WHEELING, W.Va., Feb. 8, 2017 - The Wheeling Jesuit University Life Club is the recipient of the 2017 Rev. Thomas King, S.J. Award, a prestigious, national award which recognizes outstanding collegiate pro-life groups in the United States.
As recipient of the Rev. Thomas King Award, Wheeling Jesuit joins a distinctive group of past recipients which includes pro-life organizations from Marquette, Fordham, Yale, Villanova, the University of Michigan, the University of North Carolina and St. Louis University. The Award was presented to members of the WJU Life Club by Dr. John DeGioia, president of Georgetown University, during the Cardinal O'Connor Conference on Life in Washington, D.C. in January. The conference was held in conjunction with the annual March for Life.
ABOVE: Members of the Wheeling Jesuit Life Club received the Rev. Thomas King, S.J. Award, a prestigious, national award which recognizes outstanding collegiate pro-life groups in the United States during the Cardinal O'Conner Conference. On hand to accept the award were: (in front) Lucy Hritzo, Madeline Davin and WJU Professor Emeritus Ted Erickson. In back are, Stephen Hansknecht, Margaret Erickson of Wheeling Jesuit's Campus Ministry Department.
Club President Madeline Davin said receiving the award was very exciting. “Having the president of the oldest Jesuit university - Georgetown - present the award to the youngest - Wheeling Jesuit was pretty amazing.”
AT RIGHT: Madeline Davin, WJU Life Club President accepts the Rev. Thomas King, S.J. Award from Georgetown University President Dr. John DeGioia.
The Rev. Thomas King, S.J. Award was established in 2010 by the Cardinal O'Connor Conference to recognize and award outstanding collegiate pro-life groups. The award is named in honor of the late Fr. King, a Jesuit priest who spent 40 years at Georgetown teaching and ministering to students. He co-founded University Faculty for Life, served as its president for 15 years, and maintained a close relationship with both GU Right to Life and the Knights of Columbus. Fr. King passed away in June 2009, leaving behind a profound legacy of defending and advocating for the sanctity of human life.
Wheeling Jesuit's Life Club received this award for the service projects it performed and events it hosted, which promoted the sanctity of human life. “Our club realizes that the pro-life movement is more than educating others and raising awareness in that one area. We believe it is about serving the most vulnerable of our community - from the unborn and elderly to the sick and disabled,” Davin added.
During the past year, Davin said the club held a number of events to involve the campus community. The events, she said, were “to show we believe in the care of all life.”
Chalk Day encouraged students to draw hearts on the Chapel Plaza to represent the thousands of lives lost to abortion each day and the men and women who mourn the loss of those lives. Members also volunteered at the DISC Dance, an event the university hosts twice a year for children and adults with disabilities. Members held a number of other activities that drew awareness to issues supported by the club, like screening a movie that follows prisoners with life sentences to attendance at the Ignatian Family Teach-In. Events being planned in the coming months will include speakers and projects that will benefit and educate many in the greater Wheeling community.
“We may be a small group, only 10 active members, but we make up for it in our passion and commitment to helping others,” said Lucy Hritzo, vice president of the WJU Life Club. “And, we've proven we can do a lot to make a difference in the lives of others and effect change.”
“This is a wonderful honor for the Life Club. It's always nice to receive recognition for working on behalf of those who have no voice. While our club is small in number, what we lack in size we more than make up for in heart and in dedication to the dignity of each and every person,” said Dan Dentino, dean of Student Development.
In addition to the recognition during the Cardinal O'Connor Conference, the club received a $1,000 award, money it will use to fund more projects to spread awareness about these important issues.
Founded in 1954, Wheeling Jesuit University continues its history of educating students in the Catholic, Jesuit tradition and is consistently ranked as one of America's top regional colleges by U.S. News & World Report and other organizations.