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Former Bears coach Mike Ditka to speak at benefit for shuttered Indiana college

Mike Ditka is a former American football player, coach, television commentator and a member of both the College Football and Pro Football Hall of Fame. Photo courtesy WEBN-TV / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

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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