Creighton Dedicates New Women's Athletics Facility to Support Campus, Community

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OMAHA, Neb. - Creighton University will officially dedicate the Wayne and Eileen Ryan Athletic Center and D.J. Sokol Arena during a ceremony at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 28. 

The facility, located on the northeast corner of Webster Street and Florence Boulevard, will be alive with activity later that day when the Bluejay Invitational starts off the volleyball season.

The Bluejays will play an early match with Texas Tech at 6:30 p.m. and a program to recognize donors will be held during the intermission of that match.

The 78,134 square-foot facility is the new home for Creighton women's volleyball and basketball programs with a court arena seating 2,950. The facility also includes coaches' offices, locker rooms, ticket offices, athletic training, meeting rooms and a media workroom.  The arena is also expected to be used for other campus and community events including campus assemblies, coaching camps/clinics, concerts, and speakers.

The facility was made possible by the generous donations by Wayne and Eileen Ryan and family and David and Peggy Sokol and their family as well as other  Bluejay donors and loyal fans.

Dr. Wayne and Eileen Ryan believe strongly in the Jesuit commitment to educate the whole person - mind, body and spirit.  Wayne is a graduate of Creighton, earning a bachelor's degree in 1949 and a master's degree two years later.  He began his career teaching at Creighton before pursuing his passion for research that led to the founding of his company, Streck Inc., where he is Chairman and CEO.  Wayne and Eileen are long-time supporters of Creighton University academic and athletic programs.  Recently, they established the Fr. Henry W. Casper, S.J., Professorship in History to honor one of Ryan's favorite Jesuit professors at Creighton.  In 2007, Wayne and Eileen received The Ignatian Spirit Award from the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus, honoring a couple who exhibit the ideals associated with St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus. 

The D.J. Sokol Arena honors the memory of David L. Sokol, Jr. "D.J.", May 29, 1981 - June 11, 1999.  At the age of 16, D.J. Sokol was diagnosed with cancer.  His response over the next two years to the challenge of fighting this disease will forever communicate to others the character of D.J. Sokol.  He demonstrated wisdom, maturity, empathy and enthusiasm, and served as a tremendous source of inspiration to all who met him. Generations of athletes privileged to play here will continue to be inspired by his example. 

D.J.'s parents, David and Peggy, are community leaders who devote time and resources to a host of charitable causes.  They are longtime supporters of Creighton University and the Bluejays.  David Sokol is Chairman of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company and a former member of the Creighton University Board of Directors. 

The Sokol family's dedication to giving back to their community is a testament to their generosity, vision, leadership and character. They believe that the best investment anyone can make is in the youth of their community. 

"This one of a kind student womens' athletics facility is one of the best in the nation and will make our dreams of an even stronger athletics program, championed by intensely loyal fans, more of a reality.  This long-desired on-campus home, also provides a gathering place for other campus activities and community events, " said Bruce Rasmussen, Creighton University's director of athletics.

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