Preserving the Past

Preserving the Past.

two past Creighton alumni

You created lasting memories at Creighton University while preparing to become a health professional. The School of Pharmacy and Health Professions Alumni Relations Office preserves those memories for future generations of students and alumni.  

Since the Creighton School of Pharmacy was established in 1905, Creighton graduates have made an impact in the world and in healthcare – and they believe Creighton SPAHP gave them the personal and professional foundation to do so.  We are proud to work together with our alumni, donors and friends on such efforts as the Pharmacy Museum to advance the future of healthcare and of the university while preserving our past. 

School History

John and Edward Creighton, builders of the transcontinental telegraph that linked pioneer America, have given their name to the University. Edward’s widow, Mary Lucretia Creighton, carrying out her husband’s wishes, left money and directions for establishing a college in his memory. Following her death on January 23, 1876, the present University site was purchased and the first Bishop of Omaha, the Right Reverend James O’Connor, D.D., invited the Jesuits to conduct the Creighton College.

One priest, three scholastics, a layman, and a woman formed the faculty when classes began September 2, 1878. On August 14, 1879, Bishop O’Connor surrendered his trust to a new corporation, “The Creighton University.” Jesuits were exclusive managers of the corporation until, in October 1968, the Board of Directors was expanded to include laypersons. Today twenty-seven laypersons and seven Jesuits conduct the corporate affairs of Creighton University. The early growth of Creighton University and the enlargement of its endowment were due mainly to the benefactions of John A. Creighton and his wife, Sara Emily Creighton.

The Creighton University School of Pharmacy, formerly the Omaha College of Pharmacy, became a part of the University on September 1, 1905. The School offered only the Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy degree until 1976, when an academic program leading to the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree was initiated. In 1982, the Creighton University School of Pharmacy became the Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions with the addition of programs in Respiratory Therapy, Nurse Anesthesia, and Medical Technology. While these three programs have since been terminated, a baccalaureate program in Occupational Therapy was initiated in 1985. In 1991, the Pharmacy faculty voted unanimously to adopt the Doctor of Pharmacy as the sole entry-level pharmacy degree, which became effective with the pharmacy class entering in 1994. In 1992, the Physical Therapy program was instituted, and Creighton became the first university in the country to offer the entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.

A nontraditional track leading to the Doctor of Pharmacy degree was added to the School’s program offerings in 1994, and a nontraditional pathway to the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree was launched in 1999. These two post-professional degree tracks have since been phased out. In 1995 the School initiated one of the first post-baccalaureate Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) programs in the country and as of 1999 all entry-level occupational therapy students matriculating in the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions pursue the OTD degree. In the Fall 2001, two new web-based pathways were instituted, the distance post-professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) and the entry-level distance pathway to the Doctor of Pharmacy degree. In 2002, the School changed its name to the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions. SPAHP also has several innovative partnerships: one with the University of Alaska Anchorage (OTD and PharmD) began in 2008; one with Regis University in Denver (OTD) – the only Jesuit school collaboration of its kind in health professions education – began in 2015.

Centennial Stories

Our School’s 100-year journey is filled with challenges, adjustments, growth and opportunities. Today, we’re one of the preeminent institutions of health care education, service and research.

We’ve compiled a book highlighting the people and events from the past 100 years that have helped shape the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions. Read their stories below.

Centennial Stories


Museum Initiative

Museum Vision

In November 2011, the Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Professions began work to catalogue its growing collection of gift-in-kind donations of pharmacy memorabilia and established a formal initiative to create a pharmacy museum. Nebraska is currently one of only a handful of states without pharmacy museum. The vision of this project is to preserve artifacts of the practice of pharmacy from bygone eras and to create a unique program that will inspire learning and interest in the health sciences. Given the proper resources and commitment, this will not be just another collection with display cases of old, dusty items. The vision is to create a museum program and engage pharmacy students as docents, with pharmacy faculty and a full-time curator providing oversight. We hope to be able to offer interactive educational opportunities to draw the attention of young minds, grades K-12. 

Currently, there have been 24 donors of pharmacy/medical/scientific artifacts to the museum collection, with more than 400 items donated and stored on the Creighton campus. The initiative includes plans to partner with the Nebraska Pharmacist Association and the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy. Under the direction of Dean J. Chris Bradberry, PharmD and coordination by Assistant Dean for Alumni Relations Curt Barr, PharmD, alumni have been engaged to expand our list of donors for both artifacts and monetary support in an effort to move this project from a concept to a reality. Most notably, Creighton pharmacy alumnus Gary Hein, BSPHA’81, has volunteered his services as curator.  

Museum Contacts

We hope to expand our list of donors for both artifacts and monetary support in an effort to move this project from a concept to a reality. If you are interested in receiving our email updates, have a donation you would like to discuss or questions about the collection, send your contact information to Gary Hein, BSPha’81, RPh atgary [dot] w [dot] hein [at] cox [dot] net or 402-393-6865, or contact Curt Barr, BSPha’74, PharmD, assistant dean for alumni relations at curtbarr [at] creighton [dot] edu or 402.280.3148.

Museum Collection

Many of the items in the Creighton pharmacy collection are on display in the History Hall of the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions (in the Criss III building, first floor); however the bulk of the collection is currently in storage awaiting a named space on campus to dedicate to the initiative. Some of the items and their donors were featured in volunteer curator Gary Hein’s weekly email to Creighton pharmacy history enthusiasts. Information about these featured items has been reprinted below.