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Creighton graduates more than 1,700 at May 14 commencement

2016 gradMore than 1,700 graduates crossed the stage Saturday, May 14 to receive diplomas as the Creighton University Class of 2016.

Commencement exercises for the School of Medicine, College of Nursing, School of Dentistry and School of Pharmacy and Health Professions began at 9:30 a.m., followed by ceremonies for College of Arts and Sciences, Heider College of Business, the College of Professional Studies, Emergency Medical Services, the School of Law and the Graduate School, at 1 p.m. All ceremonies were observed at the CenturyLink Center Omaha.

Jim Martin with HendricksonThe Rev. James Martin, S.J., an internationally recognized Jesuit priest and author, addressed the Class of 2016 at the afternoon ceremony. Fr. Martin has written or edited more than a dozen books, served in a consulting role for an off-Broadway theater group and regularly appeared on Comedy Central’s news satire program “The Colbert Report,” discussing issues pertinent to Catholicism in society. For more information on Fr. Martin, click here.

PosthPosthumous Degreesumous degrees were presented to the families of Yoselin “Yo Yo” Deleon, Jennifer Guzman and Akuel Majouk, all juniors in the Heider College of Business, who were killed in an Oct. 24, 2015 automobile accident.

Creighton also honored two alumni and a faculty member during commencement.


Jack Wareham

Alumnus John P. “Jack” Wareham, BSPHA’64, was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Pharmacy degree during the morning exercises. Wareham, along with his wife Lois, instituted the Jack and Lois Wareham Research Award, supporting young and upcoming researchers in the fields of pharmaceutical science and clinical translational research in pharmacy. Following his Creighton graduation, Wareham began his professional career working as a pharmacist in his family’s business. He later earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Washington University and joined the SmithKline Corporation, rising to executive positions. In 1988, Wareham joined Beckman Inc., eventually becoming president and CEO. He retired from the profession in 2005. He is a member of the Alpha Sigma Nu Jesuit honor society and earned the 1997 Creighton University Alumni Achievement Citation for service to the community.

George Haddix with HendricksonGeorge F. Haddix, Ph.D., M.A.’66, received the 2016 Alumni Achievement Citation. After earning a master’s degree in mathematics at Creighton in 1966, he went on to complete his doctorate at Iowa State University and began work as a civilian mathematician for the U.S. Air Force and Army Corps of Engineers. He also taught mathematics at Creighton before transitioning to a career in business, ultimately retiring as chairman and CEO of PKWARE, Inc., in 2009. In 2011, Haddix was inducted into the Omaha Business Hall of Fame. With his late wife, Sally Hansen Haddix, Haddix inaugurated and funds the Dr. John Mordeson Chair in Mathematics at Creighton and also helped to create the University’s Center for Fuzzy Mathematics and Computer Science. A faculty research fund was also named in his honor.


Melilli with HendricksonThe 2016 Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Award for Teaching Achievement was presented to Kenneth Melilli, J.D., professor in the Creighton University School of Law. Melilli’s Creighton career began in 2000, after a tenure as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C. He has also served as an attorney in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and as a professor of law at the Albany School of Law. At Creighton, Melilli is known for his ability to break down highly complex aspects of the law, for a comprehensive knowledge of intricate case law, a capacious intelligence and a flair for infusing a little humor and fun into legal education. The Kennedy Memorial Award for Teaching Achievement is sponsored by the Creighton Students Union and is selected annually from among nominees out of each of Creighton’s nine schools and colleges.

The Spirit of Creighton Award was awarded to graduates Tara Dammer and Brandon Warrington. Awarded annually since 1955, the Spirit of Creighton Award honors undergraduate, graduate and professional students for their initiative, enterprise, academic achievement and outstanding character traits.

Dammer of St. James, Minnesota, graduated from the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions with a Doctor of Pharmacy, and the Heider College of Business with a Master of Business Administration. She was actively involved in serving the local community, most notably as a director for the Magis Acute Care Clinic.

Warrington of Colorado Springs, Colorado, graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences with a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy with a specialization in ethics. He served as a mentor for younger students in his role as assistant Resident Director of Kenefick Hall, and excelled in philosophy, most notably through the publication of his paper at Truman State University Philosophy and Religion Conference.

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