Creighton Prep honors six for support, community service

Six people were honored Oct. 24 for their support and service to Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha at the annual Loyola Dinner of Honor and Distinction.

Jesuit Father Tom Merkel, president of the all-boys school from 2003 to 2012 and currently assistant vice president for university relations at Creighton University, also in Omaha, received the Sword of St. Ignatius award for his service for “the greater glory of God.” 

Alumnus of the Year for embodying service to others was 1984 graduate Todd Johnson. An executive at the Gallup Organization and member of Christ the King Parish in Omaha, Johnson serves on Creighton Prep’s Council of Regents and its Development Committee.

Inducted into the Creighton Prep Hall of Fame for their service to the school were Dr. Tom Connolly, class of 1956; Jim Gross, class of 1968; and Denny Hogan, class of 1966.

Connolly is a retired physician and member of St. Robert Bellarmine Parish in Omaha. His service to Prep includes a longtime involvement with the schools’ BASH fundraiser. As a physician, he also has cared for numerous Jesuit priests and brothers over the years.

A member of St. Pius X Parish in Omaha, Gross taught at Creighton Prep from 1982 to 2015 and from 1973 to 1976. He coached for 38 years in the football program and served on the school’s Governing Board and Faculty/Staff Senate.

An attorney and member of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Omaha, Hogan serves on the Boys Town Development Board. A past president of the Catholic Charities Foundation, he also has served on Creighton Prep’s alumni board and volunteered in fundraising campaigns.

Ann Tjaden, a member of St. Margaret Mary Parish in Omaha, received the Ancilla Domini award, recognizing a woman for “caring, nurturing and unselfish dedication to her faith, family and community.” 

Among other things, Tjaden has volunteered at the school’s annual BASH fundraiser and served on that event’s executive committee.

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