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Creighton graduates more than 1,800 in commencement ceremonies

More than 1,800 newly-minted Creighton University graduates took part in commencement exercises Saturday, May 12, at the CenturyLink Center Omaha.

Renowned physician, scientist, humanitarian and astronaut Mae C. Jemison, MD, addressed graduates at both the morning and afternoon ceremonies. Jemison was also awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Creighton.

Mae Jameson
Addressing the graduates, Jemison implored them to think about the great material abundance about them, and the generational, spiritual challenge of seeing that all the world’s citizens can share in that plenty.

“There are incredible days ahead of you,” said Jemison, who became the first African-American woman in space in 1992. “We have incredible capabilities right now. We have the ability include all our cohabitants in the bounty of this planet, the beauty of this world. We have to open our arms to the best possibilities inside of us. We can’t shy away from things, we have to live deeply. We have to connect to the spiritual and the emotional. We are not our complete selves if we deny that.”

Three graduates were bestowed the University’s most prestigious prize, The Spirit of Creighton Award. The Spirit of Creighton Award is conferred upon students who embody the spirit of Creighton’s founders. Awarded annually since 1955, the award honors undergraduate, graduate and professional students for their initiative, enterprise, academic achievement and outstanding character traits.

Samantha Kappenman, a graduate of the School of Dentistry, was honored with the award at the morning ceremony, while Tyler Clement, a master of business administration graduate from the Heider College of Business, and Samantha Stoupa, a graduate from the College of Arts and sciences, were recognized in the afternoon ceremony.

Reedy RFK
Also recognized in the afternoon ceremony was Mark Reedy, PhD, associate professor and chair of the Department of Biology, in the College of Arts and Sciences, who earned the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Award for Teaching Achievement, an honor bestowed on an exceptional educator by nominations from students from all Creighton’s nine schools and colleges.

Clarence Werner
Clarence L. Werner, founder and executive chairman of Werner Enterprises, was awarded an honorary doctor of business administration degree for his work and service, both to Creighton and the wider community. Werner’s philanthropy has endowed two of the University’s signature programs: the Institute for Economic Inquiry, and the Institute for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution.

In sending the Class of 2018 on its way into the world, Creighton President the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD, exhorted the graduates to remember not just their academic training, but what has lain at the heart of it.

“Class of 2018, today is a hallmark of accomplishment in each of your lives, and it testifies to aptitude, determination, perseverance, and practice,” Fr. Hendrickson said. “Better yet, it has sparkled in flashes of true compassion, care, and concern — bright lights illuminated by those surrounding you these recent years, as well as shining out of your own lives.”


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