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Donation presentation from the Polish Fraternal Aid Society to the Polish Studies Endowment Fund, University of Manitoba. (From left) Zofia Sophia deWitt, Society Co-president, Georgina Cielen, Krysytyna Gajda, Jeff Taylor, Dean, Faculty of Arts, Robert Kolt, Society Co-president, Aneta Markiewicz. Photo courtesy of Magdalena Blackmore.

Donation presentation from the Polish Fraternal Aid Society to the Polish Studies Endowment Fund, University of Manitoba. (From left) Zofia Sophia deWitt, Society Co-president, Georgina Cielen, Krysytyna Gajda, Jeff Taylor, Dean, Faculty of Arts, Robert Kolt, Society Co-president, Aneta Markiewicz. Photo courtesy of Magdalena Blackmore.

Polish Society marks 100th anniversary with gift

Polish Studies Endowment Fund recipient of generous donation

November 29, 2017 — 

The Polish Fraternal Aid Society of St. John Cantius recently celebrated its 100th anniversary and marked this occasion with a $100,000 gift to the Polish Studies Endowment Fund at the University of Manitoba. Society Co-president and U of M alumna, Zofia Sophia de Witt [CertEd/71, BEd/73], encouraged members to make the donation as a gesture of the Society’s continued support of the Polish Studies program and, on this milestone anniversary, as a reaffirmation of the Society’s mission.

The Society was one of the original contributors toward the endowment fund, established in 1999, that has a goal to secure the offering of language and cultural courses at the university on an annual basis. “This generous donation will enable the community, university, department and students to plan for the future as it moves the fund rapidly toward its long-term goal,” said Myroslav Shkandrij, Acting Head, Department of German and Slavic Studies. “Polish studies have formed an integral part of the department promoting, preserving and enhancing the study of the Polish language and culture.”

For over 60 years, the university has worked in partnership with Manitoba’s Polish community – some 85,000 people – to foster and advance Polish language, culture and history and to ensure that the Polish experience remains a vibrant part of our province’s cultural fabric.

At the event, Jeff Taylor [BA/75, MA/78, PhD/88], Dean, Faculty of Arts noted that, “Donations such as this help the Faculty of Arts serve our students and the Province by offering courses and programs in a broader range of cultural and geographic areas. This ultimately benefits the greater community by delivering graduates with practical, creative, and analytical skills and abilities that they can then share within their communities.”

The Canadian Polish Congress, Manitoba Division, created the endowment fund and continues to raise the awareness of the Polish Studies program which in turn helps, along with various fundraising initiatives, to increase the capital of the fund.

It takes a great deal of work by many volunteers to keep fundraising going. Shkandrij added, “We are so grateful to the Polish community, the Congress Fundraising Committee and the Society for their support to help make our program strong and viable into the future.”

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