Close Menu

St. Ignatius Award

2022 St. Ignatius Award

Each year, the Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality recognizes members of Creighton's faculty and staff who live the spirit of St. Ignatius. Their participation in the mission of Creighton and their involvements beyond university life reflect the Ignatian ideals of Magis, Cura Personalis, and being persons for and with others. In this sense, Magis as "more" is not a quantity, but a quality of soul which desires God's goodness to be seen, expressing God's greatness through our littleness. Cura Personalis is a spirit of personally caring for others, who are themselves loved creations of God, and encouraging them to an awareness of God's love. To know a recipient of the St. Ignatius Award is to have experienced something of St. Ignatius, himself. 

The awards are presented annually during Mission Week in early September. 

Nominations should include the following information:

  • Name of the Nominee
  • Department and Position of the Nominee
  • Name, Phone Number, and E-mail Address of the Person Submitting the Nomination

Please describe, in as much depth as you are able, your understanding of how the nominee lives out the ideals of Magis, Cura Personalis, and being a person for others. Please be as detailed as possible in your statement, and feel free to describe the graceful interactions you have witnessed in the nominee's work life, family life, and other involvements.

Send your nomination to the Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality, St. John's Room 201.

The Award Medallion

The inscription on the reverse of the medallion reads:

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, All I have and call my own. You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me.

— St. Ignatius of Loyola

Image
St. Ignatius award medallion

Previous Award Recipients

The awards were presented during Mission Week, September 2, 2021.

People say “It hain’t wacha do, it’s howcha do it.” We are so surrounded by women and men who have drunk the Creighton spirit! We celebrate gratefully today, two such spirited doers, because of the interior spirit with which they bless our campus, our students and the world beyond. Their “howcha do it” is deeply founded in the Ignatian spirit of being loved and so being available.


Kevin Powers, PhD

School of Pharmacy and Health Professions

Image
Dr. Kevin Powers

Ignatian Award Citation

Dr. Kevin Powers has been formed by the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius by both studying them and allowing them to go through him. This spirit takes flesh in the gentle manner with which he renders the nervous comfortable, the addicted cared for, and the personally troubled embraced – all by this man who lives his own personal journey well. Kevin is a man of faith, family, friends, a living Ignatian spirit among the faculty and students of Pharmacy, as well as Occupational and Physical Therapy.

A colleague writes, “He has been assisting our school, in the absence of a Chaplain, to insure that we are integrating spirituality as a support for our students.” Students have noted how encouraging and calming he has been in helping them face their anxieties and futures. “He honors the places they are in any given moment.” A person Kevin guided through the Creighton Colleagues Program offers, “When I consider the Jesuit values that are integral to the pillars of our university, I see the strength of those values reflected in his work.” And another colleague: “Kevin is an ignitor of people who catch his spark and want to follow his lead. They want to follow him, because he is a joyful and hopeful leader.”

Kevin’s faithful relationship with God allows him a sense of graceful welcome to others and with others. A friend writes, “Kevin has a presence about him that is calming, nurturing, and giving where he is fully engaged in what the other party has to say. I have become a better person at home for my wife and daughter and routinely think of Kevin’s mentorship that set me on this path.”

Kevin has learned well the art of listening to God and to himself and so is freed to listen deeply to others. He has developed his own sense of Ignatian Discernment. He has become skilled in listening with his heart, speaking with his ears, and being present to all who come seeking answers. He helps them to discover those answers by helping them to listen more deeply to themselves.

One more Creighton partner muses, “He is an outstanding colleague who lives his life with the Ignatian values at the forefront of his mind. He is one of those who is truly ‘ruined for life,’ because of the Jesuits. St. Ignatius would be proud.” The Deglman Center and Creighton University are proud to honor Kevin Powers with the Spirit of St. Ignatius Award for 2021.

It is with gratitude and joy that the Deglman Center of Ignatian Spirituality presents this St. Ignatius Award to Dr. Kevin Powers.


Kelly Tadeo Orbik

Schlegel Center for Service and Justice

Image
Kelly Tadeo Orbik

Ignatian Award Citation

Creighton University has many significant faces, buildings, students, alums, and teams. People throughout the campus are doing incredible things. There is one person however, a woman who, when you meet her face-to-face, invites you to more deeply face yourself. Kelly Tadeo Orbik, Associate Director of the Schlegel Center for Service and Justice, and the interim Director of Campus Ministry, welcomes everyone she meets into her world; a world usually wider and deeper than one has ever experienced before. Her personal manner is thoughtful, compassionate, courageous, and anchored. She relates to each person she encounters while at the same time remaining in touch universally with the pain of her sisters and brothers throughout the world.

Kelly is charismatic. Her messages, invitations and interests are expansive, challenging, and essential. Her quiet voice and style betray a vibrant energy which longs with impatient patience for social changes to occur – and with impatient patience invites all of us to begin assisting those changes. Kelly moves her Ignatian values and ideals into the real with her kind smile and active mind. She possesses an amazing ability to organize, plan and execute orientations to south and north Omaha, book discussions with hundreds of people about antiracism and encounters with legislators in Nebraska or Congress members in Washington D.C.

One person writes, “Just as Ignatius experienced his personal conversion and so shared his gifts, Kelly generously serves the communities of Creighton and Omaha through her graceful sharing of her gifts of action, activism and apostolic availability.” Kelly’s interests and spirit embrace meat-packing laborers and immigrants and reach further into racism and economic disparity. An off-campus friend of Creighton writes, “For Kelly, the faith that moves to the Justice commitment is seamless and mutually enriching. Her natural kindness invites others to a depth of reflection, to see our small works as responses to our faith.”

Another reflects, “My life is better for knowing Kelly Tadeo Orbik and I am grateful to live in a community and a world which is better, because of her.”

With this same sense of deep gratitude, Creighton University and the Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality present the Spirit of St. Ignatius Award for 2021 to Ms. Kelly Tadeo Orbik.

The award was presented at the President's Convocation, February 4, 2020.


Colleen Chiacchere

Director, Magis Catholic Teacher Corps

Image
Colleen Chiacchere

Ignatian Award Citation

Actions speak louder than words, but what sometimes speaks loudest of all are actions accompanied by words of personal care. The spirit of Saint Ignatius takes bodily form and finds verbal expression in so many women and men here at Creighton.

For over ten years Colleen Chiacchere has been offering an engaging incarnation of that spirit seen and heard by those whom she encounters as Director of the Magis Catholic Teacher Core within the Department of Education.

Women are usually not accepted as members of the Jesuit Order.  Colleen would be a most welcomed member however, but for the understandable objections of her husband Jonathan and their three children: Ignatia, born on the feast of St. Ignatius six years ago, Xavier, and the most recent addition, Diego, all three named after great Jesuits. 

Before coming to Creighton, Colleen served for five years as an elementary teacher at Red Cloud School at the Jesuit mission of Holy Rosary on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Here she has participated in the Faculty Jesuit Seminar and has received the certificate in Ignatian Spirituality from the Christian Spirituality Program.

One associate writes “I am grateful that God made our paths cross more than a decade ago. I cannot think of anyone else who expresses commitment to others more than Colleen.  Ignatian Spirituality is evident both in her unabashed expression of God’s goodness and the focus she maintains on being a person for and with others.”  Colleen has a constant orientation of delight and positive possibility both for her Magis student-teachers and for others within the Department of Education.  She reveals a sense that God is working God’s love even, as another colleague writes, "through the conflicts and tensions experienced within educational structures."  Still another colleague writes “She is a God-centered calming colleague who offers directions for our Education Department when cluttered details threaten to divert our path from the Magis and Justice ideals that guide our department’s endeavors.”  Colleen moves through conflicts with a spirit of personal care and creative insight encouraged by the Ignatian mission of Creighton University.

Colleen stays in care-filled contact with her students as they spend two years at various Catholic schools around the country. Many Catholic dioceses want Magis teachers. Colleen discerns where the greatest needs are, with a special care for the Catholic schools on the Pine Ridge and Winnebago Reservations which cannot compete financially with other schools. Her students find her a great support both professionally and spiritually as they face the challenges of their first teaching assignments. Colleen organizes their retreats and summer courses on campus. She suffers with them and celebrates their successes with peaceful confidence.

Colleen is a spirited educator and an inspiring companion. She is an encounter, a revelation of how God’s goodness works within human struggles. We here at Creighton University are blest by many such women and men and their personal ways of living the spirit of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Today, with deep gratitude to God, we celebrate Colleen Chiacchere with the 2020 St. Ignatius Award.

The award was presented at the President's Convocation, February 5, 2019.


Gerard Kuhlman

College of Arts and Sciences

Ignatian Award Citation

Gerry Kuhlman is pictured by one Staff-person as "The Mayor of Creighton" whose basic platform is his intense and personal care for our students. One of his several missions is to be responsible for checking graduating Seniors, by making sure that they have fulfilled all their academic requirements.  With kind and gentle directness he evaluates their records, but even more kindly, assists them in preparing for their futures.

His politics are dramatically similar to those of Ignatius.  Gerry walks the campus while receiving votes of affection.  His familiarity with students allows him to encourage, often with kind humor.  Another person writes, "Where ever Gerry goes people are automatically drawn to him.  He is a wonderful representative of the heart of Creighton."  Gerry's personal platform is supported by his wife, Christine, who is dedicated to keeping him grateful and, at certain times, humble.  She makes sure he doesn't get off his Christ-centered campaign.

One colleague writes, "Gerry naturally and authentically cares for people.  At times when I've needed perspective or a new way of seeing things, I seek Gerry for wise counsel and advice.  His outlook and unwavering faith provide help and comfort throughout the conversation."  Another writes, "One of his hopes is that every Creighton student would enjoy the journey.   It is good to have goals and aspirations, but he urges students to enjoy the time they're here and to live in the present."  For many students, Gerry serves as their bookend, both welcoming them to the frighteningly new campus as freshmen and sending them off as confident graduates.  As the adviser for transferring students and the non-traditional students, he is a kind of life-line when they are tempted to feel somehow other than normal. He is dedicated to his spiritual life and is willing to share it with everyone.  The quotation which most reminds me of Gerry is not from Ignatius, but Francis of Assisi:  "Preach the Gospel always and occasionally use words."  Gerry is a special person of inspiration and his quiet humor and his style of conversation makes one feel in that moment as if she or he is the only person in the world. 

We here at Creighton are aware of banners announcing various Ignatian values.  Gerry Kuhlman knows them and speaks easily of them.  What does "Cura Personalis" mean?  What does "Magis" mean?  What does being "Women and men, with and for others" mean?  We have many living examples of just what these are all about.  Banners can become slogans.  For his being a living witness to these Ignatian values in his public and private life, the Deglman Center is grateful and delighted to present this year's Saint Ignatius Award to Mr. Gerard Kuhlman.

The awards were presented at the President's Convocation, February 6, 2018.


Colleen Hendrick

Heider College of Business

Ignatian Award Citation

Because this woman of intense personal love, quiet faith and humble giftedness appears to be in more than one place at a time, it is difficult to know exactly which one Creighton-place does hire Colleen Hendrick. She does spend a tremendous amount of time in the Heider College of Business, but exactly which office, given that she is, as one person writes, "The Energizer Bunny." Some would say she is actually on staff at the St. John's church where she involves herself in Creighton-faith gatherings such as funerals and commencements.  Some believe she is a chaplain at several of the local hospitals where she cares visits Creighton persons and friends during their stays there.

As one of her staff mates writes, "For over thirty years she has been living the Ignatian spirit of personal-caring, no matter who the person may be. It could be students in the College of Business who are working on projects, conferences or just trying to find faculty to turn in their homework, Colleen is there!" "She not only helps the students, but teaches them life-lessons that will make them better persons, once they go out into the world. If a faculty forgets to get a gift for a visiting speaker, Colleen is on it. Simply put, Colleen is the face of the Heider College of Business."

A person writes about Colleen, "I don't believe there is a college or department on this campus who does not know Colleen."  The writer continues, "When I looked at the past recipients of this award, I was surprised not to see Colleen's name on the list. If there is anyone on this campus that exemplifies what this award is about, it is Colleen. She gives so much of herself every day. Now as I think of my earlier surprise about Colleen's never having received this award before, I grow less surprised. Colleen goes quietly. She cares for everyone. She does not announce what she has done. In fact, she is the most humble person I know. She would give the shirt off her back for anyone. If there is a crisis she is there. If there is a celebration for someone, she is there. If something needs mending she is there."

