Newswise — Visionary donors who understand the importance of developing the entire student—body, mind and spirit-- have made a lasting impact on Creighton University by spearheading the University’s east campus athletic/fitness/recreation corridor expansion.
Philanthropists Ruth and Bill Scott and their family and Wayne and the late Eileen Ryan, along with other donors, have helped Creighton reach that milestone with the dedication of the Creighton University Championship Center on June 12. The new Championship Center houses two practice courts, a locker room, a player’s lounge, an athletic performance center, an athletic training center, an academic resource center and offices for men’s basketball coaches and staff. All student-athletes will use the facility for academic support, athletic training and strength and conditioning services.
“These generous and strategically minded donors accelerated our long-term campus master plan calling for a new athletic practice and training facility. The Championship Center is indispensable in helping us recruit, retain and educate the highest-quality student-athletes and supply the finest facilities for our student-athletes,” said Timothy R. Lannon, S. J., Creighton president.
Reaffirming the quality of the resources in this athletic/fitness/recreation corridor during a recent visit to campus was Val Ackerman, BIG EAST Conference commissioner. She said, “These will be among the best on-campus athletic facilities we have in the BIG EAST Conference.”
Other facilities in the east campus corridor are:
• Michael G. Morrison, S.J. Stadium—Features an arena grass all-weather surface with a seating capacity of 6,000. Considered one of the finest soccer venues in the United States, the facility includes a state-of-the-art video scoreboard, team souvenir shop, covered chairback seating, luxury suites, an enclosed press box, concession stands and banquet area. In addition to women’s and men’s soccer matches, other events held there include the state soccer tournament, numerous soccer camps and recreational activities and the annual Kicks for a Cure event to raise funds for cancer research.
• The Wayne and Eileen Ryan Athletic Center and D. J. Sokol Arena—A 78,134 square-foot-facility for volleyball and women’s basketball that includes a 2,500-seat gymnasium, coaches and ticket offices, media and athletic training rooms and much more. The facility is also used for community events including high school basketball tournaments and assemblies. Coaches have called it one of the best facilities specifically built for women’s athletics.
• The Rasmussen Fitness and Sports Center—A 50,000 square-foot-facility that provides a multipurpose field with synthetic turf for intramural sports, a running track, fitness areas with cardio, circuit-training and free weight equipment. The building is used to support the fitness and well-being of students as well as faculty and staff.
• The Championship Center-- Construction of the 42,000 square-foot building began in 2013. Special features include a multi-media lecture room; an athletic performance center with state -of-the-art weight training and cardio equipment; an athletic training center with a hydrotherapy room that boasts an underwater treadmill and hot and cold therapy pools; an academic resource center that includes study spaces and tutoring areas; and more. Athletics will relocate from the Joseph J. Vinardi Athletic Center to this site, freeing up space for other academic uses by the University.
A gift from the Peter Kiewit Foundation allowed Creighton to purchase the land where the facilities are located.
“These facilities, along with TD Ameritrade Park Omaha and CenturyLink Center Omaha, are key elements in the continued renovation and development of Omaha’s riverfront and provide incomparable venues for not only Bluejay fans to watch athletic competition but visitors from around the country to experience our University spirit and pride in action,” said Bruce Rasmussen, Creighton University’s Athletics Director.
Giving back is second nature to Ruth and Bill Scott and their family who have been long-time supporters and friends of Creighton University. The Nebraska natives and avid Bluejay fans have deep roots in the Omaha community and have provided funds for promising students to pursue higher education at Creighton. Since 1999 their foundation has also donated millions to dollars to more than 100 area organizations.
When asked why they provided this recent gift to Creighton Bill said, “We understand that it is a privilege and obligation to support others, especially student-athletes, as they pursue athletic and academic excellence in the best college environment possible. Creighton is that university.”
Understanding the value and importance of a Jesuit education is just one of the reasons Wayne and Eileen Ryan have been generous donors of Creighton. Ryan, who received both his bachelor’s and master’s in science from Creighton, began his career teaching at the University.. They have also established student scholarships and have been devoted Jaybackers.
“Our family believes in Jesuit education and is happy to lend our support as an endorsement of the vision and mission of a truly remarkable University. We are so impressed with Creighton’s continued progress both in the classroom and in their athletic activities. We feel confident this center will provide Creighton student-athletes the tools they need to continue to succeed in all their endeavors,” Ryan said.
The cost of the Championship Center was $13 million; more than 15 major donors provided six- and seven- figure gifts to the project.