Couple Generosity

Couple's Generosity Helps Fund Center's New Services

Ray Kiefer, III, BA'80, MD'84, never forgot his freshman advisor at Creighton.

In fact, Kiefer so valued this early mentor that he and his wife, Jacquie Olerich Kiefer, BSN'80, would create and endow the annual lecture series in his name.

Thus began the Michael G. Lawler Lecture Series in 1999, first as an independent lecture series and now in the Creighton Center for Catholic Thought.

Kiefer's mentor is dean emeritus of the Graduate School at Creighton and professor emeritus of Catholic theology.

"Creighton provided Jacquie and me with a number of great learning opportunities," Kiefer said. "Mike became a dear friend. We established this lecture in honor of his efforts and to support the Jesuit tradition at Creighton from which we both gained such lifelong benefit."

Under its auspices, the lecture series has brought thoughtful and interesting speakers to campus in the ensuing 11 years. They've shared their expertise on a variety of subjects, from "Catholic Ethics in a Virtual Society" to "Marriage, Tradition and Change."

This year, another gift from the Kiefers enables the Creighton Center for Catholic Thought to expand its services and offerings.

According to John O'Keefe, Ph.D., professor of theology and A.F. Jacobson Chair in Communications, and founding director of the Center for Catholic Thought, the Kiefers' gift will help to make possible several exciting new initiatives as well as to support ongoing programs through the center.

Not only will the Kiefers' generosity enable the Center for Catholic Thought to support and enhance the Catholic Comments podcast, carried weekly on the center's website, it will also enable the center to add a distinguished church leader lecture series, as well as department-specific lectures.

The latter series, O'Keefe points out, will feature leaders in Catholic thought across the country and beyond the discipline of theology.

A series of mini-courses focusing on Catholic intellectual tradition are also in the offing, thanks in large part to the Kiefers. These courses are set to begin next spring at Creighton and will eventually be publically available through "iTunesU" and on the center's website.

A visiting scholars program and a blog on Catholic intellectual tradition are other ideas the center is considering for the future.

"We are grateful for our alumni and friends who have generously supported our Jesuit, Catholic mission," said Creighton President the Rev. John P. Schlegel, S.J. "Families like the Kiefers and Don, BS'49, HON'82, and Mickie Keough, among others, are truly extraordinary in their willingness to help the University continue its faith-based mission and to have our Catholic identity front and center in all that we do."