Campus Life  

Recsky gift to Recreation and Wellness Centre honours family passion

Alex and Ruth Recsky

If there was anyone who would understand the need for a Recreation and Wellness Centre at Okanagan College (OC), it would be Alex Recsky.

Recsky was hired as OC’s first recreation and intramurals programmer in 1986. It was a job he loved and pursued with passion until his retirement 10 years later, introducing thousands of students to sports and recreational opportunities.

Now, Alex’s family are honoring him and his wife Ruth, who are both in their 90s, with a $30,000 donation to the Thrive Here campaign for the Recreation and Wellness Centre at OC’s Kelowna campus.

“My dad’s life philosophies were to build lasting relationships and to serve the community,” says Keith Recsky, Alex’s son. “One way to do both was to get involved in recreational and sporting activities.”

Keith adds that his dad also worked and volunteered with many sports organizations and events since arriving in Kelowna in 1985 and continued that practice well into retirement.

“All four generations of our family have been involved with sports of all kinds in Kelowna, some more serious than others. Many of our most memorable moments come when we are at arenas, gyms, and outdoor spaces,” says Kyle Recsky, Alex’s grandson.

“It is very meaningful to know that our gift will create more opportunities for people of all ages to learn valuable life lessons through sports and recreation,” adds Alex’s grandson, Bryce Recsky.

During Alex’s tenure at the College in the late 80s and early 90s, Alex was active in the fundraising for a gymnasium for Okanagan University College, and one was in fact successfully built on the north campus in 1994. With the transition to two post-secondary institutions in 2005, the gym became part of UBC Okanagan and the need to build a gym at Okanagan College remains to this day. 

Today, recognizing the need for a facility at OC, Cliff and Lois Serwa, honorary chairs for the Thrive Here campaign, are offering to match all donations up to $500,000. The matching gift opportunity felt right to the Recsky family.

“My parents have known Cliff and Lois for a long time. It's not a secret that both families believe in supporting and giving back to the community. My mom and my dad are thrilled and humbled to be associated with the Serwas’ generous matching pledge for this needed project,” adds Keith.

Alex and Lois were both honored with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002. The recognition is awarded to Canadians who make outstanding and exemplary contributions to their communities or to Canada as a whole. For his service to students and the greater community, Alex was also honored with OUC’s first Distinguished Service Award in 2003.

“We are moved by the Recsky family’s thoughtful gift,” says Helen Jackman, executive director, Okanagan College Foundation. “They understand how a space like this will teach students how to build friendships, overcome challenges and truly discover who they are. The Recsky family’s passion for what recreation does for people will come to life in this new Centre.”

The Okanagan College Foundation has raised $9 million towards its $14 million campaign goal to build a Recreation and Wellness Centre. To learn more and to have your gift matched by the Serwas, click here.  


More Campus Life articles