At the Heart of St. Mary’s – The Valentine Family’s Legacy of Generosity

Valentine Family

It is through the generosity, commitment and passion of members of the community that St. Mary’s University has become the institution that it is today, and no family has played a larger role in the continued growth of St. Mary’s than the Valentine Family.

A member of the St. Mary’s ‘founding family’, Ted Valentine attended the first Steering Committee in 1986, which aimed to establish a Catholic College in Calgary, Alberta. Ted went on to become an official member of the first St. Mary’s University Board of Governors in 1987, a position he held until 1996.

The Valentines have been instrumental in establishing St. Mary’s as a leader in post-secondary education, thus allowing students to pursue their academic dreams. From developing the scholarship and bursaries program, to participating in committees and sponsorships for various initiatives, there isn’t a single facet of St. Mary’s that hasn’t been greatly impacted by the generosity of the Valentine family.

Born and raised in Allerston, Alberta, Shirley, the matriarch of the Valentine Family, was one of six daughters on the family farm. Shirley quickly realized that education would be her way off the farm, leaving her home in Allerston to attend high school in Calgary. Upon her graduation from high school, she earned a softball scholarship to Saint Louis University, a Catholic post-secondary institution located in St. Louis, Missouri.

Shirley’s connection to humble beginnings in rural Alberta is at the root of the Valentine family’s St. Isidore Bursary, an award established to benefit students from rural areas that demonstrate a financial need. This is but one example the Valentine family’s commitment to increasing St. Mary’s accessibility to students while also fostering academic and spiritual development.

The Valentine Family, through Valentine Volvo, have been longtime supporters of St. Mary’s fundraising initiatives through event sponsorship and support. It is through this kind of commitment of funds and resources that St. Mary’s is able to continue providing students with an excellent post-secondary education.

This commitment does not end with Ted and Shirley, as the dedication to Catholic education and St. Mary’s has been passed down to their children as well. Ted and Shirley’s son Paul joined the St. Mary’s University Board of Governors in 2013 and is currently serving as Chair of the Finance Committee. Additionally, their daughter Kathryn has committed her time and resources to various St. Mary’s initiatives and special events.

“My dad was on the board for quite a while and I wanted to keep the involvement going,” explained Paul. “I think that St. Mary’s University has been a big part of the Valentine legacy in Calgary, and I am making sure that legacy will never be forgotten.”

According to Paul, there are three defining factors that are important to Valentines; faith, education and sports. The Valentine family’s commitment has also reached into the realm of athletics, with the donation of the Valentine Family Athletic Courts in 2013.

As for the future, The Valentine family hopes other schools can look to St. Mary’s as a beacon of stability, a shining example of what a post-secondary institution can be, and a bastion of Catholic Education in Canada.