Creighton University celebrated several major milestones in its plan to expand and enhance business education at a donor recognition event Oct. 23. The event, held at the newly named Heider College of Business, announced the record-breaking results to date of over $93 million in gifts and pledges to the Ignite the Greatness campaign, a fundraising effort to support not only the needs of business education at Creighton, but the largest renovation of academic areas in the history of the University.
Among the donors honored were Charles and Mary Heider, whose long-term philanthropy and support of the University was recognized earlier in the week with the first-ever naming of a Creighton college for a benefactor. Creighton Board of Trustees members and Omaha business leaders Scott Heider and Mark Huber co-chaired the campaign.
“This is a historic time in the life of Creighton University. We are blessed to have donors who share our vision—graduating men and women who not only have the skills to succeed in business, but who are inspired to be business leaders grounded in ethics and service to others,” said Timothy R. Lannon, S.J., president.
More than 1,200 donors including alumni, friends, corporations and foundations participated in the campaign which was launched publicly in November 2012. Providing a purposeful education that helps students find their place in the world and discover how to contribute in meaningful ways was very important to supporters.
“We had a dream to make a lasting impact on future generations of business leaders and the communities they serve,” said Scott Heider. “Creighton is the engine that will make this dream happen. Through public and private partnerships, this phenomenal business college – an indisputable asset to the city – can continue to ignite our business community and communities across the nation and globally. “The Heider College of Business brings in nearly 80 percent of its students from outside Nebraska, with about 65 percent staying here adding to our local brain gain in the region.”
The demand for Creighton programs and graduates is well documented and includes:
- a 98 percent rate of employment or enrollment in graduate studies within six months of graduation;
- more than 3,000 internship opportunities for Creighton business students each year; and
- substantial growth of innovative business programs. The University has created numerous inter-professional offerings that leverage the expertise of Creighton’s other eight schools and colleges, offering real-world instruction and hands-on business experience to students. Creighton also offers online courses ranging from information technology to security analysis.
In reflecting on the success of the campaign and the grand opening of the Heider College of Business, Huber remarked, “New buildings are attention-getters, but what resonated with supporters was the leadership and values that a Creighton education brings to our society--something I have experienced first-hand as a Creighton graduate. At the same time, donors understood the wisdom of renovating existing facilities and foregoing new construction, enabling the majority of campaign funds to be used toward furthering the academic enterprise.”
The campaign will continue and Anthony R. Hendrickson, Ph.D., dean of the Heider College of Business, reaffirmed that it will position Creighton well on the national higher education landscape.
“In the near term, our goal is to grow undergraduate enrollment from 700 to 1,000 students.” We will do that by continuing to offer our students real-world business experience, a dynamic curriculum that keeps pace with an ever-changing business environment, and by taking advantage of the inter-professional opportunities at Creighton,” he said.
In addition to Charles and Mary Heider, donors who made significant gifts to the campaign included:
- George and Susan Venteicher
- Robert B. Daugherty Foundation
- Peter Kiewit Foundation
- Scott and Cindy Heider
- Mark and Margaret Huber
- Suzanne and Walter Scott Foundation
- Union Pacific
- Charles Koch Foundation
- Gail Werner-Robertson and Scott Robertson
- Don Waite and Anna Tyler Waite
- Two anonymous donors
"In a little less than two years, the friends, alumni, corporations and foundations responded emphatically to the need of expanding the Heider College of Business, both in physical space and enrollment," said Rick Virgin, vice president for University Relations. "Scott Heider and Mark Huber described speed to market as a key component of this campaign and we have experienced the exciting nature of what that means for the Heider College of Business. We are truly fortunate to have donors in Omaha, and across the country who support our students and faculty with this level of passion and conviction. It is representative of the Creighton culture of generosity and innovation."