Creighton University Recognized for Impact on Omaha Community
Creighton University was recently recognized as a “best-neighbor” urban university by a new national ranking. Creighton was the only university in Nebraska and also surrounding states identified as an example of an academic institution making a positive contribution to the local city by dramatically strengthening the quality of life and economy as well as renewing and revitalizing its surrounding community.
Compiled by Evan Dobelle, president and CEO of the New England Board of Higher Education, the newly released “Saviors of Our Cities” list recognizes the top 25 universities and colleges that are “exemplary examples of community revitalization and cultural renewal, economic drivers of the local economy, advocates of community service and urban developers, both commercially as well as in housing.”
Dobelle used 10 criteria to rank the schools. These included the institutions’ longstanding involvement with their communities, dollars invested by the universities into their communities, faculty and student involvement in community service, sustainability of neighborhood initiatives and “qualitative esprit of the institution in its engagement.” Dobelle, a former college president on four campuses and a nationally known expert in the field of higher education and cities, also gathered information from interviews with educators and public officials throughout the country.
“For more than 125 years, Creighton University has been an integral part of the Omaha landscape. Ours was a conscious decision to be a partner in Omaha’s urban renaissance and we created a dynamic and nationally recognized campus plan to maximize this historic opportunity,” said Creighton President the Rev. John P. Schlegel, S. J. “But it’s not just about bricks and mortar. Fundamental to our mission as a Jesuit, Catholic institution is educating men and women who are not only proficient in their professions but enlivened with a spirit of service and emboldened to create a more just world.”
University leadership recognized several years ago that a significantly enhanced infrastructure was essential to providing the high-level academic, life-changing experience for undergraduate and professional students and research opportunities for faculty.
Here is a sampling of some of Creighton University’s community revitalization, economic impact and outreach efforts:
- Since 2000, Creighton has started, completed or designed expansions and renovations totaling more than $190 million. The east campus has been a key focus, with Morrison Stadium, new junior-senior housing in Davis Square (completed in 2004) and Opus Hall (opened this fall) and the upcoming construction of the new living-learning center.
- The Hixson-Lied Science Building, completed in 2003, and the renovation of Criss Rigge laboratories stand as architectural and educational model of the future of science education, integrating science and technology in innovative ways.
Creighton University’s Department of Economics conducted a study of the University’s impact on Omaha and the State of Nebraska. Some highlights include:
- The University’s overall impact on the state’s economy in 2006 will be more than $687 million.
- Creighton is the 10th largest Omaha employer. Creighton University spending supports roughly 8,334 full-time, year-round equivalent jobs with a total payroll of approximately $231 million for the state.
- In the Omaha metropolitan area, 27 percent of physicians, 69 percent of dentists, 59 percent of pharmacists, 72 percent of occupational therapists and 16 percent of registered nurses are Creighton graduates.