There is no university in the country like Creighton University in terms of size, the array of professional and graduate programs offered, and the strong commitment to Catholic and Jesuit ideals and values. Founded in 1878 and one of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States, Creighton is a vibrant and diverse learning community that offers its students more than an education.
Nationally recognized for providing a challenging and balanced educational experience, the University offers a rigorous academic agenda with a broad range of disciplines, providing more than 8,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students with interdisciplinary degree programs that emphasize education of the whole person—academically, socially and spiritually. The student body represents all 50 states and U.S. territories, as well as more than 40 countries.
More than 115 academic programs are offered in nine colleges and schools (arts and sciences, business, nursing, law, dental, medicine, pharmacy, OT, PT and other health professions, graduate school, and adult learning and degree completion). Average class size is 22, with an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Creighton study abroad programs take students to more than 50 locations around the world annually.
The University has been consistently ranked a top Midwest regional university by U.S. News & World Report and in 2015 also was among the 200 colleges and universities profiled in Princeton Review’s Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Best Value Colleges and What It Takes to Get In. In the Jesuit tradition of service, Creighton students last year contributed more than 1 million hours of community service locally, nationally and internationally.
Omaha, with a metropolitan area population of nearly 1 million, is Nebraska’s largest city. It is located on the western bank of the Missouri River, which serves as the Nebraska-Iowa border. The city is the major urban area between Chicago and Denver and between Kansas City and Minneapolis. Creighton’s 139-acre campus is within walking distance of downtown and riverfront business, sports/recreational, cultural and entertainment districts. Creighton also is conveniently located close to hotels and the airport.
Omaha is on a number of “best” lists, as reported by the Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership. These include No. 1 in the Top 10 Best American Cities to Work in Tech (Wallethub.com, 2015); Top 10 Cities for New College Grads (SmartAsset, 2015); The Best Cities to Find a Job in 2016 (ZipRecruiter); and The 5 Best Big Cities (Best in the Midwest) (Time.com/money, 2015).
In addition to the main campus in Omaha and online education accessible from anywhere in the world, Creighton has a College of Nursing campus in Hastings, Neb., and a School of Medicine campus in Arizona. Creighton’s regional campus in Phoenix at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center is the only Catholic medical school west of Omaha.
Edward and Mary Lucretia Creighton, along with Edward’s brother John, settled in Omaha in the mid-1850s. John married Mary Lucretia’s sister Sarah Emily Wareham in 1868 and the four are considered the founders of Creighton University. Edward’s work with the transcontinental telegraph and freighting, ranching, railroading and banking became a major force in the city’s economic development. The two brothers were widely known for their business enterprises, and the two couples were equally widely regarded for their philanthropy.
Edward died in 1874 and his widow included $100,000 in her will to establish Creighton College in her husband’s memory. Mary Lucretia died in 1876 and her executors, who included her brother-in-law John, purchased 6.2 acres of land at the northwest corner of what is currently 24th and California streets. They began to build a school and transferred the land, building and additional securities to Bishop James O’Connor of Omaha.
The bishop asked the Jesuits to operate the school and the first president, the Rev. Roman A. Shaffel, S.J., arrived in Omaha in late 1877; the school opened on Sept. 2, 1878, to 120 students. Bishop O’Connor in 1879 surrendered his trust to the Jesuits, who incorporated the University under Nebraska law.
Edward and Mary Lucretia’s generosity is credited with establishing Creighton College, while John and Sarah Emily’s philanthropy enlarged it to a five-school university. Today, Creighton University consists of nine schools and colleges:
- College of Arts and Sciences (1878)
- School of Medicine (1892)
- School of Law (1904)
- School of Dentistry (1905)
- School of Pharmacy and Health Professions (1905)
- Heider College of Business (1920)
- Graduate School (1926)
- College of Nursing (four-year bachelor’s degree program began in 1958; college established in 1971)
- College of Professional Studies (established as University College in 1983)