Colleen Hendrick's spirit is the glue that holds the College of Business together. She's here, she's there, she's everywhere. Jesus and Ignatius do not merely look down with grateful smiles upon her. Jesus and Ignatius look through her as she looks around at us. The Deglman Center looks upon her with sincere gratitude in offering the Spirit of St. Ignatius Award to this small woman of immense heart, Colleen Hendrick.


David P. Weber

School of Law

Ignatian Award Citation

You have heard jokes about lawyers perhaps. Dr. David Weber of Creighton's Law School is definitely no joke. His trials are his attempts in conveying the spirit of compassionate Justice to his students. Having a vision or spirit without action is illusion. This man of deep-feelings teaches and then lives.

Dave has accompanied groups of Law School students for a ten-day immersion adventures  into the legal system and cultural ways within the Dominican Republic and guides them in their return reflection processings. 

One of his cohorts writes, "As professor in the School of Law David goes beyond the standard litany of teaching the rules and practices of thinking like a lawyer. He challenges our students to consider how ostensibly neutral roles impact the marginalized and powerless."

Another writes, "Because of David's orientation, David has been attracted to research and teaching in the Immigration-Law which dramatically effects the legally powerless. He is never content only to point out the structural injustices of a broken immigration system, David has volunteered to council persons desperately needing help in navigating a complex legal-system."

Dave Weber is a team player.  He filled in as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs on short notice, because of an emergency. His spirit of discretion, judgement and personal kindness, characterize David as a person whose faith necessarily involves laboring for Justice. He is formed by his experiencing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. This spirit of availability has freed him to be a member of the Law School's Partners in Mission Committee and was the School's representative on the similar committee of the University. Recently he served as Co-Chair of the Presidential committee on Sexual Misconduct whose mission is the protection of our students, faculty and staff. He continues his place on the Committee on the Status of Women.

Magis is the Ignatian word for "More." For David the big "more" is the creative work he has been doing for the establishment of the School's Immigration and Refugee Clinic in partnership with the Justice for Our Neighbors, J.F.O.N. which will be a lasting legacy for our students and our neighbors and reflects Creighton?s mission of compassionate service.

There is lots more of David's reaching out beyond our campus boundaries. His quiet demeanor has been speaking volumes beyond books and papers. He is not a laughing matter, but a joyful servant to so many others. It is our joy to recognize with one of this-year's St. Ignatius Award, Dr. David Weber, a gentle man for others.

The award was presented at the President's Convocation, February 7, 2017.


Dr. Roger Bergman

Department of Cultural and Social Studies

Ignatian Award Citation

Catholic Social teaching means little without ways of bringing these ideas into life. Dr. Roger Bergman lives these ideas and helps students to see the world's need for peace and justice.  Roger brings students to confront the world's injustices and then guides them through hope-filled reflection.  This personal virtue of hope allows Roger to read extensively and intelligently through political, international and economic conflicts without disabling pessimism.

Roger's teaching method involves helping students to experience social issues personally -- not only as problems but as opportunities.  Can they grapple with real social conditions and then apply Gospel-based Catholic teachings about God's creation and God's Kingdom?  For Roger, campus life is necessarily a participation in the world around us, including influences working to distract us from awareness and interaction.  His classes create bridges between campus and world, head and heart, talking and walking, thinking and doing.

Colleagues unite in acclaiming Roger's work.  One points out "For many years Roger has organized the Ethics section of the ROTC where seniors examine just-war issues and Catholic teachings on war and peace."  Another writes "Students moved by Semestre Dominicano or other immersion trips learn in Roger's classes how to identify and analyze systems of oppression. These students gain inspiration by Roger's stories of remarkable persons who have answered the 'call.'  That call in turn has inspired many of Roger's students to their own inspiring adventures."  Another colleague comments tersely "Look at our graduates who live the faith that does justice and you will find those whose imaginations caught fire from Roger's classes."

Recently Roger created a program explaining Pope Francis' Laudato Si', which he has presented especially at many parishes.  Within the emotionally-charged arena of politics and the Church, Roger faces opposition and controversy with his usual calm exterior and his reverence for other positions. His students, family and friends know of the ferocity of his own commitment, regularly well hidden by his calm and welcoming exterior.

Yet another colleague mentions that "For years, Roger's column in the Omaha Archdiocesan paper The Catholic Voice educated and challenged his readers." Since 1994 he has organized the annual Marcoe-DePorres Social Justice Lecture. Besides bringing outstanding speakers to campus, this series champions a forgotten chapter in local Omaha history where Creighton people confronted racism long before the Civil Rights movement was well-known. 

This man of faith and justice is a man for others.  He helps those others to become women and men aware of the injustices which force people to suffer.  A last colleague sums up the comments of others: "As I write this nomination I am amazed that Roger has not been honored with this Spirit of St. Ignatius Award years ago. Now is certainly the time." With gratitude to God for his many gifts shared here at Creighton and in the wider community, it is definitely the time for the Deglman Center to celebrate, with the St. Ignatius Award, Dr. Roger Bergman.


Marianne Clark

Creighton EDGE Program

Ignatian Award Citation

The spirit of Ignatius Loyola lives personally at Creighton University. Many faculty and staff make this spirit tangible in their ways of welcoming students and getting involved in students' lives. One such person known for her ways of being involved deeply in the lives of her department and students is Marianne Clark, Receptionist and Administrative Assistant in Creighton's Edge Program. Her living of Creighton's mission extends way beyond a job description. Her desk overlooks the hallway connecting Reinert Alumni Library with the Eppley Building, but Marianne herself overlooks no person in the hallway or the office. Her involvement begins even before a student may make his or her first deposit. It continues as she interrupts a campus-admission tour to introduce not just herself but Creighton and its profound spirit of personal interest and care. Her involvement then keeps going well after a student has made Creighton home.

Marianne Clark offers an effusive Creighton embrace as she welcomes parents and students during their first contact with us. They love to take advantage of her ever-available bowl of candy. Welcome turns easily into ongoing interest in the lives, both academic and personal, of these students on the way to becoming friends. Students frequently stop in just to check up and relate to Marianne all that has been going on in their classes and beyond. She becomes a "Mother Confessor" dealing with home-sickness, plans for study abroad, and professional school applications. In one case she helped in purchasing a used car for an international student.

Her sense of mission carries her beyond desk, department and campus. Marianne writes notes and phones parents of prospective students in Creighton's Family Calling Initiative. The Jesuit Academy, where students affectionately call her Grandma, regularly experiences her kindly concern. Photos of her students there populate her desk and any conversation about that school will include the remark, "I just love those boys." Through all that Marianne does she embodies humor, care for others, and simple humility. She models for us all an attitude of how to live life well.

To know Marianne Clarke is to know something of the spirit of St. Ignatius thriving in our midst. One colleague writes "I think all of us in the Edge have a sense of what it would be like to have St. Ignatius greeting us every morning as we enter the office." 

With gratitude to God for sharing her with Creighton University's family, the Deglman Center extends this year's Spirit of Ignatius Award to Ms. Marianne Clark.

The award was presented at the President's Convocation, February 4, 2016.


Laurie Galeski

College of Professional Studies

Ignatian Award Citation

Laurie Galeski is a living example of the Creighton tradition of caring.  She ministers as Student Navigator for untraditional students within the College of Professional Studies. After working as the Director in the Office of Admissions for fifteen years, Laurie left to do some navigating of her own through the raising of her two children, Michael and Michaela.  She was encouraged to return to Creighton to guide adult-learners.  For the past six years she has been the motherly face of welcome to her students and a strong voice for their place at the Creighton table.

As one colleague puts it, "Her decision to return is a perfect example of just how Laurie's decisions are made after careful consideration and discernment. In her personal, professional and spiritual life, Laurie acts with purpose and intention. This intentionality has formed her to be an outstanding academic advisor to adult undergraduates at Creighton."  The terms "above and beyond," "More than is expected", and "personally available" characterize how Laurie gives flesh and blood to the Ignatian terms of "Magis," "Cura Personalis" and being "for others." As another colleague writes, "Laurie is a living example of how we hope our students will become."

Laurie Galeski lives her sense of mission outside the Creighton campus. For years she was the leader of her daughter's Girl Scout troop at St. Margaret Mary.  One person close to that group writes "She was committed to developing empowered confident young women."  One alum remembers a meeting Laurie had with a former Miss Nebraska. "Miss Nebraska had offered to give her scouts a workshop on poise and beauty.  Rather than simply saying "yes", Laurie stressed with her the importance of developing inner beauty, kindness and grace.  Miss Nebraska left that conversation rethinking her own definition of beauty."

"Laurie does not have bad days", one colleague muses.  "She is so positive and encouraging to all of us." Another shares, "Her gifts to all who are lucky enough to know her are to have courage to try something you are not comfortable with, to treat everyone with respect, and to put kindness and work hard with faith in God as the center of it all."  Another writes: "Her students absolutely love her. One cannot help but feel more optimistically about life when you are around Laurie."  That colleague continues: "In the words of Maya Angelou, Laura Galeski is the rainbow in someone else's cloud." God has graced her and through her graces Creighton University, faculty, staff and her well-navigated students.  With gratitude the Deglman Center offers the Spirit of St. Ignatius award this year to Laurie Galeski.


Linda K. Ohri, PharmD, MPH

Department of Pharmacy Practice

Ignatian Award Citation

Persons of passion and generous service seldom realize how they are viewed by others. Linda Ohri has been such a professor, mentor, and companion within the School of Pharmacy for many number of years.  She does who she is.  

Linda's fellow faculty find her spirit infectious which is a bit ironic since most of her work involves vaccinating against infections. One faculty member honors Linda for her "demonstration of the Ignatian values in her education of Pharmacy students as practitioners. Her care for her students is her way also her way of caring for future patients." Another writes, "Her knowledge of, respect for, and proper dispensing of drugs is central to her caring personality.  Linda frames and reframes her practice in the context of promoting patient care.  Her interest is not in providing information; she does not stop until she finds the best information."

Pharmacy students find in her an adviser dedicated to their success.  When her students are not meeting their truer selves, she is gentle but firm in encouraging them.  Many later return to express their gratitude.  Linda's spirit of involvement in the lives of her students and her colleagues moves her to be available both on and off the clock. Her professional influence spreads far beyond the boundaries of our campus. A former student writes, "she has coordinated several off-campus out-reach opportunities including vaccination clinics at the One World Community Health Center, Youth Emergency Services, Holy Family church, and Joy of Life Ministries, just to mention a few." Another writes "We personally have never encountered another person more passionate for the promotion of Public Health. She works tirelessly as an advocate for the well-being of the general population. She is especially passionate to extend care for the pediatric population." And another: "As the Chair of the Legislative Taskforce she recently organized efforts to educate and lobby the Nebraska governing board on important issues of immunization." With all this she is a devoted wife, mother and long-time active parishioner at Holy Family Church.

A colleague writes, "Linda is a beacon of passion and empathy, not just for the students of Creighton, but for many more.  She strives to be an authentic human being before a loving God and also to give hope to the socially and economically outcast."  This woman of heart and hands and needles is a gift to many and we give thanks for her and her healing spirit as the Deglman Center offers Linda Ohri the Spirit of Saint Ignatius Award.

The award was presented at the President's Convocation, February 3, 2015.


Michele Bogard

Associate Vice Provost for Student Life

Ignatian Award Citation

"She came to Creighton in 2001 to work with the Greek program, not knowing what a Jesuit was and what all those goofy Latin phrases mean." Michele Starzyk arrived wanting to make a difference.  Once here, she fell in love with what she could do and we could become. By now, Michele Starzyk Bogard has become a living definition of what those 'goofy Latin phrases' mean.

 Michele leads by example. She embodies the lay leadership in higher education that will help develop Ignatius' precious legacy into the future. The Student Life Office can get hectic. Staff easily neglect to care for themselves and each other. Michele brings the staff together weekly to share stresses, celebrate successes, and allow for vulnerable tears. Interactions like these continue to create Creighton as a special place. 

Last year Michele convoked a large group of Creighton people to shape a year-long twenty-fifth anniversary celebration of the El Salvador martyrs.  Her energy sparked the group. We have had a great year of classes, presentations, films and liturgies: arguably the best memorial-celebration in the whole Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.  

