By Allison Riese
Gonzaga friend and benefactor John Rudolf will attempt to reach the summit of Mount Everest this spring and is dedicating his climb to benefit the “Zags in Zambia” program. If he reaches Everest’s summit, Rudolf will become the 105th person to climb the world’s seven highest peaks.
When he founded Seattle-based Summit Capital 15 years ago, Rudolf said he could not have predicted he would, literally, become a summit climber – much less, try to climb the highest mountains on each of seven continents!
“We are here on Earth to explore new things and to do as many interesting things as we can, as well as to help each other,” said Rudolf, son of the late GU corporate counsel (1988-93) Kermit M. Rudolf, who died in 2004, and wife Fran. The Rudolf Fitness Center is named in honor of his service and generosity.
Building on this legacy, John Rudolf believes a strong connection exists between his dream to reach the seven summits and Gonzaga’s dream to advance the Jesuit mission in Africa. Gonzaga’s Strategic Plan re-commits the University to help create a more just and humane world.
It states Jesuits are to be focused most on those areas where poverty and disease are worst, “especially Africa.” Current “Zags in Zambia” programs support local teachers, develop micro-business, teach English, protect wildlife and provide basic health services.
“By pushing myself to the limit to reach my dream, I hope the Zag Nation is inspired to put forth an effort to assist Gonzaga in helping the people of Africa,” Rudolf said.
Watch for highlights of John’s climb and Gonzaga’s various Zambia programs in coming issues of @GONZAGA. Also, bookmark http://johnrudolf7summits.com – a soon-to-launch site that will feature blog updates, photos and video as well as more on Gonzaga’s Africa programs.