July 25, 2016

July 25, 2016

I am happy to inform you that I have named the members of the new Presidential Advisory Committee on Sustainability. The committee, under co-chairs Drs. Jay Leighter and Mary Ann Vinton, represents a broad cross section of campus constituents.

I am grateful to all of those who expressed interest in serving on the committee and to those who have accepted appointments. I look forward to the committee’s work in assessing our related strengths and opportunities in academic programming, enhancements of our campus environment, our institutional identity, and our geographical position in the Midwest as we address critical issues of sustainability. You can read more about the mission and vision for the committee and the list of members online.

As I prepare to begin in September a new season of meetings of the President’s Council, I have invited two new members to join the group. Mr. Ed Morse and Ms. Felicia Nuno will serve on the council for the 2016-17 academic year as representatives of the faculty and staff. Ed is a professor in the School of Law as well as the newly elected faculty president. He replaces Dr. Steve Sieberson, also a professor in the law school, who has served on the council admirably for the past few semesters. Felicia is an administrative assistant in the School of Dentistry as well as the newly elected chair of the Staff Advisory Council. I thank Ed and Felicia for joining us, and Steve for his perspective and counsel.

An important part of my work this coming academic year is to establish and formalize institutional planning. The richness of both the listening sessions with you last fall and the spring-semester Area Examen process – as well as the already scheduled re-accreditation visit this April – inspires me to begin a process that will engage and impel us well into our future. 

I am pleased to announce that Dr. Mary Chase will take on the new title of vice provost for Enrollment Management and University Planning, and that Dr. Chase and Mr. Paul McGreal, dean, School of Law, have accepted my invitation to assist Dr. Tom Murray, interim provost, and me as co-chairs in a new process of institutional planning that is collaborative and communicative. Presidential initiatives related to diversity, globalization, service-learning, and sustainability are either gaining momentum or operationalizing, and I look forward to working with the campus community and to endorsing themes and priorities that represent the essence and opportunities of Creighton University. More to come soon.

Last week, I had an opportunity to meet and pray with Dr. Robert Heaney at his home here in Omaha. An alumnus, a distinguished and longtime professor of medicine, and the first holder of the John A. Creighton University Professorship, Dr. Heaney was diagnosed last year with an incurable, malignant brain tumor. He is approaching his passing peacefully, and with a strong sense of faith. I ask that we please pray for Dr. Heaney and his family that they may find comfort and support during this difficult time.

It is hard to believe that our freshman undergraduate students will be arriving on campus in about four weeks. I am excited to welcome all of our new students – traditional and nontraditional, professional and undergraduate, online and on-campus, from points across the United States and around the world. Our new undergraduate class moves in on Saturday, Aug. 20. I encourage all Creighton faculty and staff to join our newest students for the Creighton Pathway at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 23. Following a short welcoming ceremony at St. John’s Church, the students will walk along the mall to the Wayne and Eileen Ryan Athletic Center and D.J. Sokol Arena for the Academic Convocation. Faculty and staff are invited to line the route and show their support.

As we look forward to this new journey, I also reflect back on my first year as president. I would like to thank the entire Creighton community for making me feel so welcome this year. Creighton is indeed special – a place of community, inquiry, friendship, and engagement in the world. I invite you to watch the video below produced by our University Communications and Marketing Office, that highlights the past year. 

Please enjoy these remaining days of our summertime, and I look forward to seeing everyone back on campus soon.

Gratefully,

Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