Robert Sprunger Named Father Aquinas Award Recipient

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Robert Sprunger Named Father Aquinas Award Recipient

Published: December 16, 2013.

(L to R) Brother James Gaffney, FSC, President
of Lewis University, Robert Sprunger, Father Aquinas
recipient, Brian Bishop, Alumni Representative.

Lewis University student Robert Sprunger of Plainfield, Ill., received the Father Aquinas Colgan Award during the University’s undergraduate Commencement Ceremonies held Sunday, December 15 at the Romeoville Main Campus. This special recognition is awarded to a graduating senior at each of the University’s undergraduate Commencement Ceremonies held in May and December.

Sprunger graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology with a minor in Secondary Education and Math. He earned a 3.0/4.0 cumulative Grade Point Average. Sprunger credits his confidence and academic growth to his student teaching experience. “I gained a better understanding of how I think, how I behave, how I interact with others, and why I do what I do. … Being able to serve and interact with so many different people as a Lewis student, I gained a greater appreciation and desire for service,” explained Sprunger.

Involved off and on campus, Sprunger was a peer minister, member of Theta Alpha Kappa Honor Society, member of the German National Honor Society, and worked with Feed My Starving Children and the Northern Illinois Food Bank. Students are nominated for the Father Aquinas Colgan Award by University faculty and staff. To be eligible for nomination, a student must be an undergraduate who has qualified for graduation, who is a four-year student of Lewis University with a minimum grade-point average of 3.0, and who has demonstrated exemplary personal, intellectual and social development in the spirit of Lewis University’s Mission.

A Lewis University tradition, the Father Aquinas Colgan Award has been presented to an outstanding undergraduate student at the University’s Commencement exercises since 1955. The award recognizes students who have demonstrated personal and intellectual growth, a strong commitment to their faith, and a firm dedication to the Lasallian values of justice and association.

The award honors the memory of Father Aquinas Colgan, O. Carm., who was chaplain early in the University’s history. A U.S. Army chaplain during World War II, Father Aquinas died on May 6, 1945, while attempting to rescue a wounded corpsman. He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for valor, becoming one of only seven chaplains to receive this honor in World War II. He had previously received the Purple Heart with an Oak Leaf Cluster for acts of heroism and for two earlier wounds. Father Aquinas is remembered for his character, bravery, and persistence in pursuing goals, and also for his deep personal faith.

Lewis University is a Catholic university in the Lasallian tradition offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 6,600 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates. The seventh largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report. Visit for further information.

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