Class of 2012

The Rockhurst University Class of 2012 is full of exceptional students who will go out in the world and accomplish great things. From now until graduation on May 12, we will feature one of these notable seniors each week day.

Cynthia BarchersCynthia Barchers, '12, Kansas City, Mo.
Graduating with degrees in biology and English. 

Committing yourself to college is a worthwhile challenge for most people. It’s an even bigger endeavor when you have four children and five grandchildren. Cynthia Barchers’ road to graduation was a long journey that started in 1975 when she first enrolled at Rockhurst. Because of a death in the family, her original plan of finishing school was changed and she began her life, but she always kept Rockhurst in sight. Now after two full-time years and an assortment of classes peppered over four decades, Barchers will finally get the degree that she wanted in the school that she loves. She’s seen many changes on campus over the years, but she said the one thing that remains is the quality of people at the institution. This is why one of her boys has already graduated with a degree from RU, why two were enrolled with her and why her youngest is planning on attending when he graduates from high school. Barchers’ love of education, which kept her desire for her degree burning, will continue to push her to getting a master’s degree and to look for a position at a university. Read more about her story here.


Michael McAuliffeMichael McAuliffe, '12, St. Louis.
Graduating with degrees in psychology and criminal justice.  

When Michael McAuliffe watches criminal psychologists on hit television shows like “Criminal Minds”, he doesn’t just see famous actors solving mysteries, he sees his future career. McAuliffe came to Rockhurst with the urge to help people’s physical bodies, but after some time at Rockhurst, he decided to focus on helping people’s minds. After graduation, McAuliffe will be attending the Chicago School of Professional Psychology to get his master’s in forensic psychology. His plan is to use this degree as a bridge to his ultimate goal of being a criminal psychologist for the FBI. Ideally, he wants to be able to understand criminal behavior and help those already convicted rehabilitate so they can reenter society with the necessary help to prevent any relapses. McAuliffe said he wouldn’t have been able to come to the decision if it weren’t for the dedicated faculty involvement that he’s experienced throughout his time at Rockhurst. It was small classes with personal attention from professors that made all of the difference for him. But when he wasn’t having one-on-one interaction with his professors, McAuliffe spent time as a student ambassador and with organizations like Beta Beta Beta, the green council and Student Alumni Association.

Rebekah FranzelRebekah (Bekah) Franzel, ’12, St. Louis.
Graduating with degrees in global studies and political science, with a minor in economics.

For Rebekah Franzel, Saturday’s commencement ceremony represents more than just a walk across that prestigious stage. It ends a long journey that made up her undergraduate experience. In addition to serving as the 2011-12 president of student senate, a Rockhurst student ambassador, and vice president of the pre-law fraternity on campus, Phi Alpha Delta, Franzel kept a high GPA while taking 18-hour semesters. As if all of this didn’t keep her busy enough, Franzel’s journey through college also marks a tough time for her and her family. Franzel’s 15-year-old brother, Jake, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma – a type of bone cancer – her freshman year. She made the trip home to St. Louis nearly every weekend to be with him during his treatments, but sadly Jake passed away this past January. She walks across that graduation stage for both herself and Jake. Read her full story and learn how Franzel will continue to fulfill her brother’s legacy.

Patrick Connely

Patrick Connely, '12, Chesterfield, Mo.
Graduating with degrees in business administration and marketing. 

Patrick Connely has a clear vision of what he wants to be in the future: president of sales or marketing for a large retailer. And without even having put on his cap and gown, he’s already taken those first steps. In less than two weeks, Connely will be using his eye for detail and his creative brain as the assistant store manager for Pier 1 Import’s home office store across the street from the retailer’s corporate headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. He plans on using this opportunity as a stepping stone towards his ultimate goal. The reason Connely came to Rockhurst was because he wanted a small school that had a solid focus on business. He found his home at the Helzberg School of Management where instructors like Turner White and Acey Lampe, Ph.D., influenced and helped him develop into the person that he is. The other people that greatly influenced him during his time on campus were his tight-knit group of friends. In fact, plans have already been made for reunions in the near future. Connely said one of his great accomplishments at Rockhurst was living his life to the fullest and participating in groups and organizations like student senate and Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity. He is eager to share his accomplishments and this commencement milestone with his family.

Melody ChambersMelody Chambers, ’12, East St. Louis, Ill.
Graduating with degrees in biochemistry and psychology.

Melody Chambers’s time at Rockhurst University expanded her circle of friends, her interests and it opened up a whole new world of career possibilities that she had not anticipated. She came to the University with the idea that she wanted to study biology and psychology, in an effort to one day become a psychiatrist. But Chambers quickly discovered a love for the lab. While finishing her last year at RU, Chambers works part-time at the University of Kansas Medical Center’s glycobiology lab identifying proteins.  Research wasn’t something she thought she would ever enjoy, but it is something she has grown fond of. When she wasn’t in the lab, Chambers spent time as president of the University’s Black Student Union and executive board member of the Social Activities Board. In what might be considered another change, Chambers plans on attending nursing school in the fall. This next shift in her life falls under her philosophy of learning what you can while you’re still young. She said Rockhurst has given her all the tools she needs to succeed in any field. 

Meaghan FanningMeaghan Fanning, '12, St. Louis.
Graduating with degrees in nonprofit leadership and theology.  

While standing underneath the bell tower on campus, reading the words of Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., 29th Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Meaghan Fanning knew she had found her alma mater. It was then that the seeds of her becoming a woman for God and the world took root and blossomed into a love of social justice. She wanted a university where she would learn new things and be well-rounded in her education, but, better yet, a university that would transform her into something better. For her, Rockhurst has far exceeded anything she had expected. She became a woman for the world and found her calling to serve others. She found that calling with her work with VOICES for Justice and under the mentorship of Bill Kriege, assistant director of campus ministry. While she had traveled abroad to do service work for RU, she knew there was plenty of work to do here in the states. Now Fanning gets to plant her own seeds as the director of the urban garden for Don Bosco Community Center. She will continue working at the garden full-time over the summer before beginning to look into getting a master’s degree in social work. 

Maritza NavarroMaritza Navarro, ’12, Kansas City, Mo.
Graduating with degrees in psychology and Spanish.

Maritza Navarro knew she wanted to give back to her community when she graduated. She just didn’t know how. After entering Rockhurst as a pre-med student, she soon realized that her call to serve was going to be found in a different area. On May 12, she will be leaving Rockhurst with a degree in psychology and Spanish. She wants to help people who are struggling or going through a tough time. She realized her need to make a difference when she spent some time in a Honduran orphanage during a spring break service immersion trip. Throughout Navarro’s time at RU, her culture has always played an important part. When she entered into Rockhurst, she wanted to keep the Student Organization of Latinos alive. This was an organization that got its start with her aunt and uncle who also got their undergraduate degrees from Rockhurst. Navarro has plans to attend graduate school to further her knowledge in psychology and non-profit leadership, but first she hopes to serve a few years at AmeriCorps.

Fred GrossmanFred Grossman, ’12, Omaha, Neb.
Graduating with degrees in accounting and Spanish.

Grossman always saw himself in the business world. But it wasn’t until he took his first class with professor Tony Tocco, Ph.D., that he discovered his passion for accounting. His Rockhurst studies, internship and leadership roles, such as the finance and accounting student vice president, have prepared him to take the next step after graduation. Grossman has landed a full-time job at Ernst & Young as an assurance associate where he will perform audits on all types of companies across a variety of industries. Working with a team of auditors, he will primarily focus on providing a quality opinion of how each company represents their financial position. Grossman’s first day at Ernst & Young is July 23, 2012.