When Michele runs an event, someone sees lovingly to every detail. Her infectious passion for bettering herself encourages others to dig deeper into their potential. For her, Magis is not doing more than is expected or more than anybody around her. Rather she brings out of others and herself a greater revelation of the God-given goodness within.  

She and her husband recently welcomed their first child. Michele has been exercising this sacred role for a long time by giving spiritual birth to and mothering students, faculty and friends of Creighton.  We give thanks to her and honor her with the 2015 Spirit of St. Ignatius Award.


C. Timothy (Tim) Dickel

Department of Education

Ignatian Award Citation

Since he came in 1976, Dr. Tim Dickel has performed a stunning array of University services. He serves Medicine in Psychiatry and Arts and Sciences in Education. He has been Chair in Education; Assistant and Associate Dean in the College; and Dean in University College.

 If that internal list sounds impressive, consider these external memberships: two parish school boards; United Way's Community Investment Review Team; Domestic Violence Coordinating Council; RESPECT2's Advisory Committee; Board of Winnebago's St. Augustine Indian Mission; Omaha Archdiocese Review Board and Committee on Sex Abuse; and Nebraska Unicameral Task Force on Children in Crisis. Where there is pain, especially unjust pain, Tim serves hurting people.

Friends note threads connecting this network: violence prevention, child and adolescent development, collegiate athletics, and community mental health. Whether in treatment of Alzheimer's, response to trauma, or development of community wellness, Tim brings a compassion representing the best of Creighton's Ignatian spirit.

 Colleagues see a special place in Tim's heart for Creighton students and alumni; for victims, often sadly viewed as complicit in the violence perpetrated against them; and for any sick people needing solace. "Tim quietly and gently engages people and listens attentively. He allows each person to feel safe in their space and to open to him as they feel they need to."

A man for and with others, Tim ministers to us and many others through his wisdom, sense of justice, and personal compassion. We thank God for these gifts and we celebrate Tim for living out the spirit of Ignatius in our midst.

The award was presented at the President's Convocation, February 4, 2014.


Michael LaCroix

Director, Reinert-Alumni Library

Ignatian Award Citation

Traditionally, libraries are silent places of research: "No talking out loud please."  Michael LaCroix, the Director of Creighton's Reinert- Alumni Library for the past nineteen years, speaks volumes in his quiet manner of living his mission of service.  Colleagues write "He is always kind and gentle to all while being an effective leader" and "Michael values the persons with whom he shares the creation of a library most helpful for students and faculty.  His spirit of reverence embraces each of his personnel so that all feel equally a part of the mission of the library and the University."

Michael respects the least-known as well as the well-known. "Michael has always had a good heart and is just a very good man." It is a little-known example of his gentle caring that recently he donated one of his kidneys to the daughter of one of the library's staff persons. This gift helped also to save the sight in one of the daughter's eyes. This quiet donation could be a cause for public celebration, but for Michael it was the normal and appropriate thing to do, of course.  As one person wrote when hearing about this medical offering, "He's the one who would do just that."

Michael and his wife Carol have opened their home to visiting international students; they assist these young people in experiencing American life.  At work too, Michael maintains an atmosphere of welcome and generous service.  It is not his library but ours.  The library's staff members respond to his care for them by serving us, students and faculty.  One former faculty writes reflecting on the spirit of the staff as expressing the sentiment "We want to do this for you."  Michael's approach, at once both professional and personal, combines caring stewardship for the contents of the library and care and guidance for those using the resources found there.

Michael has served as a member of the University Committee on Benefits and as Chair of the Committee for the Faculty Handbook and University Statutes.  Both assignments involve copious reading and careful attention to detail.  He is never lost in the details.  As one faculty member writes, "As I think of various hallmarks that are central to Creighton's mission, "Building Bridges", "One Creighton", "Cura Personalis"  and "Service for Others," Michael stands out as an iconic example of their essence."

"This man," another writes, "has gospel at his core. He has formed his staff according to his own spirit and sense of mission."  A faculty person writes, "I can say that Michael's leadership has produced a library that is truly one of the bright lights for both students and faculty.  Michael and his staff conduct themselves with what I would characterize as a personable professionalism that makes the library a welcome place.  The staff that Michael has assembled is deeply interested in the academic work in which we are engaged and eager to assist in any way they can."

Michael LaCroix may be hidden to many like a rare book, but his influence is quite legible in his works for our collective mission here at Creighton. The love of God is revealed in acts of love more than in printed words.  Michael labors in a spirit of love which does good deeds.  We at Creighton are grateful to our loving God for sharing this loving man of action with us all. We joyfully offer Michael LaCroix this St. Ignatius Award for 2014.


Dr. Eileen Wirth

Chair, Department of Journalism, Media and Computing

Ignatian Award Citation

If St.Ignatius would have had a daughter, it would have been Dr. Eileen Wirth.  One colleague comments:  "I can hear the hugs and laughter that come from her office when students or graduates stop by announced or not."  Through her open door enter students, faculty, and prospective families seeking her advice and encouragement.  No matter what they came desiring, they always get more of Eileen's personality, her love of learning, her passion for her profession, and her sense of belonging to our University. They leave her office knowing a religiously-motivated woman of spirit and action.

One colleague writes, "Education is a priority for Dr. Wirth, but she often takes on much more than her teaching role. She is also an advisor, mentor, friend, and colleague to many across campus.  Dr. Wirth is genuine in every role whether she is advocating for her department, meeting students' needs, wishing a student or faculty a Happy Birthday, or offering a simple good morning."  As Chairperson of the Department of Journalism, Media, and Computing, Eileen manifests a deep-felt love for all she does on behalf of the mission of Creighton University, her department persons, and those many students who find confirmation in her listening and responding.

One administrator writes, "Eileen can be counted on to participate in admitted-Student Days, C-U Sundays, and other recruiting events.  She also writes a blog with tips for being a successful Creighton student.  She even wrote a pamphlet on what to expect as a new Creighton faculty member."

Dr. Wirth has also published several books, most recently one dealing with Nebraska women in journalism.  She wrote "They Made All the Difference," a book revealing the impact of Jesuit high schools in the lives of various of their graduates.  Eileen has been active in the Omaha Press Club and in the Association of Jesuit Colleges and University's' Journalism group, whose annual meeting Eileen has hosted twice on Creighton's campus.  The same person writes, "Several other colleges and universities have asked her to speak about how she has transformed the Creighton University Journalism Department by integrating technology into their curriculum."

Eileen has moved the traditional Department of Journalism to The Department of Journalism, Media, and Computing which now offers students the opportunities to acquire excellence in traditional journalism as well as the technology to succeed in today's competitive world.  One person from Eileen's department writes, "I don't know of any other department that has the same sense of family among its students that is fostered by Eileen.  She knows all our majors, over two hundred of them, by name.  They know that Eileen cares for each of them.  Eileen works so enthusiastically in recruiting students to come to Creighton.  Many students decide to enroll here because of the warmth of Eileen's welcome to them and to their parents."  One alumna writes, "I went to see her with quite a burdened heart and she invited me to have lunch with her to talk things over.  Imagine that, a faculty member and Department Chair going to lunch with a messed-up student!"  Eileen has interiorized the spirit of Jesuit education and serves on Creighton's Mission committee.

Eileen once wrote of herself, "Sure, I've written five books and received an award or two, but the daily opportunity to work one-on-one with students, that's what keeps me going at seventy-five miles an hour.  I love this place and its students. I will leave when they carry me out of St. John's feet first."

One faculty person writes, "Eileen Wirth is a fervent champion, a cheerleader, a gentle challenger, and a passionate leader."  To meet Eileen, to grow to know her and be embraced by her generosity of spirit, is to receive a small, but accurate glimpse of the person who was St. Ignatius.  In gratitude to God for the gift to Creighton University of Dr. Eileen Wirth, we celebrate her by offering her the 2014 St. Ignatius Award.

The award was presented at the Founder's Week Mass on February 6, 2013 at St. John's Church.


Dr. Charles Austerberry

Department of Biology

Ignatian Award Citation

Dr. Charles Austerberry lives his mission by teaching Biology and by being a highly sought-out Pre-Health Advisor.  Chuck is known as a great salesman for perspective students and their families. For the past 26 years Chuck has maintained a “good eye” for those whom He considers available for success at Creighton. As advisor for those considering a place in the health sciences, one colleague writes, “I often feel guilty sending another student his way, because I know he works such long hours to give each student such care.” His spirit and commitment is widely noticed and appreciated by faculty, students, and their families. 

As professor of General Biology and Upper-Division Biology, he remains remarkable for the patience and empathy with which he interacts with his students. People admire him for the degree to which he puts the welfare of his students at the forefront of his relationships.

It is then no surprise that Chuck consistently appears at the top of the list of Biology students desiring him for their advisor. Dr. Austerberry lives his strong Christian Evangelical faith especially in the important area where religious faith meets the findings of modern science.  A fellow professor writes “Chuck is a strong defender of science and science education in the face of pseudo-scientific and anti-Catholic teaching in the area of creation theory.”

Chuck is the founder and maintains the website of The Nebraska Religious Coalition for Science Education, an important resource for those supporting the compatibility of science and religion. 

Chuck is patient, calm, humble: he will drop anything he is doing to answer a question or assist a student or colleague. A friend writes “One must develop discipline so as not to be totally unreasonable in approaching him, because he never turns you away. The only criticism is that he makes all the rest of us look selfish and inadequate in comparison."

Chuck Austerberry is a man of faith doing Justice.  He looks to God so as to understand this earth.  We gratefully recognize Dr. Charles Austerberrry with this Spirit of St. Ignatius Award.


Patty Perry

Department of Marketing and Public Relations

Ignatian Award Citation

She is Associate Director of Events Management. She makes happenings happen. She is the gentle, graceful, but firm efficient cause behind University-wide events such as commencements, inaugurations, dedications and major alumni gatherings. She is Mrs. Patricia Perry who for the past sixteen years has woven the various threads for the fabric of Creighton’s high-profile celebrations.
 
With personal affection Patty tends the public presentation, posture and image of the person of our University. Patty’s care is visible and tangible in the making sure every little thing is in place. Patty works tirelessly for the Marketing and Public Relations Department. Patty’s works are visible, but not Patty herself except perhaps late at night or early in mornings of the day's celebration. One coworker writes "She provides a model of leadership that inspires others to emulate her.”   “You can tell which events have Patty’s special touch added to the final details.” Three “C”s characterize this woman of faith and family: calm, competency and concern.
 
One colleague writes, “She is a gentle soul, steadfast and strong in her institutional knowledge and commitment to Creighton and its mission.” More than one person has remarked, “If you want an event done and done well, call Patty. ”What is probably the key to her success is her unique ability to encourage others to give their best, empowering them to make a difference.”   
 
Patty is the facilitator of a city-wide prayer group called, “Lord Teach me to Pray” in which she expands her sense of personal-mission beyond the boundaries of our campus. When in her presence one senses, not a drivenness, but a “missionness” which moves her from her personal prayer to being a person of care.  Another writer adds, “It is inconceivable that anyone could or would expend the amount of time and energy that Patty does unless guided by a higher motivation. She is truly a person for others, guided by faith.”
 
We are privileged to call her colleague, friend, but most importantly someone who lives and works in the spirit of St. Ignatius. For her we give thanks and to her give the St. Ignatius Award.

The award was presented at the Founder's Week Mass on February 6, 2011 at St. John's Church.


Maryanne Rouse

College of Business

Ignatian Award Citation

If it is Ignatian, Catholic or of service to the community, Maryanne Rouse has been, is now or will be there. By title Professional Ethics Advisor for the College of Business Administration, Maryanne is in her fifth year of animating Youth Leadership Omaha and overseeing various Community Assistance Teams serving as part of Creighton's Anna Tyler Waite Leadership Development Program.   

Maryanne is someone you think of when considering who lives faith that does justice.

She brings significant experience, skill, and learning to her work for Creighton.  Her years of involvement in the Christian Life Community as a local and national leader have empowered her with skills of reflection, community building and management which she uses with the students and faculty of COBA.  She served Catholic Charities long and well; she is a longtime board member of the Center for Rural Affairs; she serves many in North Omaha offering entrepreneurial training for low-income people.  Justice drives her personal and professional life. She speaks with passion and integrity on the issues concerning the least among us.

