Jewell celebrates Commencement 2022
William Jewell College celebrates the Class of 2022 at a Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 14. The traditional Walk Around the Quad led by Kansas City Celtic Pipes and Drums begins at 12:30 p.m. with Commencement at 1 p.m. in the Mabee Center. The event is open to guests, and a link to the recording will be available on this page after the event.
Dr. Mark T. Bedell, superintendent of Kansas City Public Schools, will be the main speaker at Commencement. Bedell is the longest serving superintendent in Kansas City Public Schools in more than 50 years, and in January, he led the district to full accreditation status for the first time in 20 years. His numerous speaking engagements, awards, national board service for several high-level organizations and equity-centered keynotes make him a leading Superintendent in public education. Bedell and his team have created an innovative Equity Policy to direct the school system’s resources and programs so that all students have the opportunity to reach their greatest potential. He has received many recognitions, including being named a Superintendent to Watch by the National School Public Relations Association, New Superintendent of the Year by the Missouri Association of School Administrators, 435 Magazine’s Top 50 Power List and the Kansas City Business Journal’s Power 100 List. He was a finalist for the Green-Garner award in 2021 – the top award for urban superintendents across the country. Although one of his most important honors continues to be in 2018 when Southeast High School students gave him an award of appreciation for his efforts on their behalf and for the positive impact he will have on future students.
The student speaker, chosen by the senior class, will be Bennett Williams of O'Fallon. He is graduating with three majors: business administration, nonprofit leadership, and applied critical thought and Inquiry. The Phi Gamma Delta fraternity president has played on the Cardinal Soccer team as an Academic All-Conference midfielder, served in the Nonprofit Leadership Association, and represented Jewell as a board member of Historic Downtown Liberty Inc. He’s also completed internships with Down Syndrome Association, Lead Sigma, and Valorem Reply; launched his own startup called Revamp Media to help small businesses increase their visibility with social media and marketing; and created and helped develop the partnership between Jewell and the nonprofit Prep-KC to help provide opportunities and education for Prep-KC students.
Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Recipients
Now retired, Susan Chambers, Jewell Class of 1990, most recently served as Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer for Walmart Inc. In that role she was responsible for managing, attracting, and retaining a private, global workforce of more than two million Walmart associates. She was also responsible for ensuring a vibrant workplace culture that enabled the performance and potential of every associate. She has been invited to speak on culture and leadership at conferences and institutions of higher learning, including Duke University, West Point, and the U.S. Naval Academy. Chambers was a Vital Voices Global Ambassador in India and a Fortune/U.S. State Department mentor to women entrepreneurs in Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa. She was named to Fortune magazine’s list of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” five years in a row. Prior to joining Walmart, Chambers worked for 14 years with Hallmark Cards in IT and finance. She has served on numerous corporate and charitable boards, including William Jewell College as chair, Duke University Board of Visitors of The Fuqua School of Business, Arkansas State Board of Education, and the Kauffman Foundation.
Janice Kreamer is the former chairman of the Kauffman Foundation Board of Trustees and the retired president and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation and Affiliated Trusts. She is known nationally for her leadership of community foundations and especially for her pioneering work focused on donor intent. Under her leadership, the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation’s asset base grew from $14 million to $1 billion. Today, it is among the leaders in assets, gifts received, and grants made among the more than 650 community foundations across the country. A committed civic servant, Kreamer is the chair of the board of KC Scholars and serves on the boards of The Center for Creative Leadership, George K. Baum Family Foundation, Gary Dickinson Family Foundation, and Principal Connect. She has received numerous honors, including the Entrepreneurial American Leadership Award for her pioneering efforts to redefine the leadership role community foundations play in creating regional cooperation across the United States. In 2012, she was the recipient of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s ATHENA Award for achieving professional excellence, devoting time and energy to the community, and opening the doors of leadership to women.