Carroll College Celebrates 113th Commencement

113th Commencement Graduation

On Saturday, May 13, 2023, Carroll College (Helena, Montana) conferred degrees on 313 graduates including baccalaureate, masters and accelerated nursing degree recipients, as well as Carroll’s first cohort of Master of Social Work students, during its 113th commencement ceremony held in Nelson Stadium. The ceremony included a number of awards and honors for students, faculty, and staff.

Philosophy professor and recipient of the 2022 Distinguished Scholar Award, Elvira Roncalli provided the faculty address during the ceremony.

The class of 2023 senior speaker was Molly McWade from Brea, California. McWade graduated with a major in biology and a minor in chemistry on the pre-physician assistant track. During her time at Carroll, she served as a peer minister and peer writing consultant. McWade completed her coursework in December and has been working at St. Peter’s Health as a medical assistant for the spring semester.

The college’s Bishop Gilmore Memorial Award for Outstanding Scholarship, awarded to seniors who have attained the highest grade-point average after four years at Carroll, was awarded to six graduates: Kathleen Elisabeth Bradt of Pendleton, Ore.; Jill Marie Cooney of Spokane, Wash.; Eden Alana Houske of Palos Verdes Peninsula, Calif.;Anna H. Jarman of Richland, Wash.; Michael Marcham of Camas, Wash.; and Linsey BryAnn Walker of Libby, Mont.

The Michael Murphy Award for Outstanding Collegiate Citizenship was presented to a team of two graduates: Brayton Holmes of Livingston, Mont., who graduated cum laude with a degree in Public Health and Sarah Graham of Westpot, Wash., who also graduated with a Public Health degree. They were selected for the award for their combined efforts to create training, resources, and build better awareness around sexual assault prevention, consent, and healthy relationships. In addition, three graduates were selected as honorable mentions: Alyssa Puntin, Sofie Borzadeck, and Tug Smith.

The Raymond G. Hunthausen Outstanding Service Award was presented to three graduates. Luke Raffa from Castle Rock, Colo., graduated magna cum laude with a degree in psychology. He served as president of Carroll’s CAMP program, was very active in Special Olympics MT, and was a volunteer at God’s Love for four years. Alyssa Puntin from Pittsfield, Mass., graduated summa cum laude with a major in anthrozoology. She served as president of the Queer-Straight Alliance, was the student co-chair for the LGBTQ+ subcommittee of Carroll’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion task force, mentored exchange students, and raised money for the Lewis and Clark Humane Society. Harry Phillip of Butte, Mont., graduated with a degree in biology. He was president of the service-centered club, Circle K, which involved working with Habitat for Humanity, helped raise money for nonprofit organizations, and was instrumental in building a Food Pantry at Carroll in collaboration with Carroll Athletics. 

Several faculty and staff awards were also conferred. The Outstanding Teaching Award recipient was Dr. Brandon Sheafor, professor of biology, known for fostering a collaborative and inclusive environment in his classes and labs where students feel valued, engaged and invested in their education. The Distinguished Scholar Award was awarded to Dr. Ashley Beck, assistant professor of biology, for her valuable contributions to Carroll’s academic community by mentoring students, integrating research into her courses, conducting research at the community level, publishing multiple scholarly papers, and facilitating student participation in research conferences. The Excellence in Service Award was awarded to the Registrar’s office team of Dayle Williams, Jamie Carlson, and Amber Barnes, for tirelessly and commendably supporting the college in the absence of Registrar for nine months. Director of Facilities Butch Biskupiak was presented with the Presidential Distinguished Service Award by President John Cech, Ph.D., in recognition of his 47 years of dedicated service to the college. In addition, Fr. Marc Lenneman also received the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for faithfully serving our students and campus as Chaplain and Director of Campus Ministry for the past 16 years. 

Carroll College bestowed the title Professor Emerita and Emeritus to six professors in recognition of their legacy at Carroll; two professors were awarded the title posthumously. The professors were: Professor of Music Dr. Lynn Petersen; Professor of English Literature Dr. Kay Satre; Professor of Engineering, Dr. John Scharf; and Professor of Teacher Education Dr. Bob Stansberry. Professor of Computer Science, Mr. Steve Harper and Professor of Mathematics and Data Science, Dr. Eric Sullivan were awarded posthumously.

The ceremony also honored 50-, and 60--year graduates from the classes of 1973 and 1963. A special degree presentation was made to Dr. Peter Kampershroer of Wise River, Mont., a graduate of the class of 1965, who had left Carroll in 1964 to pursue his medical degree at Loyola University of Chicago/Stritch School of Medicine prior to receiving his degree. He was granted his Carroll College Bachelor of Arts degree at this commencement.