Years of fun and friendships at Kiewit Hall

Apr 23, 2024

Kiewit Hall means a lot to its former residents. We asked Creighton alumni to share some of the reasons why. Their stories capture the community spirit of Kiewit Hall.

Featured Testimonial About Creighton University

A collage of images of Kiewit Hall residents through the years

Creighton gave me four amazing college years, and Kiewit Hall gave me the love of my life. Cheers to Kiewit and everyone it brought together!

Mary Leigh Grossman, BSN'19

By Jon Nyatawa

The 58-year-old Kiewit Hall is scheduled to be demolished in May. To pay tribute to the legendary dorm, we chronicled its history and legacy in an all-encompassing story.

But we also asked Creighton alumni to share their specific memories, thoughts and photos about their time inside Kiewit Hall. Truly, the people made the place. So here are some of your favorite highlights through the years.

(If you’d like to share more Kiewit Hall memories, send them to and we may include them in a future feature.)


A photo of a pile of sand inside a Kiewit Hall dorm room

A day at the beach

Here’s what Phil Ruden, BSBA'83, MBA'86, remembers: “In 1980, a group of creative sophomores took all of the furniture out of a dorm room on the first floor and hauled in two tons of sand.”

There were plenty of theme parties that year. But none topped this one.

Party attendees arrived in their swimsuits. A “surfs up!” call would prompt guests to run to the communal showers for a quick splash. And no one got in any trouble. Said Ruden: "To the bewilderment and frustration of the Kiewit RAs and campus administrators, the beach party did not break any University rules.”

“Needless to say, it was the talk of the school for a long time,” Ruden said.

(To top it all off, the sand was purchased from a cement company and returned the next day for a full refund.)


Qatar to Kiewit

Khalid Al-Kaabi, BA'05, moved into Room 612 in 1998. He didn’t know anyone. He barely knew English. But Kiewit Hall helped him find his way on a new campus in a foreign country. He and his roommate, Alex Lopez, connected right away and have been friends ever since.

“I really loved it there,” Al-Kaabi said. “I made good friends, cooked food and enjoyed new life experiences. It was my second family, and I’m still in touch with everyone.”


Mary and Zach Grossman pose together on their wedding day

The Kie(wit) to your heart

One day in 2015, a student held the door for Mary Leigh Grossmann, BSN'19, as she left Kiewit Hall. And all she could think about was how cute he looked. She wondered what his name was.

“Right after we left the building, someone shouted, ‘Hey Zach!’ and I had my answer,” Mary said.

Next came Facebook sleuthing. And there was help from matchmaking mutual friends.

Soon Mary and Zach Grossmann, BS'19, were dating. They married in 2021.

“Creighton gave me four amazing college years, and Kiewit gave me the love of my life. Cheers to Kiewit and everyone it brought together!” Mary said.


Billy Bluejay poses with two students inside Kiewit Hall

Move-in day

Among the many experiences that will always stick with Katrina Nesbit, BSBA'20, were walking with friends to Becker and Brandeis for meals, spending nights studying in the neutral zone, and somehow sharing three showers with 30 other people. Nesbit, who was part of the Freshman Leadership Program, looks back fondly on her two years in Kiewit.

Nesbit shared this story of the excitement of move-in day, meeting her roommate and starting a new chapter of life:

“I remember it being super convenient because peer leaders helped get everything up the nine flights of stairs. I arrived first at Room 929. My family started helping me get everything out of the hallway so we could start unpacking. My roommate, Abby Weber, BA'19, arrived while we were still moving things. It was our very first time meeting each other.

“When we were organizing our things, we noticed that we coincidentally had a matching color scheme going for our room furniture and decor. Gray, turquoise and white. We both lofted our beds so that we could make more space in the room, and we put little seating areas under them. Billy Bluejay was making his rounds through Kiewit while we were still settling in, and he took a picture with us. Little did I know, this would be the first picture of many we would take throughout our next three years together as roommates.”

Dimensions of a Kiewit Hall dorm room


The water squirting bandits

Since this is a safe space amongst Kiewit Hall friends …

Lewis Hofmann, BS'84, said he and his buddies will come clean now. The statute of limitations has passed anyway, right?

“I can share that we took GREAT JOY in squirting water out of syringes from the top floor to unsuspecting walkers on the sidewalk below,” Hofmann said. “They tried but they never did catch us!”


Friends forever

Several former Kiewit Hall residents and their families pose together for a photo

In 2019, about 15 years after they all met in Kiewit Hall, Daniel Ramirez, BA'08, JD'12, returned to Creighton’s campus with all his friends and their families. Back where it all started.

