125th Birthday

125 Years of Educating a Distinctive Type of Physician

Dean Robert “Bo” Dunlay, MD’81: ‘Our Finest Years Are Ahead’

I have a deep sense of gratitude as we celebrate great success, and yet I believe, with all of the changes and opportunities ahead of us, that we should view this year – our 125th anniversary – as a second founding of the Creighton University School of Medicine.

Read the full message


Historical Highlights

1892In the fall of 1892, 36 students from six states became the first class of the medical department of Creighton University.

Graduates of this class paid a $5 matriculation fee, $65 for tuition and fees and $25 to graduate.


By 1900, the number of students at John A. Creighton Medical College’s was up to 143.

In 1909, the John A. Creighton Medical College becomes the Creighton University College of Medicine.

1917In 1917, the College of Medicine operated through the summer to send seniors towards graduation and entry into the military. By the fall, Creighton grads were serving in the medical reserve corps.  

During WWII, the medical school curriculum included five new courses including the physiological principles of aviation medicine, the physiological principles of chemical warfare casualties, the treatment of casualties due to chemical warfare, tropical medicine and first aid.


Around 1940, St. Joseph’s Hospital opened the first blood bank in the state of Nebraska, called by the Omaha World-Herald, “The Bank of Life.”

The first official donors were Creighton freshmen football players.

1947On May 16, 1947, for the third time in the U.S. and first time west of the Missouri River, television cameras in the surgical pavilion of St. Joseph’s Hospital telecast a surgical operation.

Members of Creighton medical staff viewed the procedure on receivers in the Nursing School Auditorium half a block away.


June 5, 1962: Groundbreaking for Criss I Research Building

Sept. 24, 1964: Groundbreaking for Criss II Health Sciences Classroom Building

Oct. 18, 1973: Groundbreaking for Criss III Health Sciences Building

The buildings are named for Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss. Clair Carlton (C.C.) Criss and his brother Neil, decided to attend the Creighton College of Medicine together so they could share textbook expenses.


In 1974, Creighton broke ground for the new St. Joseph Hospital, located at 601 North 30th Street in Omaha.

1976In 1976, the Institute for Latin American Concern (ILAC), an Ignatian-led health and educational program, was established at Creighton.

Beginning in 1977, health sciences and undergraduate students traveled to the Dominican Republic for eight weeks in the summer to assist rural communities with health care and living conditions.


By 2005, Creighton and Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center have an agreement that sends Creighton medical students to Phoenix for one-month rotations.

Under a new affiliation, in 2012 Creighton established a fully operational campus in Phoenix at St. Joseph’s, offering two full years of clinical training.


2017This year, CHI Health and Creighton University opened the doors to a new academic health center with two campuses – CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center-University Campus and CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center Bergan Mercy.University campus