Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Donnelly College inducts Alumni Hall of Fame Class

On Thursday, May 10, Donnelly College inducted five new members into its Alumni Hall of Fame at its Third Annual Induction Ceremony.

The inducted alumni included Fr. Frank Horvat, '52, Don Wolf, '56, Pat Callaghan, '59, Kevin Keefer, '72 , and Ted Garcia, '93.

The annual event, held the Thursday before graduation each year, attracted more than 100 individuals to celebrate this year’s inductees.

Each inductee was present to share their reflections about the honor and the impact of Donnelly on their life.

“The Alumni Hall of Fame event is one of my favorite events of the year,” said Steve LaNasa, Donnelly President. “It’s amazing to hear how much Donnelly impacted their lives and how tremendously they have lived the values and used their Donnelly education to improve the world around them. I’m so fortunate in my role to get to know our alumni, hear these stories, and to witness the same potential in our graduating class of 2012."

LaNasa also introduced the Alumni Hall of Fame Scholarship, funded through contributions in honor of current and past inductees.

A student honored with funds raised this year will be named at next year’s induction ceremony.

Donnelly’s Alumni Board Chair, Phil Doherty, ’62, and Board of Trustrees Chairman Bob Bartunek introduced and presented the awards to the inductees. 

Donnelly accepts nominations year-round and encourages those who know a Donnelly alumnus who exemplifies the mission of the college through service to others to please nominate them!

About the Inductees

Father Frank Horvat attended the Seminary after Donnelly and was ordained in 1958. He spent more than 50 years as a priest in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas in 12 parishes, serving the last 19 years before his retirement at St. John the Baptist on Strawberry Hill, the same church where he was baptized.

Father Frank has always been a strong champion of Donnelly College and has touched the lives of many generations of Kansas City residents.

His niece and God-daughter Barbara Kauffman accepted the award on his behalf, noting how grateful he was for the Presidential Scholarship that allowed him to attend Donnelly.

Don Wolf has been designated as a Master Photographer in recognition of his skill and artistry with a camera. Don has also been a tireless supporter of two orphanages in Croatia, his family’s homeland.

“I had no idea what I wanted to do after High School, had no goals and was floundering,” Wolf said during his acceptance.” I met a guy at my work who mentioned that he was attending Donnelly and he thought I should too. On the first day of class I sat at the very back so no one would notice me. When Sister Ligouri called roll, she called me ‘Mr. Wolf’ and I realized I was somebody. It changed my life.”

Pat Callaghan spent her life educating others. She taught at St. Patrick and Cathedral schools in Kansas City, Kansas and taught at Donnelly from 1984 to 1990. She came back 11 years later as an academic advisor until her retirement in 2008. Pat has served on Donnelly’s Alumni Board and volunteers with the Keeler Women’s Center and other local agencies.

Callaghan recalled, “I came to Donnelly indecisive and not feeling good about myself. The warm welcome I received from the Benedictine sisters at Donnelly validated me. Donnelly contains the footprints, fingerprints, and mindsets of all the former students and teachers who have made Donnelly what it is today. Those still here are the future legacy for Donnelly.”

Kevin Keefer is the founder and owner of Huntington Hospitality Financial Corporation, an accounting services company dedicated to the hospitality industry.  Kevin and his wife Pat have also given back by supporting their local schools and parishes as well as a primary school in Nigeria.

“I didn’t know what to do after High School but a high school counselor suggested Donnelly,” Keefer said. “I took some accounting courses and really liked them. I then majored in accounting at K.U. and discovered a career I was passionate about.”

After Donnelly, Ted Garcia went to Rockhurst University completing a B.A. with a double major in Sociology and Spanish and then earned his J.D. at the KU School of Law in 1998, quite an accomplishment as the first in his family to graduate High School and college.

Today, as the founder of the Garcia Immigration Law Firm, Ted practices immigration law in Wyandotte County serving immigrants whose stories he personally relates to.  Ted also served on Donnelly’s Board of Directors. 

“I had no idea what I wanted to do,” Garcia said, “but I knew I was destined for something. I had no role models, but a friend who worked at Donnelly suggested I go to college there. I was awarded a presidential scholarship and that planted a seed which was nurtured and flourished.”