May 8, 2018

May 8, 2018: Mission Reaffirmation, TRUSTEES, commencement and more

Creighton University President, the Rev. Daniel Hendrickson, SJ

As we move rapidly, yet reflectively, through an exciting time of year on campus, please allow me to share information regarding reaffirmation of our Jesuit, Catholic identity; the scheduled gathering of our University trustees; and a reminder regarding Madeleine Albright and Gen. Colin Powell joining us this fall, as well as commencement-related activities this week. 

You may recall a past announcement that the Association of Jesuit Colleges and University’s (AJCU) Peer Review Committee visited Creighton in February to discern with the campus community our identity as an institution of Jesuit, Catholic higher learning. The visitors have returned their report, which has been forwarded to the Rev. Provincial Brian Paulson, SJ, and to the Rev. Superior General Arturo Sosa, SJ, for their respective reviews.  

In its report, the visitation committee of five peer faculty and administrators of other AJCU member universities commended Creighton on many key points, including, but not limited to:

  • our University-wide Examen, held in the spring of 2016 to inform the new strategic planning process;
  • the fact that our “Creighton 150: Lighting the Way” strategic plan is designed to strengthen the Jesuit and Catholic character of the mission of higher education;
  • the commitment of the University to continue to integrate the liberal arts in all of our education, including, and especially, the professional schools;
  • Creighton’s progress in hiring a vice provost of institutional diversity and inclusion and working on developing a more diverse faculty, student body, staff, administration, and board of trustees;
  • the depth and breadth of our programs of formation in mission for faculty, staff, students, and administrators; and
  • the pride and enthusiasm that students, faculty, and staff demonstrated in our Catholic and Jesuit character and how deeply desirous all sectors of the University are in realizing and sustaining our Jesuit, Catholic mission by their very candid statements of how we live out the mission and how we can continue to grow more fully into it.

When asked, finally, if they recommended that Creighton be reaffirmed by Fr. General Sosa, committee members were unanimous in asserting:

“The Peer Review Committee believes that Creighton’s mission priorities will deepen further the Jesuit, Catholic character of the institution. Yes, [Creighton should be reaffirmed] as an excellent example of a Jesuit, Catholic university that embraces its mission, builds upon clear mission strengths, and desires to live its mission ever more fully.” 

As I await the official response from Father General regarding his assessment of the report, I am already deeply grateful to the campus committee that I appointed last year to guide our reaffirmation process. Their dedicated work in collecting data and writing the Mission Reaffirmation Report, as well as scheduling and hosting the review committee’s visit, enabled the reviewers to see the strengths that Creighton demonstrates in our embrace of our identity and mission as Jesuit and Catholic.

I will be very pleased to share the reaffirmation report this week as we welcome members of the University’s Board of Trustees to campus for their final quarterly meeting. Additionally, on Thursday, I will join the Trustees, the President’s Council, Atlas apartments developer Todd Heistand, and Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert for a brief ceremony to view and bless the pedestrian bridge that will connect the apartments to Creighton’s campus, as the construction enters its final stages. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will occur at a later date, and the campus community will be invited to join the festivities and tour the structure at that time. A certificate of occupancy is expected to be issued at the end of the month. 

I am encouraged to learn that so many are already planning ahead for the Oct. 30 appearance by former secretaries of state Madeleine Albright and Gen. Colin Powell in the Ryan Center. As a reminder, tickets for the campus community will become available on Wednesday, Aug. 22. For the general public, tickets will be available on Sept. 2.  

This is a busy week at Creighton, and we are just days away from the baccalaureate Mass, hooding ceremonies, and many other events occurring in conjunction with commencement

I am especially excited that our graduates and their guests will have the opportunity to hear an address from astronaut Mae Jemison, MD, who was the first African-American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1992. It is sure to be a wonderful way for our newest alumni to complete their student experience at Creighton. 

In closing, I cannot thank you enough for an intensive, creative, prolific, prodigious, and transformative academic year. Collectively, the teaching, learning, living, research, fundraising, enrollments, athletics, and so much more – all exacting the formation of minds and hearts of our students – testifies to your daily commitment, ingenuity, and professionalism. 

Sincerely,

Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