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Creighton remembers trustee who fostered University’s vision

William Kizer, BUSADM'49, HON'96Creighton University alumnus and emeritus University trustee William M. “Bill” Kizer, BUSADM’49, HON’96, died Aug. 20 at the age of 92.

Kizer joined the Creighton trustees in 1974 and served until 1994, rising to the position of vice chairman of the Board of Trustees. In recognition of his Board service, he was named director emeritus in 1994. Kizer was past chairman of Central States Indemnity, a company his father founded and which is now part of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., working at the company for more than 60 years.

A visitation will be held Wednesday evening from 4 to 7 p.m. at St. Leo’s Church at 102nd and Blondo streets, followed by a wake service. The funeral Mass is at 10 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 24 at St. Leo’s.

Kizer’s service to Creighton University began in 1961 when he served as a member of the Creighton University Alumni Council. Of his nine children, five graduated from Creighton University including his oldest son, Dick Kizer, BSBA’71, JD’73, a Trustee since 1997 who served as vice-chair from 2011 to 2015.

Kizer’s own higher education was interrupted by World War II and he served in the U.S. Navy Air Corps from 1943 to 1945. He was injured in a training flight crash in 1945 and required several surgeries, after which he wore special footwear for the remainder of his life.

Five of his grandchildren also have degrees from Creighton and a sixth is expected to graduate in 2019.

Kizer’s relationships with past Creighton presidents, particularly the Rev. Carl Reinert, SJ, and the Rev. Michael Morrison, SJ, and other University leaders helped foster visions of a growing campus for an increasingly larger and more connected student body.

“Bill Kizer was an alumnus and trustee who held Creighton ever at the forefront of his heart and mind,” said Creighton President the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ. “We still benefit from his visionary leadership today and are grateful that he took such a hand in crafting the future of his alma mater. His memory will be cherished among those who knew him and generations of students hence are the beneficiaries of his commitment.”

A pioneer in the field of wellness, Kizer was the founder and director of the Wellness Council of Nebraska. An annual Creighton honor given by the CU Wellness Council, the William M. Kizer Light of Wellness Award, was named in his honor and recognizes employees in local businesses who have made a change in their lifestyles resulting in positive outcomes. In 1985, Kizer was awarded the Omaha Health Citizen of the Year.

Below is a video from 2012 of the Wellness Council's celebration of 30 years of service. It includes an interview with William Kizer.

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