This Thanksgiving, we’re thankful for finding a sense of purpose

Thanksgiving is a time when we are able to reflect on what we are grateful for, but defining what that is has become markedly difficult for a growing number of young adults. 

According to a recent Gallup report titled “The Voices of Gen Z,” the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have made it difficult for today’s students and young professionals to engage with the world while also feeling a lack of purpose. The poll also revealed that 76% of Gen Z believe they have a promising future ahead, yet only 44% reported feeling adequately prepared for it. 

This tells us that future generations, who will become tomorrow’s leaders, need environments and opportunities that provide them with experiences that enable them to understand their role in the world and build a future that speaks to their soul as well as their skills. 

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In the Jesuit tradition, we ask our students to take an educational journey filled with a commitment to cura personalis, or care for the whole person; Magis, a desire to improve the world around us; and a commitment to live for and with others. We see the results of these efforts on our campuses in Phoenix and Omaha, as our students step into successful careers and vocations, often staying in those communities and serving as leaders as well. 

Yet, these positive outcomes are not Creighton’s alone. We are incredibly blessed and grateful to have many partners in Phoenix and in Arizona who have helped our graduates feel prepared and purposeful as they go out into the world.  

I want to acknowledge the dozens of organizations that work closely with us on service opportunities throughout the year through Creighton’s schools and colleges, as well as our clear commitments to mission-specific programs. By partnering with groups locally and across the globe, our students, faculty, and staff can grow into compassionate and curious individuals who make a difference.   

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego announced that Creighton University, Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Barrow Neurological Institute, and others will be part of the newly designated Phoenix Medical Quarter. I am grateful to join these partners in forming the Phoenix Medical Quarter and enhancing the city’s ability to provide top-tier healthcare to its citizens. 

My gratitude extends, as well, to our clinical partners in both Omaha and Phoenix. Here in Arizona, we have come together to develop the Creighton University Arizona Health Education Alliance, which includes Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Dignity Health Medical Group, District Medical Group, and Valleywise Health. These partnerships provide our students with an interdisciplinary education that allows them to develop crucial career skills while they positively impact the lives of thousands of local patients in a world-class healthcare setting. This also includes our special relationship with the Virginia G. Piper Medical Clinic and other services and programs of St. Vincent de Paul Phoenix.

Let me also express my deepest thanks to the municipal and state officials and institutions across Arizona that continue to work with Creighton so that our university’s growth complements the long-term vision of the region. We are honored to have their ongoing support to expand our programming, physical footprint, and grow our student body in Phoenix to nearly 1,000 students in the near future.

With this wealth of compassion and care for others, it is hard not to be grateful, even as we experience personal and global crises. 

By each of us gathering at the proverbial table, we have the power to break both bread and barriers and change the world for the better. I extend my deepest blessings to everyone this holiday season, pray that we remain grateful, and ask that we continue to find fullness as we invite others to have a seat at the table this holiday season — and in the days ahead.

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