Fall 2012 - Foundation Members

Patrick J. Borchers: Professor Borchers has served since 2007 as vice president of Academic Affairs at Creighton, after a successful tenure as dean of the law school. He enabled the successful completion of our application to Phi Beta Kappa. At every step of the long, multi-year process, Professor Borchers never said, "why" but always "why not!" With diplomacy, tact, and constant good humor, he made sure that we could apply to shelter a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. And then he made sure that the shelter itself was planned and built to be strong and enduring so that it could welcome future members. It is Professor Borchers, as much as anyone else, who is responsible for the events this very day. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in physics in 1983 and with a J.D. from the University of California, Davis, in 1986, where he  finished in the top two percent of his class. Professor Borchers clerked for now U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy from 1986 to 1987. He is a member of the Order of the Coif, the American Law Institute, and continues to publish regularly in his field. He and his wife, Judy, are proud parents to five children. His daughter Erin is being inducted today in the first group of our chapter's student members-in-course.

Randolph M. Ferlic: Academic communities require accomplished alumni who remember their institutions after graduation and support them as they are able throughout their lives. Dr. Ferlic exemplifies that aspect of a successful community and is therefore also responsible for the founding of our chapter today. An alumnus of Creighton University and a retired cardiovascular surgeon, Dr. Ferlic headed the surgical team that performed the first heart transplant operation in Nebraska in 1985. He was the founder of Surgical Services of the Great Plains, P.C., and served as its president from 1974 to 1993. Dr. Ferlic's work in education has been equally impressive. In 1991, he was appointed by former Nebraska Governor Ben Nelson to the first Coordinating Commission for Post-secondary Education; he has served as commissioner for the Midwestern Higher Education Compact; and in 2000, Dr. Ferlic was elected to the University of Nebraska Board of Regents. A Fellow of the American College of Surgery, he has more than 50 peer-reviewed publications in national medical journals relating primarily to cardiology, cardiac surgery and research. He annually supports student research at Creighton with a generous summer scholarship program. He and his wife, Teresa, have four children, two of whom are Creighton graduates, Ann Ferlic Ashford, JD'85, and Sarah Ferlic Bonn, MS'89. Dr. Ferlic is represented today by his brother, Dr. Tom Ferlic, who is accepting the honor on his behalf. 

Rose M. Hill, assistant dean of the Arts College, would be the frontline commander any soldier would be grateful to follow. If academe were a pastoral paradise (and sometimes it is!), Dean Hill would be the person who made sure that all the elements that comprised the paradise remained in place and worked. In fact, academe is a place where a great range of personalities and talents are required to come together, collaborating to serve the teaching and learning enterprise. Dean Hill graciously coordinates this collaboration and allows us all to better serve Creighton's mission. Without Dean Hill, the immense amount of coordination necessary to produce a successful application would not have been possible. And for that coordination, that leadership, that generosity, and that example we are very grateful. Dean Hill earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in 1986; she earned a master's degree in public administration from UNO in 1997.   

Timothy R. Lannon, S.J.: Father Lannon is the 24th president of Creighton University. With great kindness, enthusiasm, and generosity, he made it absolutely clear to the application team and to all Phi Beta Kappa members on the University faculty, that he supports our chapter and considers the chapter a great asset to the University and a mark of our success and promise. As a student at Creighton, Fr. Lannon was president of the Student Board of Governors and an engine for positive change, receiving the Spirit of Creighton Award at commencement. He graduated in 1973 with a degree in mathematics. Fr. Lannon also received the Alumni Merit Award in 1993, showing the depth and breadth of his support for the University. He holds two master?s degrees from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology, a doctorate in administration, planning and social policy from Harvard, and a professional diploma from Fordham. Fr. Lannon was ordained in 1986. Before coming to Creighton, Fr. Lannon was President of Creighton Preparatory School, and subsequently vice president for university advancement and associate executive vice president at Marquette University. From 2003 to 2011, Fr. Lannon served as the 26th president of Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Michael Proterra, S.J.: Father Proterra was dean of the Creighton College of Arts and Sciences from 1988 to 2000. He presided over unprecedented growth in the number, quality and diversity of the college?s faculty. Fr. Proterra led the addition of more than 70 faculty members, adding more than 30 percent to the size of the faculty. More than half of these hires were women, greatly enhancing the diversity of the faculty. These faculty members have become the leadership of the college, with more than 30 serving as department chairs or program heads. They make up the core of the college's leadership in its senate, with several having served as senate president. Fr. Proterra led the transformation of the college from an important regional institution to a national one. As part of that transformation, the college recruited and retained faculty whose record and promise as teacher/scholars, a concept championed by Fr. Proterra, was affiliated with their membership in Phi Beta Kappa. During those years, the college faculty attainted the percentage of Phi Beta Kappa members sufficient to qualify Creighton to apply for the chapter we now install. Fr. Proterra's way of valuing and rewarding excellence inspired faculty to initiate the process of applying for a chapter, so as to recognize the superb work of Creighton students. A native of Aruba, in the Dutch Antilles, Fr. Proterra received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University in 1964. He earned a range of advanced degrees from Boston College, Weston College, Woodstock College, Cambridge University, the University of Washington and Saint-Charles University. Fr. Proterra was ordained in 1971. After leaving Creighton, he served as president of Saint George's College in Kingston, Jamaica. Subsequently, he ran a United Nations school system of 30,000 in Northern Uganda.  He now serves as a parochial vicar in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he teaches Latin in the middle school and ethics at the University of North Carolina.

