Spalding University’s commencement is June 1

Spalding University will hold its annual commencement ceremony on June 1 at 10 a.m. at Canaan Christian Church, 2480 Hikes Lane.

The university expects to award 614 undergraduate and graduate degrees at the ceremony, a news release from the school said.

Spalding will also confer three honorary degrees and present special awards that recognize service, philanthropy, leadership and dedication to the greater good.

The honorary degree recipients are: Ulysses Lee “Junior” Bridgeman, honorary doctor of law; David A. Jones, Sr., honorary doctor of public service; and Sister of Charity of Nazareth Teresa Kotturan, honorary doctor of humane letters.

Bridgeman is the owner and chief executive officer of Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling Co., LLC, which owns and operates a Coca-Cola production and manufacturing facility in Lenexa, Kan., and 17 Coca-Cola distribution facilities in Kansas, Missouri and Illinois.

He graduated in 1975 from the University of Louisville with a bachelor’s degree and played in the NBA from 1975 to 1986 as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers.

Jones co-founded Humana Inc. in 1961 and served as chief executive officer for 37 years and as board chair for 44 years prior to retiring in 2005.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisville in 1954. He and his wife, Betty, have five children and 11 grandchildren.

Sister Kotturan serves as the NGO representative at the United Nations for the Sisters of Charity Federation. She represents the concerns of the 2,700 members of the federation and those they minister to in 26 countries.

She has been a Sister of Charity of Nazareth for 49 years and previously served as vice president of the congregation. She has also served as the provincial superior of the India province for eight years.

Shirley Burns Powers, who earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Spalding in 1972, will be recognized as the Alumna of the Year and will receive the Caritas Medal. The Caritas Medal is the highest honor the university annually bestows.

She is being recognized for her contributions to the advancement of health care and the profession of nursing in Louisville, the release said. She served as chief information officer for Norton Healthcare and later advanced to become administrator for Norton Hospital and senior executive officer for Norton Healthcare.

Pattie Dillon, chair of the School of Liberal Studies and an associate professor of history at Spalding, will receive this year’s Outstanding Faculty Award.

She has taught courses on the Civil War and Reconstruction, Jim Crow, gender history and U.S. history since 1945 and has been “praised for creating curriculum that is both rigorous and relevant to current events,” the release said. She is known around campus as being a “very engaging teacher.”

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