Alumni Reunion 2016 - A Memorable Weekend for Benedictine College Alumni

A Memorable Weekend for Benedictine Alumni

Alumni from 1941 to 2006 Enjoy Camaraderie & Memories

Published: June 2016

More than 400 alumni of Benedictine College and its founding institutions, Mount St. Scholastica College and St. Benedict’s College, returned to Atchison for the annual Alumni Reunion June 10 – 12. The weekend featured the presentation of the Benet Awards, which date back to the founding institutions and honor prominent female and male alumni. This year, Marjorie “Marj” Henningsen ’86 received the 2016 Offeramus Medal and John Gould ’66 received the 2016 Kansas Monk Award. 

“Thank you all for this great and completely unexpected honor. It’s great to follow in the footsteps of my mother and my father,” Henningsen said in an emotional acceptance speech, referring to the fact that her mother, JoAnn Johnson Henningsen ’63, had previously won the Offeramus Medal and her father, John Henningsen ’62, the Kansas Monk Award. “The roots of my journey in the Middle East, both professionally and personally, do go back here to Benedictine. And there’s a reason in my family that we refer to Benedictine as the ‘mother ship.’ I might not have even gone into education had it not been for Sister Kathleen Egan. …So it’s the people, and everything that we do together, that makes a good college.”

Henningsen graduated from Benedictine College in 1986 with a double major in Mathematics and Psychology. She went on to complete Masters and Doctoral Degrees in Mathematics Education from the University of Pittsburgh and eventually moved to Beirut, Lebanon, as a full-time faculty member in the Education Department at the American University of Beirut (AUB). In 2007 she founded Wellspring Learning Community in Beirut, a non-sectarian International Baccalaureate (IB) School. Since then she has worked extensively in the area of teacher and administrator development and has co-authored four books on using case-based learning for mathematics teacher development. She and her husband, Ibrahim Jamal, live in Beirut and she remains an active proponent of education for social change.

“My parents, also a part of the BC tradition, taught us clearly that life has little meaning if we do not endeavor to give our time, talent and treasure to others,” Henningsen concluded. “We have to go out in the world and make an effort to improve it. And I think I’m in a room full of people that completely understand that, which is amazing.”

Gould graduated from St. Benedict’s College, now Benedictine College, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration in 1966. He was fully engaged with the college while on campus, participating in student government, the business club and the economics society, and serving as business manager for The Rambler student newspaper and as state treasurer for Phi Beta Lambda. A member of the Army Reserve, he was called up after college and served in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Purple Heart.

He married Mount St. Scholastica College alumna Theresa Marilyn Pike ’66 and they adopted two daughters, Anne from Colombia and Betsy from India. John went on to complete graduate work at St. Louis University and landed a job with Southwestern Bell. He rose up through the ranks and retired from his executive position with Southwestern Bell (now AT&T) in 2000. He is currently a member of the Church of the Annunciation in Webster Groves, Missouri, where he regularly recruits Ravens and loves to hand out Benedictine T-shirts to potential students at his parish.

“There are so many giants that have been here at the school, and I’m going to mention a few...Father Eugene, Father Conrad, Father Gerald, Father Peter, Ray Krupinski in Business, Sister Mary Faith from the Mount …” Gould said during his acceptance speech. “And those giants left us with some other heroes…(former college president) Dan Carey, (current college president) Steve Minnis, and a Nobel Peace Prize winner (Wangari Maathai ’64). The foundation that started back in the 1800s and continues today is very impressive.”

Mount St. Scholastica College, which joined with St. Benedict’s College in 1971 to form Benedictine College, established the Offeramus Medal in 1957 for alumnae who had distinguished themselves in their profession, showed a prominence of service to the civic community, demonstrated outstanding loyalty to the alma mater, and reflected honor on the college through family and social life. In 1960, St. Benedict’s established the corresponding Kansas Monk Award for its graduates.


More than 400 graduates from as far back as 1941 returned to the Benedictine campus over June 10, 11, and 12 for the annual Alumni Reunion Weekend.  Many attendees brought spouses, children, and even grandchildren along to enjoy the camaraderie and festivities.

The reminiscing got underway Friday evening with special dinners for the designated class years. The Heritage Alumni, those beyond the 50th anniversary, had their own gathering, along with those celebrating their 50th reunion, 45th reunion, 40th reunion, 30th reunion, 25th reunion and 20th reunion. Following the dinners, which took place at venues across the campus, everyone gathered for the “Dance around the Fountain” in the Academic Quad. Those attending enjoyed the music under the stars from the Garin Nolan Trio featuring Scott Weinmann of the Class of 2004.

Saturday was filled with events, including a gathering of Physics and Astronomy alumni, the All-Alumni Picnic, the traditional Ice Cream Social at the Mount and a wine and cheese tasting overlooking the Missouri River outside the Abbey Guest House. The celebrations culminated in the annual All-Alumni Reunion Banquet that evening.


Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on thebluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas.  The school is proud to have been consistently named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report.  It has also been named a Leader in Educational Excellence by Colleges of Distinction as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by The Newman Guide and First Things magazine.  Benedictine prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging.  It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.