Message from the President

Phoenix Campus Opening Showcases Our Momentum

As we leave summer behind and head into the fall semester, I am happy to share with you that Creighton University is flourishing.

The start of the new academic year includes the exciting and historical opening of our health sciences campus in Phoenix, which will eventually accommodate 900 students annually. Significantly, the addition of medical, nursing, pharmacy, and occupational therapy students – soon to be joined by physical therapy and physician assistant students – positions Creighton to become the largest Catholic health professions educator in the nation. We are honored and blessed to have been invited by our Arizona partners and benefactors to help address the burgeoning need for health care professionals in Arizona and the entire Southwest.

We are extremely pleased to be returning to more normal operations, although we are, of course, always monitoring developments and health care guidelines regarding COVID-19 and its variants. Nearly 99% of our benefits-eligible faculty, staff, and administrators have been vaccinated for COVID-19, and students are currently more than 95% vaccinated. I have been so proud of how our University came together in so many ways over the past year to fight the virus and promote health and safety in our surrounding communities.

I am also gratified that the slight dip we saw in overall enrollment during 2020-2021 due to the pandemic has been replaced with robust admission figures for the fall. Our freshman undergraduate class, for example, is not only larger than the incoming 2020 class, but also outnumbers the 2019 class. In fact, it is on track to be the second-largest freshman class in Creighton’s history.

I extend sincere gratitude on behalf of Creighton to McCormick Endowed Athletic Director Bruce Rasmussen, who is retiring in mid-August after more than 40 years as a coach, administrator, and mentor to our student-athletes, coaches, and staff. Creighton athletics is in an incredible place because of Bruce. In his 27 years as athletics director, he steered the University to national prominence and success beyond merely athletic competition. Creighton won conference titles, graduated outstanding young women and men, built new facilities for nearly every sports program, and celebrated record-breaking athletics fundraising campaigns. We will look for opportunities to celebrate Bruce’s 41 years of distinguished service as we begin a comprehensive, national search for the University’s next athletics director.

The racial inequities in our nation that were especially brought to light in 2020 caused us to seek to ensure a campus environment characterized by openness, fairness, and equal access for all students, faculty, and staff. We are driven by our Jesuit, Catholic tradition and our University mission statement, which emphasize the inalienable worth of each individual and an appreciation of ethnic and cultural diversity. To guide our efforts, we are conducting a comprehensive campus climate survey this fall. The results will help us develop programs and policies to increase inclusivity in areas shown to be problematic and enhance and replicate programs and policies in areas shown to be successfully meeting the needs of the community. A welcome and inclusive campus climate – based on mutual respect and nurtured by dialogue – is foundational to our educational mission and of critical importance.

Creighton University is making its mark and embracing its mission in unprecedented ways. Your University’s momentum is real, and we plan, through the grace of God, to cultivate that momentum. We will publicly launch a comprehensive fundraising campaign this fall to reflect our deep commitment to students and further strengthen Creighton’s position as a nationally prominent university. We will share more information about priorities and timelines as the campaign kickoff approaches.

May God’s blessings be with you and your loved ones as sunny summer days fade into fall splendor.

Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD