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Paul J. Szaniszlo Endowed Scholarship

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Paul and Susan Szaniszlo
Paul and Susan Szaniszlo

The Paul J. Szaniszlo Endowed Scholarship was endowed by the family of Professor Emeritus Paul J. Szaniszlo, PhD. Susan J. Szaniszlo, P. Christopher and Elizabeth McChesney Szaniszlo, and Drs. Charles R. and Juli Szaniszlo Powell provided gift funds to commemorate Paul’s career in microbiology and provide support to students in his honor.

The Szaniszlo family wanted to do something special to recognize and honor Paul’s years of service to The University of Texas at Austin and his commitment to learning, research, teaching, and students. To that end, they decided an endowment would make a fitting honor.

Paul believes that education and hard work are the keys to success, and he attributes every opportunity he has been given in his adult life to having been able to go to college and graduate school. Paul was the first in his family to attend college. This would not have been possible without his parents receiving financial aid.

The Paul J. Szaniszlo Endowed Scholarship supports an undergraduate student who is the first in his or her family to attend college. This preference best reflects Paul’s journey into academia and will enable this journey for others.

The Szaniszlo family came to Austin in August 1968 when Paul was starting his career as an assistant professor of microbiology. Forty-one years later, he retired as a professor emeritus. It is this life and career that shaped the life of the family.

The Szaniszlo family. Back row: Paul and Susan Szanizlo. Middle row: Chuck and Juli Powell, and Chris and Chesney   Szaniszlo. Front row: Matthew Powell, Lily Powell, and Lee Szaniszlo.
The Szaniszlo family. Back row: Paul and Susan Szanizlo. Middle row: Chuck and Juli Powell, and Chris and Chesney Szaniszlo. Front row: Matthew Powell, Lily Powell, and Lee Szaniszlo.

During their years in Austin, Paul’s wife, Susan, graduated from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs with an MPA in 1982. She has worked in various federal, state, and local programs as a public policy researcher. Paul’s son, Chris, graduated from UT Arlington with a BBA after lettering four years on the golf team. Chris is now an assistant executive director of the Texas Association of School Boards and managing director of First Public in Austin. Paul’s daughter, Juli, graduated from the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio with a DDS and owns a dental practice in Austin. Chris’ wife, Chesney, received her BA in Plan II from UT Austin and master of divinity and master of theology in pastoral counseling degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary. She is a parish associate at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Austin. Juli’s husband, Chuck, received his PhD in math education from UT Austin and is director of research and research communications for Agile Mind, a national Internet-based math education program.

These accomplishments and connections to The University of Texas demonstrate Paul’s influence on his family. He encouraged each of them to study, to create, to continue learning about the world, and to contribute to it. If the Paul J. Szaniszlo Endowed Scholarship can help someone attend The University of Texas, they feel they have passed on Paul’s legacy.

As a husband and father, Paul has enriched his family’s lives with his careful, reasoned way of looking at life — from his outlook on intellectual study, curiosity about the world, and appreciation of nature to his compassionate outlook on the diverse social and political landscape of today. The Szaniszlos attribute their accomplishments, as individuals and as a family, to Paul’s dedication to learning, hard work, and perseverance, first as an undergraduate at Ohio Wesleyan University and graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and later as a UT faculty member.

Paul influenced countless students who attended his courses in microbiology, fungal biology, and medical mycology. He supported and guided the research and publications of more than 30 graduate students and sponsored postdoctoral fellows from around the world who came to his lab to fine-tune their research. He continues to follow those students and post-docs in their careers, happy to collaborate on research or publications, to write letters supporting an application or promotion, to work with them when they may struggle in their own careers, and to celebrate their hard-earned promotions, awards, and honors. Those who have come through the Szaniszlo laboratory over the past 41 years are a second family, and the Szaniszlos consider these students’ children to be their “lab grandchildren.”

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