Kokjohn's $1 million gift will aid St. Ambrose students, faculty


Share
Originally Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2010, 10:23 pm
Last Updated: Sept. 30, 2010, 11:10 pm
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story
By Anthony Watt, awatt@qconline.com

A final gift from one of its own will help St. Ambrose University and its students pursue lofty goals.

Before his death last year, Rev. Joseph E. Kokjohn, 80, left $1 million to the university where he had graduated and, later, served as an English professor, according to SAU. On Thursday, SAUofficials announced his gift will be used to create an endowment for ongoing peace and social justice education and activity.

"We really do want to be good stewards of these funds," said Paul Koch, SAU vice president of academic affairs. He said the endowment's uses will include bringing guest speakers and faculty specialized in those areas to SAU, as well as training, partnering students with nonprofit groups and other hands-on experience in social justice and peace.

Money from the endowment could be available for use as early as the next academic year, Mr. Koch said. But he noted that SAUplans to wait until the fund reaches $1.5 million before using it in earnest.

During a Thursday campus ceremony, Rev. Kokjohn's quiet commitment to helping others was recalled by one of his students, Rev. Brian Miclot.

Now an SAUteacher himself, Rev. Miclot told how Rev. Kokjohn gave money to a Quad-Cities Catholic workhouse to help feed and house the hungry and how he was able to get an elderly housing project built when no one else could. But Rev. Miclot said no one knew of Rev. Kokjohn's elderly housing success until it was almost time to break ground, and that he had learned only recently of Rev. Kokjohn's workhouse gifts.

Although silent on those matters, Rev. Kokjohn had a sense of humor, Rev. Miclot said.

"There was always laughter with Kokjohn," he said.

Catholic priests are not known for being millionaires, said David Kokjohn, Rev. Kokjohn's nephew. But his uncle was good with the gifts God provided, he said, and always set aside a small amount of the money he received as a priest.

SAUPresident Sister Joan Lescinski said she met with Rev. Kokjohn about a week before he died. She said they talked and then, because she was preparing to take a trip, she asked for his blessing.

She said he looked at her for a moment before saying, "Yes, if you will give me yours."

"It was a very special moment for me," she said. "I know this gift is a part of his continued blessing for all of us."

















 



Local events heading








  Today is Tuesday, July 29, the 210th day of 2014. There are 155 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Col. H.F. Sickless informs us that there will be new organization of troops in this state under the call for more men.
1889 -- 125 years ago: James Normoyle arrived home after graduating from West Point with honors in the class of 1889. He was to report to Fort Brady, Mich., as second lieutenant in the 23rd Infantry.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Austria Hungary declared war on Serbia. Germany and Austria refused an invitation of Sir Edward Grey to join Great Britain at a mediation conference.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Dr. William Mayo, the last of the three famous Mayo brother surgeons, died at the age of 78.
1964 -- 50 years ago: One of the biggest horse shows of the season was held yesterday at Hillandale Arena on Knoxville Road under the sponsorship of the Illowa Horsemen's Club.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Davenport is like a gigantic carnival this weekend with the Bix Arts Fest taking over 12 square blocks of the downtown area. A festive atmosphere prevailed Friday as thousands of people turned out to sample what the Arts Fest has to offer.








(More History)