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Aug. 12, 2021

I am excited to welcome our second-largest undergraduate freshman class to our Omaha campus beginning with tomorrow’s Move-In, and I am grateful to the many colleagues who have worked creatively and enthusiastically to plan and execute this signature event and a full schedule of Welcome Week activities.

As we prepare for the first day of undergraduate classes next week, on Wednesday, Aug. 18, I wanted to inform and remind you of several leadership changes at the University, including the naming of an interim director of athletics.

Effective Tuesday, Aug. 17, Jim Jansen, the University’s general counsel and a member of the President’s Council, will serve as interim athletics director, as we continue our national search to fill this important position with the retirement of Bruce Rasmussen. 

As we have previously shared, Bruce’s last day is Monday, Aug. 16. As we navigate this transition, I want to express my deep gratitude to Bruce for his more than four decades of service to Creighton University and his 27 years as athletic director. Through his leadership, Creighton is poised for continued athletic success.

Jim has worked closely with me and Bruce over the course of a number of years. I am grateful that he has agreed to step into this interim role. As a Creighton alumnus, graduating from the law school in 1973, and as the proud father of four Creighton alumni, including a former student-athlete who played on our volleyball team, Jim is passionate about Creighton and Creighton athletics. In addition, as a member of the University’s leadership team since joining Creighton in 2011, he has a great appreciation for and understanding of the work of the department.

We continue our comprehensive search for a permanent athletic director, working expeditiously, yet thoroughly, to identify candidates who will be a good fit with our Creighton culture and our Jesuit, Catholic mission, and will be committed to excellence across the myriad roles of the position.  

In other leadership news, I am appointing Edward Horwitz, PhD, who in April, as you may remember, was named our new vice president for Enterprise Risk Management, to the President’s Council. Dr. Horwitz also serves as our Mutual of Omaha Endowed Chief Risk Officer and as an associate professor of practice in the Heider College of Business. In naming him to the President’s Council, I welcome his expertise and counsel as we look to continue to evolve and sharpen our impressive efforts around compliance and enterprise risk management.

I am also glad to welcome our new dean of the School of Dentistry, Jillian Wallen, BDS, MS, who joined us on Aug. 1, and our new vice president for Human Resources, Judi Szatko, who joined us on Aug. 9.

Dr. Wallen succeeds Mark Latta, DMD, who stepped down as dean on July 31. She was previously assistant dean for extramural activities and outreach, and chair of the Department of Growth and Development, at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry.

Judi was previously the vice president of Human Resources at Team Software in Omaha, and brings to the position more than 25 years of demonstrated expertise in the HR profession.

Also beginning in August, the positions of vice provost for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, and vice provost for Mission and Ministry have shifted to vice president roles, reporting to me. I am thankful for the leadership in these areas provided by Sarah Walker, PhD, and Eileen Burke-Sullivan, STD, respectively.  

With these leadership changes and infrastructure, Creighton University is well-positioned to move forward with purpose and strategic clarity and vision as we welcome another academic year with optimism, gratitude, and faith.

Thank you for your continued support of Creighton, and your dedication and commitment to our mission. I will be in touch again soon.


Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD