Benedictine University at Springfield honors graduates at Commencement ceremonies

May 15, 2017

Springfield, Ill. ~ Seventy-five students were presented either associate or bachelor's degrees and 70 were awarded either master's or doctoral degrees Sunday during Benedictine University at Springfield's 2017 Commencement Convocation at Angela Hall.

Aimee J. Allbritton, vice president of organization development and chief learning officer at Memorial Health System in Springfield, addressed the students who graduated with master's or doctoral degrees, while Michael S. Brophy, Ph.D., M.F.A., president of Benedictine University, gave the Commencement address to those students who graduated with associate and bachelor's degrees.

During the Commencement ceremony, John R. Phillips, Ph.D., who served at Springfield College in Illinois (SCI) and Benedictine University at Springfield in several capacities since 1993 and whose academic career spanned 45 years, was awarded Professor Emeritus status.

Phillips came to SCI as dean of Academic Affairs and a professor in political science. He held the office of provost, dean of the college and acting president. He returned to full-time teaching and continued in that role until his retirement in 2015.

The undergraduate and graduate Commencement ceremonies capped weekend-long activities that included a baccalaureate Mass at Sacred Heart Chapel (the former Ursuline Sisters chapel) and an awards ceremony on Friday. Six students were recognized at the awards ceremony for embodying the Benedictine values.

Scott Raper of Springfield, who earned a Master of Business Administration, was named the recipient of the Procopian Award, Benedictine's highest honor that is awarded to a graduate who best exemplifies scholarship, service and consistent outstanding community activities while attending the University.

Lawrence Williams Sr. of Springfield, who earned a Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) in Management and Organizational Behavior, was presented with the Seeker Award for best exemplifying the Benedictine value of "searching for God by oneself and with others."

Diana Meilon Davis of Athens, Ill., who earned a B.B.A. in Management and Organizational Behavior, was presented with the Scholar Award for best exemplifying the Benedictine values of "academic excellence" and "the importance of development."

The Dean's Award, presented to the graduate who best exemplifies the Benedictine values of "scholarship" and "a life lived in balance," was presented to Chris Burk of Springfield, who earned a B.B.A. in Management and Organizational Behavior, and Stephanie Lake of Rochester, Ill., who earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Jessica Yard of Springfield, who earned a B.B.A. in Management and Organizational Behavior, was named the recipient of the St. Benedict Award, presented to the graduate who best exemplifies the Benedictine values of "hospitality," "the importance of community," and "responsible stewardship of all things."

Benedictine University at Springfield is a branch campus of Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill., and offers accelerated associate, bachelor's and graduate programs through the University's School of Graduate, Adult and Professional Education.


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Benedictine University at Springfield is a branch campus of Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 9,000 students. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the sixth consecutive year in 2016. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org).


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