Stephanie R. Wernig: Dr. Wernig serves as Creighton University's director of institutional research, a position that she has held since 2005. Going well beyond her duties in this capacity, Dr. Wernig was a key member of the Phi Beta Kappa application team, helping us to gather and organize massive amounts of data and ensuring we presented it accurately and clearly. Her positive energy and dedication to her colleagues and to our students kept the application team focused and organized.  Dr. Wernig graduated from St. Mary's College in Notre Dame, Indiana, with a bachelor's degree in sociology and social work. She also holds a master's degree from the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado, and a Ph.D. in higher education from Boston College. Dr. Wernig came to Creighton in 1987, serving as associate vice president for Student Services and dean of women for eighteen years before moving to her current position. Prior to coming to Creighton in 1987, Dr. Wernig served as the vice president for student life at Regis University in Denver. Author of numerous articles, Dr. Wernig is president-elect of the board of directors of Creighton?s alumni club of Alpha Sigma Nu, the National Jesuit Honor Society. Among her many distinctions, in 2011 she received the John P. Schlegel Diversity Award for Excellence and Innovation.

Fall 2012 -  Students

Sean K. Awakuni: Sean is a pre-med Biology major from Waipahu, Hawaii. His research with Dr. Karin van Dijk and Byeong Jeong of the Biology Department focuses on algal lipid accumulation for use in synthesizing biofuel. Sean is a teaching assistant for laboratory courses in biology and organic chemistry. He has served as the Volunteer Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity and the Vice President of Service for Alpha Phi Omega, a national service fraternity. The highlight of his Creighton career has been participating in and leading various service trips through the Creighton Center for Service and Justice. Sean plans to spend a year of service and immersion in South America before returning home for medical school.

Erin L. Borchers: Erin is a senior from Omaha, majoring in Economics and Physics with minors in Mathematics and Business Administration.  She researches economic impacts of state tax profiles on small business growth and dark matter, for which she received a NASA space grant.  She was a junior inductee of Alpha Sigma Nu.  She currently serves as president of CU STARs, Creighton?s student tour guides, and as an assistant coach for the Skutt Catholic High School mock trial team, which won the state competition in 2009, 2010, and 2011 and is regarded as one of the best mock trial teams in the country.  After graduation, her plan is to continue working for Union Pacific Railroad, where she is currently an intern in the Fuel Conservation Department, before pursuing an MBA/JD or a graduate degree in economics.

Charles Christopher Costello:
Charlie is an Emergency Medical Services major. He has spent considerable time working with the Creighton Center for Service and Justice, attending service trips to Denver and Milwaukee. He is currently part of a group conducting clinical research to ascertain the health needs of Burmese refugees in Omaha, and is volunteering his time at Lutheran Family Services to help recently arrived refugees become settled and navigate American social services. He has been greatly impacted by the Creighton faculty's humanist perspective and devotion to academic excellence. Charlie plans to attend medical school next year.
Rance James Toshiji Fujiwara: Rance is a Biochemistry and Latin double major from Honolulu, Hawaii. This year, he was awarded the Classical Association of the Middle West and South Manson A. Stewart Scholarship for studies in Classics, and he has twice earned the Ferlic Summer Undergraduate Research Scholarship. His most significant experience has been the opportunity to work alongside Dr. Brad Parsons in a laser spectroscopy lab, developing a laser-induced fluorescence setup to study reaction kinetics. In his free time, Rance enjoys weightlifting, reading, and listening to classic rock and metal from the 1970s and 1980s. He plans to attend medical school next year, focusing on programs with heavy emphases on research in the basic sciences.

