Public Relations  >  News Center  >  News Releases  >  October 2018  >  October 22, 2018  >  Associate Dean Tracy Leavelle, PhD, tapped as first Kingfisher Institute director
Associate Dean Tracy Leavelle, PhD, tapped as first Kingfisher Institute director

Tracy Leavelle, PhD, has been named the first director of the Kingfisher Institute.The Kingfisher Institute for the Liberal Arts and Professions, a Creighton University initiative to strengthen the University’s focus on leading with the liberal arts across its curriculum, has named its first director.

Tracy Leavelle, PhD, has been tapped to lead the Kingfisher Institute as it looks forward to its formal inauguration in January. Leavelle is presently associate dean for the humanities and fine arts in the College of Arts and Sciences and an associate professor in the Department of History.

“I am pleased to name Dr. Tracy Leavelle as the inaugural director of the Kingfisher Institute,” said Creighton President the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD. “Under Dr. Leavelle’s leadership, I have every confidence that the Institute will fulfill the vision we share of it. Through the formation of faculty and staff, the Kingfisher Institute aims to influence every student, in all of Creighton’s schools and colleges. It will be instrumental in developing and articulating what makes a Creighton graduate distinctive — shaping the student as a Creighton accountant, a Creighton dentist, a Creighton occupational therapist — unifying heart, hands and mind.”

The idea for the Kingfisher Institute stems from the University’s strategic plan, formally approved by the Board of Trustees in 2017.

Leavelle’s tenure at Creighton has included terms as the chair of the Department of History, director of the Creighton Digital Humanities Initiative and president of the College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Senate. He is also an active scholar, currently working on a book about how the evangelical labors and scientific pursuits of American missionaries in the nineteenth-century created a foundation for the emergence of American empire in the Pacific.

“The Kingfisher Institute will actively seek to identify and support projects in curriculum development and interdisciplinary research that promote inclusive excellence,” said Leavelle, who has been at Creighton for 15 years. “The institute will encourage us all to emerge from our narrow academic specialties to engage one another in creative new initiatives that will unite, in the best Jesuit tradition, the contemplative features of the liberal arts with the emphasis on practice in the professions.”

Already, the Kingfisher Institute has hosted activities related to its mission and the two themes chosen for the Institute’s inaugural year: “Narratives in Health and Illness” and “Race in America, 1919-2019.” Additional events hosted by the Institute can be found here.


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

A Jesuit, Catholic University since 1878

Creighton University - 2500 California Plaza - Omaha NE - 68178 - 402.280.2700

Contact the Webmaster - Copyright ©2019