Oct. 22, 2018
In May, I announced the formation of the Kingfisher Institute for the Liberal Arts and Professions. A product of the strategic plan and the collaborative efforts of individuals from across our campus, the Kingfisher Institute will enact a new vision for the liberal arts and professions that emphasizes their complementarity. I am pleased to share the next step in the establishment of the institute with you today.
I have appointed Tracy Neal Leavelle, PhD, Associate Dean for Humanities and Fine Arts and Associate Professor of History in the College of Arts and Sciences, the inaugural director of the Kingfisher Institute. During Dr. Leavelle’s 15 years at Creighton, he has served as chair of the Department of History, first director of the Creighton Digital Humanities Initiative, and president of the College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Senate. An active scholar, he has published widely on the intersection of religion and colonialism in the history of North America. He is currently writing a book about how the evangelical labors and scientific pursuits of American missionaries in the 19th century created a foundation for the emergence of American expansion in the Pacific.
Through the formation of faculty and staff, the Kingfisher Institute aims to influence every student, in all of Creighton’s schools and colleges. It will be instrumental in developing and articulating what makes a Creighton graduate distinctive – unifying heart, hands, and mind.
In his new role, Dr. Leavelle will actively seek to identify and support projects in curriculum development and interdisciplinary research that promote inclusive excellence. The institute will encourage us all to emerge from our own academic specialties to engage one another in creative new initiatives that will unite, in the best Jesuit tradition, the contemplative features of the liberal arts with the emphasis on practice in the professions.
Although the Kingfisher Institute will be formally established in January, activities surrounding the first two themes – “Narratives of Health and Illness” and “Race in America, 1919-2019”— have started and are ongoing. I encourage you to get involved and support the activities of this important new initiative.
Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