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I am very pleased to announce that we have named Cynthia Schmersal as vice president of Mission and Ministry, effective Sept. 30. She is currently vice president for Mission and Ministry at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri.

For nearly 25 years, Schmersal has been a student, volunteer, employee, parishioner, and retreatant with various Jesuit apostolates. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English, with a minor in secondary education, from Xavier University in 2002, a master’s degree in ministry from Creighton in 2013, and a master’s degree in management from Rockhurst in 2018. She will receive her Doctor of Education from Rockhurst in August.

I am thankful to our search committee, chaired by Bridget Keegan, PhD, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, for their diligent work leading up to this announcement.

I also want to express my deep gratitude to Eileen Burke-Sullivan, STD, current vice president of Mission and Ministry, for her valuable service and insight during this national search process, and for her years of dedicated leadership in sharing, furthering, and championing Creighton’s Jesuit, Catholic mission and values during her impressive tenure in this position, which she began in 2014 as vice provost.

As I announced in early February, Dr. Burke-Sullivan has decided to retire from her role as vice president of Mission and Ministry. While she has expressed an openness to continuing to support Creighton’s mission and identity and the important work of Ignatian formation for members of our campus community, she will enjoy some well-deserved time off and relaxation.

We are looking at opportunities to recognize and celebrate Dr. Burke-Sullivan’s many accomplishments and service to the University. Please watch Creighton Today for details coming soon.

Cynthia Schmersal
Cynthia Schmersal

While I am eager to join colleagues in thanking Dr. Burke-Sullivan, I am also excited to welcome Schmersal to the Creighton community and to my leadership team.

Well-versed in Jesuit education and mission, Schmersal has been at Rockhurst University for the last 15 years, and, prior to that, was an area director and then assistant director for the Jesuit Volunteer Corps: Midwest in Detroit.

She started at Rockhurst in 2007 as assistant director of Campus Ministry and was named director in 2015. When Rockhurst reconstituted the Office of Mission and Ministry in 2018, Schmersal was appointed as its vice president. Her office oversees Campus Ministry, the Center for Service Learning, Community Relations and Outreach, Mission and Identity, and the Prosperity Center.

In her current position, Schmersal has spearheaded mission awareness and formation for students, faculty, staff, trustees, and alumni; led hiring for mission efforts; supported diversity, equity, and inclusion, including assisting in the establishment of the DEI office and the hiring of the first chief inclusion officer; served on the university’s strategic plan committee, chairing the section on mission and values; and led Rockhurst’s Mission Priority Examen process, among other responsibilities. 

She completed the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) Ignatian Colleagues Program in 2021. She serves on the executive committee of the board of trustees for the Ignatian Spirituality Center of Kansas City and on the board of Alpha Sigma Nu, the international Jesuit honor society.

Schmersal is a member of the President’s Cabinet at Rockhurst, serves as the Mission and Ministry Committee cabinet liaison to the board, and is on the steering committee for the University Planning and Budgeting Committee. She also has served on the Student Success Network and the Staff Advisory Council. She received Rockhurst’s Staff Member of the Year award in 2014.

Please join me in giving Cynthia Schmersal a warm welcome to Creighton University.

Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD