LeeAnn Crist

LeeAnn Crist
Department: Facilities
Years of Service: 11
Hometown: Munster, Indiana


Ask children what they want to be when they grow up and they will probably say a veterinarian, a teacher or an athlete. Go back and ask a young LeeAnn Crist, and she will say an interior designer.

As a young girl, LeeAnn liked to rearrange furniture in her family home. Today, she does a lot more than moving furniture around. She designs every space for Creighton as the campus interior designer and project manager in the Department of Facilities Management.

“My job is my passion,” LeeAnn said. “I love what I do and I don’t feel like I work a day in my life.”

It’s not hard to imagine why. Surrounded by fabric swatches, carpet samples and paint chips, LeeAnn is in a designer’s paradise.

LeeAnn has designed many of the offices, common spaces and classrooms at Creighton for the past 11 years.  When working with different departments, LeeAnn looks to understand their needs, while still maintaining a cohesive look across the University.

It can be difficult for an untrained eye to see the finished product, but Creighton puts its trust in LeeAnn.

If a paint color doesn’t seem to be working, “wait till everything is done. You have to wait until the furniture comes in,” LeeAnn said. Trust the woman with the eye for design. Live in the space for a while, and then, LeeAnn can come in and tweak it if necessary.

For 36 years, she has designed commercial spaces. And after work, she teaches interior design classes at Metropolitan Community College.

One of her favorite projects has been Creighton’s pediatric therapy clinic in west Omaha. LeeAnn worked with therapists on the design, developing a space that best fits their needs.

To incorporate children in the space, the pediatric patients decorated canvases, which are now on display. Every time they come for therapy, they can see their own art on the walls.

For the updated space, LeeAnn worked a lot with color, painting each door trim a different color with a matching carpet square upon entry, so therapists could tell their patients “let’s go to the blue room today.”

When designing any space, first LeeAnn looks at what can be saved or repurposed. Even in her own home, she is constantly repurposing furniture to update the look.

A space can take anywhere from a few days if it’s a reconfiguration to a year if it’s a total redesign.

Recent projects include the Nursing Simulation Lab, the Department of Mathematics, the School of Law, the Department of Communications Studies and the Department of Cultural and Social Studies.

LeeAnn loves to work in commercial spaces as they often yield larger projects than residential spaces would. So don’t ask her to redesign a house—she’s strictly commercial.