The Creighton Dictionary begins

Sep 13, 2022

What defines Creighton? We’re calling on all alumni and friends to tell us what entries The Creighton Dictionary wouldn’t be complete without. For our first entries, we’re covering the letters A and B.

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The Creighton Dictionary mock book cover

Creighton (cray-tuhn), n. a Jesuit, Catholic university in Omaha, Nebraska; name is of Scottish and Irish origin, meaning “rock settlement.”

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By Micah Mertes

We’re making a Creighton dictionary (working title: The Creighton Dictionary). In the end, we believe, it will serve as the definitive guide to the ins and outs of the University and its long, rich history. Entries will include people, places, things, groups, phrases and ideas related to Creighton University.

We’ll release the dictionary entries a few letters at a time, collecting them into a single master file as the project progresses. Today, we begin with the letters A and B, as well as a few important numbers.

Help us define Creighton

Did we miss anything or anyone essential? Do you have suggested entries for future letters?  Contact

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Note: With a few exceptions, I chose to not include current faculty and staff (and was highly selective of former faculty and staff inclusions) because if we were going to highlight every important or notable professor, mentor, etc., this dictionary would run far too long for practical use. My main criteria for including alumni or current employees were ... notoriety, longevity of affiliation with Creighton and/or achieving a particular rank or office.

Please don’t take a name’s absence as a judgment of that person’s value. That said, if we missed an obvious person, place or thing, please let me know at


1878. The year the University was founded, by a gift left in the will of Mary Lucretia Creighton. Creighton University has been around a while. Its founding preceded the invention of antibiotics, shredded wheat and the padded bicycle seat.

Creighton campus overhead shot

24th Street. The main street cutting north and south through campus. In recent years, Creighton has beautified its campus stretch of 24th Street into an elegant boulevard, with a scenic and safety-enhancing roundabout, median and crosswalk, along with various lighted monument signs. Most Bluejays are familiar with the friendly female voice of the 24th Street crosswalk, who announces hundreds of times daily that the “walk signal to cross 24th Street is now on …"

2500 California Plaza. The address of our Omaha home.

3100 N. Central Ave. The Phoenix address of the Creighton University Health Sciences Campus - Phoenix


Ad majorem Dei gloriam (AMDG). The Latin motto and foundational religious philosophy of the Society of Jesus, which means: "For the greater glory of God." The full phrase, attributed to St. Ignatius, is actually Ad majorem Dei gloriam inque hominum salutem (“For the greater glory of God and the salvation of humanity”). For centuries, these words have inspired countless individuals to pursue a life that transcends their own and to strive toward a collective purpose that serves others for the glory of our creator.

Academics. With more than 140 academic paths, nine schools and colleges, and repeat rankings in the top third of American universities, Creighton’s longtime reputation for top-tier academics carries on as strong as it’s ever been.

Administration Building (or Admin Building). Now known as Creighton Hall, this is the University’s oldest building, opening in 1878 as the schoolhouse and Jesuit living quarters for what was then Creighton College. Known for years as “the Main Building,” the seed of the original structure has since expanded with additions to the north and south, as well as the iconic art deco façade erected in the 1930s.

Admissions. The team that helps bring new students to Creighton from all over the map.

Ahmanson Law Center

William Agnew, SJ. The 13th President of Creighton University, serving from 1928-1931. The hall named after him was demolished in 1966 to make way for I-480.

Ahmanson Law Center. Home of the School of Law — opened in 1974 and named after the family of Hayden W. Ahmanson, LLB’23, a prominent civic leader. When Ahmanson died in 1960, Mayor John Rosenblatt said his passing was “a serious loss to the community” of a man “who rarely refused to do anything asked of him to benefit the people of Omaha.”

Alpha Psi Omega. A fraternity that promotes the fellowship, study and excellence of theater.

Alpha Sigma Nu. The Jesuit Honor society. Creighton’s chapter is the second oldest in the nation, after Marquette’s. Its mission is to advance the core principles of a Jesuit education through scholarship, loyalty and service.

Alpha Phi. An organization dedicated to promoting sisterhood, cultivating leadership, encouraging intellectual curiosity and advocating service.

Dana Altman
Dana Altman

Alpha Phi Omega. Committed to bringing together students in a national co-ed service fraternity to develop leadership, promote friendship and provide service to humanity.

Dana Altman. Coached men's basketball at Creighton for 16 seasons, from 1994-2010, finishing his tenure with a 327-176 record. He was inducted into the Creighton Athletics Hall of Fame in 2018.

Alumni/Alumnae/Alumnus/Alumna/Alum. Variations of the word defining graduates and former students of Creighton. There are more than 80,000 alumni living all over the world today. The go-to website for all Creighton alumni and friends.

Alumni groups. There are dozens of Creighton alumni groups, based on city, affinity or the school or college alumni attended. You can find all of them here.

Alumni Relations. The team that helps alumni maintain their lifelong connection to Creighton. (Read the Alumni Relations FAQ.)

AlumWire. Creighton's main newsletter for all alumni and friends. (You can sign up or see archived AlumWires here.)

Astronaut Michael P. Anderson
Michael P. Anderson

Major General Marcia M. Anderson, BA’79. In 2011, Anderson became the first Black woman to achieve the rank of a major general in the U.S. Army Reserve.

Michael P. Anderson, MS’90. A U.S. Air Force officer and NASA astronaut, and one of the seven crew members killed in the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster of 2003. Posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. Anderson studied physics while at Creighton.

Arizona. In 2021, Creighton opened a new health sciences campus in Phoenix, the culmination of the University’s decade-long partnership with the city, the state and the essential organizations caring for the area’s patients with the greatest needs. (Read more about the Phoenix campus.)

Arrupe Global Scholars. A donor-funded program that, starting in the fall of 2022, will send 10 cohorts of 12 students from Creighton’s medical programs in both Omaha and Phoenix over the next 10 years. Arrupe Global Scholars will earn a medical degree while working alongside international health care workers. Named for the Rev. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, founder of the Jesuit Refugee Service. (Read more about the program.)

Brad Ashford
Brad Ashford

Arts and Sciences, College of. Founded in 1878, it's Creighton’s oldest and largest school or college, with more than 60 degree and pre-professional programs (Learn more about the CCAS.)

Brad Ashford, JD’74. A former politician who served in the Nebraska Legislature and the United States House of Representatives from Nebraska's 2nd congressional district. Ashford died in the spring of 2022.

Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Represents the 27 Jesuit institutions of higher education in the U.S., including Creighton.

Athletics. Fourteen NCAA Division I teams. Hundreds of student athletes. Tens of thousands of fans. (See how donors are helping keep Creighton competitive.)

See entries for the letter B


 Help us make The Creighton Dictionary

Did we miss anything or anyone essential? Do you have suggested entries for future letters? Help us define Creighton. Contact