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Creighton University pulls alumni honor for Joe Ricketts, says emails don't reflect school's values

Creighton University pulls alumni honor for Joe Ricketts, says emails don't reflect school's values

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Creighton University announced Wednesday that it will no longer include Joe Ricketts in a university event honoring accomplished alumni, citing personal emails by Ricketts that became public earlier this week.

The university uninvited the 77-year-old TD Ameritrade founder and billionaire — a 1968 Creighton graduate — from its first-ever Evening of Honors event, scheduled for Friday.

In an email to Creighton alumni, the Rev. Daniel Hendrickson, the school president, said that he spoke with Ricketts Tuesday and that he won’t receive the award.

“Mr. Ricketts’ comments in personal emails do not reflect the values of our Jesuit, Catholic mission, including our focus on inclusiveness and diversity,” Hendrickson wrote.

Ricketts has apologized for the emails, sent between 2009 and 2013. They include racist jokes, conspiracy theories about former President Barack Obama’s faith and life, and references to Islam as “a cult and not a religion.”

Ricketts said he has “deep regret” and that the emails don’t reflect his values.

On Friday, Creighton is planning to give Alumni Merit Awards to nine individuals for contributions in their respective fields. Each honoree reflects one of Creighton’s nine schools and colleges.

Ricketts, a Catholic who recently opened a multimillion-dollar Catholic retreat center near Gretna, has said he was inspired by his own experience with Jesuit retreats. Ricketts, who built his Omaha company but lives in Wyoming, is an influential donor to Republican causes.

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