Public Relations  >  News Center  >  News Releases  >  May 2020  >  May 16, 2020  >  Dignity Health Arizona CEO and founders of the Institute for Priestly Formation honored during Creighton University’s virtual commencement ceremony
Dignity Health Arizona CEO and founders of the Institute for Priestly Formation honored during Creighton University’s virtual commencement ceremony

Campus at SunriseAlmost 1,600 graduates participated in Creighton University’s virtual commencement ceremony Saturday, May 16, 2020.

More than 2,200 degrees were conferred during the ceremony that included photos and messages from the graduates, an address by Creighton University President the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD, the awarding of five honorary degrees and the graduates’ turning of their tassels at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Linda Hunt webAn honorary Doctor of Nursing was conferred upon the CEO of Dignity Health Arizona, Linda Hunt.

Under Hunt’s leadership, Dignity Health Arizona has grown into a respected, comprehensive health care system that includes five hospitals and multiple imaging centers, specialty hospitals, physician groups, clinics, freestanding emergency rooms and more.

Prior to her current role, Hunt was president and CEO of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, which is the busiest hospital in Arizona and attracts patients from around the world to its specialized centers and institutes.

She is an important state and national voice in shaping the future of health care and medical education and has received local and national recognition for her transformational health care leadership.

“Creighton is proud to have Dignity Health Arizona, under the visionary and capable leadership of Hunt, as one of the primary partners in shaping the future of health care and health professions education in Arizona,” said Fr. Hendrickson.

As a partner in the Creighton University Arizona Health Education Alliance, Dignity Health Arizona is part of the state’s largest providers of Graduate Medical Education.

The four founding members of the Institute for Priestly Formation, which is based on Creighton’s campus, were awarded honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

The Institute for Priestly Formation (IPF), which just marked its 25th anniversary, sits among Creighton’s proudest contributions to the nurturing of the Catholic faith. Since its founding, when six seminarians gathered for a summer program, this distinctly unique Institute has served more than 3,000 seminarians and more than 1,000 priests from 165 U.S. dioceses and 55 international dioceses.

The IPF now offers retreats, spiritual direction and guidance based upon the teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola. The original summer offering is now a nine-week program that serves more than 175 seminarians annually. It also conducts retreats for bishops and seminary theologians, theological forums and days of reflection for laity.

“The impact of the Institute for Priestly Formation on the lives of bishops, priests, seminarians, and the laity they serve cannot be overstated,” said Fr. Hendrickson. “It is truly a testament to the work of the Holy Spirit upon our four honorees, and Creighton is pleased to play a role in serving the Church through this important apostolate.”

The honorees are:

Kathleen KanavyKathleen Kanavy, director of spiritual direction formation for the Institute for Priestly Formation. She earned a Master of Arts in Christian Spirituality in 1993 from Creighton with further training in spiritual direction and supervision. She has served as an IPF faculty member, spiritual director, supervisor and retreat director. She received consecration as a consecrated lay woman in 1995.


Fr. RichThe Rev. Richard Gabuzda, STD, who has served as executive director of the Institute for Priestly Formation for 25 years. Ordained in the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania, he was incardinated into the Archdiocese of Omaha in October 2015, at which time he also became moderator of the IPF Priests of St. Joseph, a clerical public association of priests dedicated to caring for the spiritual life of diocesan priests.

Fr. HornThe Rev. John Horn, SJ, a Jesuit of the Maryland Province. Fr. Horn served as assistant director of the Institute from its founding until 2011, when he became rector of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis. Currently he is a professor of spiritual and pastoral theology at St. Vincent De Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida.

Fr. AschenbrennerThe Rev. George Aschenbrenner, SJ, is the former Jesuit rector at the University of Scranton, and a renowned author, retreat leader and expert on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

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