November 26, 2014

Creighton University president stepping down

about_home_fw[1]Creighton University President Timothy Lannon informed the Board of Trustees he will be leaving the position earlier than anticipated. Lannon had planned on retiring June of 2015 but due to health concerns he moved that date up to January 20th.

The board intends to appoint J. Christopher Bradberry, dean of the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, as interim president beginning December 21st due to Lannon’s travel schedule.

Lannon stated, “This has been a very difficult decision to reach because of the caliber of wonderful, committed people with whom I have had the honor of working, the quality of students and alumni I have met over the years and because of the distinct honor it was for me to ‘come home’ to my alma mater as president. The achievements of Creighton during the past few years have been significant, due in large measure to the incredible dedication of our visionary trustees, faculty, staff, administration, students and alumni. I am confident that the next person stepping forward as president will continue to live out our University’s faith-filled mission,” concluded Lannon.

Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns issued this statement: “I thank Father Lannon for his lifetime of service to the Catholic community. His service as the President of Creighton University displayed his passion for educating the next generation of Catholic Leaders. As an alumnus myself, I know the profound impact Creighton has on the lives of its students. I will keep him in my prayers and wish him all the best in future endeavors.”

Nebraska high school graduation rate rises

thEPB7WBDENearly 90% of the seniors in Nebraska high schools last year graduated.

The Nebraska Department of Education reports the graduation rate from last year was 89.7%, up from 88.5% in 2013.

The department says the four-year graduation rate has improved steadily since 2011, when 86.1% of the high school seniors graduated in four years. The number of graduates continues to increase. In 2014, 19,500 students graduated from Nebraska high schools.

“Nebraska public schools set a new all-time high graduation rate this year, in effect, reaching the state goal,” Nebraska Education Commissioner Matt Blomstedt said in a written statement released by Nebraska Department of Education.

The new graduation data as well as dropout rates have been added to the State of the Schools Report and are available at: or

N-U president finalist Ross visiting this week

University of Nebraska presidential finalist Dr. George Ross is visiting Nebraska this week. On Tuesday, Dr. Ross spoke at a campus forum at the University of Nebraska – Omaha and shared his philosophy as the role of the president’s position.

Dr. Ross says, “Our job, my job as president would insure all students, no matter their background, have the ability to earn a degree at this excellent university. Our job, my job as president must insure academic excellence in teaching, student learning, research and creative activities.”

Dr. Ross is currently the president at Central Michigan University. He previously served as president of Alcorn State University and held senior positions at Clark Atlanta University, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Tuskegee University. Dr. Ross is also a certified public accountant.

Dr. Ross attended forums Tuesday at the University of Nebraska – Omaha, University of Nebraska Medical Center and the University of Nebraska – Kearney. Today, Dr. Ross is attending a campus forum at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and on Thursday he will be interviewed by the Board of Regents.

Dr. Ross is one of four finalists for the position of president. Following Dr. Ross’ visit the Boar of Regents invites Nebraskans to submit their feedback and an online form is available at

Nebraska drops two notches in report on wellbeing of children


Click to enlarge map

The new “Kids Count” report, which studies the wellbeing of children nationwide, finds Nebraska slipping slightly, but still ranking in the top ten.

The report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation ranks Nebraska 10th this year, down from eighth place last year.

The organization’s Patrice Cromwell says a variety of factors are weighed for the annual study in areas including income, education, health care and crime.

“This report is focused on the fact that half of young children in America today are growing up in low-income families facing major hurdles and being denied the American dream,” she says.

One objective of the report is to break the cycle of poverty and move children toward opportunity.

“Nebraska is still struggling with getting post-secondary education for parents,” she says. “If you look at 69% of the families that don’t have an associate degree or higher, that’s has major implications in terms of being able to create family stability.”

Cromwell says there are 58,000 children in Nebraska under the age of eight in low-income families that are struggling, “for parents to have access to income, access to quality child care in schools, and stress at home for parents figuring out how to juggle schedules and get food on the table.”

Cromwell, the foundation’s director of strategic initiatives, says one solution is to use the public, nonprofit and private sectors to simultaneously reach out to two generations.

“What we’re proposing is not only investing in early childhood but investing in skills for parents at the same time,” Cromwell says. “So, when a parent brings a child to Head Start or early child care, that they then go upstairs or go to the neighborhood’s job training program or the community college and build their skills.”

The recommendations propose integrating state and federal employment, education and child care programs for parents and children to create better opportunities for the entire family.

While Nebraska ranked 10th this year, the top three states are: Massachusetts, Vermont and Iowa.

See the full report at


Lockdown at northeast Nebraska school lifted after death investigation

A school in northeastern Nebraska had been under lock down today as authorities investigated a death on school property.

Little information has been released by the Wakefield Community Schools or the Dixon County Sheriff’s Office, but reports have surfaced that a 20-year-old former student has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

An official confirmation of that has not been released.

The K-12 school is located in Wakefield, a community of about 1,400, not far from Sioux City, Iowa.

School officials say a teacher spotted a suspicious vehicle near the soccer field this morning at approximately 10:30. Officials report Wakefield students and staff are not in danger.

Paul Hughes, WJAG, contributed to this report.