St. Thomas More College (STM) is pleased to announce a $1 Million gift from Irene Ositis-Schmeiser in support of STM’s Centre for Faith, Reason, Peace, and Justice.
“This landmark gift will enable STM to establish its new Centre on a solid and lasting footing,” says Dr. Carl Still (PhD), president of St. Thomas More College at the University of Saskatchewan (Usask). “The Irene and Doug Schmeiser Centre for Faith, Reason, Peace, and Justice will draw new students, new researchers, and new community partners to STM. Through the Schmeiser Centre, STM’s unique academic programs will prepare students of all backgrounds to receive an education in the Catholic intellectual tradition, which emphasizes the integration of knowledge and values in an increasingly fragmented world.”
More than a decade in the planning, the Centre was officially launched this past January. Director Dr. Chris Hrynkow (PhD) spoke at that time to its goals. “The Centre has a threefold purpose: To serve as a home for STM’s distinctive programs in the areas of Catholic Studies, Critical Perspectives on Social Justice and the Common Good, and Peace Studies; To promote these programs with students, community partners, and faculty; and through outreach to bring the insights and values associated with these programs alive through mutually-enhancing work with community partners.”
Ositis-Schmeiser and late husband Doug, share history and support for the College that go back many decades. Ositis-Schmeiser served 6 years on STM’s Corporation, while Schmeiser was named as a Distinguished Alumnus in 2009 recognizing his lifetime of achievement since graduating from the College. Schmeiser served as Dean at USask College of Law and worked extensively nationally and internationally in the areas of constitutional law, legal reform, human rights, and judicial education. The Doug and Irene Schmeiser Scholarship established in 2000 annually supports STM students majoring in Philosophy. As regular attendees at STM academic lectures, and members of the College worshipping community, “we experienced a sense of community and a wonderful extended family,” says Ositis-Schmeiser.
Ositis-Schmeiser’s gift plans for the College in 2019 were solidified when presented with an update of the Centre development. “The focus and goals of STM’s Centre for Faith, Reason, Peace, and Justice, along with its dedication to fostering excellence in teaching, research, and community outreach, reflected our values along with our career and volunteer pursuits, and that which strengthened our relationship with the College community over three decades.” said Ositis-Schmeiser of her decision to extend support to the initiative.
While Covid-19 restrictions waylaid earlier planned celebrations for the gift announcement, Kari Sinkewicz, Manager of Development and Alumni Relations, is excited to recognize Ositis-Schmeiser’s generosity and community impact. “Irene has been serving the community through generous volunteerism, advocacy, and donations for years. With this gift providing early, transformative support, Irene brings to life this much-needed Centre, and she is planting the seed of yet another legacy in our community.”
The advisory committee for the new Centre includes community partners along with STM faculty involved in the distinctive program areas. Most Reverend Mark Hagemoen, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, was on hand for the naming installation and announcement, and spoke to the interconnection of the Centre’s programs and impact on extending to goals of Catholic Intellectual tradition in his appreciation for Ositis-Schmeiser’s support. “Faith and reason are mutual partners in Catholic institutions. The Centre at STM will look at how the call to right relationship to all creation, impacts issues of peace and justice.”
Hrynkow reiterated appreciation on behalf of the College community. “Irene’s generous gift provides the critical financial energy to see this work through in a fuller, transformative manner. Indeed, it is a game-changing gift that will help STM College grow its relevancy in key areas of its mission to students and the wider community. I am profoundly grateful to Irene and will work hard in partnership with other stakeholders to build the Centre into something she can be proud for embodying her own deep commitments to Catholic traditions, peace, social justice, and the common good.
For more information, please contact Dr. Chris Hrynkow, Director, Irene and Doug Schmeiser Centre for Faith, Reason, Peace, and Justice email@example.com 306 202-3535
For information on donation opportunities, please contact Kari Sinkewicz firstname.lastname@example.org 306 966 8918