Featured Testimonial About Creighton University
Creighton University assumes a definite responsibility towards these students and, in a certain sense, performs a function of the home.
By Micah Mertes
With Father's Day happening this month, we wanted to talk, briefly, about Dad's Day.
What is Dad's Day? Dad's Day was one of the University’s first attempts to better integrate our students’ parents into Creighton life. It was the forefather of Creighton's Family Weekend.
Creighton's first Dad's Day — and you better believe we're going to keep saying "Dad's Day" because it's such a goofy, funny phrase — was in the fall of 1933, so about 90 years ago.
Marketing for the event was minimal. It mostly entailed students writing letters to their fathers encouraging them to attend. And it worked. More than 300 dads from 12 states were guests of the University, going on campus tours and attending a series of entertainments, including the Creighton-Oklahoma Aggie football game. Thomas Bowdern, SJ — later Creighton President and also the brother of William Bowdern, SJ, who led the St. Louis exorcism that inspired the novel and film The Exorcist — served as toastmaster for a father-son banquet that evening.
Creighton's first Dad's Day was such a hit that the tradition continued up to the early 1940s, with hundreds of dads descending on campus each year. These days, of course, dads and moms alike are welcome to campus for the annual Family Weekend. Meanwhile, parents support and take part in their Bluejay's Creighton experience year-round through the connection of the Parent and Family program. (Learn more here.)
A lot has changed since that first Dad's Day 90 years ago, but the proclamation made at the event still applies pretty perfectly to the parent-University dynamic today:
"By accepting young men and women as students, and by assisting them to develop to the utmost their moral, spiritual and physical powers, Creighton University assumes a definite responsibility towards these students and, in a certain sense, performs a function of the home.
"Therefore, it is definitely advantageous to establish and maintain the closest possible relationship between the University and the parents of our students, to the end that a more cordial understanding of mutual problems may be developed.
"We ask the fullest cooperation from every student, alumnus and faculty member in making this day not only enjoyable and profitable to our guests, but also productive of lasting benefits to the University."
Happy Father's Day. Long live Dad's Day.
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Dad's Day as a University event preceded Father's Day as a national holiday by nearly 40 years. It wasn't until 1972, that Richard Nixon made the day official. The decades-long struggle to make Father's Day a national holiday is itself a pretty interesting piece of history.