Students and coworkers speak of her as a soul dedicated to goodness. "When I am with Maryanne I want to be excellent." A student of Maryanne's when she taught at Marian High School reports "it is because of Mrs. Rouse that I learned reflection. She has changed so many lives in the community.  She makes us all want to be better and give our time and resources to and for others."  Another mentee writes "As a young Masters of Social Work I did not yet understand that it is disrespectful to do for others what they could do for themselves. Maryanne taught me that people will remain trapped in poverty if they don't learn to help themselves. She was teaching me that people gained self respect by doing things for themselves and others.  She schooled me well that I could not have peace without justice."

Maryanne is compassionate in word and deed. She encourages others not to make any significant decision without first thinking of how it would impact the least of society. Her patient confrontations help people see those things they do not see or choose to not want to see. She thus empowers others to let God's goodness shine for others to see and experience. She works to connect persons so that we can have an ongoing desire to create God's Kingdom on earth.

She lives the spirit of St. Ignatius and serves as an exemplary model of both Creighton's mission and the mission of the College of Business Administration. And so we at Creighton are happy to celebrate her today with the Spirit of St. Ignatius Award.


Susan Selde

School of Nursing

Ignatian Award Citation

Creighton University is the "Alma Mater" or "Nourishing Mother" to thousands. Susan Selde is a woman of God's nourishing motherhood in the School of Nursing. Sue, the school's Academic Success Coordinator, is known with great appreciation and affection as "Mother Teresa."  Sue is passionately committed to her students, available for early-morning phone calls from distant students and early-evening conferences with stressed test-takers.

Listen to what students and colleagues write about her.  "Sue remains positive in all situations and problem-solves from the heart with God's grace beside her. Her attitude makes others want to be like her. Students can't help but notice her intense interest in them and her sincere desire to help them." "Sue Selde has to be the most thoughtful, energetic, most Ignatian person I have ever met. Sue is supportive and always looks for the strengths of others and always uses their strengths for others to help themselves." "She says, 'God bless you' more than any individual I know.  However, she means it. Communicating this blessing to everyone she connects with throughout the day is an expression of her capacity to genuinely love the human beings who touch her life."  "Words for her are not just words, but words that turn into actions and come from her heart."

Sue lives the Ignatian charge of putting love into practice. Her love includes, not excludes, as these further testimonies make clear.  "I have yet to see Sue Selde with a look of discouragement on her face." "You cannot go wrong with Sue on your side. Students can enter her office in tears and leave with confident smiles. She is not a softy or enabler, but works to assist her students in accepting what they are and are not."      

"Sue Selde has a way of listening to you that makes you feel that at this moment, nothing and no one is more important.  Her deep compassion to others and her belief that all are sacred shines in her every encounter.  When Sue looks at you, she really sees you.  When she listens to you, she really hears you."

We are not sure if Sue is receiving the Mother Teresa Award here today. We are sure something real of the spirit and person of Ignatius of Loyola is visible in the life of Susan Selde.  And so we are happy to celebrate her today with the Spirit of St. Ignatius Award.

The award was presented at the Founder's Week Mass on February 7, 2010 at St. John's Church.


Maria Teresa Gaston

Creighton Center for Service and Justice

Ignatian Award Citation

"Maria Teresa Gaston is as Ignatian as any Jesuit we have known,” one person writes. Another offered, “She lives the life that does justice, practices the Spiritual Exercises, and is involved in helping students, coworkers, friends and community members who are discerning “big decisions” in life’s paths."

Other comments continue: “Perhaps the most Ignatian thing Maria Teresa does is bake bread, offer hospitality and build community from her family outward.” And “She truly finds God in all things.” And "There is always room in her home for one more person to eat or sleep there.”

She had the wisdom to marry a kind and gentle man, John, who is equally committed to hospitality, faith and justice. Together with their three sons, Philipe, Martin and Luke they extend the family experience beyond their own comfort zone. Maria Teresa often goes out of her office, where she is Director of the Creighton Center for Service and Justice, to do such things as meet with workers in meat-packing plants; she recently represented North American Jesuits at a conference on Lay Collaboration.  She has been a regular at the Ignatian Teach-ins at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Her goings out bring local, national and international interests and involvements back with her for our students to feel and taste. Yes, she does love baking bread to share, but she spends much more time cooking up nourishing dishes of social involvement for so many of our Creighton students. She prepares an extended table for students to share in the pains, fears, poverty, alienation and unentitlement, in the lives of sisters and brothers they had not yet met.

Through her strong sense of Social Justice, the boundaries of our campus have become the boundaries of our city, state, country and the world. With her intense passion for life she inspires others to reach out, not just to give to, but more importantly, to receive from, those who live less comfortably on the edge.

Maria Teresa Gaston is not exactly a quiet voice for the voiceless, nor a casual observer of the needs around us and the needs of our students to hear the cries of the poor. She is a woman of faith who preaches the Gospel of Jesus quietly and sometimes challengingly loud. She is a true gift from God to our Christian Creighton mission. We give thanks to God this day for the gift of Maria Teresa Gaston, a woman of the spirit of St. Ignatius.


Tanya Winegard

Student Services

Ignatian Award Citation

Creighton is the “Alma Mater” for thousands of its graduates. The Latin words mean “Nurturing mother.”  We honor and give thanks to God for a “nurturing mother” alive and loving in our midst. Tanya Winegard is Assistant Vice President of Student Services for Student Life.  She is an example of a working mother involved in her family with husband Mike and sons Gabriel and Noah, her parish, and the community of students at Creighton.

The word “safety” characterizes Tanya’s motherly care as she labors tirelessly to educate our students from hurting themselves and toward profiting from their poor choices.  Tanya, in a spirit of dedication beyond a job-description, often deals with the not-so-pretty side of student life.  She was instrumental in establishing The Center for Student Integrity which deals with assisting students who stand in need of growing into responsible young men and women, because they have violated our codes of conduct and our spirit of caring for others. Her care for them is firm yet positive. Often Tanya has to return to campus at all hours of the night to incarnate Creighton’s personal care for students who have injured themselves through the misuse of alcohol.

“Tanya Winegard puts her students before herself just as a mother does for her children” one co-worker writes.  And another: "While some would say this is all part of her job, the way and the spirit with which she provides these services are unique, because of her empathy and her ability to make the students feel that they are her top priority as children of God.”

The James R. Russell Child Development Center and the All University Committee on the Status of Women are two special areas where her compassion and special sense for safety flourish.

Recipients of this award represent all those who quietly work in the Creighton Community sharing the values which are most important for a Jesuit school.  We here are particularly blessed to have a woman like Tanya Winegard.  In often tough circumstances she maintains the values we know are vital to mentoring the young people entrusted to us.

Tanya deals with issues of abuse, personal or family injuries, and untimely deaths of students. In all this, she puts aside her personal emotions for the well-being of those involved.  She becomes the “calm in the storm.”  Her total commitment to Creighton is matched only by her endless energy and positive attitude. 

It is not easy to walk down the mall with Tanya, especially if one is in a hurry. Every ten feet she is stopped by a student or faculty member who is glad to see her and glad to share the need for her care and insights.  She seems not to take time off from her responsibilities for the well-being of our most precious commodity here at Creighton, our students and mission companions.  She does what she can to make sure that those teachable moments are cherished by those truly seeking their growth.  Creighton parents would be pleased to know that their daughters and sons are left in the hands of such persons as Tanya.  She lives the Ignatian spirit every day as a woman for others striving to reflect God’s goodness in what she does.  We give thanks to God this day for such a gift as Tanya Winegard.

The award was presented at the Founder's Week Mass on February 8, 2009 at St. John's Church.


Rick Davis

Office of Marketing and Public Relations

Ignatian Award Citation

A spirit of “simple contemplation” resulting in gracious and personal presence resides in Rick Davis. From this quiet reservoir flows his generous and caring service to the Creighton Family as a partner in the Public Relations Office. His activities on and off campus are many as he relates with the public in communicating the spirit, essence and activities of our university’s mission.  

“In an often demanding work environment, Rick meets challenges with humor and grace and competence and seeks to build community with his co-workers. His spirit creates confidence in those around him and encourages their own creativity. Because of his sincere excitement about his work and our mission, when Rick asks someone to write a column for a Creighton publication, it is impossible to turn him down. 

He and his wife both really do need a simple contemplative spirit having a family of five children including the two young brothers they have adopted recently from Poland. As one colleague puts it, “Rick is my idea of a person with and for others.” “When Rick’s work-day ends he takes on a whole other life as parent, husband, church-member, neighbor and friend to many.  We who share in his spirit share as well in his peaceful acceptance of the good in others as he walks with Christ in all he does.   

His department-members say that it is an honor to work with this man of sensitive humor. “Each day I appreciate his kindness, patience sense of humor, innate goodness and his joy in what life can bring.” We’re just glad to know and work along side this die-hard Blue Jay fan and we feel privileged to work with him and count him as a friend.”  He is a friend of our Ignatian mission whom we are grateful to recognize with this St. Ignatius Award.


Dr. Ken Keefner

School of Pharmacy and Health Professions

Ignatian Award Citation

Ken Keefner does not have a job here at Creighton, but a personal mission.  As one nominator writes, “Dr. Keefner is always willing to assist a student who is struggling academically or personally and to give that student a chance to do better or to right a wrong. He has often voiced his belief that students should be provided the opportunity to benefit from their mistakes and not be punished without any hope of redeeming themselves.”    

Another speaks of his faith in action:  Quote “Regularly, Dr. Keefner prays for the students at Creighton. He tells them he is doing so, reminding them gently that God is present and involved in their everyday lives.” And yet another: “Ken stresses the importance of instilling in our students that we are all part of a larger community created and loved by one God, and designed to be men and women serving others.”

Ken’s life is a liturgical series of serving. He is a distributor of the Eucharistic Bread at his parish and each Wednesday evening collects Panera bread that he distributes the next morning to the St. Vincent House. He has been involved in Habitat for Humanity, because -–as he would say with characteristic simplicity -- he feels called and sent to do good works. He is dedicated to living his spiritual life and is willing to share it with everyone. He lives the words of St. Francis, “Proclaim the Gospel of Christ to everyone; use words if you must."

The spirit of Ignatius involves a sense of one’s being known and loved intimately by God. This intimacy results in an abiding sense of gratitude for Dr. Ken Keefner.  This grace of gratitude plays out in his gracious interactions with other people.  In a hundred ways, Ken enters the hearts and minds of the students, faculty and staff. This is for him a wonderful way to honor his God. We honor that same God by honoring him with the Spirit of St. Ignatius Award.


Kate Mahern

School of Law

Ignatian Award Citation

Personality can be described as “an unbroken succession of successful gestures.” Kate Mahern redescribes personality with the succession of gestures which are all successful, because of the intensity of mind and heart that motivate her and inspire others. Kate has been the Director of the Milton R. Abraham’s Legal Clinic within the Creighton School of Law since 1992. More than her level-headed, clear-thinking approach to teaching is her passion. As one nominator writes, “The way she gets angry when a poor person is harmed by the system, the way she gets excited when a student wins a case in court for an indigent client who otherwise would have lost certain rights and privileges, the way she becomes supportive when a friend becomes ill or harmed.”  All these and more mark her success and reflect Kate’s personality.

Some landlords and fly-by-night credit-loan outfits don’t like her and some attorneys who represent large housing units don’t like her, but her students love her as a model and more, as a friend.

Kate is a woman of faith-strength. She walks the walk and if you would follow her walking you would become tired as she teaches, visits sick friends, and helps a client move his belongings, because he is being evicted. All this and more while she is raising two young men to be persons of conscience themselves.

If one characteristic of the Ignatian Spirit is being with and for others, then Kate is the “real deal”. Her belief that all life is sacred, that all life is a mystery and that she belongs to this mystery in its brokenness then Kate has dedicated her days in attempting to serve life’s fractions. It is Kate’s great gift to teach everyone she comes in contact with what service is really about. We thank God for the gift of Kate Mahern and celebrate her with this-years St. Ignatius Award.

The award was presented at the Founder's Week Mass on February 10, 2008 at St. John's Church.


Andrew Gaines

Shuttle Services
Department of Public Safety

Ignatian Award Citation

Imagine being a Creighton student. You live on the perimeter of campus, or you live off campus and park in one of the commuter lots. You depend on the shuttle to move you safely from your residence or parking lot to the campus. You face going to class each week day. What a pleasure it is to have a shuttle driver who is warm, welcoming, and knows your name.

