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Creighton Graduates Largest Class Ever, Presents Honors at May Commencement

2009 May Commencement

The Rev. Gregory J. Boyle, S.J., served as the morning commencement speaker and received a honorary Doctor of Social Sciences degree.

Pictured from left, individuals receiving honorary degrees at the mornining ceremony: Rev. Boyle, Elizabeth Kish, head of school, Marian High School, Doctor of Humane Letters; Mike Fahey, BA'73, mayor of Omaha, Doctor of Laws.

The Rev. John P. Schlegel, S.J., with Donald L. Waite, BSC'54, recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award.

Thomas M. Kelly, Ph.D., associate professor of systematic theology, received the Creighton Students Union Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Award for Teaching Achievement.

Fr. Schlegel presents the Society of St. Vincent de Paul/Omaha District Council, a presidential medallion at the morning ceremony. Accepting the award is Joseph D. Sobczyk, Omaha district council president.

Geoffrey P. Hays, BS'09, receives the Spirit of Creighton Award during the morning ceremony.

Fr. Schlegel is pictured with Christopher J. Elias, BS'79, MD'83, M.P.H., served as the afternoon commencement speaker and received an honorary Doctor of Science degree.

Pictured from left are Fr. Schlegel, Lee G. Simmons, D.V.M., HON'93, and Thomas Beeson, D.D.S., associate professor and chair of endodontics. Simmons accepted a presidential medallion on behalf of the Henry Doorly Zoo. Simmons is former zoo director and current chairman of the Omaha Zoo Foundation.

Medical school graduate Danielle Ku’ulei Potter of Waikoloa, Hawaii, received the Spirit of Creighton Award during the afternoon ceremony.

 

 

 

Creighton Graduates Largest Class Ever, Presents Honors at May Commencement

More than 1,440 students received degrees at Creighton University commencement ceremonies on May 16. University President the Rev. John P. Schlegel, S.J., presided at both ceremonies.

The Rev. Gregory J. Boyle, S.J., founder and executive director of the Homeboy Industries of Los Angeles, Calif., gave the commencement address at the morning commencement ceremony. Homeboy Industries provides at-risk and gang-involved youth with job placement, training and education. This national speaker, known for his work in the poorest areas of East Los Angeles, received an honorary Doctor of Social Services degree. Christopher J. Elias, M.D., M.P.H., delivered the afternoon commencement address. Elias, a 1979 bachelor of science graduate and a 1983 graduate of Creighton’s School of Medicine, is the president and chief executive officer of PATH, an international, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health of people around the world by advancing technologies, strengthening systems and encouraging healthy behaviors. He also received an honorary Doctor of Science degree.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul/Omaha District Council and the Henry Doorly Zoo both received a Presidential Medallion. Mike Fahey, the 49th mayor of Omaha and a 1973 Creighton graduate, received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Elizabeth Kish, head of school for Marian High School in Omaha, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

Creighton presented its highest alumni award, the Alumni Achievement Citation, to Donald L. Waite, who earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Creighton in 1954. For more than 50 years, Waite has pursued a highly successful business career, serving as chief financial officer at several high-technology companies. With a focus on students and education, he and his wife established the Anna Tyler Waite Center for Leadership and the Waite Scholarship Fund in Creighton’s College of Business. The Waite Center offers leadership immersion during a four-year business course of study. The couple has also established the Donald and Anna Waite Endowed Chair in Jesuit Education, which will support bringing Jesuit scholars and teachers to Creighton University. This honor was given at the morning commencement ceremony.

Helping the poor and marginalized in the Omaha area has been the mission of The Society of St. Vincent de Paul/Omaha District Council. Celebrating its centennial, the largest lay Catholic charitable organization in the world operates retail stores and food pantries, providing food and clothing to tens of thousands each year. Joseph D. Sobczyk, Omaha district council president, accepted the award.

As one of the pre-eminent zoos in America, the 130-acre Henry Doorly Zoo features more than 17,000 specimens and has become Omaha’s number one paid attraction, bringing more than 1.3 million visitors to the city each year. The zoo is also recognized for its leadership in animal conservation, research and educational programs. Accepting the award was Lee Simmons, D.V.M., former zoo director and current chairman of the Omaha Zoo Foundation, who received an honorary degree from Creighton in 1993.

Thomas M. Kelly, Ph.D., associate professor of systematic theology, received the Creighton Students Union Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Award for Teaching Achievement at the morning ceremony. According to his students, Dr. Kelly’s teaching strategy is simple: He believes the best way for students to learn is through real-world experiences. In addition to teaching courses on Catholic social teaching and Jesus Christ, he serves as campus coordinator of the Encuentro Domincano program and is a strong advocate for understanding the historical, societal and theological frameworks that affect Third World countries.