Most people wouldn't imagine million-dollar deals unfolding over a lunch of sloppy joes and strawberry shortcake. Yet, that's the type of relationship one can expect only with Ben and Dorothy Gorecki (pronounced Goret -ski). A quiet, unassuming couple with a penchant for party games, home cooking, and playful banter, the Goreckis have been long-time supporters of the College of Saint Benedict. Since their wedding on Valentine's Day 1952, Ben and Dorothy Gorecki have worked and played alongside each other through many endeavors, including raising 5 children and farming 116 acres.
Their home base of Milaca, Minnesota (a town of about 2,500, an hour Northeast of Saint Ben's) has enjoyed the hospitality and entrepreneurial spirit of this pair. Together, they've owned and operated several businesses ranging from a bus depot to Gorecki Manufacturing. When Ben ran the projectors in their movie theater, Dorothy sold tickets and popcorn. When Dorothy waited tables in their café, Ben was in the kitchen cooking - sometimes with too much salt and pepper, Dorothy adds.
Ben is quick to point out that when they were cutting hay, "She'd be up there driving the John Deere and just looking at all the scenery - the deer, the creek, the woods. If the machinery jammed, I'd have to jump oﬀ the hay wagon, run in front of the tractor, and ﬂag her down to get her to stop," he said. "We had fun making hay."
When Ben and Dorothy teamed up to support the renovation and expansion of the Benedicta Arts Center, it was over a game of Bingo to see who would get to carry the check back to campus. Another gift was bestowed upon the winner of bocce ball during a cookout on the south lawn at Saint Ben's.
"We want to donate while we are living to see the results of our contributions," Dorothy explains. "We want to watch Saint Ben's grow and thrive."
"It's a two-way deal, and I'm not sure who beneﬁts more . . . the sisters, the college, the students, or us," Ben said. "We get so much back from our contributions, including so many friends and good times on campus."
In July 2007, the grill was ﬁred up again when Ben and Dorothy toured the new Gorecki Dining and Conference Center - despite being 90 degrees in the shade. When asked what they thought, one thing came to their minds, "It's beautiful."
The Gorecki Dining and Conference Center was dedicated August 29, 2007. It serves as the drop-off and pick-up for the LINK, a relaxing atmosphere for students kicking back in the Fireplace Lounge, and a conference venue for the surrounding community and academic events. The dining center features a global menu.