. She then had a second surgery a month later to insert a shunt to help the movement of fluid in her brain. Soon after that she had a third surgery to treat an infection that developed after the first operation.

Last August, Embry’s tumor began to grow back more aggressively than was anticipated, requiring her to undergo six weeks of radiation treatments to counter the growth. (It hasn’t grown any more since then.)

The tumor, which will always remain at some size and is now being monitored, still causes her pain and discomfort, with the headaches and vision problems persisting. Going to four-hour classes and spending extensive time at home on the computer were physically taxing.

Though there were times, including this school year, when she thought about permanently stopping her studies at Spalding, she enjoyed her time as a student and her interactions with faculty too much to not finish.

“I looked forward to school,” Embry said. “It was a hobby. It was an escape. It was a distraction. I love learning. I love sitting in class with adults, with professors, and just loved the experience, so it was worth it to me.”

Through it all, she missed only one six-week session, and she completed her psychology degree in January.

Recently, she went by herself to the registrar’s office to collect her diploma.

“That was a special day I’ll never forget,” she said. “It was a celebration. It wasn’t about anybody but me. I cried, but nobody saw me. It was incredible. It was just like, ‘This is the most beautiful piece of paper.’”

She now has the diploma hanging next to her desk at home, and she looks at it every time she walks by.

Embry started at Spalding five years ago, fulfilling a desire she’d had her entire adult life to continue her education. She quit high school when she became pregnant with her first child.

She later completed her general education diploma and worked multiple jobs, including in an accounting office of a direct-mail company and in the office of an attorney. She also went through training to become a certified nursing assistant, but that never felt like a career she wanted. What she wanted was to attend college.

“I always loved school,” she said. “I love learning. I like to read and have always been really curious, and I just love knowing stuff. I just felt like there was something bigger out there and that I needed school to get where I wanted to go.”

She heard about Spalding about a decade ago from a classmate in that CNA training program and kept it in mind. She finally enrolled as a Flex student majoring in psychology and began taking two evening courses a week.

She said she found Spalding’s faculty and staff, including her adviser, Cindy Green, to be extremely supportive, and Embry loved the dialogue and critical thinking that her classes generated. After her tumor diagnosis, Embry said she felt especially fortunate to be taking psychology courses and to be taught by psychologists, because her interactions felt like a type of therapy. She had courses that examined sickness, suffering, death and spirituality, and she reflected on her own experiences.

“All the psychology professors are just, wow,” Embry said. ” … It feels so good to be in their presence. … The coursework was a healing process in itself. I never would have thought about those things or written about the tumor, ever, on my own. Being in that setting, you’re forced to look at things critically in that way.”

Though she’s finished with school, Embry still enjoys driving through or stopping by campus.

“I love it here,” she said. “It doesn’t feel like a business. It feels like friends and family. And it’s something of my own. I’m a mom, I’m a wife; that’s who I am. But this (when I’m at Spalding) is mine. It’s my time. These are my people, and I just feel good here.”

Embry continued: “Yes, the diploma is important, and, yes, finishing is important. But really it is just a journey and it improves your whole life and the way you look at the world and the way you look at people and the way you look at yourself. I don’t know another way that I would get that without Spalding.”

Embry said she plans to attend graduate school, and she’d like to become a counselor at a community agency, perhaps one serving young mothers.

Here’s more from Cristi Embry …

What is your favorite Spalding memory?
What comes to mind is Dr. Kathleen Nesbitt and my very first class was her writing class. She did a competition where we watched a news clip and had to write down all the scary or nervous words we could think of, and I won. I really like her, really respect her. I think she helped build my confidence. So I’d say my favorite memory was that very first night of class. She asked are there any new students to Spalding and are there any brand-new students to college? I raised my hand, and there were several other people. I was like, (sigh of relief). I’m going to be OK.

Which accomplishment are you most proud of from your time at Spalding?
Not quitting. Not giving up, even when I wanted to, even when I think it would have been totally justifiable and excusable.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?
The Mansion is my favorite building. A lot of my favorite classes have been there, so I just have a lot of good memories there and have learned a lot from a lot of smart people.

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?
A lot of professors have inspired me to change the world, and if I really like a professor, I’m going to let them know and let them know what they’ve done for me. Every professor I’ve done that to, they’re like, ‘It’s nothing I did. It’s you.’ I’ve thought about that and taken that, and everybody can change the world. Attitudes are contagious, and being nice and friendly and smiling, it does something for people. I do that. Being kind, that it is a way to change the world. All day, every day, when you come in contact with people, just be kind.

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. Next up is Sharon Serrano, who is earning the degree of bachelor of arts in psychology.

What is your favorite Spalding memory?
It’s hard to choose a specific memory. My entire time melded together to create an everlasting fondness that is literally unforgettable.

