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Creighton Commencement Celebrates Achievements

Creighton University's May commencement will include the conferring of more than 1,600 degrees, keynote speakers and recognition to individuals making a difference. Barbara J. Braden, Ph.D., SJN'66, BSN'73, inventor of the Braden Scale for Predicting Pressure Sore Risk and dean emeritus of University College, will be honored in the morning as the 2013 Alumni Achievement Citation recipient. Mary Lou Quinlan, CEO of Just Ask a Woman and author of "The God Box: Sharing My Mother's Gift of Faith, Love and Letting Go," will speak in the afternoon and receive an honorary doctorate of Humane Letters. The two ceremonies will take place Saturday, May 18, at the CenturyLink Center Omaha. 

The ceremony for Creighton's health sciences schools, including dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy and health professions, will take place at 9:30 a.m. The ceremony for the undergraduate schools, School of Law and the Graduate School will begin at 1 p.m. University President Timothy R. Lannon, S.J., will preside at both ceremonies. The baccalaureate Mass is Friday, May 17, at 3 p.m. in the Kiewit Fitness Center on the University campus.

Creighton's Alumni Achievement Citation - the highest award given to an alumnus or alumna - will be presented to Braden for the impact she has had on Creighton in a multitude of ways in her 35 years as a faculty member, researcher and administrator. Recipient of the University's Distinguished Administrator Award in 2008, she began her Creighton career as assistant professor in medical surgical nursing in the School of Nursing in 1975; from then on, she began to distinguish herself in numerous academic and leadership roles. She received a bachelor of science in nursing from Creighton in 1973, a master of science in nursing at the University of California and a Ph.D. in nursing from the University of Texas at Austin. 

Braden developed the internationally known Braden Scale for Predicting Pressure Sore Risk, a tool used to identify a patient's risk of developing pressure ulcers. She has authored more than 75 scholarly publications and has been active on the Board of Directors of the Nebraska AIDS project, as well as planning committees of the Red Cross and the Salvation Army.


Quinlan, the afternoon speaker, is an internationally known marketing executive, best-selling author, actress and speaker. She is the CEO of the leading women's marketing agency in the United States. Her latest book, "The God Box: Sharing My Mother's Gift of Faith, Love and Letting Go," in which she shares her family's personal story with cancer, became a New York Times bestseller in just three weeks. She also has created a one-woman play based on the book (link to announcement) with proceeds going to local women's cancer and healthcare charities around the nation.

Quinlan regularly appears in national media as a marketing expert, writing columns and articles for magazines and appearing on television programs. She was also a correspondent on the "The CBS Early Morning Show." She received her MBA from Fordham University and an honorary doctorate in communications from St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia.


Also receiving recognition in the morning ceremony is A. Joseph Threlkeld, Ph.D., PT, an associate professor in Physical Therapy, who will receive the Creighton Students Union Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Award for Teaching Achievement. Threlkeld, one of the founding faculty members of Creighton's Physical Therapy program, has been at Creighton University since 1992. He co-founded the Creighton clinical physical therapy practice on the Omaha and Winnebago Indian reservations in Nebraska. He chaired the Department of Physical Therapy from 1996-2001 and is the current director of the biodynamics laboratory at Creighton.  Students selected  Threlkeld to receive the award due to his pioneering work in transitioning the physical therapy education program into a clinical doctoral degree program, and for his care for his students' well being.

Creighton University is a Jesuit, Catholic university bridging health, law, business and the arts and sciences for a more just world.