Oct. 6, 2020

Oct. 6, 2020

Presidential message

This week, we mark the halfway point of the fall semester, as our students complete midterm exams, reports, and projects. Following a spring semester that finished with remote learning, our students expressed great interest in returning to campus and in-person classes for the fall term, and we welcomed them back in earnest in mid-August with a modified, extended move-in; thoughtfully developed COVID-19 processes and protocols; and much excitement and hope.

At this milestone midpoint, I would like to update you on a midsemester special event for students, our plans for the winter and spring terms, and the dedication of a new sculpture outside the southeast entrance of the Harper Center; remind you of mandatory flu vaccines; and officially welcome our new provost, Mardell Wilson, EdD.

Our faculty, staff, and students have displayed significant flexibility and creativity, since the start of undergraduate in-person courses on Aug. 17, in adapting to the new realities of campus life in a pandemic. Sobering national events and statistics, and a rising percentage of positive tests in Douglas County for the latest reporting cycle, remind us that we must be ever-vigilant when it comes to this virus.

With the coming of the fall semester, I was grateful to reunite with students, as well as faculty and staff colleagues, and together we have successfully navigated daily self-screenings, temperature checks, social-distanced classrooms, and enhanced cleaning practices. We have worn face coverings to protect ourselves and our classmates, teachers, and colleagues. We have found new and creative ways to gather as community, including our social-distanced Sunday night Mass at Morrison, movies on the mall, and meals outside.

To celebrate our milestone achievement, and recognize our students’ hard work, focus, and commitment to keeping our campus safe, we will host a Fall Festival before our Mass at Morrison on Sunday night. The event will go from 6-8 p.m. on the lawn outside Morrison Stadium, and will include musical entertainment, food trucks, pumpkin painting, and games. Students are asked to bring their blankets for the musical entertainment and the Mass. Face coverings, of course, must be worn, and we will observe social-distancing guidelines. I hope this event gives our students an opportunity to relax and have some fun as we prepare for the second half of the semester.

Our winter term will begin Dec. 14, for the majority of our courses, and will conclude Jan. 11. We are looking at expanding our online offerings during this extended winter break, and I encourage students to take advantage of this opportunity to complete necessary core courses, get ahead on your major, or explore an academic interest. Undergraduate freshmen will be able to take advantage of winter term offerings with approval of their respective dean’s office. Watch for more information to come.

To carefully and cautiously navigate the winter months, we will delay the start of the spring semester by two weeks from its original start date in January. In order to provide students with the same amount of instruction time, we will forgo spring break and extend the semester by a few days in May.

For our traditional on-campus undergraduate students, spring semester classes will begin on Jan. 27. The first day of classes may differ for our professional schools and other programs. Updated spring academic calendars for undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs will be posted on the Office of the Registrar website on Friday, Oct. 9.

For traditional on-campus undergraduate students, the last day of classes will be May 4; final semester exams will begin May 6 and conclude on May 12. There will be one break in the semester, for Easter on Friday, April 2. Classes following Easter Break will resume on Monday, April 5.

Tomorrow, at a private unveiling, we will dedicate a new outdoor sculpture, “The Globe,” commissioned by the Heider Family Foundation and created by Creighton professor and nationally and internationally acclaimed sculptor Littleton Alston, MFA. The 12-foot diameter stainless steel globe will be located at the southeast entrance of the Harper Center on the Venteicher Mall, and will greet prospective students and families entering the center’s new Admissions Suite, as well as current Heider College of Business students and faculty.

I am grateful for the gift from the Heider Family Foundation and the tremendous work of Professor Alston to create this magnificent sculpture that bespeaks our commitment to global education, manifested in unique programming such as the Creighton Global Initiative and our Common Home Project.

Flu vaccines will continue to be offered at campus locations through Oct. 16, and are available daily, Monday-Friday, in the Skutt Student Center Ballroom. They also are offered on select dates at the Vinardi Center (Old Gym) and CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center – Bergan Mercy. Flu vaccines received at other locations must be electronically filed with Student Health Education and Compliance. All faculty, staff, and students are required to receive a flu vaccine by Nov. 1. More information on the Shoo the Flu campaign can be found online.

Finally, I would like to welcome Mardell Wilson, EdD, as our new provost. Dr. Wilson, who most recently served as professor and dean of the Edward and Margaret Doisy College of Health Sciences at Saint Louis University (SLU), started on Oct. 1 as Creighton’s chief academic officer. I am excited about her collaborative leadership, and look forward to working with her closely to advance our strategic priorities. Please join me in wishing her well.

As we celebrate reaching the midway point of the fall semester, I am thankful for the dedicated efforts of our students, faculty, and staff, and I ask you to continue to be vigilant in following our guidelines, especially with colder weather ahead moving us more inside. Our goal is to reach Nov. 25, and we need to do it together.


Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD