Creighton University Dedicates Harper Center for Student Life and Learning
Hundreds of benefactors, alumni, community officials, and Creighton University students, faculty and staff gathered at the Mike and Josie Harper Center for Student Life and Learning for an official blessing and dedication of the new facility on the University campus on Friday, Sept. 5. The Harper Center serves as the new front door to Creighton’s east campus.
“This building symbolizes Creighton’s promise to students, both current and future, that we will provide an excellent academic education, combined with extraordinary opportunities for spiritual, physical and social growth,” said the Rev. John. P. Schlegel, S.J., Creighton University president.
Its combination of academic areas and student services makes the Harper Center unique among universities in the Midwest. Some of its most notable features include a nearly 500-seat auditorium for special presentations, lectures, conferences and film screenings; a campus bookstore; high-tech, multi-tiered classrooms; an alumni grill; a fitness center; and a ballroom. More than 16 academic and student services offices are located in the Harper Center including the Mutual of Omaha Center for Health and Counseling, the Office of Admissions, Student Support Services, the Creighton Career Center.
The multi-use structure solidifies Creighton’s commitment to downtown Omaha revitalization and north Omaha development. Community groups will have access to the building’s classrooms, meeting rooms and ballroom for meetings and conferences. In its construction, architecture and operations, the Harper Center’s “green” policies maximize resource efficiency and waste reduction and meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) criteria.In addition, some of the center’s retail and food venues offer sustainable and recyclable products.
The center, made possible through an initial gift from an anonymous donor and augmented by the generosity of the Harper Family Foundation and other Creighton benefactors, is named for Charles M. “Mike” Harper and his late wife, Josie Harper.
Harper trustee members include Charles M. “Mike” Harper, Carolyn Harper, Dr. Charles M. Harper Jr., Chris Murphy and Elizabeth Harper Murphy, Dr. Halbert Wenngatz and Kathleen Harper Wenngatz. Mary Bastron Harper is a former trustee and graduate of Creighton School of Law.
Additional benefactors include the Mutual of Omaha Foundation for the Mutual of Omaha Center for Health and Counseling; The Lied Foundation Trust and Trustee Christina M. Hixson for the Hixson-Lied Auditorium; William A. and Barbara M. Fitzgerald for the Fitzgerald Boardroom; and Peter Kiewit Foundation for the land purchase.
Reflecting on the gift the Harper Family Foundation made to the University, Mike Harper said, “We look at Creighton, and we see a university that is turning out graduates who can be leaders in their professions and in the community. That, for me, is the return on the investment.”
Additional information on the Harper Center, including a virtual tour can be found at http://www.creighton.edu/harpercenter/.