Andrew "Andy" Gaines is such a driver. He faithfully picks up students along his route. He knows their names, he knows their major, and he knows their ups and downs. He greets them when they board the shuttle, and he enthusiastically and lovingly sends them forth when the shuttle reaches their stop.

Andy is truly someone who lives, and shares, the spirit of Ignatius with all he meets. He does so without an expectation of reward, because that is who he is.

Andy is cheerful and kind. He finds God in the middle of driving a shuttle and has a quality of soul that is rare. He is a minister who works from behind a steering wheel and makes each one of us who come in contact with him feel as if we are a child of God.

Andy makes the effort. He remembers each passenger’s name after only a few trips on this route. He learns people’s names because he wants to get to know them and show them that he cares about who they are. Andy gives pep talks, and he extends condolences. In all that he does, he expresses a very sincere and deeply felt love for each of his passengers.

He sees God in all people. He passes out thoughts to live by, so his passengers will carry his loving messages throughout the day.

Chatting with Andrew Gaines is frequently the best part of everyone’s morning as he bears living witness to what it means to be a kind and caring person in our Creighton world.

Andy concentrates on the simple things that make a difference on an individual level. A bright smile and a hearty good morning go a long way. He ends his route with a thank you to his passengers and a wish for good luck with the day’s challenges. And, you can tell that he genuinely hopes everyone can enjoy the day as much as he does.


Denise LeClair

Student Support Services

Ignatian Award Citation

Denise lives a life of magis, cura personalis, and being a person for and with others. She is patient, and is a receptive and approachable listener. If a student needs help with an essay, she does not complain and eagerly aids the student.

One of the many reasons why students love Denise is that she respects everyone. She encourages the students to use and build upon their strengths. She is a mother figure and does not make a student feel small if they did not do well on a test or paper, instead encourages them to do better next time.

Not only is Denise great at what she does, she aids students growth. She is there for the students, doing a great job, respecting the students, going beyond what is expected, being an encourager and teacher and having a great heart. She exhibits these characteristics in her professional, community, and personal life.

As a professional she has quietly and consistently contributed to the Creighton community in her involvement with the Ratio Studiorum Program. She realizes many "at risk" students need her expertise and she could not let any need go unmet. As one student commented, "I think of Denise as a walking dictionary/encyclopedia/google tool bar…she knows everything!"

Denise serves as the Assistant Director for the Office of Disability Accommodations. She is well suited for this position given her innate compassion, love, understanding, patience, and dedication. Her kind spirit is infused in every action she takes and students respond to her caring approach. Denise sees the potential in every person and helps them realize their God given gifts in a positive way. She often sacrifices personal time to proctor exams or to help students improve their writing and study skills. She will stay late, come in early, or take papers home to assist students.

Denise truly embodies the sense of Magis, always giving her best whether her actions are great or small. Her genuine love, compassion, and care for each person is at the forefront of every action.

She is someone who truly cares about the success of all students. She not only does her job well as a writing specialist, but she is a great mentor/coach/friend for every student with whom she comes in contact. Everyone would agree, she is one of a kind, a saint to all students.


Jennifer Tilleman

School of Pharmacy

Ignatian Award Citation

On a daily basis Jenny embraces the Ignatian ideals of Magis and Cura Personalis.  She is truly a person for and with others as she generously cares for her students and colleagues. The Ignatian spirit defines her.  While she is extremely busy with her teaching and professional responsibilities, she is never too busy to provide support, guidance and prayer for anyone in need.  Her door is always open to students, faculty and friends who turn to her for help and reassurance whether it be school related issues or spiritual and emotional direction. Jenny genuinely cares for every faculty, staff and student. It is obvious that she loves being a person for others and would have it no other way. 

Her open door policy frequently translates to late hours to get her "work" finished on time, but this does not faze Jenny.

Jenny’s service to Creighton University and the Omaha community is extensive.  She volunteers her professional pharmacy services at Campus for Hope and the Fred Leroy Health Center providing drug information and patient counseling to clients of these clinics.  Her volunteer work also includes Habitat for Humanity, Sienna Francis House, and Special Olympics.  She does all these with a smile. 

She is an active participant in serving at "Caring for the Caregivers" health fairs. She is an active member of St. John’s Church and serves as a liturgical assistant, a Eucharistic Minister, Lector and secretary of the parish council.   If you have ever attended mass at St. John’s, you have undoubtedly seen Jenny assisting on the altar.

She is gratefully aware of the blessings that she has been given by God and humbly shares those gifts with others.  She is a shining example of the Ignatian values in action for faculty, students, staff, and the community.   

Once you meet her, you will never forget her wonderful laugh, great sense of humor, caring nature and her love for every living thing.  We are all blessed to have such a wonderful person here at Creighton.

The award was presented at the Founder's Week Mass on February 11, 2007 in St. John's Church.


Bette Novit Evans

Department of Political Science & International Studies

Ignatian Award Citation

Scholarship is a passion; teaching is a profession; combining these with her spirit of compassion is the personal mission of Dr. Bette Novit Evans, which she has exercised here at Creighton for thirty years.
 
Bette calls teaching an act of faith: faith in the search for truth, in the power of great ideas to transform persons, in the political process.  With tremendous respect for the complexity of law and how legal judgments often push society forward, she teaches her students about the power of law to broaden our vision of what is human and fair. 
 
Bette's thirst for justice extends well beyond the classroom.  Her keen sense of the plight of the outsider has led her to membership in organizations such as the National Urban League and the Southern Poverty Center.  She is watchful for those who are excluded or silenced, and she has the preferential option for the poor in her bones.
 
Bette's actions reflect her deep faith.  She has served on both the Jewish Federation Adult Education Committee, and on the Committee on Education of Temple Israel.  As a longtime member of the Jewish-Christian Dialogue group, Bette is always more interested in finding out what other people believe than in rehearsing her own beliefs to others.
 
Her service on campus is equally extensive and selfless. She has served on the Executive Board of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society from its inception. She works annually with the Klutznick Symposium, and she has sponsored meetings for the Arts and Sciences Women Faculty.  She is widely regarded as a friend, mentor, and revered colleague.  Her humility is matched by her genuine intellectual curiosity and desire to learn more about her neighbors and colleagues. 
 
In a word, Bette carries her learning and expertise lightly, rather always preferring to invite others into dialogue.  Like St. Ignatius but in her own quiet, unassuming way, Bette is always seeking the "more."  The "more" for Bette is at the center of her warm and enthusiastic availability.  Her eagerness for personal interaction is the very spirit of Ignatius, which is her graceful way.


Beth Grammes

Central Receiving

Ignatian Award Citation

"When walking into the Boyne Building one morning, I asked a campus delivery person how it was going.  Rather than a typical 'good,' 'fine,' or some other benign response, she stated with strong and sincere emphasis, 'I'm living the dream and making someone's day with every package I deliver!'"

Dean Steven Friedrichsen of Creighton's School of Dentistry shared this anecdote about a well-known person on campus whose real name few people know. She sometimes goes by the title "Mail Lady," though she does not deliver the mail. She works for Central Receiving, where all Creighton purchases and packages are delivered.  Her official job is distributing those boxes and packages to their proper office and person.

She does her official job with loyalty, dedication and care, but her real
impact on others is a packaged blessing.  Her colleagues in Facilities Management enjoy her presence and spirit, and celebrate her exuberance as they send her out on her daily rounds.

While delivering parcels, she delivers a spirit of sensitive care. When she asks a person how he or she is, she waits for an honest answer. She remembers what people reveal to her and returns to them days later with words of concern. As with most packages, she wraps herself in business, but the real delivery is her warmth, directness, and humble honesty.

She has a wonderful care for the students on campus as well. When help is needed, she offers rides to the airport and pitches in as the students move in and out of the residence halls. While others on campus may reach the students with inspiring words of historical role models, she is there in the flesh, walking the walk and providing a living, humble example, always with a smile. 

Her work is her work; her kind personal concern for others is her mission.  It is this spirit of quiet, and sometimes not so quiet, dedication to caring for others which we recognize by giving the "Mail Lady," Beth Grammes, the St. Ignatius Award.

The award was presented at the Founder's Week Mass on February 5, 2006 in St. John's Church.


Frank J. Ayers

Dean for Student Affairs
Creighton University School of Dentistry

Ignatian Award Citation

Creighton University has been blest with an abundance of women and men who, by their spirit and gestures, reflect the person and interior drive of the founder of the Society of Jesus, Ignatius of Loyola. The “goings-about doing good” of Ignatius are revealed in the ways Dr. Frank Ayers graces his office as Director of Admissions and his teaching as Associate Professor of Pediatrics in Creighton’s School of Dentistry.

Frank and his wife, Helen, who herself has been teacher in the English Department, have four children, two of whom, Elaine and Brian, have graduated from Creighton, Katy who will graduate in May, as well as their oldest son, Patrick, who is a most special man. Frank himself, graduated from the Dental School in 1969 and joined the faculty in 1972.  Frank became Director of Admissions in 1986.

It is within these years and offices that the spirit of Dr. Ayers breaks out into the gracious gestures of a passionate man.  He has made five mission-trips as Dental Director of the Summer ILAC Program.  For the past four years Frank has spent time at the One World Community Health Center in south Omaha.  Frank was on the first President’s Council on Cultural Diversity at Creighton.  He is committed deeply to Creighton University’s advancement and success of minority students and especially in the School of Dentistry.

These are the gestures, but his spirit quietly rests in a mostly calm presentation. On the golf course, at Creighton athletic contests, especially while attending Katy’s women’s softball games, and during some political discussions, that calm exterior has been known to vanish.

Last May, the graduating seniors initiated an annual faculty recognition award, The Frank J. Ayers Spirit of Compassion Award.  Frank was the first recipient. This “compassion” is a part of the spirit of passion from which his many gestures of love, care and commitment flow.  A man of the Gospels, the Spiritual Exercises, and the mission of Creighton University, Dr. Frank J. Ayers.


Judy Streitz

Department of Education

Ignatian Award Citation

Jesus was a multimedia expert as He went about expressing the love of God.  Judy Streitz, now in her 32nd year at Creighton, is also such a multimedia person.  In her position as P.C. Coordinator for the Department of Education, Judy has devoted her time in the computer lab assisting faculty and students in learning various systems for publication. “Judy always wants to help people.” Being kind and available is her main department.

Judy is anything but a computer “nerd.” Her deep faith moves her beyond computers to the media of family-care and church activities, and as founder and past moderator of Creighton’s Dance Team. She would often help organize garage sales to support the team.  Judy has served as a Freshman Seminar Advisor, not a usual thing for Creighton staff members. Her medium as mother of six of her own children and three foster children as well, has been a blessing for her and her family.  Judy has put together a presentation on alcoholic addiction, which she offers to groups interested in this illness.

Judy employs her technical skills in producing a monthly newsletter for her parish. She is the first to bend over backward for other persons’ needs. For example, she helps round up people to support the chili-lunch fund-raiser for Creighton’s Child Care Center.  Every day, in any way possible, she is giving to the students and faculty even when she is not officially “on the clock.” She is available, eager to assist the students in their learning about Education, computers, or more importantly, about God and about themselves.

Judy is a multimedia display of the goodness of God.  She has a creative ability to connect with people where help is needed.  She can create a plan of action and follow through to fulfill those needs.

Her personal and family sufferings have formed her into a reflective and generous woman of faith.  Some have asked, “How does she do so much?” Some who know her well say that she believes and lives it. This faith is mediated through her “lovely smile and a twinkle in her eye.” We who have seen her and know her have a clearer idea of the spirit of Saint Ignatius and the personality of Jesus.

The award was presented at the Founder's Week Mass on February 6, 2005 in St. John's Church.


Teresa Lynch

Director, Institute for Latin American Concern (ILAC)

Ignatian Award Citation

This award is more a “Thank You” than an honor.  The students and faculty of Creighton and of the many other universities and high schools who have participated in Creighton’s Institute for Latin American Concern give thanks for Teresa Lynch.  The women and men of the Dominican Republic joyfully sing “muchas gracias” for her personally, and for the gracious people she and her programs have sent to them.

