1. On Sept. 2, 1878, five Jesuits, two lay teachers and approximately 120 students began classes at the newly opened Creighton College. Today 7,700 students attend Creighton University, which is one of the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States.
2. In July 2012, Timothy R. Lannon, S.J., became the 24th person — and the first alumnus — to serve as president of Creighton University. For more on all of Creighton’s presidents, please visit www.creighton.edu/administration/president/history
3. Edward Creighton, born in Ohio in 1820, was a successful businessman before he moved to Omaha in 1856. In addition to his significant role in developing the transcontinental telegraph line, Edward figured prominently in cattle ranching, banking and freight operations. When he died in November 1874 without a will, his fortune passed to his wife, Mary Lucretia Creighton.
4. Mary Lucretia Creighton (b. 1834) married Edward Creighton on Oct. 7, 1856, and the newlyweds settled in Omaha, where Edward had recently relocated his business. Known for her charitable work, Mary personally delivered food, money and other items to needy Omaha families. After her death in 1876, Mary’s will — drafted after inheriting her husband’s wealth — provided $100,000 as a memorial to her late husband “to purchase the site for a school in the city of Omaha, and erect buildings thereon for a school of the class and grade of a college.”
5. The responsibility of starting a school with Mary Lucretia Creighton’s bequest fell to Bishop James O’Connor, and it was the bishop who enlisted the Society of Jesus to operate Creighton University. Since Fr. Roman Shaffel (pictured) led five Jesuits (and two lay teachers) to open Creighton in September 1878, Creighton has been home to hundreds of Jesuits. Currently more than 50 Jesuits administrate, teach and provide ministry at the University. Visit Creighton's Jesuit community website.