A Personal Reflection

A Personal Reflection

When I clean out my office to retire from Creighton this spring, Iíll take with me a file drawer of notes from students that capture the essence of what it means to teach at Creighton: forming deep relationships with your students ó something that is hard to explain or quantify but means more to me than my 30-page curriculum vitae (CV).

I came to Creighton in 1991 because I needed a job and wanted to teach after a 20-year career in news and public relations. At the time, I didnít know that the rewards of the next 25 years would be less about teaching writing (though Iíve done a ton of that) and more about falling in love with my students. Let me introduce you to a few special alumni and daily life as a Creighton faculty member:

  • An All-American soccer player who told me he didnít care what grade he got. He just wanted to learn.
  • Advisees who made me feel like a genius for giving them simple assistance during registration and at other times. I want to hug all of you who have left saying, ďI feel so much better when I come in here.Ē
  • An alcoholic student who worked up the courage to ask permission to return after being in jail and quitting drinking, and another troubled student who sent a surprise email years later to tell me about his successful career on Capitol Hill.
  • An alumna who asked if I could find a Jesuit in Buenos Aires to marry her and her Argentine fiancť. (I connected with a Jesuit friend at Santa Clara who found a Jesuit in Buenos Aires to marry the happy couple ó all in a dayís work!)
  • A student who needed help getting permission to retake the national law school entrance test so he could get into Creighton School of Law. The testing group had not taken his learning disability into account but did so on appeal. My student graduated from Creighton law and is a successful attorney.
  • An alumnus who grew up in North Omaha has gone on to cover professional sports and the Olympics for the Associated Press.

I think of the alumni who have cried in my office when they didnít get an internship they wanted but left smiling when we found an immediate alternative. I think of those who come in to talk because they just needed an ear and a hug.

Can 25 years really have passed since the spring of 1991 when I stopped regularly at St. Johnís to pray that Creighton would hire me for the full-time teaching job?

As I sit at the computer doing work that an accountant can quantify (preparing lectures, filling out administrative reports, writing for publication, etc.), student after student wanders through my seldom-closed door. Whatís our most important work?   

Give me the days when Iíve made a difference in the life of a student. Give me the smiles that light up the faces of alumni when we reconnect or the way students and alumni show their love for faculty who have helped them when such faculty members need support.

Give me the Jesuits who have taught faculty and students alike how to live cura personalis and to value whatís most important in life ó living as women and men for and with others and making Godís world a better place.

Give me colleagues who constantly go the extra mile or 10 for their students.

THIS is what teaching at Creighton has meant to me. To all who have made these years a blessed adventure, thanks for touching me beyond measure.