The Knights and Education

In 1944 the Knights of Columbus established its millon-dollar Educational Trust Fund to provide a college education to the children of members who were killed or permanently and totally disabled in World War II. Later this benefit was extended to children of members who were killed or disabled in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. In 1991 the benefits were further extended to include the Persian Gulf Conflict. In 1970 this privilege was developed further to include children of members of the Order who are killed or permanently and totally disabled as a result of criminal violence while functioning as law enforcement officers and in 1971 to those who were killed or disabled as a result of criminal violence while performing their duties as full time firefighters. These scholarships include tuition, board and room, books, lab fees and other incidental expenses at the Catholic college of the student's choice.

Under provisions of the Pro Deo and Pro Patria scholarship program, the Supreme Council annually awards $1,500-a-year scholarships on the basis of merit to 62 members or the sons or daughters of members in good standing or who were so at the time of their death. Twelve scholarships are for use at The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.; with preference being given on two of those twelve to Columbian Squires; the remaining scholarships may be used at a Catholic college of the recipient's choice with Columbian Squires receiving preference on two of those fifty.

Twelve merit scholarships paying $1,500-a-year at Canadian colleges or universities are awarded annually to the members of Canadian councils or the sons and daughters of living or deceased members. Similar benefits are available to members in Mexico, the Philippines and Puerto Rico.

The Supreme Council also has set up postgraduate fellowships at The Catholic University of America. The fellowships are open to lay men and women, both married and unmarried, and cover board, lodging and tuition. Maximum tenure is four years, with a course in American history a requisite.

In 1973 the Supreme Council established the Bishop Charles P. Greco graduate fellowships for specialization in the field of teaching mentally retarded citizens. The $200,000 trust honors the Order's late supreme chaplain for his pioneering work in the construction and maintenance of Catholic-oriented facilities for mentally retarded individuals. The grant provides $500 a semester and is renewable for a maximum of four semesters. An eligible candidate must be a member of the Order or the son or daughter of a member in good standing. The candidate also must be engaged in or planning a full-time graduate study leading to a master's degree in the field of teaching the educationally handicapped with emphasis on persons with mental retardation.

With the purpose of improving performance in achieving the objectives of Catholic education, delegates to the 1980 Supreme Council established the million-dollar "Father Michael J. McGivney Fund for New Initiatives in Catholic Education." Earnings from the fund support research projects of vital importance to the U.S. and Canada through the auspices of the National Catholic Educational Association with the approval of the board of directors.

These programs at the Supreme Council level combine with other projects on the state and local level to total a multimillion dollar order wide commitment to students.