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Creighton University

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An institution located at Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.A. and conducted by the Jesuit Fathers. It comprises high school and college departments, a free classical day college, and schools of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and law. The faculty numbered 104 members in 1907-8. There is no charge for tuition in the high school and college departments. The attendance at the university is about 800, divided among the different departments as follows: Liberal Arts, 360; Medicine, 178; Law, 51; Pharmacy, 105; Dentistry, 107. The Medical College free dispensary treats between 3000 and 4000 annually; the Dental College Infirmary, 400 or 500.

Creighton University was the first free Catholic college founded in the United States. Edward Creighton, after whom it was named, had proposed during his life to establish a free school for higher education, but he died intestate, before making provision for carrying out his project. His wife, Mary Lucretia Creighton, inheriting his fortune, determined to carry out his intention. She died 23 Jan., 1876, but her will made a bequest, which in the settlement of the estate amounted to about $200,000, one-fourth of which was devoted to the grounds and building, the balance being reserved for foundation. In accordance with the terms of this will, the executors, 1 July, 1878, conveyed the entire property and securities in trust to the Rt. Rev. James O'Connor, Bishop of Omaha. On 27 February, 1879, the Legislature of Nebraska passed an act to provide for the incorporation of universities under certain circumstances. The district Court then permitted Bishop O'Connor to turn over his trust to a corporation called the Creighton University, and he appointed five members of the Society of Jesus as the Board of Trustees, 14 August, 1879. Creighton College as such was not incorporated and the name merely represented what was left in trust by Mrs. Creighton. When the Creighton University accepted the trust, the endowment fund amounted to about $147,500. Mrs. Sarah Emily Creighton, who died 3 Sept., 1888, wife of John A. Creighton, bequeathed to Creighton University a business block, according to the same terms and conditions as were designated in the bequest of her sister, Mrs. Mary Lucretia Creighton. During 1900 John A. Creighton, desirous of making the university an institution fully equipped for its educational work, generously offered means for the completion of the college buildings. The School of Medicine was founded 30 May, 1892, and the School of Law in October, 1904. The Edward Creighton Institute, erected in 1905, is now the home of the Law Department. The Dental School, opened in 1905, is located with the Law School. The School of Pharmacy, a distinct department of the university since 1 February, 1905, took possession of its splendidly equipped new addition to the Medical Building in September, 1908.

Edward Creighton was born 31 Aug., 1820, in Belmont County, Ohio, near the present town of Barnesville; and died 5 Nov., 1874. John A. Creighton was born 15 Oct., 1831, in Licking County, Ohio, and died 7 Feb., 1907. He was educated at St. Joseph's College, Somerset, Ohio, under the Dominican Fathers, and for these teachers he always retained a feeling of gratitude. Though desirous of becoming a civil engineer, he was obliged to shorten his course of study by the necessity of earning a livelihood. He married Sarah Emily Wareham of Dayton; and her sister, Mary Lucretia, became the wife of Edward Creighton. Both these men were remarkable for courage, enterprise, and a strong sense of justice. John was one of the first members of the "Vigilance Committee" which effectually freed Montana of the desperadoes who made life and property insecure in that territory. Both also made their start in life by constructing roads and telegraph lines in the West and South; John was moreover actively engaged in mining, stock-raising, and investments in land. He left by will large bequests to Creighton University, the Creighton Memorial Hospital and other Catholic institutions in which he was interested during life. Though these sums were somewhat lessened by litigation and compromise with contestants, the university received nearly a million and a quarter dollars, the Hospital nearly a quarter of a million, and the other institutions smaller amounts. The entire revenue-producing property of the university approximates two millions and a quarter, exclusive of its buildings, grounds and equipment. The hospital takes care of about 2400 patients a year, of whom more than half are non-Catholics, and one-third absolutely free. John Creighton was honoured by Leo XIII with the order of St. Gregory and later with the title of Count of the Papal States. In 1900 he received the Laetare Medal from the University of Notre Dame.

About this page

APA citation. Dowling, M. (1908). Creighton University. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Dowling, Michael. "Creighton University." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Gerald M. Knight.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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