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Creighton Honors Omaha’s First Responders During Winter Commencement

Creighton Honors Omaha’s First Responders During Winter Commencement

People and organizations that have made a positive difference in the Omaha community and around the country received special awards of recognition during Creighton University's Winter Commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 15.

Creighton gave its inaugural Magis Award to 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.

"This event has deeply touched us all. We grieve with the families of the victims and with our community over this tragic loss of life. We pray for them and we are resolved to take a stand against needless and destructive violence," said the Rev. John P. Schlegel, S.J., president Creighton University. "This is a time for consolation and healing, a time to reach out to others and a comforting God. In this time of tragedy, we honor those who answered the call in the midst of this unthinkable, horrific violence – our police, firefighters and rescue personnel.”

An audience of more than 1,700 stood as fire and rescue department representatives Capt. Al Salcedo and Capt. Jim Boomsma, a 1995 graduate of Creighton University’s paramedic program, and Officer Bill Dropinski of the Omaha Police Department accepted the Magis award.

Almost 300 students received their degrees during Creighton's winter commencement ceremony in the University's Kiewit Convocation and Fitness Center. First National Bank received the Presidential Medallion in recognition of the bank’s 150th anniversary. The Rev. William O’Leary, S.J., a teacher at Creighton Prep for more then 43 years, received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree. The Rev. George Bradshaw Murray, S.J., M.D. ’72, received the Alumni Achievement Citation.