Photo: Siri Kousonsavath
Several years ago Mr. Conrad Wyrzykowski started a Fund with the Foundation named the Wyrzykowski Family Bursary Endowment Fund in honour of his late wife Evelyn. Over the years, with his family and the matching funds made available from the Manitoba Scholarship and Bursary Initiative (MSBI) through the University of Manitoba, the contributed capital to the endowment has been significant and by the end of this academic year it will reach over $500,000.
The Bursary provides substantial gifts for University students in need who are enrolled in the Catholic Studies program which operates in the College’s Jesuit Centre for Catholic Studies.
This past year he and I began work on a second Fund, a Scholarship, as a complement to the Bursary. Being forever mindful of academic excellence and equally aware that this generation of students are entering into a globally-oriented work force Mr. Wyrzykowski is challenging the recipients of these new scholarships to not only achieve high marks in Catholic Studies but also to have engaged in travel courses, field study, and social learning programs. Each of the undergraduate scholarships will be valued at $5,000.
Not stopping there, in late spring Mr. Wyrzykowski contacted the College and said he was prepared to start a third funding opportunity with the Foundation. The Wyrzykowski Family Ignatian Scholars Fund was subsequently established. Annually, this latest Endowment will be used to augment the Jesuit Centre’s programs and services. This gift will provide our Director of the Centre, Fr. Jeffery Burwell, SJ, additional support so he can offer unique and modern programs for students and the College’s greater community.
These funds will have been leveraged to a total of over $1.5 million for the College’s Jesuit Centre for Catholic Studies, and this is largely based on Mr. Wyrzykowski pledging over $1 million, with the remainder of the gifts being received from his family and the Manitoba Scholarship and Bursary Initiative (MSBI) through the University of Manitoba.
“We all have the duty to do good.”
In conversations with Conrad I have learned the significance that the Jesuit Fathers had on him during his adolescent years. The influence of these teachers, their personal attention for trying new activities such as debating and public speaking gave him the needed stability and sense of belonging to achieve his post-secondary education. He applied the lessons he learned at St. Paul’s throughout his life.
Evelyn, the love of Conrad’s life, was equally influential. As a couple they raised five children, were involved in establishing Villa Maria Retreat House, were founding members of Jean Vanier’s L’Arche Winnipeg, led marriage preparation program, and provided support for those in need, especially single mothers. Of great significance was their love of travel. The many places they visited awakened in them an awareness of the needs of others throughout the world and were deeply impacted by the suffering caused by hunger. For farmers it was then an easy decision for the Wyrzykowski family to become supporters of the Canadian Food Bank.
Several years ago Mr. Wyrzykowski joined the College’s Foundation Board to provide donor and alumni insight and guidance to the governing body. In 2013, he became the Board’s first Emeritus Member. In a formal Board motion, approved unanimously, he was recognized and thanked for his influence in helping the Foundation achieve its goals and direction.
Mr. Wyrzykowski established these Funds with over $1 million in honour of those who have influenced his life the most and to propel the Jesuit Centre for Catholic Studies to a new level of successful activity. Each gift to the Foundation was made in memory of his wife Evelyn and in celebration of their family. He is grateful for the Jesuit education he received and the Ignatian influence that was imparted during his time at St. Paul’s College.
During one of our most recent conversations, Conrad looked at me and said, “Chris, my deepest hope is that my legacy along with the legacy of my family and the gifts that God has given me, will serve to inspire other alumni and friends to do what they can for the College. I have had a good life and am grateful for all that I have been blessed with.”
Conrad, may your good life continue!
Dr. Christopher J. Adams, Rector (SPC’83 ’86)