May 14, 2023

Christine Bwanakweri ’23 Recognized with Sister Mary Frances Warde Award

Mount Mercy University graduate Christine Bwanakweri ’23 received the Sister Mary Frances Warde Award during the 2023 Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 14.

Christine graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communication.

The Sister Mary Frances Warde Award is the highest award conferred each year to the graduate who transferred to—or had a gap in attendance while at—Mount Mercy and best exemplifies our university mission in how they reflect, engage, serve, and live a purposeful life during their time here. The award is named for Sister Mary Frances Warde, who founded the Sisters of Mercy in America in 1843.

Christine started at Mount Mercy as a traditional student in Fall 2018, but then took a year sabbatical from the Hill to serve in the Iowa National Guard. She then transferred back in to complete her degree in communication.

When Christine first arrived on campus, she participated in Project Connect where the Director commented, “Like so many other students, Christine's path to graduation has not always been easy, but due to her own deep sense of determination and resilience, there is no obstacle that would prevent her from walking across this stage today and earning her degree.”

As her favorite professor Bryan Cross noted, “Christine is a courageous thinker who pursues the truth, even if it is unpopular. She never let fear of what people think of her hold her back, and she didn't ask questions just to get participation points. She asked questions to find the answer, to find the truth. She wanted to learn, to know.”

Upon her return to Mount Mercy, Christine knew she wanted to put what she learned in the classroom into action, so she answered the call with an internship at the United Way where she used strategic thinking to help develop a leadership plan that will help shape the community.

She also served on the search committee for Mount Mercy’s inaugural Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity, engaged in various diversity initiatives to bring awareness of historically underrepresented students, and served as the Black Student Union President, helping to host many events and revamp Mount Mercy’s MLK Jr. celebration.

Congratulations, Christine!