As the Director of the ILAC office, Terri passionately promotes, defends, and advances the importance of students and faculty being touched by serving the sick and the needy of the Dominican Republic.

Terri and her husband, Dr. Joseph Lynch, have often visited the ILAC Center as involved partners in this healing ministry.  They both have participated as volunteers since 1989.  Three years ago Terri became the Director, and has worked passionately to make the spiritual aspect of ILAC the first and most important experience of its programs.  She strives to make sure that all who join this mission of Creighton University understand that ILAC is primarily about personal transformation and spiritual growth.

Terri has made her own the thought of St. Ignatius, that love consists in actions not merely words.  She lives the Ignatian ideal that love consists in the mutual exchange of gifts.  She lives quietly this exchange, knowing that God has handed over to her gifts of gentle intensity and compassion for the less blest.  Terri’s actions speak louder than any words.  She lives and loves with authentic concern for those who have become part of her life, her family and her marriage.

As a woman for others, Terri enthusiastically encourages students and faculty to trust the adventure of entering the ILAC journey of faith, with hope and love.  She herself has made that journey and desires that others share that grace for themselves.  According to her own spirit, nothing she has received is hers alone.  It is the Ignatian pattern repeated again, that what God has given internally must be lived outwardly.  It is this outgoingness of God that presents Terri Lynch as a graceful woman for others.


Cecile Marie Zielinski, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education, and
Associate Professor, Department of Surgery
Creighton School of Medicine

Ignatian Award Citation

“Angels must sit on her shoulders.”  Dr. Cecile Marie Zielinski of Creighton’s Medical School carries many angels on her shoulders.  The cornerstone of Dr. Zielinski’s life is love; love of family, patients, colleagues and of life.  She has a sense of freedom about her that allows her to trust easily her wisdom and her decisions.  She clearly knows that God is calling her in every situation which allows for this freedom and expression of love.  She is wholeheartedly a woman for others, and through her example and her encouragement she gently brings other people along.

Dr. Zielinski is and has been a graceful inspiration to any young man or woman who has trained at Creighton.  She role models that one can succeed and still maintain integrity, respect and honor.  She excels as a physician and a skilled surgeon.  Each patient she sees feels cared for and special, secure in the knowledge they are seeing someone who will give them the best medical care.

She embodies Creighton’s mission.  She treats each patient equally, whether they are the CEO of the hospital or living under a bridge in North Omaha.

Dr. Zielinski is Ignatian in delivering her medical care.  She has advocated for those who cannot pay for their own care and has been on the Board of Directors for the Hope Medical Outreach Coalition.

Dr. Z, as she is known to her students, has been a strong voice for organ donation.  She has written papers on this, has served on the Board of Directors for the Lions Eye Bank, and belongs to the American Council on Transplantation.  She has been the Vice President for the Nebraska Organ Retrieval System for five consecutive years. 

She is recognized as an excellent teacher at Creighton.  She has received the Dedicated Teacher Award and the Student Award for Best Mentor and Role Model.  She has served as the Program Director for the Surgery Residents, and now leads the Graduate Medical Education program for the entire University.

What makes her so great is that she loves what she does.  This is what makes her a tremendous physician, a remarkable educator, and a leading humanitarian.  In her life, she extends the healing hands of Jesus.

The award was presented at the Founder's Week Mass on February 8, 2004 in St. John's Church.


Michael G. Lawler, Ph.D.

Director, Center for Marriage & Family, and
Graff Chair of Catholic Theological Studies

Ignatian Award Citation

Mike Lawler's relationship with Jesus forms this man for a life of mission and ministry.  For the past thirty-five years, Mike has been a pastoral scholar of and for the Creighton community as well as for the Church community around the world.

His reverence for the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church and his intense interest in the spirit and writings of the Vatican Council have inspired his many classes, lectures and books.  He has authored eighteen books and many articles in these areas.  Ecumenism, the Permanent Deaconate, and marriage have been Mike's special involvements.  For the past ten years, he has been the Director of the Center for Marriage and Family here at Creighton.

For all Mike's academic prowess, which is sought widely, Mike remains unpretentious, unassuming and completely accessible in his interactions with colleagues, friends, students and humankind in general.  He readily puts aside his own work to respond to questions from anyone seeking his advice and expertise.  He is patient and tolerant, and yes, challenging, with those who find it hard to understand.  He simply sees this as the only way to respect others in need.

His door is literally always open, as is his mind to receive those to whom he believes he is sent.  He never takes himself too seriously, but takes the questions and challenges from others as opportunities for growth for himself as well.  He does not give the impression that he knows it all, though when questions in Theology, Sacrament, Marriage, or even golf arise, many look towards Mike Lawler's open door and spirit.

Mike Lawler is a man in the world, but not of it.  His spirit of ministry flows from his Scottish sense that everything is to be taken seriously, but not too seriously.  His spirit flows from Jesus' words that whatever one does to the least brother or sister is done for the person of Jesus.

Mike Lawler, a man for others; a man for our times.


Linda Tranisi

Department of Exercise Science & Athletic Training
(awarded posthumously)

Ignatian Award Citation

The beauty of a quilt is the wonder of diversity brought into harmony for the purpose of warmth.  Linda Tranisi helped begin the Quilters Club at Creighton so as to help raise funds for the poor of our city.  Her life on and off Creighton's campus was a mission of bringing together persons who needed harmony and warmth in their lives.

Linda died loving her family, her husband, and all whom she found around her.  She loved the life that was possible in the lives of others and invited them to live more lovingly.  Linda met everyone in such a way that they met and appreciated themselves the more.

For eleven years, she was senior administrative assistant in the office in the Department of Exercise Science and Athletic Training.  How appropriate for a woman who made a science of exercising her heart in loving, her hands in reaching out to those who were finding life's burdens too heavy to lift and the journey too long.  She encouraged those who felt discouraged whether a student, a person in Environmental Services, or a dean or chair of a department.  They were all her mission.

In her own way, she was a "chair person."  Whether in her chair behind her desk, or the chairs in front of her desk, or the chairs in the front office of her department, and even in the chairs of other offices on campus, Linda would listen to the joys and sorrows, wins and losses of all.

Her life as a quilter was a blessing and her spirit continues founding Creighton in the Spirit of St. Ignatius.  She offered generously what she had received gratefully.  Linda Tranisi departed November eleventh.  She remains within the lives of those she embraced with the hugs of God.

The award was presented at the Founder's Week Mass on February 2, 2003 in St. John's Church.


Tami Buffalohead-McGill

Coordinator of Multicultural Student Services

Ignatian Award Citation

Creighton University becomes more authentic as its programs and policies become incarnated and personal within the lives and actions of its students, faculty, and staff. Racial and cultural minority persons form the majority of Tami Buffalohead-McGill’s interest here at Creighton and the culturally diverse communities of our country. Tami, a 1989 graduate of Creighton does not work at a job here, but invests daily in her personal mission of caring for how Creighton expresses and achieves its commitment to students from all cultural minority groups.

Tami challenges Creighton as well as the Federal Government to be faithful to its Mission Statement and Constitution. She likewise challenges the students under her care to stay faithful to their heritage and the gifts the Creator has given them.

On a daily basis, a steady stream of students stops to visit Tami about an academic question, a financial problem, a personal-relationship issue, a concern about parents, or just for moral support. To each, she offers a welcoming smile and a hearty greeting. Tami attracts not students only to her office, but is responsible for having attracted many students from minority groups to attend Creighton. Her countless hours of listening, encouraging, confronting, and instructing these students has resulted in an increased retention of those who find Creighton so different from their cultural and traditional ways.

This woman of faith offers home-like welcome to her office and she and her husband Jim often welcome students into their home for fellowship. They have also opened their home to students experiencing crises.

Tami reaches out beyond the Creighton campus to the Native American people in Nebraska and presently serves on the Board of directors of the Red Cloud School on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. She has served as the Chief Tribal Officer of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska after working for the Nebraska Department of Economical Development, assisting Nebraska Indian Reservations with business and housing advancement.

“When I think of Tami and her family, Creighton students are her children and her extended family. She cares for them, nurtures them and encourages them and pushes them in their development as maturing young adults.” 

The words of faith move to actions of justice in this woman of the Ignatian Vision. Her restless dissatisfaction with the personal, social, educational, and economic conditions existing in our current culture results in her not being interested merely in increasing the number of multi-cultural students here at Creighton, but unless these students are received, cared for and challenged, Tami’s mission remains incomplete. Her deep sense of service to the poor and marginal keeps calling to the larger Creighton family to expand its vision and mission. To experience the spirit of Saint Ignatius as lived out in our midst, we focus our vision on this woman of many cultures and one multi-dimensional love.


Joleen Richwine

Administrative Assistant
Department of Political Science & International Studies

Ignatian Award Citation

“It is one thing to provide an ear and another to take sincere interest in the well being of the students.” Creighton University continues to be founded by the living saints who find here various ways to express God’s love for them by extending that love thoughtfully, caringly, earfully, cheerfully to all whom they meet. Joleen Richwine, Administrative Assistant in the Political Science Department, works tirelessly to make Creighton and the surrounding area a better place by her being more than one word can describe. Joleen does not seem to know the one word, “no”. She is a trouble-shooter for Creighton students and faculty alike. 

As students and faculty find her reaching out towards them in her department, the rest of the campus finds her involved in many charitable projects such as the Holiday Spirit Committee, and the Creighton Habitat House. 

Twice Joleen has been selected as President of the Staff Advisory Council. She is a person upon whom others seem to call, because of her generous spirit and she is one of those persons whom everybody knows and who knows everybody. She is a team player with a generous spirit which makes her the logical choice to ask for help, whether it is a personal problem or a committee struggle.

“From her professional competence to her proactive management of office affairs, to her volunteering in countless activities, which including United Way and Chad, to her willingness to counsel other staff undergoing personal stress, to the bake-goods she regularly brings in for students and faculty, to her cheerful attitude which brightens everyone's day’ to her willingness to serve as a mother to so many of our students, Joleen embodies the Creighton spirit from head to toe.”

Her work for others is in no way limited to the Creighton offices and campus. She is an active member in St. John’s Lutheran Church in Council Bluffs where she has served on every board possible. She has taught Sunday School and has organized a Metro-wide interdenominational choir. Her strong faith is the center of her active life and moves her heart to reach out to the needy of the community. She has organized a crochet and knitting group on campus which group has provided hand-made caps, slippers, mitts and the like for the poor in shelters, nursing homes and hospices. 

“Joleen is a giver. She is warm and generous with her time and talents and simply delights in giving some of her joy to those in need. She is simply filled with Christian love and shares it generously. The more she shares and gives to others the more she seems to have to give.”

The award was presented at the Founder's Week Mass on February 10, 2002 in St. John's Church.


Thomas J. Purcell, III

Department of Accounting, College of Business

Ignatian Award Citation

For Saint Ignatius, God's love was a light that breaks into a variety of rays and colors. They have names such as compassion, creativity, peace, courage, and justice. Each is a different hue flowing and sharing the same root that is God's eternal love.

"The just man justices" and Professor Tom Purcell of the College of Business is a just man who thinks, teaches, talks about, and does God's justice here at Creighton, within the wider community and with his family, wife, Suzanne and their three children.

"For as long as I have known Tom Purcell, almost twenty years, a lot has changed, however, there is one constant in his life, service of others." "For him certain actions are natural. These include serving in the Church, building homes for the poor, educating and mentoring students and generously donating his time when called upon."

A former student writes, "His dedication to Creighton University, its students as well as to his family and the Omaha community amaze me. He is a kind member of the Creighton faculty, an adviser, consultant, board-member, friend and father." "Dr. Purcell is not someone who simply talks about living our lives as men and women for others, but he leads through his example. His love of God and of the people around him is very evident."

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice; they will be satisfied." "When I think of Tom Purcell, I think of someone who is always hungry, not for the food that nourishes our bodies, rather food for the soul. He has an insatiable hunger for good words that can fill his spirit. He seeks out books and articles about justice and the common good. He always stops whatever he is doing to be part of discussions about values. He practices spiritual discernment and recommends it to others. He craves experiences that will fill his spirit, such as his having taught the fall semester of the College of Business in the Dominican Republic in 1999. He served for two years as the chairman of the Board for Catholic Charities of the Omaha Archdiocese.

