Quincy University hosted its 160th Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 13. In addition to conferring a total of 178 undergraduate and graduate degrees, QU President Brian McGee, PhD, awarded four honorary degrees.
Honorary Degrees of Doctor of Humane Letters were awarded to Mary Nell (Frier) Meyer ’63, Dr. George C. Meyer ’63, John P. Shibles ’69, and Thomas Nairn, O.F.M.,’71.
Mary Nell (Frier) Meyer is a 1963 Quincy University alumna with a degree in history. Meyer taught history and English at Quincy Junior High School for four years until her first child was born. Meyer returned to teaching after her children were in school by working as the coordinator teacher with the homebound students at Blessing Hospital and St. Mary Hospital.
Meyer is a longtime member of St. Peter Catholic Church, where she served as a member of various committees and as a volunteer in the religious education classes. For years, she delivered meals for the Meals on Wheels program. Meyer and her husband George have been generous financial supporters of the University for many years, including the QU Fund and an endowed scholarship for students in their name. They spearheaded efforts to start the Dave and Mary Costigan Scholarship and funded a separate endowed fund to bring speakers to campus. The Meyers have been involved in the POLIS program and are active in the Retired Faculty and Staff Association. They are members of the QU Heritage Society and regularly attend QU basketball games. Mary Nell and George Meyer were awarded the Bill O’Donnell Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award in 2018.
Dr. George C. Meyer, a 1963 alumnus of Quincy University, served with Quincy Public Schools for thirty-four years, advancing through numerous roles as a teacher, basketball coach, assistant principal, director of personnel and superintendent. After retiring from Quincy Public schools, Meyer began his second career at Quincy University as dean of the school of education and associate professor of education. Meyer introduced the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to education students at Quincy University with the intent of seeing it used in classrooms. This effort was the foundation of the Adams County United Way’s Academic Success Initiative.
Meyer has made significant contributions to the Quincy community. He has a life membership in the Illinois Congress of Parents and Teachers. Meyer was inducted into the Quincy CYO Hall of Fame and has served on many statewide boards and committees. He served for many years in volunteer roles with Kiwanis, Mart Heinen Club, Chamber of Commerce, Arts Quincy and National Youth Sports Program. Meyer received the Humanitarian of the Year Award from Cornerstone in 2016. Meyer continues to demonstrate his passion for education as he mentors in the Quincy Public Schools. George and his wife Mary Nell were recipients of the QU Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award in 2018. They spearheaded efforts to start the Dave and Mary Costigan Scholarship and initiated their own scholarship and a separate endowed fund. The Meyers are active in the Retired Faculty and Staff Association and are members of the QU Heritage Society. Meyers graduated from Quincy University in 1963 with a degree in physical education and math. He earned his MS degree from Truman State and his doctorate from the University of Missouri-Columbia in secondary administration and curriculum.
John P. Shibles is Senior Vice President of Sitar Company, a full-service commercial real estate firm based in New Jersey. Since joining the company in 1982, Shibles has negotiated the sale of many commercial and investment properties and has represented clients in the sale of
more than 5,000 acres in the highly competitive New Jersey real estate market. In his role as Senior Vice President, Shibles uses his strong financial and marketing background in corporate real estate matters and methods of analyzing a buy/sell offer to provide clients with creative solutions that are respected throughout the industry. Shibles has successfully sold more than three million square feet of office and industrial space throughout New Jersey for numerous corporate clients. Shibles believes in persistence and hard work. He credits his alma mater Quincy University for giving him a foundation of friendship, guidance and structure. Shibles instilled these values in his sons, and he mentors young people to practice these values in their personal and professional lives. Shibles is dedicated to giving back to people and causes that demonstrate the values of leadership, service and community betterment. He gives generously to charities in his area and volunteers to help with good causes. Shibles serves as guest lecturer in professional settings and integrates the need for personal and professional service into his lectures. He is active in community affairs. Shibles is a 1969 graduate of Quincy University and holds a Master of Business Administration in Finance from Pace University. He has taken additional courses at Rutgers University and New York University.
Thomas Nairn, O.F.M., is the current Provincial Minister of the Friars of the Sacred Heart Province, the Catholic religious community that founded Quincy University in 1860. Prior to that, he served as the Senior Director, Ethics, Catholic Health Association of the United States. He also served as the Erica and Harry John Family Professor of Catholic Ethics at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, as well as Director of its Health Care Mission Leadership program. In 2014, Nairn was appointed by the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life, as Ecclesiastical Advisor to the International Catholic Committee for Nurses and Health Care Workers. Nairn entered the Franciscan Order in 1968 and was ordained a priest in 1975. He earned an MDiv and MA in Theology from the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and a PhD from the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. His doctoral degree is
in Christian Theology with a specialization in Christian Ethics. Nairn’s life has been mainly devoted to teaching. Much of his work has dealt with medical ethics. He has published four books and many academic, professional, and popular articles on moral theology, especially in the area of health care ethics. He has also had the opportunity to teach young Franciscans, along with other seminarians, at Holy Trinity College in Harare, Zimbabwe, including coursework on medical ethics and sexual morality. Nairn is a 1971 graduate of Quincy University and has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2009. He served as chair of the board for four years. He also was the 2013 Commencement speaker.
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Founded in 1860 by Franciscan friars, Quincy University is a small Catholic university emphasizing the sciences, liberal arts and the professions. Quincy University offers undergraduate, graduate and adult education programs integrating practical experience and Franciscan values. Faculty and advisors work with students to design customized success plans to help them graduate on time, find their passion and prepare them for life. QU is a member of NCAA Division II for intercollegiate athletics. For more information, please visit www.quincy.edu or contact the Office of Community Relations at (217) 228-5275 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Quincy University. Success by Design.