The Pfeiffer family is a SAIT family
The late John Pfeiffer never forgot his humble origins and always credited SAIT with helping him reach success after immigrating to Canada. His family arrived in 1953 as Romanian refugees of World War II. They had little money and couldn’t speak English. John worked hard and studied carpentry at SAIT before building a successful construction business.
“He loved SAIT. He talked about it all the time,” remembers John’s wife Irene Pfeiffer.
It was no surprise that, after John died in 2002, Irene established the John H. Pfeiffer Memorial award to support the education of new Canadians in the School of Construction. She says giving a helping hand to people as they move to a new country to try to make a better life is an appropriate way to honour John’s memory. For Pfeiffer, one of the most satisfying aspects of creating this endowed student award is meeting and getting to know the recipients.
“For anybody to come to a new country, to learn a new culture and a new language, and to go back to school to upgrade takes an awful lot of perseverance, courage and determination,” she says. “It is so rewarding and I’m so humbled every time we’re able to give this scholarship to somebody.”
Pfeiffer says proudly that her family is a “SAIT family.” Not only is she a regular contributor to the endowed scholarship in her husband’s name, she has also named SAIT in her will and is a member of SAIT’s Heritage Hall Society. She says the four Pfeiffer children have been involved with SAIT in one way or another. In fact her son John, a MacPhail School of Energy graduate (BAPT ’84) established his own student award — the John W. Pfeiffer Trojan Soccer award for a student athlete.
Irene Pfeiffer says when making gifts to endow student awards and naming SAIT in your will, a small investment can result in big benefits to students and tax advantages to donors. As for why her family is committed to SAIT, she says she is extremely proud of SAIT and what it accomplishes.
“Aside from our family’s sentimental connection, SAIT is graduating students who have tangible skills that Alberta and Canada need. It’s a great return on investment.”