Message from the President

Gratitude and Hope Abound

As you receive this edition of Creighton magazine, there is a sense of expectancy that life is returning somewhat to “normal,” thanks to progress against the COVID-19 virus.

I am thankful that COVID-19 cases on campus have remained low, and I am optimistic that trend will continue. We will offer in-person and online classes, per usual, for the summer term, and return to in-person learning again in the fall. We will continue to be vigilant with our precautions and pivot to more stringent restrictions if necessary.

Since early February, we have been partnering with the Douglas County Health Department to host a community COVID-19 vaccine clinic at our Rasmussen Center. Student, faculty, staff, and alumni volunteers have been vaccinating several thousand people each Saturday. The professional experience and sense of mission this opportunity provides, especially to our health sciences students, is incalculable.

In light of progress made mitigating the virus within the Creighton community, we decided to hold limited in-person commencement, baccalaureate Mass, and professional school hooding ceremonies May 13-15. I was pleased to announce Richard Frank as our commencement speaker, who has a distinguished career in international finance, including serving as managing director of the World Bank Group and CFO of the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Our men’s basketball team’s thrilling run to the Sweet 16 in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, our women’s team’s upset win over Bowling Green in the WNIT, and volleyball’s sixth BIG EAST Tournament title in the last seven years were all impressive. Congratulations to our student-athletes and coaches.

Our cover story highlights the new CL Werner Center for Health Sciences Education, expected to open in fall 2023. Announced earlier this year, the CL Werner Center will be the new home of the School of Medicine and will include shared spaces for each of the University’s health sciences schools and colleges to further Creighton’s interdisciplinary approach to health professions education.

News of the CL Werner Center follows other exciting developments in the health sciences, including the $25 million anonymous foundation gift to establish the Arrupe Global Scholars and Partnerships Program; our on-target plans to open our nearly $100 million health sciences campus in Phoenix in the fall; and the largest NIH grant ever awarded to Creighton, granted to our research center dedicated to preserving or restoring hearing loss.

Importantly, we continue to move forward in our work on diversity and inclusion. I am pleased that Sarah Walker, PhD, associate professor in the Heider College of Business, has agreed to serve as interim vice provost for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion as we begin a national search to replace Christopher Whitt, PhD, who accepted a position at another university. We are planning a comprehensive climate survey in the fall to assess our campus and ensure we foster a community that respects individual needs, abilities, and potential. We are pursuing multiple other ways to develop into an anti-racist institution, including working with Black Creighton alumni groups, the Jesuit Descendants Truth and Reconciliation Foundation, and the President’s Inclusive Excellence Council, as well as starting a program for campus leaders through the Racial Equity Institute. We are deeply committed to truly being a welcoming and nurturing environment for all.

May God’s blessings be with you and yours, and best wishes for a safe and enjoyable summer.

Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD