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December Commencement

Almost 300 Receive Degrees at Winter Commencement

Almost 300 degrees will be conferred during Creighton University’s winter commencement ceremony at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 20, in the Kiewit Convocation and Fitness Center on the Creighton campus. A baccalaureate Mass will precede the ceremony at 9:30 a.m. in St. John’s Church.

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

John Gottschalk, chairman of the Omaha World-Herald Co., will receive an honorary doctor of law degree for his dedication and commitment to Omaha and Nebraska, as well as his longstanding service to Creighton University and not-for-profit organizations and agencies throughout the nation. He will also be providing remarks during the ceremony.

Prior to becoming chairman of the Omaha World-Herald Co., Gottschalk served as publisher of the Omaha World-Herald newspaper for 18 years. During his tenure as publisher, he expanded the company to comprise 28 newspapers, a national major-market direct mail company and other investments. Known for his active civic leadership and philanthropy, Gottschalk has been a member of Creighton University’s Board of Directors since 1995.

The Missionary Society of St. Columban will receive the Presidential Medallion on its 90th anniversary. Known for its work throughout the world to spread the Gospel, assist local churches and promote dialogue with other faiths, the society has its United States headquarters near Bellevue, Neb. Founded in 1918, the Society is made up of nearly 700 Columban missionaries. Because of these missionaries many nations who previously had no churches now have vibrant faith communities and are sending missionaries to others. The Society is named for St. Columban because of his pioneering mission work in Europe in the 6th century.

Robert G. Townley, MD ’55 will receive the Alumni Achievement Citation. Townley has been a pioneer in the study, research and practice of allergy and immunology for the region with a lifelong career goal of finding a cure for asthma. He has spent the majority of his professional life at Creighton University, serving as chief of the Division of Allergy/Immunology, 1969-2000.

An investigator or co investigator on numerous clinical trials and funded grants, he is a prolific writer, with more than 500 publications to his credit including three co-authored textbooks. He frequently volunteers his services in Omaha and in third-world countries and regularly serves as a supervising physician at the Magis Clinic, a free medical clinic directed by Creighton medical students for the homeless and underserved in Omaha.

Frequently recognized by his peers, Townley has received the Creighton School of Medicine’s Distinguished Research Career Award and the Department of Medicine’s Ignatian Award Citation. In 2008, he was one of only two physicians to receive the prestigious “2008 Great Allergist” award from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Nine of Townley’s children graduated from Creighton University, several following in their father’s footsteps in the field of medicine.