Celebrating 100 years of Alpha Sigma Nu at Creighton University

Posted in: Alpha Sigma Nu

Celebrating 100 years of Alpha Sigma Nu at Creighton University

We asked several of our friends at Creighton University to reflect on the 100th anniversary of the ASN student chapter at Creighton. 

Daniel Hendrickson, SJ (Marquette University '13)

How does the ASN Chapter at Creighton promote the values of Jesuit higher education to the Creighton campus?

One of the values of Jesuit higher education is a commitment to excellence, which is a hallmark of Alpha Sigma Nu and a common thread among all of those honored with this distinction. I believe ASN honorees also share a love for lifelong learning, which is so important to us as an institution in how we are trying to develop our students. There is also a common belief in the importance of critical thinking and analysis, ethical decision-making, and creative problem-solving that is integral to ASN and Jesuit higher education. There really is a symbiotic relationship, which intersects with the core of our mission here at Creighton University.

What do you hope for the Creighton ASN chapter in its next 100 years?

First, these last 100 years have been great! I am proud that we have the second-oldest chapter, started here in 1921. My hope for Creighton’s Chapter of Alpha Sigma Nu in the next 100 years is that it continues to flourish, to inspire, and to recognize future generations of students and alumni, who, in turn, take our Jesuit mission outward and make a significant difference in their professions, families, communities, and the world.

Angela Patterson ( Creighton University '17)

As a new adviser, what do you see as the future of ASN Creighton? 

I would be remiss to discuss the future of ASN at Creighton without reflecting on the rich chapter history on campus and among the Jesuit community. The members of ASN are chosen for the Jesuit qualities of scholarship, loyalty, and service and for sharing their accomplishments in the service of others. Today, social media brings a broader awareness of our honor society, but it is the interactions with Jesuits that inspires members to a lifetime pursuit of intellectual development and deepening Ignatian spirituality. With the multitude of academic programs on campus, including eight health science programs, the Creighton University ASN Chapter represents diverse aspiring professionals, fostering an environment of interprofessional collaboration and sustainable service in different environments. 

What are your hopes for the chapter?

As the world becomes more interconnected every day, I hope that the Creighton ASN chapter will also make connections with other ASN chapters nationally and globally. These connections will be a foundation for professional pursuits beyond the Creighton community. I hope the members of the chapter, through reflection and interactions with fellow members and ASN alumni, envision how their dedication to scholarship and service promotes and embodies justice for others. 

Gregory Carlson, SJ (Creighton University '94)

In your time as chapter adviser, how did you see the Creighton chapter living the ASN tenet of Loyalty?

You ask about Loyalty.  For me, this was the most challenging, difficult, and radical of the three tenets of ASN. 

Loyalty is challenging because my experience suggests that some people invoke loyalty in order to bypass the sort of hard thinking we expect from Jesuit students, particularly ASN students.  People can and do ask us to be loyal to traditions and opinions whose shortcomings and prejudices we now recognize.  As adviser, I used a longer interpretative phrase: “Loyalty to Ignatian (or Jesuit) Values.”  We do not have to worry about these values changing with time.  In fact, they grow with critical understanding.  A thinking Church needs to read the signs of the times and needs to be ready to change minds!

Loyalty is difficult to judge.  In many ways Scholarship and Service are easy to document.  In order to get a sense of someone’s loyalty to values, those admitting ASN candidates need to get beneath the print of a resume or CV and to develop a feel of what the person stands for, works for, and maybe even fights for.  And so Loyalty for me was the most radical of the three tenets: it goes to the roots of a person.  It drives and informs service, just as it spurs on scholarship and critical understanding.

“Showing the Way to God” is a bold claim in our diverse and divided world.  We do it, as believers always have, by being “A Person Fully Alive,” homo vivens, in the phrase Christians picked up from Irenaeus.  People notice those who are alive, thriving, aware, ready to serve – in short, people imbued with values and attitudes summed up in ASN’s “Loyalty.”  I do not know anything that fosters those values like Ignatian reflection and attention to the invitations of the Gospel.  Together, reflection and the Gospel show me how to live my way to God!


Dr. Tom Purcel, Ph.D. (Creighton University '14)

In your seven years as chapter adviser, how did the chapter promote the ASN values and the mission of Creighton?

We have participated in our annual Welcome Week activities for incoming freshmen.  We also have assisted with university-wide service activities, such as Homeless Connect, by informing and encouraging our members to volunteer individually.

What did you enjoy most of your experience as an adviser?

​I really enjoyed evaluating the nomination letters.  We use an anonymous nomination process, so the letters come from faculty and staff, and sometimes student peers.  Every year I was humbled to read all the good things these students are doing, many times with very little notice or expectation of recognition.  They truly are motivated by our mission and the Ignatian core values, chief of which was cura personalis.  We couldn't induct all of them, but even those we did not select are clearly embracing the Jesuit mission elements. 

Is there a particular memory you would like to share?

​I think our student officers this past spring did an outstanding job adapting to COVID restrictions.  We had to pivot multiple times on planning and conducting our spring induction ceremony.  They very easily adapted to a "live" induction with pre-recorded elements from some participants.  We have historically distributed medallions for commencement in a breakfast for graduates and their families on the day before commencement, but that didn't happen, of course, (in either May, 2020 or May, 2021), so we found a way to provide all the graduates who were participating in commencement with their medallions.