Which accomplishments are you most proud of during your time at Spalding?
The true friendships I’ve made and cherish, the outstanding grades I’ve worked so tirelessly for, and in general, just how much I’ve thrived here.

The tulip poplar tree in the Mansion Complex courtyard
The tulip poplar tree in the Mansion Complex courtyard.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?
The giant tulip poplar tree between Mansion East and West. In the 1970s, my grandmother graduated from Spalding. She is one of the biggest reasons why I chose to transfer here. Every day I get to walk past that tree like my grandmother had, and it’s like I am following in her footsteps – looking up through those leaves like she did, knowing that I, too, am in this place and this moment for a reason.

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 change how hospitals see human trafficking. An emergency room physician should be able to see and treat a child who was trafficked. There is no reason these patients should be invisible, no matter how busy the emergency room gets.

Everyone here inspires me, from the custodians to the president of Spalding herself! Ms. Pat comes to work every day with a smile on her face, and she always asks me about my day. My professors challenge me to grow and examine the world. The president inspires me to push myself harder and make it farther every day.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your Spalding experience?
This is the most amazing institution. I am in awe of everything that is accomplished in this school and everything I have done here. Everyday I am reminded that being here is a privilege!

Dr. Steve Katsikas, Chair of Spalding’s School of Professional Psychology, was named the Kentucky Psychological Association’s Psychologist of the Year earlier this month.

“It’s really humbling because there are so many amazing psychologists that are part of this state association,” Katsikas said. “For them to say that I did a good job and that they appreciate what I do is super meaningful.”

Katsikas was also elected to become the next president of the KPA, starting in 2020.

Katsikas, who has been at Spalding for 12 years, received the KPA award on Friday, Nov. 2, at the KPA Annual Convention in Lexington. He was recognized for his contributions to teaching and training.

Katsikas has overseen a doctor of clinical psychology (PsyD) program that has received millions in federal grants allocated to student scholarships and stipends. Two current grants through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) are used to provide scholarships for doctoral students from disadvantaged backgrounds who have financial need and to award stipends to PsyD students who provide behavioral health services at primary care sites that serve medically underserved populations.

Under Katsikas, the PsyD program has achieved student internship match rates of 100 and 97 percent in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Katsikas is also the founder of Spalding’s Center for Behavioral Health – an on-campus clinic started in 2015 that offers a range of assessment and therapy services for all ages while also serving as a training ground for PsyD students.

RELATED: Spalding’s Collective Care Center a ‘safe place’ for those facing race-based stress, trauma

RELATED: A Louisville Business First profile on Dr. Steve Katsikas’ work

Katsikas credited the entire faculty and staff of the School of Professional Psychology for making Spalding’s programs what they are, and he said the grant-writing staff of Spalding’s Office of Advancement played a key role in helping secure the highly competitive HRSA funding. He said former CBH director Virginia Frazier and current director Norah Chapman and associate director Steven Kniffley deserve credit for the growth of that clinic.

“Everything I’ve been able to accomplish has been because of the team and the teams that I work with,” Katsikas said. “I’ve really done nothing on my own. I have an amazing faculty who are dedicated to teaching and training. … There’s an old saying that if you want to go fast, go by yourself. If you want to go far, go with a team. And we’ve gone far because we have a really good team.”

Katsikas said Spalding’s faculty is made up of “stellar psychologists” who could be working anywhere in the country in any kind of professional setting.

“And they choose to work at Spalding to train the next generation of psychologists,” he said. “That’s pretty cool.”

Before coming to Spalding, Katsikas was the Director of Child and Adolescent Psychology at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital, and he also served as Director of Training for that institution’s post-doctoral fellowship program in clinical psychology. Katsikas earned his doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Arkansas.

He was not the only Spalding faculty member honored at the KPA convention. Kniffley, a Spalding SOPP alumnus and current assistant professor, received an award for multicultural professional development.

Find out more about the undergraduate and post-graduate programs of Spalding’s School of Professional Psychology at



Spalding University announced Wednesday, Sept. 5, that it has reached a milestone in its ongoing, largest-ever capital fundraising campaign: surpassing $30 million in total contributions since 2014. They have supported new construction projects, facility improvements and academic and scholarship programs that broadly impact campus and student life.

The $30.4 million raised to date is a record for a Spalding campaign, and it far outpaces the original fundraising goals – $20 million by 2020 – set by the university’s board of trustees when it voted to launch the campaign four years ago. The goal was officially upped to $30 million in 2016.

“We are extremely grateful for the individuals and organizations who have stepped forward in support of our campaign and the mission and progress of Spalding,” Chief Advancement Officer Bert Griffin said. “We’ve made improvements all over campus and have not used any tuition dollars to make it happen.”

Spalding President Tori Murden McClure added: “Through this campaign, we have provided our students and the community with more resources and services while making our campus greener and more beautiful. We are grateful to our many partners who are helping us meet the needs of the times and change our community for the better.”

