Creighton University Arts and Sciences graduates Elizabeth M. Fairbairn, Plymouth, Minn. and Patrick O’Malley, Mobile, Ala., received the prestigious Spirit of Creighton Award at the University’s commencement on Saturday, May 14.
The Spirit of Creighton Award is given annually to the students who exemplify the best qualities of the University founders. Recipients are honored for their initiative, enterprise, academic achievement and outstanding character traits.
Fairbairn embraced student life while at Creighton, choosing activities that allowed her to grow as a person and be of service to others. Her leadership activities included serving as coordinator for the all-University Summer Preview, Family Weekend and Family Brunch as well as a resident advisor, a research assistant in women’s studies, and standards chair for Gamma Phi Beta Sorority. In the Ignatian spirit of caring for poor and marginalized people, she volunteered with the Institute for Latin American Concern (ILAC), participated in service break trips and Ignatian Family Teach In, and dealt with child welfare and health policy issues while interning with Nebraska Appleseed. She also was involved with Green Jays, a student environmental organization.
Honored for her academic excellence and service, she is a member of Alpha Sigma Nu Jesuit Honor Society, and Theta Alpha Kappa Theology Honor Society. Fairbairn served as the senior speaker last year at the President’s Academic Convocation for students.
O’Malley made choices in his student life and leadership activities that reflect on his desire to be part of the solution for underserved populations. For the past three years, he has led a weekly service site for students who provide meals and support at Siena Francis House, a homeless program in Omaha, and he spent his sophomore summer interning at the facility. He also played a key role in Omaha’s Homeless Connect; helping to register and organize 1,000 volunteers who provided health screenings and other services to homeless people during a special one-day event. He brought his own unique creativity to that job, by introducing a video reflection booth to enable volunteers and participants alike to reflect on their experiences at this event. In addition, he has been a coordinator and participant on numerous service trips.
His understanding of the power of technology to support communications led to his assignment as the first student webmaster for Creighton’s Center for Service and Justice website. As a Fine and Performing Arts major, he has also served as stage manager for numerous Creighton theater productions, as well as at the Blue Barn Theater and Shakespeare on the Green.