Nov. 30, 2016

Nov. 30, 2016: Christmas, Provost Search Update, and More

Creighton University President, the Rev. Daniel Hendrickson, SJ

Please allow me to offer you an update about our lives on campus.

Most imminently, I hope to see many of you at the Christmas at Creighton lighting ceremony today, which begins at 4:45 p.m. on the steps of St. John’s Church. Inter Residence Hall Government organizes this annual tradition. 

In the same spirit, on Tuesday, Dec. 13, all faculty and staff are invited to the annual party to celebrate Christmas and the holiday season. It will begin at 3 p.m. in the Harper Center. This is a wonderful way to close the fall semester and enjoy time with your colleagues prior to the long holiday break.

Next week, I hope you will be able to attend the upcoming strategic planning town hall on Thursday, Dec. 8, from 2-3:30 p.m. in the Ahmanson Ballroom in the Harper Center. As a reminder, researchers from the Education Advisory Board will visit Creighton to share important information regarding their findings on the national landscape of U.S. higher education. An update on the University’s overall planning timeline also will be provided. All faculty and staff are welcome. The RSVP list is already impressive, but if you have not had the opportunity to register, you may do so here.

Regarding the search for our next provost, the search committee will meet on Friday, Dec. 9, wherein the search firm, Isaacson, Miller, will do a first presentation of potential candidates for the committee to consider. Following preliminary interviews with candidates, the firm will formulate additional recommendations to present at the Feb. 1 committee meeting. We are hopeful of having a final selection and hiring by late spring.

I have also moved quickly to select a search committee to assist with finding the next vice president for University Relations, and in this I am very grateful to Academic Council, the Creighton Students Union, and the Staff Advisory Council for assisting me with excellent representation from their groups. The following individuals have accepted my invitation to participate on the committee:

  • Dr. Tom Murray, interim provost, chair 
  • Dr. Anthony Hendrickson, dean, Heider College of Business, vice chair

Faculty Representatives

  • Fr. Tom Simonds, SJ, associate professor of education and alumnus 
  • Dr. Julie Soukup, professor of chemistry and alumna  

Staff Representatives

  • Katie Breedlove 
  • Fallon Watts 

Student Representative

  • Connor Campbell 

Presidential Appointments 

  • Adrian Dowell, senior director of development and assistant athletic director 
  • Hon. Mike Fahey, former Mayor of Omaha and alumnus 
  • Gail Werner-Robertson, alumna and University trustee 
  • Cindy Workman, director of public relations, University Communications and Marketing 
  • Ryan Zabrowski, alumnus, National Alumni Board president, and University trustee

Additional information regarding the committee and its work will be communicated in future updates.

As the issue of sustainability continues to be an important initiative at the University, and the new Presidential Advisory Committee on Sustainability continues its work, I am pleased that Creighton is one of the presenting sponsors of the 2016 Nebraska Conservation Summit, which is hosted by the Nebraska League of Conservation Voters and the Nebraska Conservation Education Fund. The summit will be held Dec. 7 in the Harper Center, and more information can be found here: https://conservationsummit.com.

Many of our student-athletes are garnering national attention in their respective sports, including the Creighton volleyball team, which returns to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth season in a row on Thursday. The Bluejays have won 20 straight matches.

The men’s basketball team remained undefeated following last night’s victory over Buffalo. The team is now ranked 10th in the nation in the Associated Press poll, and is one of four BIG EAST schools ranked in the top 25 in men’s basketball.

Women’s basketball is also underway, hosting the Kansas Jayhawks this evening at Sokol Arena. Next Wednesday, the team faces the University of Nebraska-Omaha at noon. Look for further information early next week on how you can attend.

Congratulations also to the Creighton men’s soccer team, which lost a close match against Providence on Saturday in the NCAA Tournament. The Bluejays, led by head coach Elmar Bolowich, were making their 24th NCAA Tournament appearance in the past 25 seasons.

It has been wonderful to follow the progress of 26 projects of the Creighton Global Initiative that were funded earlier this year. Dr. René Padilla, executive director of the Global Engagement Office, continues to lead this important initiative with me as we work to inspire students to reach beyond their boundaries.

We are excited and ready to launch a new round of funding proposals. Too, important milestones related to proposal submission and formation of the proposal review committee have been established.

Not unrelated to global perspective, I want to let you know that I have joined presidents from other Catholic institutions nationwide to support undocumented students on our campuses through three public statements regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA). The statements were issued by Pomona College, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, and the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, and the AJCU statement can be found here.

As a Jesuit, Catholic university, Creighton is a community that continually works for justice and solidarity, especially for the poor and marginalized in society. As many issues continue to be debated following the recent election, I want to reaffirm our commitment to be a resource for any student who feels discriminated against or is concerned how public policy might impact their life or the lives of their family. Creighton students who have questions or concerns are encouraged to contact the Schlegel Center for Service and Justice or the Creighton Intercultural Center.

Finally, many of us are aware of the recent passing of the Very Rev. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, SJ, 29th Superior General of the Society of Jesus, who died in Beirut, Lebanon, on Nov. 26 following a brief hospitalization.

Fr. Kolvenbach was elected Superior General on Sept. 13, 1983. After a long and effective tenure, he resigned as Superior General in January 2008 and returned to the Near East Province of the Jesuits.

In 2000, Fr. Kolvenbach delivered a memorable keynote address at Santa Clara University, which hosted a conference on the “Commitment to Justice in Jesuit Higher Education” and was attended by many in our Creighton community. His remarks, which can be found here, marked a renewed commitment to justice at all 28 U.S. Jesuit colleges and universities. Evocatively, Fr. Kolvenbach challenged Jesuit higher learning to embrace gritty realities, as well as appreciate the existential and transformative realities of our shared pedagogy.

Among his frequent worldwide travels, Fr. Kolvenbach visited Creighton in 2004 to help dedicate the statue of St. Ignatius of Loyola that sits in the plaza near the library. He also delivered an address on the importance of collaboration between the Jesuits and laity, and his visit was featured in a Creighton University Magazine article. Fr. Kolvenbach was truly a remarkable leader, and made an indelible contribution to the Society of Jesus.

See you soon at the lighting ceremony, and I wish you a holy and expectant Advent season,

Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