As long as there are people who go hungry, Tom Purcell will hunger for their being satisfied. As long as there are students at Creighton who hunger for the knowledge of right and wrong, Tom will be available to satisfy their desires. "Tom has a good kind of hunger, the kind that spreads to other people and makes them know their hunger too."

Those who know Tom, his students, his colleagues in the College of Business, his friends, all know where he stands. He stands with those building with Habitat for Humanity. He presently is the chairman of the steering committee for the "House That Creighton Built" for Habitat for Humanity. He stands for the teachings of the Church and Creighton University in the area of Faith and Justice. He stands in front of his students and leads them in their understanding of their place in being part of the problems and part of the solutions.

Injustice has many faces. Those who see Tom Purcell have a picture of one person who faces the social ills with compassion, courage, creativity, peace, and a desire for what is right. Those who hunger for the wisdom to do the works of justice also have many faces. Tom Purcell is one such countenance in whom we see both the spirit of Saint Ignatius and the Spirit of God's love for humanity.


Alice B. Smith

Media Services, Information Technology

Ignatian Award Citation

Saint Ignatius lived with the awareness that God is always laboring to bring love and unity into our world. That spirit of trust in God and in the gifts God gives us penetrates many of the men and women whose lives build and decorate the Creighton mission.

This spirit of loving-labor can be experienced in the person of Alice Cannon Smith.

Alice is a tapestry woven with the threads of professional competence, eagerness to serve anyone in need, large or small, with a loving spirit within her family and her communities, and a religious sense, which makes all her goings, graces.

"Alice seems to know when people are in need and makes herself available to help them." "She is free with her hugs", and whether she is delivering a projector from her office in media Services, or a meal to a grieving family, Alice intends to make sure you are important and serving you is the only thing on her mind right then.

"She is a woman of faith and that faith is recognizable." She never seems in a hurry, yet is always on the move. "She and her husband Marty, present a wonderful model of family love and marital commitment." For the past six years, they have extended their family welcome to students from other countries to join their three sons and one daughter in their home as one of the family. "She and Marty are parents who work tirelessly to give their children experiences which are not only academic and intellectually formative, but also experiences that broaden and stretch their children to be faith-filled and open to the wonders (people and places) of God's world around them."

Beyond Creighton and her family, Alice embraces the needs of those around us. She is a commissioned Family Minister at Margaret Mary Parish and there coordinates the Bereavement Ministry. She coordinates volunteer-cooks for the Rainbow House which is a temporary residence for families with children who are in Children's Hospital here in Omaha.

"Alice's work ethic and personality have gained her the respect and admiration of her peers. Her high energy level and positive attitude represent to those whom she serves what it means to be a Woman for Others. Alice has the unique capacity to express fully her concern and generous commitment in a way that is contagious. "You want to be around her." "She shares her energy willingly and you find yourself drawing from it."

"Alice Smith embodies the spirit of St. Ignatius to which we may often refer, but rarely witness so continually and so completely."

Alice Smith, small of stature, large of heart, expansive of spirit, grand of generosity, and much of a woman of faith. She is a woman who assists God’s laborings to bring life and love into our world and our mission here at Creighton. God loves us through such a person as Alice.


Laura A. Weber

Department of Theology, College of Arts & Sciences

Ignatian Award Citation

Saint Ignatius missioned the early Jesuits to the ministry of education, especially instructing the youth in Theology. The studying of God and the questions that women and men have had for centuries has formed the teaching of Theology here at Creighton during its long history. Since the time of Ignatius, the Jesuit tradition has been, and continues to be, unafraid to face neither the questions nor the implications of the answers.

Creighton's Department of Theology, for the past five years, has had its own Doctor Laura. Laura Weber is well known and beloved for her energetic asking of the big questions, and especially for her not being satisfied with the easy answers. She has taught three or four courses every semester she has been here and has led Freshman Seminars. She has taught as well at The College of St. Mary's and in the preparation-program for Deacons in the Omaha Archdiocese.

Her teaching does not end in the classroom. She gets personally involved in the lives and faith-struggles of her students in such a way that leads them towards a faith commitment along and a familiarity with Ignatian Spirituality. "She can’t help it. She believes so strongly that Theology is suppose to be faith seeking understanding, that she simply cannot see it only as an academic endeavor." As a result, her students experience Theology as life changing, and as a call to love and serve others

Laura has gathered students around her in a voluntary Multi-Faith Service-Reflection group, which this year comprises eleven different faith traditions and who enter into a service activity together once a week and then every other week share their reflections upon their experiences from a faith stance. Most of these thirty students have been attracted to this form of learning, by having had Dr. Weber as their educator. Laura volunteered to lead this last year and the students insisted on her continuing with them this year as well.

We are blest to have such a woman who loves this mission, because she finds here so many people committed to the spirituality and mission of Ignatius. One of the aspects of this way of living and loving is to pray never to be deaf to God’s call. During the second semester last year, St. John's Parish found itself without a Liturgist; Dr. Laura was the living answer.

One other way in which Laura answers her call is by being one of the Charter members of a group of lay men and women who bind themselves together and to the missions of the Society of Jesus. The Ignatian Associates labor according to their own gifts and their personal experiences of Ignatian Spirituality. Laura has been one of the persons helping to form the newly founded Associates group in the Twin Cities. She has been doing this in her "free-time" on weekends. "She can't help it, because she refuses to be deaf to the call.

"What symbolizes her most is her Ignatian outlook, which is the total generosity of time, money, energy and all the other gifts God has given her. It is impossible to be in the same room with Laura for very long, without realizing you are in the presence of an extraordinarily loving person and an embodiment of a good-spirited, woman who "can't help it".

Doctor Laura Weber, a woman of her times, God's time, and who makes time for the mission of leading young people to their being found by God.

The award was presented at the Founder's Week Mass on February 7, 2001 in St. John's Church.


Karen Paschal

Department of Physical Therapy

Ignatian Award Citation

Saint Ignatius wrote that love has two basic aspects. Love consists in a total mutuality of gifts, giving to the other all ones gifts, as well as, receiving all that the other shares. The second is that love consists in doing things and not merely through words.

The Department of Physical Therapy is blessed to have Karen Paschal as Assistant Professor and Vice Chairperson. At Creighton University, as well as, in The First Unitarian Church of Omaha, Karen has made herself available to sharing and receiving and doing more than talking.

"Karen Paschal is a living example and powerful role model for our students, as she puts into action the core values of respect for every human being and the promotion of Social Justice and commitment to community service."   She is a woman who humbly acknowledges her many gifts and generously reaches out to share them with her students and colleagues here at Creighton and various organizations in Omaha, such as, Francis House, Aids Projects, neighborhood clean-up programs and OTOC, Omaha Together, One Community, an interdenominational organization which addresses issues of social justice.

For the past six years in which Karen has been in the Physical Therapy Department, she has been a teacher and friend who visits counsels and arranges assistance for anyone's professional, personal or family difficulties. This is how Karen operates, quietly, behind the scenes sharing any praise and deflecting personal recognition. "Her phone seems to ring constantly, her e-mail overflows and the carpet leading to her office door is worn down as she tends to the needs of the discouraged students with their requests for help. She compassionately deals with them as if they were members of her own family. From marital breakups to loss of a cat-sitter, students always come away from their meetings with her with a strategy to improve their situations."

Karen is a loving mother of two wonderful daughters and a daughter of two wonderful parents. She lives the family spirit everywhere and works to bring about unity and peace within the human family. She is surprised to find herself thought of as special when surrounded by such other generous members of the Creighton faculty and staff. "We believe very strongly that Karen is a wonderful example of a modest, quietly loving individual who lifts up others while drawing no attention to herself."

Karen Paschal, a woman of faith who is loved and so loves, has many gifts and so shares and lives as a woman for others in the spirit of Ignatius.


Darlis Vauble

Office of Vice President, Information Technology

Ignatian Award Citation

The spirit of Ignatius Loyola can be found in books, paintings, stories and most authentically in the lives of those who bring missions alive by the lives they live. This mission of Creighton University resides on the shoulders and breaks through bricks and mortar within the hearts and hands and faces of the women and men who make Creighton breathe.

Ignatius believed that God is always laboring to bring about real human living. One who labors with God to bring about life here on the Creighton campus and within her family and church community is Darlis Vauble of the Office of Information Technology. This woman of faith, hope and charity has remained at Creighton as a personal commitment of love of the faith she professes and lives. Her gifts of organization and communication are shared with her church of Zion Lutheran and the schools where her two daughters attend. Those who are around her for even a short time cannot help but be swept up in her enthusiasm and hopeful outlook. "What a blessing to share." She takes the time necessary to build those relationships which make Creighton more than a place of employment. She is a woman who makes Creighton that much better by blessing us with her spirit and the Spirit of the God she serves.

"Darlis has a mission. Her mission is to do what is right and to help those with whom she works to do what's right." She came here in 1977 to begin in the Development Office. In 1979, she moved into the President's Office and eventually became an Administrative Assistant. In 1998, Darlis joined the office of the Vice President for Information Technology as Executive Assistant.

Beneath these various hats has remained a cheerful smile, a watchful eye, an available ear, a quick wit and a clever mind ready to assist students, faculty and fellow staff persons to understand the real sense of why we are here at Creighton. She keeps her finger on the pulse of Creighton and keeps the temperatures normal of all those whom she touches with her smiles, concerns and helpful suggestions.

Creighton is founded again and again by such persons as Darlis Vauble, who find here, not a job, but a way of living. Her way continues the spirit of St. Ignatius within her own spirit of bringing professional skills combined with personal warmth to our Creighton mission. As someone said, "She simply just makes us better."

The award was presented at the Founder's Week Mass on February 9, 2000 in St. John's Church.


Dr. Roberty Kennedy

Associate Professor Department of Physics


Timothy Sully

Assistant Director
Department of Residence Life

The award was presented at the Founder's Week Mass on February 10, 1999 in St. John's Church.


Marilyn Crane

Department of Pathology

Ignatian Award Citation

Creighton University continues to be founded by people whose own spirit reflects the intentions of all those who have kept the Ignatian vision alive these past 121 years.  We thank God this day for the gift of Marilyn Crane, who is the mortar that holds the bricks together in her particular area of the Medical Curriculum for the second-year medical students.

Since 1962, Marilyn has been caring for the professional, academic and personal development of the students who soon become her close friends and quickly members of her vast extended family.  Marilyn has the most amazing gift of making any student, male or female, feels as if they were her most important and favored.  She has been a blessing for all the students and faculty who know her to be indispensable to their work and education.

Marilyn Crane lives her faith with constancy, kindness and universal concern.  Her life is her mission and her mission is preparing those who will extend that caring kindness to the needy of the world.  She practices what she believes and believes that love of God is expressed in personally loving others with kind words and explicit gestures.  She herself visits weekly a nursing home where she and her kitten, Kitty, extend her healing touch.

For Marilyn, Creighton exists for students and learning.  This is her mission and without her constant effort, her kindness and her gentle giving manner, of which overlay her professional competent performance, this aspect of Creighton's mission would be seriously diminished.  Those who work with her, or who are taught by her, are also challenged to reflect on the transcendent values, including their relationship with God in her own atmosphere of freedom of inquiry and religious worship.

Marilyn Crane redefines the word "professional."  As a woman educator, her having held positions of leadership for many years at Creighton, has strengthened the absolutely necessary place of women within the Creighton family.  As a woman of faith, she has simply displayed the power and gentleness of the God of her belief.  As a university, as a medical school, as class after class, as each person whom she has instructed, counseled and guided, we all say as one, "I am a better person for having know Marilyn Crane."


Lawrence Raful

School of Law

Ignatian Award Citation

A man of the law of God.  A man of the law of society.  A man of the law of love.  Larry Raful has lived the mission of his Jewish faith and heart as dean of the Creighton Law School since 1998.

He continues the founding of Creighton University by living his desires for understanding among all of God's people.  Larry is a person of a faith which includes a strong demand for legal, social and informed justice.  He is a person who is loyal to the Law School and the University, and understands how to treat each student and members of the staff and faculty with care and dignity.

Larry Raful is a caring administrator who leads by example, who supports his staff and faculty in their times of need and who is compassionate to a fault.  While being aware of the needs of those around him, he makes those around him aware of the needs of the poor around them in our world.  By his words, and much more by his actions, others are made conscious of their responsibilities towards those in economic and social need.

