It is hard to tell who is more excited about the opening of the newly named Creighton University Heider College of Business. The alumnus whose generosity helped make the project a reality or the dean of the business school who had a vision to take the school well into the 21st century and help fulfill the demand for quality business graduates.
Charles F. Heider, a 1949 business graduate, along with his wife Mary, knew they had been blessed with opportunities over the years and they wanted to give back to the place where it started for Mr. Heider.
The Heiders were among the donors honored at an Oct. 23 event where Creighton University celebrated several major milestones in its plan to expand and enhance business education. The event, held at the 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.
Heider shared Dean Anthony Hendrickson’s vision for a business school that could grow enrollment to fulfill the demand for experienced graduates with the right skills, develop and use state-of-the-art technology that would give Creighton business graduates an edge in the workplace–including a trading floor classroom with the most advanced investment and securities analysis technology with Bloomberg Terminals that provide real-time investment information directly from Bloomberg.
“Now is the right time to expand the size of the College of Business. From the dedicated faculty members and staff, to the impressive academic programs and curriculum, it’s time to increase the number of students we educate,” said Heider. “A larger business school is good for Creighton University and good for our community. The vast majority of the talented young men and women who attend the College of Business come from all over the country. That is very impressive and it also tells us something about the special opportunity we have going forward.”
Indeed, it was the transformational gift from the Heiders that lit the flame in the College of Business “Ignite the Greatness” campaign, which was co-chaired by Creighton Board of Trustees members and Omaha business leaders Scott Heider and Creighton business graduate Mark Huber. More than 1,200 donors including alumni, friends, corporations and foundations participated in the campaign, which was launched publicly in November 2012.
“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. Almost 80 percent of the business students are from outside Nebraska, with about 65 percent staying in Nebraska after graduation, adding to the local brain gain in the region.”
According to Hendrickson there is a high demand for business graduates across the country… and not just any business graduate, “Companies are looking for skilled graduates, students with experience that they learn in the classroom and in the real world through internships at the many large companies in the Omaha area and across the country,” said Hendrickson. “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.
About 98 percent of the business graduates either have a job or have gone on to graduate school within six months of graduation. In some areas, particularly in accounting and finance, the rate is 100 percent with some students receiving job offers in their junior year. There are more than 3,000 internships available to business students each year.
“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.
With the money from the “Ignite the Greatness campaign” the University was able to move the newly named Heider College of Business into the refurbished Mike and Josie Harper Center, while providing renovated classrooms and updates for departments across the campus as part of the largest renovation of academic areas in the University’s history.
“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.”