Natalie O. Gorup: Natalie is an English and French double major, with a minor in Philosophy. She has worked as an undergraduate assistant for Creighton University's Center for Henry James Studies, served as a Writing Center tutor and an Adult G.E.D. tutor for Metropolitan Community College, and acted as editor of Shadows, the university literary magazine. Her time in the Cortina Service and Justice Community shaped her future goals immensely, and connected her with neighbors as far as the Dominican Republic and as near as the Siena/Francis homeless shelter just down the street. She is an aspiring poet who hopes to pursue a Master's degree in English next year.

Elizabeth Halfmann: Liz is a Social Work and Spanish double major and Theology minor who has been very involved during her time at Creighton. She currently leads the Catholic Student Organization as president, tutors both on- and off-campus, and works a practicum for her Social Work degree at One World Community Health Center. She points to her time abroad volunteering, studying, and traveling in Spain during her junior year as a pivotal time of personal growth, and she cannot wait to return! After graduation, Liz looks forward to attaining a job that not only combines her Social Work and Spanish skills, but also continues preparing her to pursue a Master of Social Work degree in the future.

Michael Vincent Heinz: Michael is originally from Denver, Colorado. He is a Mathematics major with a pre-med focus. He recently took the MCAT and has applied to medical school. He traveled to Villa El Salvador, Peru last summer where he worked in a clinic that served medically underserved populations. His research entails searching for possible gene therapies to correct hearing loss. He also currently coordinates and attends a tutoring program which runs Monday through Thursday in north Omaha. The social stratification course that he took through Creighton in Peru has had the greatest impact on him in terms of how he views international affairs and class structures. He hopes to begin medical school in the fall of 2013.

Grayson L. Jackson:
Hailing from the great state of Texas, Grayson is a Chemistry major at Creighton University. During his time at Creighton, Grayson has participated in a variety of activities, but his involvement in Welcome Week, chemistry research, and his semester abroad in the Dominican Republic have been his most cherished experiences. He cites his time abroad as his most inspiring experience, helping him give direction to his life. Currently, he plans to pursue a doctorate in chemistry and eventually become a tenure-track professor conducting research in the chemistry of water purification.

Joseph Michael Maschman: Joe is a senior from Humboldt, Nebraska, majoring in Political Science, with minors in Classical and Near Eastern Civilizations and Italian Studies. He has served as a member of the Creighton Honors Program?s student advisory board for three years. Through the Political Science Department, he obtained internships in the offices of U.S. Senators Ben Nelson and Bob Kerrey. In the summer of 2012, he was selected as Nebraska?s representative to the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship Student Congress, an assembly of students with an interest in government and a commitment to public service. Joe plans to attend law school after graduation.

Justina A. Piatek: Justina is a Psychology major from Omaha, Nebraska. She is a legal runner for Locher Pavelka Dostal Braddy & Hammes, LLC and a research assistant for Project WISE, a multi-site psychological study investigating re-victimization of sexual assault victims. She has volunteered at the Hope Center for Kids and the Mount View Boys and Girls Club. Justina also volunteered as a certified victim counselor at the Catholic Charities Phoenix House, a domestic violence shelter for women. She is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Psi Chi, the National Honor Society in Psychology. Justina plans to attend law school in the fall.

Kylie Regan: Kylie is a senior English major with minors in History and Business Administration. She is from Mason City, Iowa, and last summer she studied abroad for a month in Ireland. She has been involved with the campus literary magazine, Shadows, since her freshman year, and currently serves as its Assistant Editor. She also works as a peer tutor in Creighton's Writing Center. She hopes to enter a graduate program next fall to pursue a PhD, focusing on American Literature.

Gregory Anton Rufener: Gregory is a biology major, medical anthropology minor, and proud native of Enumclaw, Washington. Last summer he studied sociology near Lima, Peru. Following his time there, Greg returned to the Pacific Northwest and worked as an intern at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, doing research in novel T-cell immunotherapy to treat B-cell lymphomas. Greg's time at Creighton has been spent swing dancing, playing clarinet, working to start the swim club, and conducting research at the dental school. Following graduation, Greg will apply to medical school and spend a year abroad living the values Creighton University has taught him.

Megan Julia Welch: Megan is a Secondary Education and French major from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She has been extensively involved with the Freshman Leadership Program throughout her time at Creighton, as a member, mentor and executive. Megan has also been an active community volunteer in tutoring and reading programs in the Omaha area. Megan studied at L'Université Laval in Québec City, Québec, Canada. She currently serves as an officer of the Student Education Association of Nebraska. Next year, Megan hopes to find a job teaching French at the high school level, while pursuing graduate school in education.