Daniel and Jessica Royal Ramirez, OTD'09, BSHS'10, were in the Freshman Leadership Program and lived on the ninth floor. A generous Jessica helped Daniel set up his laptop early on that first semester and not too long after that, the budding friends stayed up all night talking in the neutral zone. They spent so much time together from then on.

Amanda Ortner Oakley, DPT'09, BSHS'09, was there for many of those hangouts, birthday parties and late-night trips for dining hall ice cream. Oakley was a bridesmaid in the Ramirez wedding.

Also in the wedding: Jim Kult, BS'09, MD'15. He joined Daniel on Kiewit’s fourth floor as an RA, both trying their best to enforce the rules while also encouraging their freshmen to make the most of dorm life.

“We all returned to Kiewit Hall together in 2019 and had a chance to relive memories, take in the reverberation of sound, smell, community,” Daniel said. “We were in the exact spot that we now know that God straightened our paths, preparing us for professional vocations, friendship, and love.”

A collage of photos of Kiewit Hall friends and the exterior of the building


Not my first choice

Cary Veehoff Wolski, BA'79, received her residence hall assignment. And she was disappointed.

One photo of two friends smiling and another photo of a plate of cheese and crackers

Kiewit Hall? In 1975, the east side of campus, anchored by Deglman and Swanson Halls, was “the epicenter of freshman life,” Wolski said. She’d always assumed Deglman would be her first-year dorm.

Creighton was shifting to co-ed living that fall, though. Wolski unwillingly got picked to be part of the experiment.

But it was fantastic.

She instantly formed strong friendships with the other women on Kiewit’s second floor. They’d walk the halls, visit the cafeteria, chat and laugh and throw some fun parties. Plus, just down the hall, there were sophomore and junior men. Many of them had helpful tips for navigating college life, both figuratively and literally. (They had cars!)

One of the year’s highlights for Wolski was a “wine and cheese” party across two Kiewit dorm rooms. A drug-store-bought punch bowl for drinks and a plate of cheese and crackers — and a bunch of fun.

“Ultimately, I liked Kiewit enough to stay there for two more years and made several lifelong friends that I might never have met if I hadn’t been assigned there as a freshman,” Wolski said.


Enjoy your stay

In 1964, there were 97 sophomores who spent a year in the Commodore Hotel (located at 24th and Dodge Streets) before being part of the first group of Kiewit Hall residents. Elizabeth Price, BSN'67, was one of those individuals. She also lived in Gallagher Hall as a freshman. Then the Commodore. Then Kiewit.

A newspaper clip from a 1964 Creightonian

According to the Creightonian, there were a few differences between hotel life and dorm life for Price and her classmates, as they waited for construction to finish.

  • Each room had a phone, but there was a charge of 20 cents per call. The usual hotel rate. But they could call other hotel guests for free.
  • Carpeting on the rooms and in the hallways muffled sounds and added elegance.
  • There was a multi-block walk from the hotel to campus. Creighton’s private police service, known as the Eagles, provided an escort every half hour after 6 p.m.
  • Air conditioning was available upon request for two-thirds of the residents. The others received maid service once a week.
  • The hotel had an exclusive lounge for the students. It included a television, pop machine and a space to iron clothes.
A photo of Kiewit Hall under construction
Leslie and Sebastian Fischer pose together for a photo


Kiewit Connections

Everyone attending a certain study community retreat in 1999 tossed a shoe in the center of the room. When you picked up a stranger’s shoe, you had to find its owner.

That’s how Leslie Morrow Fischer, BA'02, and Sebastian Fischer, BSBA'03, matched up. Turns out, Sebastian lived in Kiewit Hall’s Room 912, directly above Leslie’s Room 812.

Sebastian was from Germany. Leslie was majoring in French. Their bond quickly grew. They soon fell in love and married in 2004. They have four kids and so many wonderful memories of the place that brought them together.

“We spent some of the happiest days of our lives inside those sacred walls,” Leslie said. “What a gift that time in our lives was!”


Home away from home

Darwin Raquel, BSN'12, a member of the Freshman Leadership Program, said he’ll always remember the trips to sporting events, the neutral zone hangouts and the “best views of campus” from the top floor. There were hilarious prank wars, he said. And clever ways to ask people on dates — such as, filling a room with balloons and hiding an invitation in one.

But more than anything, Kiewit Hall was special because of the people.

“The community I was brought into was great,” Raquel said. “There were so many different personalities and opinions — conversations would go late into the night. Freshman year was a good time. It was rough at first being so far away at home, but eventually within Kiewit's walls, I found a home away from home and made friends who turned into family.”

A view of campus from the top of Kiewit Hall



There are limited-edition Kiewit Hall T-shirts! Get yours! When you make a gift of $35 to support Creighton students and celebrate Kiewit's legacy, you will receive an exclusive Kiewit Hall T-Shirt AND a commemorative sticker. Make a gift today!