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Fr. Bernard Coughlin, S.J.: President, Priest, Scholar, Civic Leader, Friend: Case 3: Friend

Case 3: Friend

Coughlin went above and beyond as Gonzaga’s longest running president, however, perhaps more impressive than his achievements in office is the important work he managed to preform outside his presidential duties. Since his inauguration, he has been known as a prominent figure in the Spokane community. Beyond this, Coughlin had been forming relationships that reached far outside of his university environment for years before he even began at Gonzaga. He was a Fulbright lecturer in Columbia in 1970 and 1971, a U.S. Representative to the International Council on Social Welfare in Helsinki, Finland, and served as a social work consultant in Guatemala, Peru, and Chile through the 1960s. He also was a friend to everyone he met. He made important friendships with the Gonzaga regents and trustees, which allowed him to be an effective president. Represented here is the evidence of the work he did to help serve his community, and the far-reaching relationships he formed as a result of his selfless and relentless work ethic.

“GU’s president to head forum on defense wastes,” Spokesman-Review, February 25, 1986

Fr. Coughlin receives a certificate of appreciation for his membership in the Northwest Citizen’s Forum on Defense Waste, pictured with Michael Lawrence, manager of the Richland Operations Office, U.S. Department of Energy, October 1986

Handwritten note from Mike Lawrence states: “Your leadership and dedication has made the Forum a success….”

Agreement for academic and educational cooperation between Gonzaga University and Tbilisi State University, January 15, 1990

While traveling in Europe and Asia in January of 1990, Coughlin formed academic relationships in Soviet Georgia that led to the conception of a Gonzaga-Soviet exchange program. Here, printed in both Russian and English, is a representation of the far-reaching ties Fr. Coughlin managed to create during his presidency. Additionally, he received several gifts while abroad, including the sword, the pennant, and the medallion, all further evidence of his commitment to forming amicable connections on a global scale in true Jesuit fashion.

Photograph taken in the Office of the Russian Orthodox Patriarch of Soviet Georgia during trip to Tbilisi State University in Soviet Georgia, January 1990

Left to right: Bernard Coughlin; Ilia II, Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church of Soviet Georgia; Dave Sabey, Gonzaga University Trustee; and Dave Taylor, Gonzaga University Regent.

While traveling in Soviet Georgia, Fr. Coughlin received numerous gifts in 1990:

Soviet Georgian Sword

Soviet Sports Medallion

Soviet Athlete Pennant

Fr. Coughlin receiving the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Distinguished Community Service Award, May 21, 1992

One of Fr. Coughlin’s most notable of these achievements was his reception of the ADL’s Distinguished Community Service Award. Upon reception of this award, which he earned for “leadership as president of Gonzaga University, service to the community, preserving liberty, counteracting bigotry, and advancing the cause of human rights,” Coughlin was recognized by other members of the Spokane community and beyond. He received letters of congratulations from the CEO of Washington Water Power, the mayor of Spokane, the governor of Idaho, and Tom Foley, the Speaker of the House.

Anti-Defamation League award, received May 21, 1992

Letter from Cecil D. Andrus, Governor of Idaho, to Bernard Coughlin regarding his reception of the Distinguished Community Service award from the Anti-Defamation League, May 8, 1992

Governor Andrus sent a letter of regrets to miss the event but thought of “no one more deserving of that honor”.

Letter from Tom Foley to Bernard Coughlin regarding his reception of the Distinguished Community Service award, May 18, 1992

Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Paul Harris Fellow award from the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International to Bernard Coughlin, 1992

"in appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations between peoples of the world."

Food bank donation with Fr. Coughlin and Spike, 1993

Fr. Coughlin with trustee and friend Don Herak, 1994

Certificate of Appreciation presented to Reverend Bernard Coughlin on behalf of the State of Washington, May 13, 1994

This award was given to Fr. Coughlin by the governor of Washington, Mike Lowry, and the attorney general, Christine O. Gregoire for dedicated service to the citizens of Washington.

“Train Gang”, Trustees: Don Herak, Jim Workland, Fr. Coughlin, Ed Ralph, Tom Tilford, and Gary Randall at West Coast Conference basketball game, 2003