QUINCY -- A man content to work behind the scenes is being recognized for his work to support Catholic education in Quincy.
Jim Waterkotte has been selected as the recipient of the 2019 Quincy Catholic Elementary Schools Foundation's Friend of Catholic Education Award.
Waterkotte will be honored at the 11th annual Friend of Catholic Education Award Dinner on Saturday, Feb. 2, at the Quincy Quality Inn and Suites, 201 S. Third. A social hour begins at 6 p.m. followed by dinner and the awards program at 7 p.m.
"I don't need this kind of attention, but I look at it this way. It's another fundraiser for them to make money to provide scholarships for the elementary students," Waterkotte said.
Making Catholic education possible in Quincy long has been a priority for Waterkotte.
"It's been important to me because I grew up in the Catholic education system. I began school in 1945 at St. John the Baptist School in Quincy, went all the way through high school at Quincy Notre Dame and finished my educational endeavors at Quincy College, graduating in 1965," Waterkotte said.
Paul Rittof, QCES Foundation executive director, said, "Jim has done a lot through the years for the Catholic schools, not all of which has been public knowledge, but people who know him and know him well are aware of the things he has done. He's well deserving."
Waterkotte helped to found the QCES Foundation, which offers a Tuition Assistance Fund for families with children enrolled in one of Quincy's four Catholic elementary schools, regardless of their faith tradition.
"I think it's necessary that all kids that want to go to school in a Catholic school should have the opportunity, even if they don't have the money," Waterkotte said. "I felt my education I received through Catholic schools in Quincy was very instrumental in giving me the opportunity to do what I did, which is work at Blessing Hospital for 40 years."
Waterkotte started in the accounting department and progressed into administration, enjoying a career focused on helping people. Along the way, he was active in the Quincy community, serving on the boards of the United Way of Adams County, Transitions, Ladies of Charity and working with the CYO.
"I just believed in helping, doing things for the community, but definitely education was number one," Waterkotte said.
The annual dinner supports the tuition assistance fund, and since 2009, the foundation has awarded nearly $900,000 in tuition assistance to families with demonstrated financial need who have students enrolled at Blessed Sacrament, St. Dominic, St. Francis and St. Peter elementary schools.
Tickets for the 11th annual Friend of Catholic Education Award Dinner honoring Jim Waterkotte are available for $100 per person.
Individual and corporate sponsorships, including eight dinner tickets, are available for $1,000.
Table sponsorships must be received by Tuesday, Jan. 15. Individual dinner reservations are required by Friday, Jan. 25.
More information about tickets or sponsorships, as well as making donations to the Quincy Catholic Elementary Schools Foundation's Tuition-Assistance Fund in honor of Waterkotte, is available by contacting QCES Foundation Executive Director Paul Rittof at 217-779-3157 or firstname.lastname@example.org.