Awarded for Excellence
University of Maryland Council received the 2018 Outstanding College Council Award for achievements in charitable works and membership recruitment during the annual College Councils Conference held in New Haven, Conn.
Knight of Columbus councils throughout the Order are called to be the “the strong right arm of the Church” and continue the legacy started 136 years ago by Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney. While many college councils demonstrated impressive achievements this year, to be named Outstanding College Council is an exceptional distinction; and it requires exemplary achievement across the spectrum of program categories.
The Supreme Council annually awards the prestigious Outstanding College Council Award to the college council that best exemplifies the mission and ideals of the Order and has, in a unique way, gone above and beyond to make a difference on campus and in the surrounding community. The winning council receives a trophy, a $500 check for the council treasury, and coverage through various Knights of Columbus media outlets.
This year’s Outstanding College Council winner is University of Maryland Council 13295 in College Park, Md.
The University of Maryland’s Council 13295 success began with its membership growth and retention. This past year, the council achieved the distinction of Triple Star Council for the third year in a row and received 18 new members into their ranks. Such membership growth was due to the council demonstrating to potential and existing members the great impact that the Knights have on both the college campus and the surrounding community.
Throughout the year, the council worked to strengthen the faith of men on campus by a Bible study program, led by Knights and open to all men throughout the semester. Once a week, Bible studies were held, providing not only and opportunity to grow in faith, but also a time to build and strengthen fraternity.
Council 13295 also showed its commitment to fostering the strong ties of fraternity among its members when they stepped up to assist at the wedding of one of their alumni brother Knights. In support of this former council member and his bride, council members set the tables and centerpieces for the reception, kept buffet lines stocked with food, cleared away dirty dishes, and, perhaps most enjoyably, distributed the wedding cake.
In addition to building fraternity on campus, the council also demonstrated a strong commitment to defending life in all its stages. Every month, Knights from the University of Maryland paid public witness to the dignity of the unborn by praying a rosary in front of a local abortion clinic. Not only is the rosary a powerful prayer for the response of the souls of the unborn and for the end to abortion in this country, but also it serves as an inspiration to others. Several women were inspired by the earnest example of these Knights in prayer to recognize their child’s right to life and not have an abortion.
Their commitment to foster a culture of life across the globe was further demonstrated when they answered the Supreme Chaplain’s call for assistance for Christian refugees. To raise funds to help support Christian refugees, the council hosted a Car Show for the Christian Refugee Relief Fund at the Bowie Baysox minor league baseball stadium. Featuring muscle cars, hot rods, and classic automobiles from the local community, spectators came to admire the beautiful cars, donate to a worthy cause, and stay to cheer for their local minor league team. At the end of the day, the council exceeded their fundraising goal and made their single biggest charitable donation to date to the Knights of Columbus Christian Refugee Relief Fund.
All of these events came as the University of Maryland celebrated the 15th anniversary of their Knights of Columbus council charter. To mark this milestone, the council hosted a catered barbeque with invitations sent to alumni members, members of other local Knights councils, the Catholic Student's Center staff, members of the State Council, and the local District Deputy. Throughout the night, speakers told stories of the wonderful memories and accomplishments the council has made over its 15 year history, and expressed their hopes and goals to ensure that the future is equally as memorable and accomplished as its past.
These programs only briefly account for the numerous activities completed by the University of Maryland’s council during the past fraternal year.
The second place runner up for Outstanding College Council was Lamar University Council 16464 in Beaumont, Texas. This council sponsored a strong field of programs that included a weekly Rosary program; an end of year banquet and roast of the grand knight; a retreat for local youth; and a fund drive for the local pregnancy center. In addition the council also grew spiritually by implementing the reading of scripture at meetings.
And the third place was John Carroll University Council 8320 in University Heights, Ohio. This council ensured recruitment success with a pair of “Go Roman” recruitment weeks and an Answer the Call retreat. They also increased community engagement through a Bone Marrow registry drive, a tour of historic area churches, participation in a program for children with intellectual disabilities, a Coats for Kids drive, and a campus Rosary for Life. A Triple Star Council, the John Carroll University Council 8320 has demonstrated a commitment to expanding their membership, leadership, and programming that made them a strong contender for this year’s Outstanding College Council Award.