37 years later, School of Medicine alumnus comes back to Creighton to get his undergrad degree
37 years later, School of Medicine alumnus comes back to Creighton to get his undergrad degree

Dan McGuire, second from left, with his fellow Creighton students at the Des Moines send-off event. Nearly 40 years after he graduated from the School of Medicine, McGuire is taking care of some unfinished business: his undergrad degree. 


As a Creighton undergrad, Dan McGuire stands out; 62-year-old orthopedic spinal surgeons going back to school after a near-40-year hiatus just don’t make up a huge part of the student body these days.  

McGuire, MD’82, lives in Des Moines, works in northwest Iowa and is pursuing a degree online in Healthy Lifestyle Management through the College of Professional Studies.  

When he walks the stage at commencement next spring, he’ll finally have something he’s sought for more than four decades — an undergraduate degree at Creighton. 

“I never received a degree,” he said. “I did three years at Creighton before I got into medical school. I was just a few hours short of an undergraduate degree, but I didn’t want to delay medical school.” 

After med school, McGuire and his wife, Andrea “Andy” McGuire, BS’78, MD’82, moved to St. Louis, and later Des Moines. Of their seven children, three are Creighton grads. (McGuire estimates that about 25 members of his extended family have graduated from Creighton since 1960.) 

In the past few years, with his children grown and the demands of work winding down, McGuire finally found time to get down to getting that degree.  

So why Healthy Lifestyle Management? 

“Because it’s perfect,” he said. “Every physician should have to take these classes. They’re phenomenal. My classes have explored how people get sick because of issues like psychological woes, income disparities, lack of access to healthy foods. This is how I explain it to my patients: 40 years ago, physicians waited for patients to get sick and then we took care of them. Now we ask, how can we keep them from getting sick in the first place?” 

McGuire said he’s not as computer-savvy as his classmates, and some of his online courses have been tricky. But his professors have helped him through it. “Everyone has been so incredibly supportive,” he said. 

For many years, McGuire himself has been supportive to Creighton.  

Since the ’90s, he and his wife have made many gifts to the University, including to the McGuire-Holden Family Scholarship Fund, which they established to honor their respective parents — Pat and Rita McGuire, and Warren and Dorothy Holden. The scholarship assists students in the College of Arts and Sciences, with a preference extended to rural Iowa natives pursuing a career in medicine.  

“Every year we get letters from some of the scholarship recipients, and many of them have really cool stories,” McGuire said. “It’s a wonderful feeling to know that you’re helping someone.”  

They’ve also given to the Magis Clinic, the Medical School and the athletic department.  

“Creighton has done great things for our family. Now we want to help make sure it continues to do great things for others. It’s just a wonderful place.” 

 Getting a Creighton education again after all these years is, he said, a daily reminder of that.