New endowed professorship to focus on Polish/Polish American/European studies

Frank and Mary Padzieski were proud of their heritage.

As longtime residents of Dearborn, they were also known for their philanthropic efforts throughout the community. The couple passed away, most recently with Mr. Padzieski’s death in January at the age of 103, but the projects they supported and their gifts to the community will live on for years to come.

They established the Frank and Mary Padzieski Endowed Professorship in Polish/Polish American/European Studies at UM-Dearborn in an effort to ensure the continued study of their heritage after their passing. The professorship, which takes effect next September, will be housed within the Department of Social Sciences.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Joanna Padzieski Cortright recalled, “Mother and Dad always celebrated and fully embraced their Polish roots. My brothers and I are happy to see the project come to fruition and are pleased that our parents were able to leave this legacy for future generations.”

The endowment won’t be the only lasting semblance of the Padzieski family at UM-Dearborn. They were the donors for three named classrooms in the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters building, including one named after their granddaughter, who graduated from UM-Dearborn.

Jerold Hale, College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters’ dean, commended the Padzieskis for their generosity and said the endowed professorship addresses an important curricular need in history. “Their gift underscores their commitment to cultural understanding and higher education,” Hale said.

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