Archive for November, 2015

Congressman Clement Zablocki” Civic Achievement Award”

Awarded annually by the Polish American Congress – Wisconsin Division

Mrs. Teresa Jankowski is a dedicated fraternalist who has been active for many years in the Polish National Alliance. In 2011 Teresa was elected District Commissioner of the Polish National Alliance fraternal for Wisconsin and Minnesota. In the greater Milwaukee area, she is a longtime leader in her home PNA lodge and Council and is a supportive member of the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin State Division of the Polish American Congress. Teresa is a strong and always cheerful promoter of cooperative activity within our Polish American community and is a visible force in the Polonia Sports Club and in the annual Polish Fest.


Mr. José G. Pérez was elected Alderman for District 12 of Milwaukee in 2012. A native of Milwaukee’s near South Side, Jose Perez is a grandson of immigrants from Puerto Rico who came to our city to work here in the 1950s. As Alderman, Jose Perez has distinguished himself as a friend of Polonia, in particular by his leadership role in supporting the restoration of the Kościuszko Monument, which is in his district’s Kosciuszko Park. Alderman Perez’s interest in political service dates back to his college years at Cardinal Stritch University, his duties as an intern in the Washington, DC office of Congressman Gerald Kleczka, his  work under Mayor John Norquist, and in his many-sided involvements in Hispanic American organizations. As Alderman, Jose Perez has been dedicated to his District’s economic and community development.


Mrs. Gloria and Mr. Jim Shire have both been devoted volunteers with the Polish Heritage Alliance since the Polish Center was dedicated in 2000. Both have worked at every Polish Fest since then and have been fixtures in the annual Lenten Season Fish Fry fund raisers. Their volunteer spirit has been expressed in other ways as well. As Jim puts it, “When we get a call; we go.” Gloria’s volunteerism led to her appointment to the Management Committee of Polish Fest. The Shirer’s giving ways go beyond PHA service too. Jim, a veteran of the Korean War, is Commander of the Alonzo Cudworth Post of the American Legion. Gloria is active in the Girl Scouts of America. Both are involved in Holy Family parish of Whitefish Bay, where Jim has been an usher for forty years.


Dr. Wacław Szybalski is Professor Emeritus of Oncology and an eminent scholar in the fields of molecular genetics at the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI. Dr. Szybalski’s contributions to medical science over the past sixty years have been extraordinary and his scientific achievements have merited at least one Nobel Prize in the view of his colleagues, some of whom have been Nobel Prize winners themselves. Among his many honors over the years, Dr. Szybalski has received Honorary Doctoral Degrees from five Polish universities, including Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin and the Universities of Gdansk and Kraków, the UW Hilldale Award and the Grand Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta from President Komorowski of the Republic of Poland in 2011 for his “extraordinary and distinguished service.”   Dr. Szybalski was born in 1921 and educated as Ch.E. in Lwów, Poland.  He lived through six years of the inhumane Soviet-Russian and Nazi-German WW II occupations of his homeland and found his way to the United States in 1950.  His research in molecular biology commenced soon after at the Genetics Laboratory at Cold Spring Harbor, New York.  One of his primary research collaborators was his late wife, Elizabeth Hunter Szybalska. Dr. Szybalski is a member of the Polish Heritage Club of Madison.


The University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee Libraries is honored for its commitment to preserving and digitizing the Roman Kwasniewski Photographic Collection of interwar Milwaukee Polonia. This collection, acquired in the late 1970s, includes more than 25,000 photographs and is the best and most comprehensive visual historic resource for the study of Polish American urban life in the United States. Significantly, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries’ involvement in preserving and disseminating Poland’s heritage goes beyond its extraordinary actions with the Kwasniewski collection. The Libraries house the American Geographic Society (AGS) collection, which includes a number of invaluable historic maps of Poland and many other materials of benefit to students of Poland’s history, its geography, its place in European art and culture, and to members of the community interested in genealogy. In addition, the UW-M Libraries has hosted a long list of memorable exhibits, films, and lectures over the years that focus on important themes and events in Polish history, working in cooperation with the UW-M Polish Studies Committee and Polonia groups. In 2010 it hosted a grand reception for participants in the national meeting of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America. In short, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries represent libraries at their best and is a living, coherent, and readily accessible repository of culture and in particular here, the Polish and Polish American experience.

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