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Jeanie, Fritz Wolff Receive Ignatian Spirit Award

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SPOKANE, Wash. – Over the years, Jeanie and Fritz Wolff have served Gonzaga University and the Spokane community with a love and generosity that has left an indelible mark. From numerous leadership roles to transformational gifts, the Wolffs have demonstrated a lifelong dedication to the Jesuit ideals of helping others through education. For this, Gonzaga honored the Wolffs as the 2017 recipients of the Ignatian Spirit Award, conferred at the 10th annual Ignatian Gala on April 6.

“I have had the privilege of working with Jeanie and Fritz for years, even preceding my time as president,” said Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh. “It is difficult to look at the trajectory we find ourselves on as a university without acknowledging the incredible leadership of, and hard work given by, the Wolff family. Their belief in our potential and their willingness to roll up their sleeves and work tirelessly to advance Gonzaga, is perhaps the greatest gift they have given.”

Fritz served most recently as chair of Gonzaga’s Board of Trustees, extending his knowledge, passion and gift of vision for the benefit of the University and its students over a 14-year tenure. He has exemplified the Jesuit ideal of servant leadership in all he has done for the Spokane and Gonzaga communities, a trait that can be traced through the Wolff bloodline for several generations. Fritz’s father, Alvin J. Wolff, Sr., received an award from a trade association years ago that included the remarks that he is “by example what others aspire to be.” Fritz has undoubtedly carried on the family’s legacy of business principles, community building and supporting education. In 2005 Alvin J. Wolff, Sr. was also awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree, in recognition of his service to his community and to his industry.

“Gonzaga is the best thing that goes on in this community year in and year out,” Fritz remarked. “This place plants fertile young minds in Spokane and gives them four years to fall in love with the area and hopefully they’ll stay.”

Jeanie has a passion for helping to create and support opportunities for students to realize dreams that require resources to implement. In 2014, she served in an instrumental role as a juror when Gonzaga hosted the Opus Prize, one of the world’s most prestigious faith-based humanitarian honors, which annually recognizes individuals or organizations who champion faith-filled change. This experience combined Jeanie’s passion for learning and her philanthropic nature with great fervor.

Married for 48 years, the Wolffs raised four sons together and worked to instill in them the same dedication to others to which Fritz and Jeanie have committed their lives. The family has been strong supporters of Gonzaga, Hutton Settlement and several other organizations over the years.

On a philanthropic level, Jeanie and Fritz, along with their four children and their spouses, have committed to making one of the largest contributions to date to Gonzaga Will, the University’s capital campaign. The Wolffs’ commitment to the Gonzaga Will campaign allows the greatest flexibility for Gonzaga to seize opportunities as they are identified.

Thus far, the Wolffs’ generosity has been directed to:

  • Establish the Chairs Endowed Scholarship Fund, which identifies and provides scholarship support to two high-need students in their junior year. The fund stipulates that the current Board of Trustees chair engages in regular dialogue with the scholarship recipients about the student experience at Gonzaga. Fritz, who served as chair of the Board when the fund was established, believes it is critical that the Board chair maintain authentic conversation with Gonzaga students.
  • Refurbish and update the technology of the Wolff Auditorium in the Jepson Center for the School of Business Administration to ensure students have the best tools and environment for learning in the classroom.
  • Endow a number of matched funds to grow participation in young alumni giving, which helped motivated benefactors establish endowed funds in perpetuity, and drive increased giving.
  • Expand student service throughout the region through support of CCASL (Center for Community Action and Service-Learning). 
  • Help fund construction of Gonzaga’s Volkar Center for Athletic Achievement, which will help student-athletes succeed in competition, in the classroom and in the community.

“Fritz has a sense of where the world is all the time and where it needs to keep moving forward,” noted Fr. Pat Lee, S.J., Gonzaga’s vice president for mission and ministry.

Gonzaga is grateful to have been the recipient of Fritz and Jeanie Wolff’s continued support, generosity and vision for so many years.

 

  1. Elaine Cullen
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    I can’t think of any two people more deserving of this honor. Fritz and Jeanie give so much to Gonzaga and this community…of their time and energy and their unwavering belief that we can all be better. We are all blessed to have them in our lives!!

  2. George & Debbie Hansen
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Congratulations Fritz & Jeanie. Can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award. You have been a gift to Gonzaga.

  3. Robert Lyon
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    Thank you so much!!

  4. Trudy Gallinger
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 8:10 am

    The humble dedication with which the Wolff Family serve education, charitable giving and our community is a beacon to all of us.
    Thank you…

  5. Kim (Thompson) Wilkes
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 9:20 am

    I worked for Fritz when I was a student at Gonzaga many years ago. He was such a great example of someone who lives life with passion and truly wants to be a catalyst for helping others. I consider myself very, very lucky to have had that chance to work for him. He and Jeanie are truly great people so this is fantastic to see.