Commencement


Saturday, May 18, 2019

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Mabee Center

The president and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Sports Commission and Foundation, Kathy Nelson, will be the main speaker at the 2019 William Jewell Commencement ceremony at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, in the Mabee Center on the campus in Liberty, Mo.

As part of Jewell’s commencement traditions, graduates will make the ceremonial last walk around the Quad behind bagpipers and a color guard at about 12:30 p.m. The student speaker, chosen by the senior class, will be Olivia Tolberd, mathematics and psychology double major from Wichita, Kan. 

Nelson, a member of the National Association of Sports Commissions Board of Directors, has been with the KC Sports Commission since 2010. She was named one of the 20 Most Influential Sports Figures in Kansas City by the Kansas City Star and one of the Women Who Mean Business in 2017 by the Kansas City Business Journal. 

As part of the ceremony, honorary doctorates will be given to:

  • Dianne Shumaker, ’66, has devoted most of her professional life to volunteerism, including serving on the boards of the Center for Practical Bioethics, Saint Paul School of Theology and Crittenden Children’s Center. She and her family foundation support social and environmental justice, including education, and assist those facing an unlevel playing field due to race, nationality, class, disability, and political and gender discrimination. She has helped hundreds of ministries and educational, environmental and social justice projects. She served on the Jewell Board of Trustees for nine years and facilitated campus efforts in justice and sustainability, as well as inclusive initiatives for diversifying the student population.
  • Debby Ballard is the director of community affairs at Sprint and is also the president of the Sprint Foundation. In her 34 years with Sprint, her efforts have led to millions of dollars invested in positive programming in K-12 education, youth development, arts and culture, community and civic infrastructure, and disaster relief. Her current and past service on regional and national organizations and committees includes CTIA Wireless Foundation, Alvin Alley American Dance Theater, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, University of Missouri Board of Trustees, Jackson County Links, Inc., Friends of the Zoo, Central Exchange, Truman Medical Center Foundation and Community Foundation of Johnson County. 

Jewell will host a baccalaureate service at 9 a.m. on May 18 in John Gano Memorial Chapel on campus. The baccalaureate speaker will be Rodger Nishioka, senior associate pastor at Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village, Kansas. Before joining Village Church, he served for 15 years as the Benton Family Professor of Christian Education at the Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. 

A nursing pinning ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 17, at the Mabee Center for graduating nursing students.