Strolling down our beautiful campus mall on a clear December night, the warm, inviting glow of holiday lights draws me to quiet reflection on the many blessings and gifts we share as a University community.
I am indeed grateful to the faculty, staff, students, Jesuits, alumni, benefactors, and others whose deep love for and commitment to our great University continue to significantly propel us forward in so many ways.
It has been a busy, exhilarating, and gratifying semester.
This fall, we welcomed a near-record number of students in our nine schools and colleges. Our enrollment of 8,393 students was the second largest in our University’s history.
Freshman applications topped 10,000 for the first time, as we enrolled 1,031 diverse and academically talented students in the Class of 2020. They hail from 38 states, 14 percent are the first in their families to attend college, and their high school academic standing places Creighton among the top 10 Catholic universities in the nation.
For the 14th consecutive year, Creighton was ranked No. 1 in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report. We were also one of only 36 schools nationally recognized for outstanding undergraduate research opportunities, and one of only 22 acknowledged for student internships. (We were the only Catholic university on either of those two lists, which included the likes of Duke, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Cornell, USC, and MIT.)
We continue to pioneer the future of health care in the United States. Our clinical relationship with CHI Health, expanding partnerships in Arizona, enhanced interdisciplinary initiatives, and new University Campus medical center and School of Dentistry building coming soon are opening up new opportunities for our health sciences students and for the patients and communities we serve.
Construction work on the University Campus medical center is scheduled for completion in 2017, along with the Bergan Mercy Campus in central Omaha, which will provide inpatient and trauma care. Our 200,000-square-foot dental facility is scheduled to open in 2018. Both the medical center and dental building are located adjacent to campus, along Cuming Street.
Finally, we were honored this fall to host the 2016 Opus Prize, the world’s most prestigious faith-based humanitarian award. Congratulations to the three finalists — Sari Bari, Cana Communities, and Jesuit Worldwide Learning (JWL) — and to the winner of the $1 million prize, Sari Bari. Their work with the poor and marginalized serves as inspiration to all.
May the peace and grace of God fill your home during this holy season. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