August 21, 2019
Please let me offer an enthusiastic welcome to each of our new students, faculty, and staff, as well as a special greeting to everyone joining us today for the first day of undergraduate classes. We are blessed that each of you chose Creighton University, and we are grateful in how your talents, expertise, and distinction will enrich our Creighton community.
I want to sincerely thank all involved with the success of move-in, Welcome Week, white coat ceremonies, the Creighton Pathway and Academic Convocation, and much more. Your care in sharing our mission of academic excellence and personal transformation, and in proffering hospitality to our students and their families, is genuinely reflective of our Jesuit, Catholic values.
Our new class of freshmen, the class of 2023, is our third-largest class ever at approximately 1,075 students. This is the sixth straight year the first-year class has topped the 1,000-student mark. Bringing this group of academically talented students to Creighton has been a campus effort, led by Mary Chase, EdD, and her skilled Enrollment Management team. I also want to express my gratitude to so many members of the faculty, as well as Provost Murray and many of our academic deans, for assisting with phone calls and handwritten notes to admitted students.
I will share more about the demographics of the class at our upcoming Town Hall, but for now, suffice it to say I look forward to the many academic, service, and faith-filled accomplishments this class will bring to our campus and beyond.
Please join me in congratulating Robin Farias-Eisner, MD, PhD, on being named the new holder of the Charles F. and Mary C. Heider Endowed Chair in Cancer Research. Dr. Farias-Eisner came to the School of Medicine in July as director of the Hereditary Cancer Center and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. We are grateful to have such a renowned cancer researcher continue the legacy of the late Henry Lynch, MD.
This fall semester will be distinguishing for many reasons, as synergies from our strategic planning efforts are animated and growth continues in so many areas, including our expansion into Phoenix. But one unique aspect to this academic year that I want to call your attention to is Mission Week, Sept. 9-13.
This wonderful opportunity to understand, enliven, and be energized by our University’s Jesuit, Catholic identity and commitment will involve all members of the Creighton community and is appropriately themed “Imagine Our Magis.” Please check out the plans and activities for the week here, and I encourage you to be on the lookout for further information as it becomes available. With powerful stories and poignant insights from his decades of work on the streets of Los Angeles, our charismatic keynote speaker, the Rev. Greg Boyle, SJ, will start the week, and our annual Mass of the Holy Spirit on Sept. 11 will be a midweek celebration that frames and orients the entire year ahead of us.
I am very pleased that Nadia Murad, an Iraqi Yazidi human rights activist and 2018 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, will be speaking on campus Sept. 16 in connection with programming being developed by Creighton Global Scholars and the Global Engagement Office. Too, former U.S. senator, Nebraska governor, and university president Bob Kerrey, HON’93, will deliver the Presidential Lecture Series address on Oct. 22.
The renovations are completed for our beautiful and vital mall that connects our campus, and I am grateful for your patience with an important project that was greatly delayed with fall and winter weather. Likewise, I appreciate your daily adjustments as moving and construction begin in the Harper Center and continue for numerous months. Please mark your calendars for our Sept. 10 Town Hall for faculty and staff, at 3:30 p.m. in the Harper Center, Hixson-Lied Auditorium, which will provide critical updates on our progress and initiatives on many fronts.
As another year of asking, listening, learning, and accompanying unfolds – in Omaha, Phoenix, the Dominican Republic, and so many points local, national, and global – I hope you all are as excited as I am for this new academic year. Here at Creighton University, 2019-2020 will change your life.
For a glance back at the good and impactful moments of last year, and great strides forward, please enjoy this 2018-2019 Year in Review video below.
I hope you each have a tremendous – and blessed – year!
Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD