Creighton Remembers Former Board Member Mike Harper

Creighton Remembers Former Board Member Mike Harper

Charles M. “Mike” Harper, HON’95, a former chairman and chief executive officer of ConAgra Foods, Inc., and RJR-Nabisco, and an emeritus member of Creighton’s Board of Trustees, died May 28 at the age of 88.

The philanthropic gifts and civic engagement of Harper and his late wife, Joan F. “Josie” Bruggema Harper, dramatically enriched Creighton, Omaha and the surrounding region.

“Mike Harper, his wife, Josie, and the entire Harper family have been generous supporters of Creighton University and our Jesuit, Catholic mission,” said Creighton University President the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, S.J. “The Harper Center, which bears the family name, is a showpiece and signature facility on our east campus and serves students in multiple capacities as home to our Heider College of Business, the Schlegel Center for Service and Justice and the John P. Fahey Career Center, among other uses.”

At the time of the dedication of the Harper Center, Mike Harper said the building stood as a tribute to Josie, a loving mother and ardent supporter of family, education and health care.

As ConAgra CEO, Mike Harper provided the initiative to revitalize downtown Omaha and partnered with government officials to enhance the business climate across Nebraska. Creighton conferred on him an honorary degree in 1995, to recognize his corporate and civic contributions.

“Mike was an astute and successful businessman who cared deeply about this community and Creighton University,” Fr. Hendrickson said. “His impact will be felt for generations to come.”