Members of the community gathered at Red Deer College on Monday morning for the announcement of Bill and Irma Welikoklad’s $1 million gift to the institution.
The million-dollar gift is the second largest individual gift ever made to RDC. When combined with a previous major gift from the Welikoklad family four years ago, their total investment towards RDC amounts to $1.25 million.
One hundred thousand dollars of this latest investment will be put towards growing the Welikoklad Family/Home Building Centre Endowment, which was established in 2010 with their initial gift.
The remainder of this latest gift will be entrusted to the College for projects deemed most beneficial to the future of the institution including facility enhancement and development of new and existing programs.
President and CEO of Red Deer College Joel Ward spoke during the announcement ceremony, in which he stated the gift couldn’t have been a more perfect way to cap off RDC’s 50th anniversary year.
“Our 50th anniversary has been one to remember. With this legacy gift, we are not only ready for the next 50 years, but situated precisely where we need to be to grow with Central Alberta,” said Ward. “This gift is indicative of the kind of people in our community and the ongoing support we receive from people who know and value the College.”
He added he believes the Welikoklad’s philanthropy, “Is extremely appreciated.”
Welikoklad spoke to the crowd of his own personal story related to the College, in which he shared how he began working for a small construction company many years ago which eventually led to him having a hand in building the original facility at RDC.
He explained how in 1966 when the College moved from its Lindsay Thurber location Welikoklad was general foreman of the construction team.
Welikoklad went on to start his own company, Executive Homes, which led to a later opening of a contractor lumber yard known today as Home Building Centre, which is now owned and operated by Bill and Irma’s son, Jason Welikoklad.
“We feel our investment was very worthy and the monies put to good use,” said Bill.
“Our endowment has made it possible to pass out scholarships to deserving students each year and these students have always been appreciative. We feel grateful to be able to give some support to our community, which has been good to us, and in which I have lived for 76 years.”
Ward also shared RDC will be announcing a later date for the renaming of an unannounced area of the school after the Welikoklads.