Charles Harper 1940-2023
Dr. Charles Harper taught sociology at Creighton from 1968 to 2012, first part-time during his doctoral studies and later as full-time faculty. He retired having been at Creighton for exactly 40 years. His teaching and scholarship covered a wide range of topics, from sociopsychological development of children, marginal religious movements, to secularization. He was also known for providing his students with opportunities to engage in scholarship, having published with many of them over the years. However, he is most remembered for his work on ecology and sustainability, which he started long before it became a hot topic. His Environment and Society: Human Perspectives on Environmental Issues has inspired scores of students to pursue academic and professional careers related to ecology, sustainability, and related issues. These themes were not just his academic focus but also shaped his personal life – promoting use of cloth bags for groceries, buying used clothing and furniture when possible, and of course, faithfully riding his bike to campus, rain or shine (even after an accident left his knee permanently damaged). He is fondly remembered as a faculty who expected students to stretch to their full potential and encouraged them to “walk the walk” of a Jesuit education.
Charles Harper, PhD, Sociology
James T. Ault, III 1940-2017
Professor Ault spent 45 years at Creighton University working in both Information Technology and the Department of Cultural and Social Studies. Mr. Ault held his students to high standards, and his first impression could be intimidating. But Mr. Ault was really like the bears he loved so much, a little grizzly on the outside but a total softie inside. Mr. Ault loved his students and welcomed them into his office for hours of conversation, always with words of encouragement.
Some of his students remember their time with Mr. Ault:
"During the school year, I would go into Mr. Ault's office to talk about school and life. We would talk for hours, and at times I would show up late for class but Mr. Ault would email my teacher corroberating my story. When others needed to stop the conversations so they wouldn't be late to the classes they taught, it was Mr. Ault that would end our conversations always saying "Go do something productive now". Which I would most likely respond with "Oh no, my class started 5 minutes ago." I could talk to Mr. Ault for hours about anything and everything, but he had a time restriction on how long we talked."
"Who would have thought that an old white man and a young liberal hipster would have become such great friends? Students in your class would confusingly ask me about why I loved you so much. I would tell them that they just needed to get to know you during office hours. When there was a tornado warning, you went to the third floor and told me that it was time to shut down STATA and actually take cover. You graded my Capstone presentation, and genuinely listened – just like you listened when I cried to you about my assault. Throughout graduation and award ceremonies, you accompanied my family, smiling like a proud pseudo-grandparent. You took care of me."