Public Relations  >  News Center  >  News Releases  >  December 2017  >  December 9, 2017  >  McCormick family gives Creighton University significant gift to endow athletic director role
McCormick family gives Creighton University significant gift to endow athletic director role

Longtime Creighton benefactors Richard D. and Mary Pat McCormick have endowed the University’s athletic director position, providing a gift that will benefit in perpetuity Creighton’s Athletic Department, its coaches and student-athletes.

Through the gift, Creighton’s athletic director position will be known as the McCormick Endowed Athletic Director. The financial benefits of the endowment will help ensure Creighton student-athletes are able to succeed both in competition and in the classroom.

Richard McCormick said that, while he and Mary Pat have been very supportive of Creighton academics and its fine arts programs over the years, this endowment was a wonderful opportunity to do something special for Creighton athletics.

“If you look around the BIG EAST,” he said, “we are in the big leagues now. Supplementing support for our athletic director puts us in a more competitive position.”

He added that the endowment and the additional support it brings to the Athletic Department also aims to help the sports programs and its student-athletes be more closely tied to the University as a whole and its mission-focused culture.

The McCormicks have deep and longstanding ties to Creighton. Richard McCormick served on the Board of Trustees from 1982-2003, including as chairman from 1996-1999, and remains an emeritus member. Mary Pat McCormick served as a National Alumni Board Member from 1989-1992 and is a 1962 Creighton graduate.

The couple served as National Campaign Chair Couple for the Creighton 2000 Campaign, which raised $127 million for the University. The McCormicks have long been friends of Creighton Athletic Director Bruce Rasmussen, who is in his 24th year at the helm of Creighton athletics, and 38th year at Creighton overall.

“We thought something special was appropriate for a guy who is going on 25 years in the position,” Richard McCormick said. “In part, it’s an acknowledgment of all that he has done for this school.”

Mary Pat McCormick noted that Rasmussen’s recruiting efforts over the years have resulted in a stronger athletic program and University overall.

“He’s brought on some fabulous, quality people who know their job, and are very good at their job,” she said.

The McCormicks’ investment ensures that Creighton will continue to retain and attract the very top athletic directors and coaches. The endowment includes discretionary funds, for use as designated by the athletic director, to support the Athletic Department’s area of greatest need, such as student-athlete scholarships that will help ensure the University remains competitive in the BIG EAST Conference.

The endowment marks the McCormicks’ latest philanthropic contribution to Creighton. The Smola-McCormick Endowed Scholarship, established in 1999, is awarded annually to Mercy High School (Omaha, Neb.) graduates who demonstrate academic achievement and financial need. Mary Pat McCormick (née Smola) is a 1958 of Mercy High School.

The McCormicks also have provided substantial financial support to the Creighton Global Initiative and to the University’s arts programs, through the Richard and Mary McCormick Endowment Fund for the Fine and Performing Arts. Their previous gifts to Creighton athletics include financial support for the Rasmussen Fitness and Sports Center, Michael G. Morrison, SJ, Stadium and the Championship Center.

“Dick and Mary Pat McCormick are great friends of Creighton, who have demonstrated time and again their passion for the University, the success of our students, and the tradition of Creighton athletics,” said Creighton University President the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ. “This latest gift to the University reflects not only the McCormicks’ continuing generosity, in support of both our academics and athletics, but also their endorsement of Bruce Rasmussen, whose leadership and vision have guided our athletics program for many years and has inspired generations of coaches and student-athletes.”

Rasmussen has impacted Creighton athletics for more than three decades. He accepted the associate athletic director position in 1992 after a 12-year run as the winningest coach in Creighton women’s basketball history. He was named athletic director in 1994.

During Rasmussen’s tenure, Creighton has won 36 regular-season and 39 conference tournament titles, which have helped lead to 80 postseason appearances. He also serves as chairman of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee. Under his leadership, Creighton student-athletes have continuously excelled at academics, maintaining a cumulative 3.4 GPA.

Rasmussen said he was humbled and honored to be acknowledged by the McCormicks and for his position – and athletics in general – to receive the McCormicks’ generous support. He said he’s had opportunities to leave Creighton, but that the University “has the exact culture I’m looking for.”

Regarding the McCormicks, he added, “Mary Pat and Dick are tremendous examples of the culture and all of the great things about this University. They have made a lifetime habit of positively impacting others, and Creighton, our students and our student-athletes have benefitted from it immensely.”


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