Featured Testimonial About Creighton University
Creighton’s greatest competitive advantage is its diversity of people within the entire Creighton family.
The National Black Alumni Advisory Board (NBAAB) is now accepting nominees for new members. Please submit nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org. New members will be determined by an NBAAB vote this spring.
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By Micah Mertes
This February — Black History Month — marks the one-year anniversary of the Creighton National Black Alumni Advisory Board’s first meeting.
Both the board’s creation and its work so far have been essential steps in the University’s larger mission of creating greater diversity and inclusion for the Creighton community.
“The members of this board are trailblazers,” said Sarah Walker, PhD, Creighton’s vice president of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. “They represent individuals who have successfully navigated Creighton, and their success can help us attract and recruit prospective students. This newly created alumni board will help us maintain a connection to our students even after their time at Creighton is finished, and we are excited about their mission to foster a lifelong sense of belonging.”
Board President Bridget Hadley, BSBA'88, sees the board’s role in the scope of a much larger conversation.
“This country’s greatest competitive advantage is its diversity of people,” she said. “Likewise, Creighton’s greatest competitive advantage is its diversity of people within the entire Creighton family. This advantage must be embraced and valued.”
To celebrate the board’s one-year anniversary, we spoke with Hadley about how the board will help shape the future of equity, diversity and inclusion at Creighton.
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What is the mission of the National Black Alumni Advisory Board?
Hadley: To advance the interests of Creighton’s Black community and to commit to building a lifelong relationship between Creighton Black alumni and the University.
We will represent the voices of Black alumni, and we will be an empowering resource for Black students. Everything we do will be to help the University move toward becoming a more equitable, diverse and inclusive culture at all levels.
What are some of the most notable of the board’s accomplishments in its first year?
The board was instrumental in helping Dr. Sarah Walker’s position become a vice presidential role reporting directly to Creighton President the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD, so that the position would have a broader scope and impact for the whole University.
We have also made connections with some of Creighton’s Black student groups, such as the Creighton University African American Student Association (CUASA) and African Student Association (AFSA).
And despite the pandemic, we have been able to meet several times, including at our National Black Alumni reception during Native Omaha Days in July 2021.
What are you most excited about in the coming year regarding the board?
I’m excited that we’re setting a foundation for what this board can and will become. We are establishing presence, developing lasting connections and making our voices heard to take a more prominent place in the Creighton community. We are blazing a trail for our Black alumni at Creighton.
What are some of the board’s future plans?
We are in the final stages of developing a strategic plan, which will give our mission and vision statements legs and guide the board’s actions.
The board is excited to continue connecting with and supporting Black students at Creighton through mentoring opportunities and social events, beginning with the CUASA’s Annual Soul Food dinner Feb. 18. It is also important to the board that we increase the number of Black students enrolled at and graduating from Creighton.
Additionally, the board plans to build supporting connections with Black faculty and staff at Creighton. We plan to reconnect with Black alumni in some of Creighton’s major markets.
Lastly, we plan to find ways to build better bridges between Creighton University and North Omaha’s Black community.
What would you say to alumni who are thinking about getting involved at Creighton at some level?
Do it! Show up as often as possible. Connect with Creighton and let your voice be heard.
What would you most like our alumni to know about the National Black Alumni Advisory Board?
We are committed, well-accomplished professionals who care about our community, and we are proud to be graduates of Creighton University.
Note: All members live in Omaha unless otherwise noted.
Bridget A. Hadley, BSBA'88, Board President, Economic Development Manager for the City of Omaha Planning Department
Troy J. Beaugard, BSBA'89, General Manager at Baxter Volkswagen La Vista
Jason D. Brown, BA'18, an English teacher at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory in Houston
Aaron D. Conley, BA'95, Marketing Director, Forest Products at Union Pacific Railroad
Brenda Warren Council, JD'77, retired and former elected official who has served in the Nebraska Legislature, for the Omaha City Council and Omaha School Board
Eric T. Dantzler, BSBA'95, owner of R & D Builders LLC in Chicago
Leonard D. Gordy, longtime Creighton men’s basketball assistant coach and Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Athletics
Abiola A. Kosoko, BA'09, a photographer and videographer for First National Bank of Omaha
The Honorable Darryl R. Lowe, JD'84, judge of the Nebraska 4th Judicial District County Court
Terri D. McAlister-Sanders, BA'78, publisher of the Omaha Star Newspaper and executive Director of the Mildred D. Brown Memorial Study Center
Shannon D. Melton, BS'09, vice president, Catalyze Evaluation
Emily F. Miller, BS'75, MSEDU'78, retired principal of Omaha Public Schools
Kayman A. Nixon, BSBA'17, MBA’21, Senior Consulting Analyst at Huron in Chicago
Rachelle C. Owens, BSN'87, Director of Patient Access and Strategic Business Solutions at NS Pharma, Inc., in St. Louis
John E. Pierce, MS'72, JD'81, former Associate Vice President for Creighton’s Division of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Shawntal Mallory, BA'97, JD'00, Adjunct Professor, Creighton University School of Law, and Executive Director, Nebraska Legal Diversity Council
Ex-Officio Voting Member
Sarah Walker, PhD, Vice President for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Creighton
Ex-Officio Non-voting Members
Frank Hayes, BSBA'75, President and Managing Director of Hayes & Associates, L.L.C., and a member of the Creighton Board of Trustees since 2000
Chris Rodgers, BA'92, MBA'99, Director of Community and Government Relations at Creighton