Fr. Hendrickson Named Creighton's 25th President

A Transition Rooted in Service

While Fr. Daniel Hendrickson’s first “official” day as president doesn’t start until July 1, he returned to campus in January to begin a transition program that included meetings with students, faculty, staff and senior administration.

During his visits to Creighton, he has been eager to be of service to and with Creighton students — celebrating Mass with them, volunteering with them at the Siena/Francis House homeless shelter near campus and meeting with students in the service-based Cortina Community. He offered them the following five recommendations for effective service engagement:

  1. Practice the tools of the Ignatian spiritual exercises, such as reflecting about experiences of service and praying the Examen.
  2. Form meaningful relationships with the patrons of service agencies and recognize similarities and shared realities.
  3. Think critically about the roots and conditions of social malaises.
  4. Recognize ordinary misgivings and mistakes of one’s perspective and prejudices, and keep returning.
  5. See the intersections that occur between core courses in the humanities, one’s academic major and service. How do these areas of influence overlap and inform one another?

Creighton Announces
Fr. Hendrickson as 25th President

Daniel S. Hendrickson, S.J., Ph.D., was announced as the 25th president of Creighton University in December. A Nebraska native who currently serves as associate provost of academic initiatives at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Fr. Hendrickson will take office on July 1.

Fr. Hendrickson succeeds Timothy R. Lannon, S.J., BS’73, who had announced earlier that he would be stepping down from the presidency on Jan. 20 due to health concerns.

J. Chris Bradberry, Pharm.D., dean of the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, is currently serving as interim president until Fr. Hendrickson’s arrival in July.

After Fr. Lannon announced his retirement in February 2014, Creighton launched a national search to find its 25th president. By April, a search committee was formed. The committee conducted listening sessions with students, faculty, deans and vice presidents, alumni and staff to identify the key qualifications, personal attributes and professional characteristics wanted in the next president.

“It became clear that across Creighton there is great interest in deepening the University’s connection to its mission,” said Julie Hefflinger, BA’70, a member of the Board of Trustees, a search committee member and president of the Creighton University National Alumni Board. “Our alums have a lasting connection to the unique Jesuit education they received at Creighton, so it is something they want to see endure for years to come.”

Bruce Rohde, BSBA’71, JD’73, co-chair of the search committee and chair of Creighton’s Board of Trustees, described the search as a “very intense and in-depth process” with a wide range of potential candidates.

“The search committee conducted a national search and as it turned out the best candidate was indeed a Jesuit with Creighton and local roots,” said Dick Kizer, BSBA’71, JD’73, a board member and search committee co-chair.

Fr. Hendrickson’s selection was publically announced at a Dec. 8 press conference on campus. He called the opportunity to serve as president of Creighton University “a great honor.”

“I am honored to be elected as president of Creighton University, both by the search committee and the fuller board of the trustees,” Fr. Hendrickson said. “They have asked me to embrace a crucial part of the Creighton way, and that is to engage the mission of the University. The board is passionate about the mission, and I’m to be the steward of that, and to invite this University community to keep embracing it. Creighton is already fantastic in mission; it’s known for that. I’m honored to participate in the mission of Creighton and help steward it forward into the 21st century.”

Fr. Hendrickson was born and raised in Fremont, Neb., and attended Mount Michael Benedictine High School in Elkhorn, Neb. He earned his B.A. in psychology and theology at Marquette University, after which he entered the Society of Jesus in 1994 and was ordained a priest in 2006 at St. John’s Church on Creighton’s campus. He has earned master’s degrees from Fordham, Santa Clara and Columbia universities and his doctorate was awarded from Columbia University.

Fr. Hendrickson studied in the Jesuit Humanities Program at Creighton for one year in 1996, and then returned to serve as an adjunct instructor of philosophy at Creighton University from 2000 to 2003 during his regency training with the Jesuits. He remembers the time well.

“To teach philosophy is a privilege,” he said. “It’s to ask students questions about their lives and about the world around them and to invite them to keep unfolding with great questions and great experiences.”

Former students talk of the difficulty getting into Fr. Hendrickson’s philosophy classes because they were so popular. “Students loved him,” said Russell Bosn, BSBA’04, of St. Paul, Minn., who took an entry-level philosophy course from Fr. Hendrickson his freshman year. “To this day, I still have my classroom copy of Plato’s Republic and Descartes’ Discourse on the Method with handwritten notes. It’s hard to think of another class that had a greater impact on my life.”

In his role with the provost’s office at Marquette, Fr. Hendrickson co-directs a service leadership scholarship program, oversees an enrollment growth initiative and managed expansion of the Title IX compliance office. As a senior administrator at Marquette, he maintained his passion for classroom interaction and taught a Philosophy of Education course as well as the scholarship program seminars most semesters.

Fr. Hendrickson has served as a member of Creighton’s Board of Trustees for a little over a year, and sits on the boards of fellow Jesuit institutions Boston College and Xavier University. Among his various teaching duties, he has served as an adjunct professor at Creighton’s Institute for Latin American Concern in Santiago, Dominican Republic, and a visiting instructor at Jordan University College in Morogoro, Tanzania.

“Fr. Hendrickson brings a keen understanding of the value of a Jesuit education. His global teaching experience and his scholarly agenda, focused on Jesuit teaching, make him particularly well-prepared to deepen Creighton’s connection to its mission,” said Scott Heider, search committee member and chair of the Heider College of Business Board.

Fr. Lannon has known Fr. Hendrickson since 1994 — when Fr. Hendrickson was applying to become a Jesuit and Fr. Lannon served as one of the examiners interviewing candidates. Fr. Lannon said he was impressed with Fr. Hendrickson then, and is proud that he will be the next president of Creighton University.  

“We are blessed to have a person who will take this University to great lengths,” Fr. Lannon said. “He’s smart, he’s bright, he’s priestly, he’s a thoughtful leader, a thoughtful thinker. He will be outstanding, and we are so blessed to have Daniel Hendrickson as our 25th president.”

Fr. Hendrickson’s brother D. Scott Hendrickson, S.J., D.Phil., is an identical twin and is an assistant professor of Modern Languages at Loyola University Chicago. His older brother, Ryan Hendrickson, Ph.D., is a political science professor at Eastern Illinois University.

Fr. Hendrickson said he is excited to return to Creighton as president.

“Coming back to Creighton is like coming home,” he said. “I’ve had good interactions on this campus at different times in my life. I’m from Fremont, Nebraska, which is close by. I know the city of Omaha. I have good colleague friends on this campus. I know Creighton alumni from across the United States. It truly feels like coming home, and I’m very grateful for that opportunity.”