Creighton Winter Commencement Honors Graduates, People, Organizations
More than 240 degrees will be conferred during Creighton University’s winter commencement ceremony at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18, at the D.J. Sokol Arena in the Wayne and Eileen Ryan Athletic Center on campus. University President the Rev. John P. Schlegel, S.J., will preside at the ceremony, which is preceded by a baccalaureate Mass at 9:30 a.m. in St. John’s Church.
Special awards of recognition will go to people and organizations making a positive difference in the Omaha community and around the country. The Most Rev. George J. Lucas, Archbishop of Omaha will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters and General Kevin P. Chilton, commander, United States Strategic Command will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws. The Madonna School will receive the University’s Presidential Medallion and George W. Venteicher, J.D.’62, president, KVI Associates, will receive Creighton’s Alumni Achievement Award.
As a leader in the Catholic Church for more than 35 years and since his installation in July 2009, Archbishop Lucas has demonstrated faith, godliness and kindness to the more than 220,000 Omaha area parishioners he serves. Lucas came to Omaha after serving nearly 10 years in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. He has served in numerous other capacities including faculty member, chancellor and vicar general, rector and Honorary Prelate of His Holiness in 1994. Lucas holds appointments with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People and the Subcommittee on the Catechism and Task Force for the 2010 Special Assembly.
Archbishop Lucas has shown an affinity for Catholic education at all levels, and has created supportive opportunities for dialogue and discussion whenever possible.
General Kevin P. Chilton commands one of the most powerful military organizations in the country; yet, is a staunch advocate of diplomacy and nonproliferation of nuclear weapons as essential first steps to securing international peace. Chilton is one of a number of experts who have voiced support for ratification of the New Start Treaty.
Chilton’s advocacy for transparency spans a 34-year military career characterized by upward mobility through Wing, Numbered Air Force, Major Command and Unified Combatant Command levels. A member of NASA for 11 years, he flew three missions on space shuttles and was the first astronaut to be promoted to four-star general. Among his many decorations are the Distinguished Service Medal with an oak leaf cluster; Defense Superior Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters; Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster; Distinguished Flying Cross; NASA Space Flight Medal with two oak leaf clusters; NASA Exceptional Service Medal; and the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal.
For 50 years, Madonna School has served as the only private, Catholic school in Nebraska that provides education to students with developmental delays and other special needs. The school enrolls more than 40 students in grades K through 12 who are taught basic reading, writing and arithmetic, as well as skills necessary to live full and productive lives. Madonna’s president, Jay Dunlap, will accept Creighton’s Presidential Medallion.
A 1962 graduate of Creighton University’s School of Law, George W. Venteicher is a real estate developer widely respected for his business acumen and ethics. The former assistant Attorney General of Nebraska has developed more than 3.5 million square feet of residential and commercial space in Nebraska, Iowa and Arizona. Support of higher education has long been a priority of Venteicher and his wife, Susan. The brick pathway that links major portions of the Creighton campus are named for the couple who also established a scholarship in the family name in 2004 for academically gifted law students. As a member of the Creighton President’s Council for seven years, Venteicher participated in the Campaign Positioning Study and provided insight and counsel on Creighton’s east campus expansion.
The Creighton Alumni Achievement Award is presented to outstanding alumni who represent the University well. Recipients must be degreed alumni; have provided distinguished service to the University or to their communities that clearly exemplifies the University credo; and exhibit personal qualities that indicate high moral principles guided by the Jesuit ideal of being men and women for others.