Larry is motivated sincerely to use the law and legal education as a vehicle for teaching the law and ethical behavior.  His desire and practical urge to assist the poor and needy in our society has led to the founding of a legal clinic within the Law School.  The greater Omaha and Creighton communities, and especially the Law School, have been enriched by Larry's spirit of generosity and passion for justice.

Larry, his wife Dynah, and three daughters also welcome students, faculty and staff into their home.  At work, Larry makes people feel at home in his office as well with an open-door style of welcome.

Larry Raful's concern for people extends to the whole family of God.  As a teacher of professional responsibility, he challenges aspiring lawyers to make the ideal of justice a reality.  His professional involvements at Creighton University as well as his involvements within the Omaha community, including his work in the Anti-Defamation League express this man's being a "man for all others in the Ignatian spirit."

The award was presented at the Mass of the Holy Spirit on September 10, 1997 in St. John's Church.


Sinora J. Garrett

Reinert Alumni Library

Ignatian Award Citation

In libraries, there is the general rule of silence and respect for others using the facility, but in our own Creighton Reinert Alumni Library there is a quiet noise in the evening hours. Sinora Garrett is the evening supervisor, whose actions speak loudly in the quiet of her mission-place. Vibrant, up-beat, sensitive, and demonstrative describes Sinora's approach to living out her faith in Jesus. Her loving heart erases the word "hate" in her dictionary.

In her many encounters with students, staff, and faculty, Sinora reveals a selfless and sustained concern for others, even to the point of keeping the library open just a few minutes longer to accommodate a student needing to copy "just one more page."

To homesick freshmen, she is "mom." To nostalgic alumni, she embodies Creighton. Days, weeks, and years after meeting Sinora, students return, seeking her out for encouragement and direction on where to find "more than books." They also come to share all the pain and pride of coming of age with someone who is always in their corner and helping them find their own wisdom. Only the loving embrace of the Lord is bigger and more expansive than one of Sinora's famous hugs. God's love for her and the love of her family keeps her sustained and involved in extending that embrace to others.

For fourteen years, Creighton has been Sinora's extended family. Her's have been our joys and our sadnesses. She loves being a blessing and the silence of her benedictions, as with the books on the shelves, is available to all who stop in to read her book of wisdom.

The Ignatian ideals of compassionate service and faithful dedication are celebrated in the life of Sinora Garrett by her colleagues on campus, her church community, and by any who has a need for hard-to-find books or easy-to-find kindness.


Dr. Robert Townley

Department of Internal Medicine

Ignatian Award Citation

Doctor Robert Townley has a "Heart-Problem," and it is this.  His heart is broken by the poverty and distress around the world.  For the past thirty-one years, Dr. Townley has taught in the School of Medicine in the area of respiration with a strong desire to find a cure for asthma.  This large-hearted man spends his professional life trying to breath life into the field of medicine and those who suffer suffocating poverty.  And while waging war against bodily sickness, Dr. Townley is the "original passivist" as he speaks out in his stance against all military war.

His faith-life reflects strongly, yet quietly, his personal integration of the ideals of St. Ignatius, which are found in print in the Spiritual Exercises, and lived out in actions in the life of this Creighton gentleman.  The Prophet Isaiah could well have proclaimed of him, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, and to proclaim liberty to the captives."

His love for the human family begins with the love within his own family.  Along with his wife Nancy, this Christ-centered, extending family, reflects in its life choices the same intense desire to heal the human family of its diseases of body, mind, and spirit.

Dr. Robert Townley has extended to his own family the Creighton family and to the whole human family, the image of faith-filled commitment and the service of justice which faith demands.  Through his person and words, we all can breathe the air of Christianity and our hearts find healing in this real "Man for Others."

The award was presented at the Mass of the Holy Spirit on September 11, 1996 in St. John's Church.


Dr. Mary Kuhlman

Department of Theology


Dr. Ron Volkmer

J.D, School of Law

The award was presented at the Mass of the Holy Spirit on September 13, 1995 in St. John's Church.


Ann McDonald

Department of Journalism


Renee O'Brien

University College

The award was presented at the Mass of the Holy Spirit on September 14, 1994 in St. John's Church.


David Haberman

Department of Journalism
Ignatian Award Citation

We recognize today in Dr. David Haberman not only length of service in the Journalism department, but even more, the depth of commitment to God, church, family and students.

David Haberman's commitment goes beyond the walls of Creighton University and especially to service of those who need assistance the most, including his involvement with the elderly and those needing professional legal aid. We have witnessed and have been influenced by his humble, yet visible living out of his Christian values. Creighton is blessed by having persons like David Haberman laboring with and among us. He is convinced that love of God which does not issue in acts of justice for others is a farce. He will drop anything, go anywhere, and do whatever is necessary for anyone of an extensive network who is need of help. These acts of Christian love are woven into the fabric of David's everyday life. To his students he has been a strong challenge, to his friends a gentle comfort, to his colleagues a quiet reminder, and to Creighton University "one fine man".

David Haberman does all these things not to be seen by others. But, we have seen the spirit of St. Ignatius in him and through him and for him, this day, we give thanks to God.


Rita Wall

Department of Admissions
Ignatian Award Citation

Rita Wall has been a woman on mission here at Creighton University for the past ten years. Her life has been a revelation of love and responsibility to family and friends long before that. She has been a loving wife to her husband and caring mother to her five daughters.

Her working in the Admissions Office with great care, her relating with co-workers is characterized by even greater sensitivity. Students find in her a motherly receptivity to their questions and problems with university life. Rita's deep faith frees her to have an optimism, often found only in the young. This faith in people and in God has given her the strength to cope with the adversities that have crossed her own life and the understanding to enjoy those blessings she has received. She has a commitment to her work that is a rare find in today's world. Each detail, each individual request, even the smallest of tasks, Rita will handle with special care, because for Rita Wall each request and each new application for admission to Creighton becomes an act of love, a means of living out her faith. This woman motivates by the gentleness of her example. The spirit with which Rita lives and works attracts students and fellow-staff members to her and beyond her to her God.

Rita Wall is not an employee, but a partner; not a colleague, but a friend; a woman who reveals the real meaning of Faith, Hope and Love. It is her faith and the example she sets for all of us here at Creighton that honor and embody the spirit of St. Ignatius.

The award was presented at the Mass of the Holy Spirit on September 15, 1993 in St. John's Church.


Clara Dee Martin

Lab Technician, Department of Biology
Ignatian Award Citation

"She is one of the very best things about Creighton." Dee Martin has lived the Ignatian vision of service in her role as lab technician in the Biology Department for twenty-eight years. "No lab is ever too dirty to set up or to clean up." Dee's hidden service to her department is noticed by the many students and faculty whom she assists. As "mother" to generations of Biology students she has enriched their lives with her presence by consoling the desolate, reprimanding the thoughtless, and loving the unloved."

Dee's life is a seamless expression of her faith. Her love of Jesus embraces those sisters and brothers around her whom she has cared for with her quiet presence. "Dee combines a no-nonsense reality with an absolute belief in the obligation to serve her neighbor." This she exhibits in her church, her neighborhood, her work place, and her travels, as Dee responds to each moment with a confident expression of God's love.

Her personal love of Jesus is her personal response to life. "All I want to do is to love Jesus." We, the Creighton community recognize that she has and does that with graceful quiet service.


J. Patrick Murray & Jeanne Schuler

Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy &
Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy

Ignatian Award Citation

Jeanne and Patrick are married to each other as well as to the mission of service to others. Both, as a couple and as individuals, they witness to the Ignatian vision of the world as a place to redeem through simple fidelity. Their strong witness to the values of the Christian family extends to the embracing of their sisters and brothers. Jeanne and Patrick combine sensitivity to God's grace from above even as they promote values of justice and peace for all people from below.

Their commitment to promoting kingdom values is sincere and long term. As a couple, they live simply in terms of material possession, but richly in terms of interior life, faith, friendship and commitment. As individual, they use their intellectual gifts to serve students as well as the pursuit of truth in their challenging classes of philosophy.

Besides virtue, piety, and scholarship, Jeanne and Patrick are models of joy and love of life. The boundaries of our campus are not the boundaries of their vision and involvements. Their individual and combined interests extend to their activities for peace and justice, to the enjoyment of the arts as well as to involvements in their parish life. To see them is to know the power and fruitfulness of Christian marriage. To know them is to experience the gentleness of God's person.

The award was presented at the Mass of the Holy Spirit on September 16, 1992 in St. John's Church.


Delois Neal

Child Care Center

Delois Neal's Ignatian Award Citation is not available, but below is an article from a September 1992 edition of the Creightonian. Reporter Bob Armbruster.

It was nap time. Most of the children at the Creighton day care center were restless. Firm but soothing words from head teacher Delois Neal help the kids to calm down.

Neal was a recipient this year of the St. Ignatius Award. She was cited for her excellent work with the children.

One of Neal's co-workers, assistant teacher Pat Pulsifer, said that "Delois presents a fun atmosphere for everybody, has a very kind and generous heart, and her insight of the children is wonderful. She knows all of her children, gives her heart to all the children and is very deserving of the award."

"Delois is really good with the kids. She presents a spirit of love amongst the kids and stresses the importance of friendship. She is strict, but does have a few rules which are expected to be followed. She is a like a second mother to the kids because of how much the kids really love her. She gets respect from all the parents and overall is a very generous person who is deserving of the award," said one of her student co-workers.

"It was a great honor, I wasn't expecting it at all," said Neal. "Words cannot express how I feel, except for that I am overwhelmed."

The award is presented annually by the Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality on Sept. 16th at the Mass of the Holy Spirit. The award is given to Creighton employees who attempt to live out the spirituality and mission of St. Ignatius through their work and also outside involvement.


Claudia P. Runyon

Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy
Ignatian Award Citation

God is an ever-present and comfortable force in Claudia Runyon's life, and her belief in Him permeates all of her actions and interaction. Her faith is not the lofty, inert variety, but rather serves as a springboard to community action. She is motivated by issues of justice, compassion and humanitarianism. She is firm in her faith, steadfast with her friends and colleagues, compassionate with her patients, an inspiration to her students, dedicated to peace and justice in her local and the global community, and motivated to give her undivided efforts to turn vision into mission. Her life speaks out in teaching others by word and deed to reverence the total human family with all its weaknesses. Claudia's faith also is seen in the surrounding community by her involvement with those afflicted by the AIDS virus. She is passionately convinced that all life is sacred and worthy of healing.

Claudia encourages professional excellence for the students of her department while also encouraging their personal commitment to their higher principles of faith and loving service. Creighton University, and in particular the faculty of the department of Occupational Therapy in the School of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions, are blessed and by her spirit, the occupation of therapy has become a ministry of faith in the Ignatian spirituality.

1991 was the first year the award was presented at the Mass of the Holy Spirit on September 11, 1991 in St. John's Church.


Carol Hillerson

Student Health
Ignatian Award Citation

This award is presented in recognition of her expression of her Christian belief and service to the students of Creighton University, to her family, and her neighbors. Her work as a staff member in the Student Health department and in many committees and programs throughout the University is marked by unassuming compassion and quiet generosity. she is kind and considerate to others. She does work far beyond the requirements of her position. Carol is a model to all who aspire to Christian service in the tradition of St. Ignatius.


Dr. Francis Klein

Department of Chemistry
Ignatian Award Citation

Dr. Klein joined the Creighton faculty in 1968. A humble person, motivated by a deep faith and a commitment to the welfare of others, he has, perhaps unknowingly, served as a role model for all members of the campus community who seek to live out the ideals of St. Ignatius. In 1972 Dr. Klein was a founding member of the Faculty Campus Ministry Group, an organization whose goal is to share faith and friendship among faculty and their families. He was also a founding member of the Collaborative Ministry Committee and is a member of the Jesuit Identity Sub-Committee for Creighton in the year 2000. At his parish, Holy Family, he has served as president of the parish council, extraordinary minister of the Eucharist, lector and musician as well as a leader in Project Renew at both the parish and diocesan level. A gifted teacher, recognized by both the University and his students as such, he is a chemist who cares about and respects the environment. He is committed to personal attention to students and has assisted and advised hundreds of students during his career at Creighton. Dr. Klein's life is family-centered and based on Christian values. He, his wife, Janet, and their five children are involved as a family as regular volunteers who help prepare and serve meals to the homeless of the Omaha area who seek shelter at Francis house.