Calgary Bishop Fred Henry blesses a plaque at Fr. Michael J. McGivney Hall during a June 12 mass dedicating the building on the St. Mary's University College campus.
CALGARY — Alberta's Knights of Columbus have raised about $237,000 for St. Mary's University College in Calgary.
"It took us a little over three years to raise the money. We had help from knights all over southern Alberta," said Leo Bunz who chaired Knights of Columbus fundraising committee. "We concentrated very heavily on the councils in southern Alberta for their donations."
Although the fundraising committee was comprised of only four knights, they stayed active in their efforts since early 2008. They attended Knights meetings, made phone calls, sent emails and stirred up interest in the project via any means they could think of.
Their hard work paid off. Not only did individual councils donate money, but generous contributions also came from head office, the Supreme Knights, and the Alberta/Northwest Territories Knights of Columbus Charitable Foundation. The Knights even exceeded their original fundraising goal of $220,000.
The funds are being used for St. Mary's Father Michael J. McGivney Hall.
The building once belonged to Midlands United Church, and the university bought the building and began renovations whose costs escalated to nearly $1 million.
Classrooms and elevators in the hall have since been upgraded. More renovations, including re-roofing and the installation of engineered acoustical paneling, are ongoing.
"About four of us decided that we'd like to do some fundraising, but the $1 million was definitely out of our reach, so we decided to try for $220,000," said Bunz. "Of the amount we raised, $25,000 came from an anonymous donor from the Knights of Columbus."
A ceremony dedicating the hall was held June 12. Calgary Bishop Fred Henry celebrated Mass at the dedication, which also included an invocation and blessing of the recognition plaque. Guests at the ceremony toured the university campus afterwards.
In attendance at the event were Joe Ladouceur, chairman of the board of governors of St. Mary's, St. Mary's President Terry Downey and Neil Gannon, state deputy for the Alberta/NWT Knights of Columbus.
The educational institution's namesake was the Catholic priest who founded the Knights in 1882. The dedication of the building in McGivney's name is in gratitude for the Knights' commitment to St. Mary's University College.
Renaming the hall in McGivney's honour is a way to recognize the Knights' contributions to the university, and provides an example to future generations of students.
The Father Michael J. McGivney Hall is the hub of the two-year bachelor of education program, the only program of its kind in Alberta. No other program in Canada specifically prepares teachers for Catholic schools.