SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga University honored Geraldine “Gerri” and Bob Craves with its Ignatian Spirit Award on Thursday, April 14 at the ninth annual Ignatian Gala at the John J. Hemmingson Center Ballroom. The Craves were recognized for their leadership and lifelong dedication to the Jesuit ideals of helping others through education. The University confers the Ignatian Spirit Award each year to benefactors who have given generously of their time, talent and resources to advance Gonzaga.
“Taking Jesuit values to heart, Gerri and Bob Craves have demonstrated a lifelong dedication to the service of others through education, and to Gonzaga University,” said President Thayne McCulloh. “Committed to Gonzaga’s mission, Gerri has served on both the Board of Trustees and Board of Regents. Gerri and Bob have long been supporters of scholarships, service-learning opportunities, student life activities, the John J. Hemmingson Center and many other initiatives at Gonzaga. Their commitment to education is rivaled only by their dedication to each other, and to their family.”
The late Bob Craves was a founding officer of the Issaquah-based wholesale giant Costco. Gerri Craves, a 15-year Gonzaga Trustee, co-founded with Bob Craves and Ann Ramsay-Jenkins the College Success Foundation, a leader in improving college access to thousands of underrepresented students throughout Washington state and in Washington, D.C. Founded in 2000 in Issaquah, Washington, CSF provides college scholarships and mentoring to low-income, high-potential students throughout Washington state. In 2006, the CSF-District of Columbia opened to address critical public education issues in Washington, D.C. Since its creation, the Foundation has awarded more than 15,100 scholarships to students totaling more than $225 million; over 7,000 CSF scholars have earned a college degree.
Nearly 100 percent of the students who participate in CSF programs graduate from high school, and 62 percent graduate from college. These remarkable results come from working in partnership with the state, districts, schools and the communities it serves.
“We saw really great kids who couldn’t attend a university because they didn’t have the money. And that was the gap we wanted to bridge. We wanted these students to have a good foundation,” said Gerri Craves.
The Seattle Times recognized Bob’s impact on higher education in the state in aneditorial in January 2006, titled “The voice for higher ed: Bob Craves.” The Times declared: “More young people are attending college in Washington state in no small part because of Bob Craves.”
Bob and Gerri have been longtime supporters of Catholic higher education. Bob Craves, whose untimely passing occurred in 2014, served as a member of the Board of Trustees for his alma mater, the Catholic University of America. For Gerri Craves, the Jesuits have always exemplified education, and helping the disadvantaged.
“St. Ignatius had a passion for education and serving the poor,” she said. “Everyone has a piece of something they want to make theirs, and I want to serve the Jesuits.”
Craves first encountered the Jesuits through family in California. Her foster mother’s brother, Father P.J. Carroll, S.J., was a Jesuit and campus minister at Santa Clara University, and their sister was a nun.
“It was a wonderful Catholic foster home, and I was raised with a beautiful sense of faith early. It strengthened me to know I was part of this strong piece of fabric,” she said in a recent interview with the Oregon Province of Jesuits.
In this, her 16th year on Gonzaga’s Board of Trustees, Craves is focused on raising money to build the new Jesuit residence at Gonzaga.
“We’re creating a home for our Jesuits, a place where they can live together in community and continue their crucial work of transforming the Gonzaga community and communities all over the world,” she said.
“Her relationship with the Jesuits and her relationship with the idea of what the Jesuits are here to do have informed every aspect of the work she has done as a member of our Board; it is only fitting, and so very humbling that Gerri would lead this effort to build a new Jesuit residence,” President McCulloh said. “I want to say thank you, thank you for your commitment, thank you for your care, for your good humor and for loving Gonzaga.”
For more information, contact Laura Gatewood, Gonzaga’s senior director of donor relations, at (509) 313-6381.