Keep Creighton thriving on Giving Tuesday
Keep Creighton thriving on Giving Tuesday

“We know remaining on campus requires a huge amount of funding, whether it be sanitizers, masks, improved software or anything else that’s necessary. Donors have allowed for the University to continue to provide us with the best learning experiences while also helping to make sure those environments are safe.”

— Joe Turley, biology major


By Micah Mertes and Ruby Kenney

This year’s been a tough one, of course. And the upcoming semester will be no different.

Yet Creighton continues to live its mission — educating thousands of excellent students in the Jesuit tradition, forming agents of change against the grain of a once-in-a-century crisis. And it all starts with the support of the Bluejay community.

For Creighton, events like Giving Tuesday (Dec. 1) are an excellent opportunity to support our students, faculty and staff through scholarships, PPE and a general fund that helps the University make ends meet. Especially in a time calling for innovative new ways to keep our community connected safely. (See how Creighton’s PPE Fund is helping to keep campus healthy.)

On Giving Tuesday, our donors do their part to keep Creighton, Creighton. To keep our students thriving.

Students like pre-med junior Rasika Mukkamala. Rasika is extremely grateful she’s getting to spend this and next semester on campus. On top of her studies, she’s an RA in Kiewit Hall, where, she says, she’s mentoring 26 young women as they adjust to an academic year unlike any other.

RasikaThis semester has been an especially crucial one for Rasika. She’s in the middle of a few challenging science courses, which, she says, would have been much more difficult to fully grasp virtually.

“I’m doing a hybrid semester,” she says, “And it’s been so important to have the faculty-student connection, both online and in-person.”

She named a long list of her favorite faculty, including chemistry instructor Peter Stone. Rasika works as an attached tutor in all of Stone’s Introductory Chemistry classes.

“She’s awesome,” Stone says of Rasika. “Her being in the classroom adds so much value for the students.”

Rasika loves helping the freshmen, especially now.

“The residents and students need someone who has been through this and can help guide them through a difficult time,” she says. “Alumni and faculty give so much, and I’m so grateful. It’s important for me to be able to give back, and this is my way of doing it.”

The essence of a Creighton education— leaders forming future leaders.

More students share their thanks for donor support:

Joe Turley, biology junior: “The ability to remain on campus improves mental health in so many ways. Just getting to see familiar faces every day and talk with teachers prevents the feeling of being alone.

“We know remaining on campus requires a huge amount of funding, whether it be sanitizers, masks, improved software or anything else that’s necessary. Donors have allowed for the University to continue to provide us with the best learning experiences while helping to make sure those environments are safe.”

Coleman Barnes, business junior: “Connections and community are at the core of what makes Creighton so special. Being in person on campus allows community to flourish as we connect with our teachers and classmates. We get to have the fun classroom conversations and the intentional time where we can ask our professors questions. Being in person allows each student to still feel connected to this special Creighton community!”

Boston Small, pre-med junior: “Future surgeons will not do surgery over Zoom. Future researchers will not culture cells virtually. As a College of Arts and Sciences student, much of my development comes from doing, on top of learning. With virtual classes, although learning the material may be maintained, so much of the application and career-specific work of my education requires in-person, on-campus learning.”

And as Rasika also notes, when it comes to Creighton, scholarships are the key to everything: “A lot of students and families would not be able to make ends meet without scholarships. I don’t know that I could be on campus without them. And I’m really grateful for the help.”

Faculty and staff share the importance of donor support:

Kandis McCafferty, PhD, associate professor and director of simulation in the College of Nursing and Creighton’s PPE Lead: “Creighton has stepped up. This semester, we’ve let our students know that we are here to support them, that we want them to continue to learn and grow in a safe environment. We could not open campus unless we had what it takes to keep Creighton as safe as possible. The fact that we have been able to make this happen speaks volumes about the Creighton community’s commitment to creating a safe environment for our faculty, staff, students and our community as a whole.”

Catherine M. Todero, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of the College of Nursing and Vice Provost of Health Sciences Campuses: “The campus’ ability to stay open is essential to the clinical education of health sciences students. There are skills and abilities that cannot be mastered virtually, that require in-person human connections in order to educate competent, compassionate providers.

“In-person learning requires PPE, screening and sanitizing efforts that add to the operational budget. Support of Creighton donors is critical and appreciated because of those extra costs involved in keeping the campus safe for in-person learning.”

Elieen Burke-Sullivan, STD, Vice Provost for Mission and Ministry: “At Creighton, both mission formation and ministerial service to students, faculty and staff are at the center of our work. It means a lot to have the students around and the faculty and staff close. It is also life-giving and energizing to the campus.

“In Mission and Ministry, our work, like much of the rest of the University, is highly dependent on the good will and support of generous alumni and donors. Without it, we could not live up to our mission.”

Joshua P. Fershée, JD, dean of the School of Law: “Continuing to educate our students during a global pandemic has created enormous challenges, but it has also highlighted how important our educational mission is. The law doesn’t stand still, and access to justice can become even more limited when times are hard. The support we receive from our donors has helped us to continue safely teaching our students and serving our community through our legal clinic and pro bono efforts.” 

Lisa Brockhoff, MS, assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences: “I feel like the Creighton education is about relationships. To be able to see the students on a day-to-day basis and interact with them on campus, it’s just so important. It’s the foundation of our education.

“I feel very grateful for all the individuals who have contributed to making a difference for us throughout this time. The things we’re facing every day can be a challenge, and to know we’re getting so much support from alumni all over the country, it means a lot.”

Peter Stone, chemistry instructor: “As humans, we tend to thrive with personal contact. The ability to engage in person is so much greater. And being here, in person, at Creighton, holds tremendous value.”

Father Andy Alexander, SJ, director of the Collaborative Ministry Office: “I’m thrilled to thank donors for helping Creighton form women and men for others in a very challenging financial time. Our students want to learn, to grow, to be challenged, to have internship opportunities.  Our faculty and staff are incredibly generous, flexible and passionate in offering personal care for our students and patients.

“To help us do this, in such a competitive market, where budgets are so squeezed, is to be a partner with us in this ministry. Thank you.”

 Fr. Alexander also wanted to include an anecdote about the value of a Creighton education —

“I once was leaving a nursing home after visiting a relative. The administrator stopped me and asked me what parish I was from. I said I was from Creighton. She lit up and told me, ‘I love nursing students from Creighton!’  When I asked her what she loves about our students, she said, ‘They are smart and competent, of course, but they are also personal and compassionate, and they can work together on a team.’

“I lit up with pride. I think that can be said of any of our students. When donors contribute, they contribute to forming professionals like that.”

Remember to make a gift to Creighton on Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1!