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Kyle Korver Congratulates Class of 2019 during Creighton University Commencement Ceremonies

Creighton University awarded 1,872 diplomas during two commencements ceremonies Saturday, May 18.

The Class of 2019 is the largest class to graduate from the University. The Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD, saluted the achievements of the class in remarks beginning the ceremonies.

"Here at Creighton University, in the landscape of Jesuit higher education, you have gained something extra," said Fr. Hendrickson, in his address to graduates. "You have a powerful framework for being thoughtful about your life and those around you, and it cultivates in your minds and hearts capacities for kindness, compassion, service to others, and hope in a future of fuller beauty, justice, and truth."

Kyle Korver and Fr. HendricksonDelivering this year's commencement address at both ceremonies was Creighton alumnus and NBA star Kyle Korver, BA'03. An All-American selection during his basketball career at Creighton, Korver recently completed his 16th season as a professional, earning an All-Star selection in 2015 and the NBA's 2015 Sportsmanship Award. Off the court, Korver has been an engaged presence, taking part in many philanthropic endeavors through his Kyle Korver Foundation. In April, Korver penned a piece for The Players' Tribune about white privilege and race relations in America.

Korver received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during the morning ceremony. As in his article for The Players' Tribune, Korver spoke movingly of present challenges and his own encounters with privilege, while also encouraging students to be the generation that moves into the challenge with clear eyes and ready hands, heads, and hearts.

"Let's reject the myth that we aren't all in this together that caring about the me means you can't care about the we," Korver said. "Let's not sugarcoat it: this is a complicated world we live in today. We face serious, urgent problems and your generation has inherited many of them. But looking out at you, I believe there is enough hope and heart mixed with brains and skill to do anything. There is good to be activated in all of you. To solve any problems you want. To create anything you want to see. To be better to each other, in big and small ways."

A pair of Creighton University graduates were bestowed the University's highest student honor during commencement exercises Saturday, May 18. The 2019 Spirit of Creighton Award winners are Nathaniel Hansen, DDS'19, of Rollins, Wyoming, a graduate of the School of Dentistry, and Hannah "Hana" O'Hagan, BS'19, of McHenry, Illinois, a graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences.

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.

Also being recognized with honorary degrees were Sr. Maurita Soukup, RSM, PhD, and Dan Semrad, BSBA'71, MA'09, MA'18.

Sr. Soukup, a Sister of Mercy of the Americas-West Midwest Community, serves as a health trustee and nurse consultant/researcher, with leadership roles on the boards of two regional health care systems, including CHI Health. As a nurse consultant/researcher, Sr. Soukup is lead reviewer for the American Nurses Credentialing Center Pathway to Excellence Program.

Semrad, a native of Fremont, Nebraska, is an investment advisor with more than four decades of experience in asset management and financial consulting. Community and nonprofit volunteer work includes service on the advisory boards of the Nebraska Appleseed Foundation and the Madonna Foundation, as well as the board of directors of the Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center and Art Farm Nebraska. He serves on three University boards: the National Alumni Board, the College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Board, and the Graduate School Alumni Board. He was honored with the University's Alumni Merit Award from the Graduate School in 2011.

The Creighton Students Union recognized associate professor Annemarie Shibata, PhD, BS'92, of the Department of Biology, with the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Award for Teaching Achievement. A Creighton alumna, Shibata returned as a faculty member to the University in 2001. She has contributed dozens of publications in the fields of neuroscience and HIV prevention research and has shepherded many students into graduate study in these fields.

Impelling the graduates forward to their new, post-collegiate callings, both Fr. Hendrickson and Korver invoked the Creighton mission.

"Many years from now, looking back, you can say: we knew what we believed and we were willing to risk what it takes to act on our beliefs," Korver said. "Even when it was unpopular or uncomfortable. We sought finding solutions. We opted in. We're all on the train. We get to decide where it goes. You get to decide. Now, this may just feel like a lot of extra work. And yes, it is work, but it's good work. It's life work. Just know that through it all, if you do this work, you will becomes someone to be proud of a man, a woman, fully alive. We're counting on you. And we're cheering you on."

"Your higher education creates individual expertise, and at Creighton we will also instill the propensities to be generous and to find grace," Fr. Hendrickson said. "So, do take time to stop, and to be truly grateful for this hallmark in your life because the world is waiting for your Creighton education. To solve difficult problems, to alleviate suffering and pain, to offer healing and wholeness, and to increase hope, we do need you to get to work."



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