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Former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka to speak at benefit for St. Joseph’s College

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GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 25: Former American football player, coach, and television commentator Mike Ditka during the 2015 Pro Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 25, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

RENSSELAER, Ind. (AP) — Former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka is helping out a now-shuttered northwestern Indiana college that once hosted the Bears’ preseason camps.

Ditka will be the featured speaker at a June 9 fundraiser benefiting the renovation of a former St. Joseph’s College campus building.

That building would become a new residence hall for the Rensselaer campus if a proposed partnership with Marian University allows it to reopen as a two-year school. The Catholic school closed last year under $27 million in debt.

The Journal & Courier reports the Bears held preseason camps from 1944 to 1974 on its campus. Ditka was a Bears tight end from 1961 to 1966.

He says the people he met during workout camps there “were good to me, and I look forward to seeing them again.”

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