West Point Gymnasium Named After Former Interim President Neal Creighton

Alumni, faculty, and staff from the late 1990s and early 2000s might recall that former Interim President Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Neal Creighton was a charismatic leader and champion fundraiser.

But many may not know he was an accomplished NCAA gymnast while a student at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, noted for the many backflips he easily performed on a whim.

After Creighton’s death at the age of 90 on Sept. 15, 2020, West Point renamed a gymnasium in his honor: the Maj. Gen. Neal and Joan Creighton Gymnastics Arena.

The dedication ceremony took place at 3:30 p.m. in the Lou Gross Sports Center in West Point, NY, on Jan. 15, 2022, with his son, Neal Creighton, Jr.; daughters, Linda Gordon and Lisa Hendricks; and wife, Joan (Hicks) Creighton, in attendance.

President and Chief Transformation Officer Donald P. Lofe, Jr., was cordially invited by Neal Jr. on behalf of West Point to attend the ceremony, which he viewed via livestream.

“Recent knee surgery prevented me from being able to attend what was a very meaningful and moving ceremony of one of Westminster’s most inspiring presidential leaders,” Lofe said. “On behalf of the College, I would like to extend our deep appreciation for Interim President Creighton’s service to Westminster and thank his family for the opportunity to view the dedication.”

During the ceremony, Neal Jr. said his father’s most important qualities ― which he was recognized for at Westminster ― included his ability to converse with people from all walks of life, including those in positions of power, from Presidents Jimmy Carter to Gerald Ford.

The resident of Lexington, MA, mentioned Creighton’s favorite Gen. MacArthur quotation: “Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.”

The newly dedicated gymnasium is one way his family is keeping the Creighton legacy alive.

The Maj. Gen. Neal and Joan Creighton Gymnastics Arena ceremony can be viewed in its entirety on the Army West Point Gymnastics Facebook page. Read more about Creighton in his complete obituary.


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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.