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Annual luncheon honors leadership of Creighton University women, past and present

In a year that has seen women take to the streets, the courts and the airwaves to engage a new conversation on equality and the dynamics of power, Creighton University came together Thursday, Feb. 8, as it has done for the past 37 years, to celebrate the contributions of women on campus, dating back 140 years to its female founders.

The 38th annual Mary Lucretia and Sarah Emily Creighton Awards Luncheon, hosted by the Creighton Committee on the Status of Women, acknowledged the work and spirit of all the women on the University’s campus, but especially three who were recognized as the 2018 Mary Lucretia and Sarah Emily Creighton Award winners: Sharon Ishii-Jordan, PhD, Nancy Shirley, PhD, RN, and Samantha Stoupa, a Creighton senior.

“Our institution is one that prides its sense of community — one that is grounded in Catholic and Jesuit values and the pursuits of higher learning — and as such we must continue growing in inclusivity and diversity, as well as continuing to embrace the contributions of all the members of this remarkable place of learning, teaching, working, and living,” said the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, in opening remarks at the luncheon.

“It is incumbent upon all of us on Creighton’s campus to identify and applaud the many ways women continue to build and strengthen our University community, and I congratulate today’s honorees, Dr. Sharon Ishii-Jordan, Dr. Nancy Shirley, and Samantha Stoupa.”

Each of the honorees was saluted with a video montage of their work and presented with a plaque and pin.

All three saluted the roles of the 85 women and men who have previously won the award and the Creighton community, generally, for its support of women across the spectrum. The refocusing of national attention on gender equality and sexual assault at some of the most visible levels also drew attention.

“This has been an incredible year for women,” said Ishii-Jordan, a professor emerita of education in the College of Arts and Sciences, in accepting her award. “Women have been demonstrating, advocating, working, and we have found ourselves again at a turning point where all of us have a role in promoting and achieving justice and equality.”

Shirley, an associate professor in the College of Nursing, noted the persistence of generations in the women who helped her and who she, in turn, inspired and taught. Two of Creighton’s most celebrated nursing faculty, Linda Lazure, PhD, RN, and Joan Lappe, PhD, RN, were both BSN students of Shirley’s.

“I’ve often said that should be all I need on my résumé,” Shirley said to applause. “What I do know is that I hope I have modeled for my students what I hold most dear, everyone has worth and dignity. I also know that all these students at every level have touched my life and many left tattoos on my heart. The College of Nursing here has provided opportunities for growth both professionally and spiritually.”

The Jesuit, Catholic celebration of all peoples and all walks was also central in the honorees’ reception of their awards. Stoupa, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences from Omaha, said she considers herself a “Jesuit in training” by virtue of the vast exposure she’s received in getting involved in the Creighton community at a variety of levels.

“I hope that when I leave these halls, people who understand what Jesuit education looks like will know that I am part of that tradition,” Stoupa said. “I hope to live up to its values and mission, especially in ways that advance the presence, confidence, and accomplishments of women on this campus and future communities that I am a part of.”

Creighton University is a Jesuit, Catholic university bridging health, law, business and the arts and sciences for a more just world.