Benedictine College 2016 Graduates Receive Fran Jabara Leadership Awards

Statewide Leadership Awards Go to Benedictine Graduates

Published: Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Two graduating seniors at Benedictine College were surprised with the announcement of the Fran Jabara Leadership Awards during this year’s Commencement Exercises. Angela Lorang, of Centertown, Missouri, and James Nistler, of Helena, Montana, were this year’s recipients of the annual award that goes to select graduating seniors at four-year, private colleges in Kansas.

Dr. Fran Jabara, founder of the Jabara Family Foundation, established the award in 2002 as a means of recognizing graduating seniors who display exemplary leadership skills. The award indicates the high level of ability the recipients have displayed as well as the respect with which their peers and teachers view them.

Angela Lorang

Lorang is an English and Theatre major, who was very involved in leadership at Benedictine College, from student government to academics to producing stage plays. She was a two-time Discovery Day presenter, giving a presentation on leadership in 2015 and one on afterschool programs in 2016.

She helped recruit new students as a worker in the Admission Office, helped them as incoming freshmen as a ROC leader and then went on to represent the student body as a Student Government Association senator and ultimately as a vice president on the executive board.

As a theatre major, she did more than just acting. She dug deep into the art, working on lighting design, scenic design, stage management and directing. And she did more than just improve herself. She put her talents to use for the betterment of the community.

She created an afterschool theatre program at Atchison Middle School with Sydney Giefer this past year. She also taught in a summer program at Stained Glass Theatre in Jefferson City, Missouri, and served as assistant director for the Lansing Correctional Facility’s production of King Lear through the Arts in Prison Living Shakespeare program.

Upon graduation, she will join the ranks of the Teach for America program and has committed to teaching secondary English and Language Arts in a middle school or high school in the Kansas City, Missouri School District.

James Nistler

Nistler is one of nine children of Steve and Rose Nistler of Helena. He was an outstanding athlete and student in high school and was valedictorian of his high school class.

Since arriving on the Benedictine College campus four years ago, he has been very engaged with the college on a number of levels in addition to his academics, including residence life, intramurals and even varsity sports as one the lacrosse players on the new men’s lacrosse team. He has completed a double major in Mechanical Engineering and General Engineering on an accelerated track.

He has worked consistently as a lab technician and tutor for the Engineering Department and served as a Resident Assistant in both Turner and Newman Halls, helping underclassmen adjust to life away from home.

He has been a leader in the college’s faith life as well. He laid the foundation for the Stations of the Cross in Guadalupe Chapel and started the Pub Theology program. He has also been involved with FOCUS and the Knights of Columbus and organized a joint service day with Habitat for Humanity that was published in Columbia Magazine.

Last year he was heavily involved in the first Benedictine College Engineering Mission Trip to Guatemala. That group designed and constructed a truss system for a center for single mothers. This year, he led the Engineering Mission Trip, this time to Ghana. His group built a small water tower there to provide water to a village of approximately 5,000 people.

In February, he was the featured student speaker at the college’s annual Scholarship Ball and received a standing ovation. Carrying a 3.9 GPA, Nistler is graduating summa cum laude with his two engineering degrees.

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas.  The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide.  It 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.