Some highlights of the $30 million capital campaign:

● Nearly $11 million in student scholarships and fieldwork stipends have been or will be distributed by way of the campaign, including more than $4 million in federal grants for clinical psychology and social work students from the Health Resources and Services Administration.

● More than $7 million has been donated or pledged in support of a greening initiative that has beautified the 23-acre downtown campus. Completed projects include the Mother Catherine Spalding Square green space on West Breckenridge Street between South Third and South Fourth and 2.2-acre Trager Park, which, in partnership with Louisville Gas and Electric Company and the Trager Family Foundation, opened last fall at the corner of South Second and West Kentucky. The Trager Park site was formerly an unused asphalt lot.

Ongoing outdoor projects are the seven-acre athletic fields complex between South Eighth and South Ninth streets that will be the home of Spalding’s NCAA Division III softball and soccer teams, and the Contemplative Garden at Spalding University, which will be a meditation space at 828 S. Fourth St. that is designed to honor Trappist Monk Thomas Merton and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Thanks to a recent anonymous $500,000 challenge grant, installation of the playing surfaces at the fields complex is expected to begin this fall, and it could be ready for competition by late spring 2019.

FROM WHAS: Spalding works to build Ninth Street ‘Field of Dreams’

● Kosair Charities has contributed more than $1.2 million to Spalding in support of the Kosair Charities Enabling Technologies of Kentuckiana (enTECH) assistive-technology resource center, the Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy and the Spalding School of Nursing.

RELATED: Spalding, enTECH receive $275,000 grant from Kosair Charities

● A $500,000 challenge grant from the James Graham Brown Foundation has helped raise $1 million to develop programs focused on restorative justice and restorative practices as well as Spalding’s Center for Behavioral Health.

● Nearly $1 million was raised to renovate the lower level of the Columbia Gym into a student fitness center and lounge.

● Other facilities that have undergone major improvements and modern updates are the Republic Bank Academic Center, which is the home of Spalding’s nursing and social work programs; the Spalding Library; the historic Tompkins-Buchanan-Rankin Mansion; and the Egan Leadership Center Lectorium.

Spalding University will join a city-wide effort next month to train a world-record number of citizens in a suicide-prevention technique known as “QPR,” or “Question, Persuade, Refer.”

Spalding will be among the many sites around Louisville hosting free, public 90-minute training sessions during National Suicide Prevention Week, which is Sept. 9-15. The QPR course, designed for anyone 18 years or older, teaches the warning signs of suicide, how to offer help and how to refer people to get help.

Spalding’s sessions will take place in the Kosair Charities Health and Natural Sciences Building at the following times:

*Monday, Sept. 10, 12:30 – 2 p.m.
*Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2-3:30 p.m.
*Wednesday, Sept. 12, 12:30-2 p.m.
*Thursday, Sept. 13, 2:30-4 p.m.

To attend a Spalding session, participants MUST  register online.

As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 100 total people had registered for the Spalding sessions, with space limited, so those interested should register quickly to secure a spot.

Mayor Greg Fischer and city leaders are encouraging members of the public to share the word and get as many relatives, friends, coworkers, etc. as possible to participate in the training and try to establish a Guinness world record for the number of people trained in a single week. Registration information for the dozens of other free training sessions around Louisville can be found at

No specialized mental health care training or expertise is required for those taking the training. Certified trainers will discuss myths about suicide, identify warning signs, outline how to talk to someone who may be thinking about suicide and how to persuade them to seek help.

QPR is similar to CPR in that it is designed to support an emergency response to someone in crisis, and to save lives.

Leaders from Spalding’s School of Professional Psychology, office of Counseling and Psychology Services (CaPS) and office of Residence Life are helping organize and conduct the training on this campus.

“Suicide prevention is everyone’s responsibility,” said Dr. Allison From-Tapp, director of Counseling and Psychological Services. “Anyone can learn to help prevent suicide with some questioning and compassion. QPR was designed to teach individuals to ask the question of suicide, persuade someone to get help, and make appropriate referrals. Through this 90-minute training you will learn the tools you need to help save a life and plant the seeds of hope.”

According to 2017 Home Equity Report, there were 584 suicide deaths in Jefferson County from 2011-15, compared with 333 homicides for the same period. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates are on the increase, and more than half of people who die by suicide do not have a known mental health condition.

“Suicide rates have been rising steadily over the past decade,” said Dr. Steve Katsikas, chair of the Spalding School of Professional Psychology. “Suicide cuts across geographic and demographic boundaries. It is an issue that can impact almost anyone. Learning how to intervene can make a difference and save a life. We are committed to providing training to our community to help make the widest impact possible.”

The city’s QPR undertaking has roots from 2016, when the Louisville Health Advisory Board’s Behavioral Health subcommittee held the Bold Moves Against Suicide Summit on Spalding’s campus.