Sunday, January 22, 2012

Polish American Historical Association Annual Awards, 2011

At the PAHA Annual Meeting in Chicago, Il, during a Reception organized by the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland on January 7, 2012, the Association bestowed its Annual Awards for the year 2011 on the following distinguished individuals and organizations. Consul General, Mr. Matynia welcomed guests and President Neal Pease served as an MC.

M. HAIMAN AWARD (for lifetime contributions to the field of Polish American studies/history) – Anna Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann

Dr. Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann is Professor of History at Eastern Connecticut State University, where she teaches American history. She is a past winner of PAHA’s Halecki and Swastek awards, and has been President and First Vice President of PAHA. She has recently served as an associate editor of The Polish American Encyclopedia.

OSKAR HALECKI PRIZE (outstanding book in the field) - James S. Pula, ed., The Polish American Encyclopedia (McFarland and Co., 2010.

Dr. Pula is the obvious choice for his excellent editorship and guidance in the publication of the Polish American Encyclopedia, certain to become a landmark reference work in the fields of Polish and Polish American history.

AMICUS POLONIAE AWARD (for contributions to the field by someone not of Polish ancestry) – Pien Versteegh

As Executive Director of PAHA, Versteegh has effectively performed all of the administrative functions of the organization.

DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD (for contributions to PAHA) - Cheryl Pula

Pula read the entire manuscript of The Polish American Encyclopedia twice - once in draft form and once in page proofs. The first time she listed 71 pages, single-spaced, or errors, missing information, or unclear statements. The second time she noted over two dozen pages of corrections of the page proofs. In addition, she also authored approximately 15 to 20 individual entries.


John Guzlowski is Professor Emeritus of Literature at Eastern Illinois University, and a noted poet. He has published the well-received works Lightning and Ashes and Third Winter of War: Buchenwald. Beyond that, he has been promoting the works of other Polish American poets.

JOSEPH SWASTEK PRIZE (for an outstanding article in Polish American Studies) – Robert Szymczak, “Cold War Crusader: Arthur Bliss Lane and the Private Committee to Investigate the Katyn Massacre, 1949-1952,” Polish American Studies (67), Autumn 2010.

Professor Szymczak is Associate Professor of History at Penn State University, Beaver. His article is a fine study of the efforts of a onetime U.S. ambassador to Poland to uncover the truth of the Katyn atrocity, making excellent use of original research.


Skalny Civic Achievement Award - Bozena Nowicka McLees and Dr. Frank Kujawinski of Loyola University of Chicago, developers of their university's Polish Studies program

The late Dr. Frank Kujawinski and Dr. Bozena Nowicka McLees have been successfully active in their work to expand Polish Studies program at Loyola.

Skalny Civic Achievement Award - Maria Ciesla, Director of the Polish Museum of America

Ms. Ciesla has been very effective in the work of the Polish Museum of America (which is associated with the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America).


Skalny Civic Achievement Award - Hon. Aurelia Pucinski

Member of the Appellate Court of the State of Illinois. Pucinski is a leader in the Chicago Polonia, supportive of cultural matters in Polonia, and perhaps the most visible culturally active elected public official of Polish heritage in Illinois.

On the right is Mr. Frank Spula, President of the Polish American Congress and Polish National Alliance and himself a past recipient of the Skalny award in 2003.


Skalny Civic Achievement Award - Sharon Zago, Vice President of the Polish Women's Alliance of America

Zago has long been a strong promoter of her fraternal involvement in community cultural matters.

Skalny Civic Achievement Award - Paul Odrobina, Vice President of the Polish National Alliance and past president of the Michigan Division of the Polish American Congress

Odrobina is similarly involved with his organization and before assuming the vice presidency of the PNA was very active in cultural matters in Detroit.


Skalny Civic Achievement Award - Ewa Barczyk, Director of the Golda Meir Library of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Barczyk is a longtime supporter of Polish cultural activities at the Library and University and President of Polanki, the Polish Women's Cultural Club of Milwaukee, one of this country's most active community groups


Skalny Civic Achievement Award - St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital of Chicago

Founded by Frances Siedliska in 1894 to serve the city's Polish community, it ministered to people of all races, creeds, and national origins. In 1902, Dziennik Chicagoski labeled it the "Pride of Polonia Chicagoska." A school of nursing which existed at the hospital until 1986 graduated more than 3,000 nurses, as well as preparing professionals in anesthetics, radiologic technology, and medical technology well into the 1980s. In 1976 it was selected, because of its distinct Polish identification, by the City of Chicago as the official welcoming site for a delegation of Polish church officials headed by then-Cardinal Karol Wojtyła. In 1997 it sponsored a tour of the Polish religious singing group Adoremus from Warsaw, and it has, over the years, promoted Polish identity and culture in innumerable other ways.


Skalny Civic Achievement Award - Gabriela Pawlus Kasprzak, Krystyna Cap, and Mark Kohan

This trio is cited for meritorious contributions to The Polish American Encyclopedia. Gabriela Pawlus Kasprzak authored a very good thematic essay on the Polish experience in Canada, and is also far advanced in the process of preparing a special issue of Polish American Studies on the Poles in Canada. Krystyna Cap authored more than two dozen excellent entries and assisted in tracking down various miscellaneous pieces of information. Mark Kohan provided entire back files of the Polish American Journal to assist in identifying possible entries and locating specific information.

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