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Winter Commencement

Creighton to Award Almost 300 Degrees at Winter Commencement

Almost 300 students will receive their degrees during Creighton University’s winter commencement ceremony at 11 a.m., on Saturday, Dec. 15 in Creighton’s Kiewit Convocation and Fitness Center. A baccalaureate Mass is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. in St. John’s Church on the Creighton campus.

Special awards of recognition will go to people and organizations that have made a positive difference in the Omaha community and around the country.

Creighton University will give its first ever Magis Award to Omaha’s first responders from the Omaha Police and Omaha Fire and Rescue departments for their heroic, selfless acts of courage in the wake of the tragic events surrounding the Dec. 5 shootings at Omaha’s Westroads Mall. The process of considering and choosing the greater good in our thoughts and deeds is the essence of the Latin term “Magis” – literally, “the more.” It is equated with generosity, magnanimity and selflessness. These words describe the heroic actions of the first responders.

First National Bank will receive the Presidential Medallion in recognition of the bank’s 150th anniversary. Family owned for six generations, First National Bank is the largest privately held company of its kind in the country, with more than $18 billion in managed assets and 7,500 employees. Creighton founder Edward Creighton served 11 years as the bank’s first president. In 1953, First National was the first bank to issue a credit card. The bank has made many contributions to Omaha over the years including:

  • Activating the economic revitalization of downtown Omaha by the construction of its bank headquarters
  • Opening an inner-city loan office in the heart of North Omaha to provide mortgages and small business loans
  • Creating the Centro Latino Educacíon Financiera in South Omaha to provide a largely immigrant population the opportunity to understand the American banking system Current chairman Bruce Lauritzen will receive the award.

The Rev. William O’Leary, S.J., a teacher at Creighton Prep for more then 43 years, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. While teaching a wide range of subjects, students and colleagues have been always reminded by O'Leary of their duty to love one another as Jesus loves us. Over the years, O'Leary would use whatever money he had to help underprivileged students by discreetly paying for lunch tickets or family utility bills. A certified hospital chaplain O’Leary holds degrees from Regis College, Saint Louis University and Creighton. Although recently retired from teaching, O’Leary’s presence is still felt at Creighton Prep and in the community. He leads retreats, officiates at masses and funerals, and donates blood - a habit he began in 1978.

The Rev. George Bradshaw Murray, S.J., M.D. ’72, will receive the Alumni Achievement Citation. Over the past 30 years, Murray has become an intellectual giant in psychosomatic medicine and neuropsychiatry and is held in great esteem as both a clinician and a teacher. He brought to these fields a unique educational background as the holder of degrees in theology, philosophy, biology, medicine and neurophysiology. Currently an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, he is renowned for his contributions to modern medicine’s understanding of and clinical applications for the human brain’s limbic system, which supports a variety of functions, including emotion and memory.