Saint Martin’s board chair honored as ‘Champion of Catholic Education’

Ken F. Parsons, Sr. recognized by Seattle-based Fulcrum Foundation

Feb. 4, 2008

Lacey, Washington — Ken F. Parsons, Sr., chair of Saint Martin’s University Board of Trustees, was recently honored as a “Champion of Catholic Education” by the Fulcrum Foundation. Parsons was one of six community leaders to receive the distinction in Seattle on Feb. 1, 2008, at the foundation’s Celebration of Light, an annual event celebrating Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Seattle.

The Fulcrum Foundation promotes and supports Catholic schools in the region by providing financial assistance to students and families. Every year, the foundation selects and recognizes “Champions” for their outstanding leadership and commitment to ensuring that the legacy of Catholic education continues for future generations.

Speaking to a crowd of more than 1,150 guests, Parsons described his experience of growing up in Mount Vernon, Washington, one of eight children in a single-parent home. “A Catholic education made me the person I am today,” commented Parsons.

“We need Catholic schools because, as people of faith and stewards of God’s creation, we have a responsibility to prepare our young people to be responsible, patient and compassionate citizens of the world,” said Parsons. “In Catholic school, students have the opportunity to express their faith in the classroom; these individuals will go on to express their faith throughout the rest of their lives — in their communities, in their workplaces, in their homes. Their standards for critical thinking will embrace faith, hope and love; their ability to make decisions will take root in a strong moral and ethical framework; and their measurement of ‘true success’ will include service to God and others. Thanks to Catholic schools, we are able to hand over the reins of stewardship to very capable hands.”

This is Parsons’ 12th year on Saint Martin’s Board of Trustees. He is the chairman and CEO of Venture Financial Group and chairman of Venture Bank in Lacey, Washington.

The other “Champions of Catholic Education” honored at the Celebration of Light were: George Hickman, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient; Teodoro “Ted” Rodriguez, Deacon, Saint Anthony Catholic Parish; Rev. Timothy R. Scully, C.S.C., Director of the Institute for Educational Initiatives, University of Notre Dame; Paula L. Stepankowsky, Board of Trustees, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic High School; and Bill Witt, President, Witt Company.

Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year, Catholic, coeducational university located on a 320-acre wooded campus in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 18 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 21 majors and six graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes 1,250 students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its main campus, and 650 more to its five extension campuses located at Fort Lewis Army Post, McChord Air Force Base, Olympic College, Centralia College and Tacoma Community College.

For additional information:

Jennifer G. Fellinger
Saint Martin’s University
(360) 438-4332