The Creighton University community has lost a longtime leader, scholar and ardent supporter.
Salvatore “Sam” Greco, dean emeritus of the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, died Sunday in Omaha at the age of 97.
Greco retired from teaching in 1992, having served Creighton as a pharmacy faculty member since 1956 and dean of the Creighton School of Pharmacy from 1958-1971.
He and his wife, Betty, were familiar faces at Creighton events, especially reunion banquets.
In Centennial Stories, a 2005 publication commemorating SPAHP’s 100-year history, Greco said his enjoyment of teaching was rooted in watching students grow from their arrival on campus through graduation. He also offered advice to newcomers in the pharmacy profession.
“Be dedicated to what you’re doing,” he said. “Realize that pharmacists have a great responsibility to be ethical about everything they do and to treat the customer fairly.”
He also made an appearance in a video produced for the school’s centenary. (His interview begins at 3:08.)
Greco’s grandson, Cris Otepka, is a regional director of development in University Relations.
“We are so grateful for his longevity and the time we had with him,” Otepka said. “Grandpa Sam is who brought my family to Omaha and why I initially came to love this institution so much.”
Interim Dean Amy Friedman Wilson, PharmD’95, called Greco one of the pillars of pharmacy education at Creighton.
“He served as a shining example of an outstanding academic with a gift for teaching and inspiring students,” she said. “Sam’s impact on our school and the University cannot be overstated. It endures today.”
A first-generation American born to Sicilian immigrants, Greco was raised in Monessen, Pennsylvania. He served his country in Germany during World War II and, upon his return, earned his doctorate from the University of Maryland. Prior to Creighton, he taught at Temple University and George Washington University.
Greco is survived by Betty, six children, 15 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held Saturday morning, Jan. 5 at Holy Name Catholic Church, where the Grecos were parishioners for 62 years. Visitation begins at 10 a.m., followed by a memorial Mass at 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be sent to the Salvatore J. Greco Endowed Scholarship Fund, Creighton University, PO Box 30282, Omaha, NE 68103-1382, or online at creighton.edu/giving.
For more about Greco, his family and legacy, read his obituary from the Omaha World-Herald.