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 27 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 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.
Creighton offers 140 academic programs in nine colleges and schools (arts and sciences, business, nursing, law, dentistry, medicine, pharmacy, OT, PT and other health professions, graduate school, and adult learning and degree completion). Creighton study abroad programs take students to dozens of locations around the world annually.
Creighton University ranks in the top third of National Universities in U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 rankings for “Best Colleges.” For a second consecutive year, Creighton was recognized on the prestigious list of National Universities for offering a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s and doctoral programs, and for producing groundbreaking research. For 16 years in a row, Creighton had been ranked No. 1 in the Midwest category. Creighton is also acclaimed by other college rankings organizations, including The Princeton Review, which selected Creighton as one of the nation’s “Best 386 Colleges” in its 2021 edition.
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, and is home to four Fortune 500 companies and five Fortune 1,000 companies. The city is the major urban area between Chicago and Denver and between Kansas City and Minneapolis. Creighton’s 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 Chamber of Commerce, including: No. 2, “Best Cities for Renters 2021" (Forbes); No. 5, “Cities with the Best Work-Life Balance 2021” (SmartAsset); and No. 35, “Happiest Cities in America 2021,” (WalletHub), among others.
In addition to the main campus in Omaha and online education accessible from anywhere in the world, Creighton has a health sciences campus in Phoenix and a College of Nursing campus in Grand Island, Nebraska.
Edward and Mary Lucretia Creighton, along with Edward’s brother, John, settled in Omaha in the 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 also widely regarded for their philanthropy.
Edward died in 1874, and his widow included $100,000 in her will to establish Creighton College in memory of her husband. 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. The land and additional securities were transferred to Bishop James O’Connor of Omaha, and construction began on the school.
The bishop asked the Jesuits to operate the school and the first president, Roman A. Shaffel, SJ, arrived in Omaha in late 1877; the school opened on Sept. 2, 1878. One priest, two scholastics, a layman and a laywoman formed the faculty. The school began with 120 students ranging in age from 6 to 30. On Aug. 14, 1879, Bishop O’Connor surrendered his trust to the Jesuits, who incorporated “The Creighton University” under Nebraska law. Much of the initial teaching was below the collegiate level; in 1891, Creighton University awarded its first baccalaureate degrees.
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 (1971; four-year bachelor’s degree program began in 1958)
- College of Professional Studies (Established as University College in 1983)