Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Professions graduate Edward Saito of Honolulu, Hawaii, and School of Nursing graduate Melissa List of Granville, Iowa, received the prestigious Spirit of Creighton Award at the University’s commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 12.
The Spirit of Creighton Award is given annually to the graduates who exemplify the best qualities of the University’s founders. Recipients are honored for their initiative, enterprise, academic achievement and outstanding character traits.
Saito said he knew when he arrived at Creighton as an undergraduate that he was a part of a community that was special. He said his first service-learning trip to the Dominican Republic, as part of Creighton’s Institute for Latin American Concern (ILAC), was a “profound, life-changing experience.” He has volunteered often during his undergraduate and professional school years including two service trips to the Dominican Republic, one in 2008 and 2011. Inspired by a geriatric pharmacy course, Saito led an interdisciplinary team at an Omaha senior-living center in a program designed to prevent falls in elderly patients. That effort won a national award for community engagement from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. His personal commitment to others and his motivational leadership as president of Creighton’s Alpha Alpha chapter of the Rho Chi National Pharmacy Honor Society inspired others in the chapter to make meaningful contributions to the community.
List has been a tireless advocate for the poor and marginalized and that’s why she entered nursing according to her professors. Her compassion for those less fortunate is evident in her schoolwork and volunteer efforts. List has served as a leader with the Creighton Center for Service and Justice and many other volunteer efforts. She also teaches religious education to children at St. John’s parish on weekends. She was part of an interdisciplinary team of students and professionals that traveled to the Dominican Republic through ILAC to set up a medical clinic in a farming community. List will return to the Dominican Republic this summer as a coordinator for that same program. She also served as a co-chair of an Adopt-A-Grandparent Program at Creighton and founded the annual Senior Citizen Prom.