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Founders Day Awards Honor Faculty and Staff

The 2020 Founders Day Awards Ceremony and Convocation Address saw seven honors conferred, of which three were endowed chairs, three were Distinguished Service Awards and the St. Ignatius Award.

Hardeep Chehal The Dr. Oscar S. Belzer Endowed Chair in Dentistry, established in 1997 by Dr. Jerome Belzer in honor of his father, a 1928 graduate of the dental school, was conferred upon Hardeep Chehal, BSC, BDS, DDS. Chehal is a board-certified oral and maxillofacial pathologist who joined Creighton School of Dentistry in 2009 and was awarded a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Creighton in 2015.

Robin Farias-Eisner The Charles F. and Mary C. Heider Endowed Chair in Cancer Research, established in 2004 by the late Charles Heider and his wife, Mary, was conferred upon Robin Farias-Eisner, MD, PhD. Farias-Eisner joined Creighton in 2019 as director of the Hereditary Cancer Center and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He holds a medical degree from the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin and a doctoral degree in molecular biology from the University of California, Los Angeles.

The Rev. Roy J.J. Pereira, SJ The Anna and Donald Waite Endowed Chair in Jesuit Education, established by alumnus Donald Waite and his wife, Anna, to augment the Jesuit presence on campus, was conferred upon the Rev. Roy J.J. Pereira, SJ. The Waite Chair brings visiting Jesuits to Creighton to invigorate the Jesuit and Catholic intellectual tradition throughout the University. Pereira, the head of the Department of Chemistry and the provost/vice principal at St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai in India, is the ninth holder of the chair.

Three Distinguished Service Awards, honoring staff, faculty and administrators, recognized “outstanding contributions and service that bring credit to the University.”

The recipients were:

Ann O'Dowd Ann O’Dowd— Distinguished Service Staff Award. O’Dowd has served for more than 40 years in Creighton University’s business office. There, she ensures accurate, timely and fair tuition charges for all students, and performs one of the office’s toughest functions — contacting students who haven’t paid their tuition bills. She is known for her patience, positivity, professionalism and meticulousness in maintaining records concerning tuition rates, discounts, scholarships, fellowships and assistantships. 

Anne Ozar Anne Ozar, PhD — Distinguished Service Faculty Award. The associate chair of the Department of Philosophy in the College of Arts and Sciences, Ozar has, during her almost 12 years at Creighton University, established herself as a leader in faculty governance, serving on the two most important deliberative bodies — the Faculty Council & Academic Council; and the Creighton College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Senate. Her reputation for mission-directed leadership and service led to appointments to many other task forces and presidential committees.

Gail Jensen Gail Jensen, PT, PhD, FAPTA — Distinguished Service Administrator Award. Since arriving at Creighton in 1993 as an associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, Jensen has served in various capacities. Today, she carries a heavy administrative load as the dean of the Graduate School and College of Professional Studies, vice provost for Learning and Assessment, and liaison to the Higher Learning Commission. Most recently, she led the University's efforts in institutional accreditation, during which her expertise and guidance resulted in reaccreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

Colleen Chiacchere• Colleen Chiacchere, MEd — The St. Ignatius Award. Director of the Magis Catholic Teacher Corps in Creighton’s Department of Education, Chiacchere is originally from the New York City region. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Religious Studies from Fordham University and went on to earn a Master of Education from Loyola University in Chicago, and a Master of Science in Educational Leadership with a focus in Elementary School Administration from Creighton University. Chiacchere was a member of the Loyola University Chicago Opportunities in Catholic Education program, which is similar to Magis Catholic Teacher Corps — both programs falling under the auspices of the University Consortium for Catholic Education with which she has been active since 2006.

The Rev. Gregory Carlson, SJ, associate director of the Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality, said Chiacchere, a recipient of a Certificate in Ignatian Spirituality, has been described by colleagues as a “God-centered, calming colleague who offers direction for our education department when cluttered details threaten to divert our path from the magis and justice ideals that guide our department’s endeavors.”


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