Helping Future Students Goal of Longtime Educators
By Sarah Smith, BA’07
Ask Creighton alumni Greg, BA’84, MS’88, and Mary Lou Batenhorst, BA’86, what they loved most about attending Creighton, and they would be hard-pressed to give you only one answer.
Both count their time at Creighton as immensely rewarding and have a mile-long list of what they enjoyed: the close-knit community, Jesuit values, strong academics, and lifelong friendships. All of this came to mind when they recently sat down to tackle the important task of planning their estate. They decided to include Creighton in their estate and are excited to help future students have the fulfilling experience they did at the University.
Education has always been close to their hearts. Both are educators in the St. Louis area; Greg is an assistant superintendent and Mary Lou an English teacher. They remember both sets of parents emphasizing the importance of education early on.
Mary Lou recalls her parents’ pride when she became the first in her family to graduate from college. Greg’s parents emphasized the importance of education by example. For instance, Greg’s mom worked at his high school as a cook and librarian, and his dad served on the school board and guided efforts to help the school remain financially viable.
“That pretty much sent the message that education was important,” Greg says.
In addition to including Creighton in their estate, Mary Lou and Greg have made scholarship gifts to Creighton’s Graduate School and College of Arts and Sciences in the past. The University has been a constant presence in their lives, and they want to give back to the school that gave them so much.
“All that we have been able to accomplish is largely because of our experience at Creighton,” Mary Lou says.
Though they attended at the same time, they didn’t meet until after graduating while teaching at the same Omaha school. They married at St. John’s Church on campus with several Creighton professors in attendance. Both were contacted by members of the Creighton community when they lost loved ones over the years. They say they are touched at the continued compassion and care shown by those at Creighton.
They often encourage their students and family members applying to college to consider Creighton.
“If you were to take the family tree of both of our families, you would see siblings, nieces, nephews, and cousins who have gone to Creighton,” Greg says. “All have had positive, extraordinary experiences there.”
They still have friendships with people they met at Creighton.
“My best friends in the world are still the ones I made at Creighton,” Greg says.
They are also loyal Bluejays fans and rarely miss basketball games.
“We’re definitely hardcore Jays fans,” Greg said. “We bleed blue.”
Greg and Mary Lou do not have children and hope their donations can help others obtain an education and have a great college experience, just like they did.
“We want future students to have the same experiences and opportunities we did, so anything we can do to pass on that positive experience to another student, we’re more than happy to do,” Mary Lou says.
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