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Peter R. Antoniewicz Endowed Scholarship in Physics


The Peter R. Antoniewicz Endowed Scholarship in Physics was established by the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System in 2016 to benefit the College of Natural Sciences. Gift funds were provided by Susan S. Antoniewicz in memory of her husband Pete Antoniewicz, a professor of physics at The University of Texas at Austin for more than 40 years. Pete died June 14, 2015.

Antoniewicz was an exceptionally dedicated member of the UT Physics Department, especially with regard to undergraduate students. He served as chair of the Undergraduate Committee and as the undergraduate advisor for many years. While the department had advisors available during orientation each semester, it was necessary to have someone to help students with problems at all times. Antoniewicz filled that need, always in his office and willing to see students.

His friend and colleague Mel Oakes recalls, “He was always available for advising students. Pete was never autocratic in his decisions; he sought the advice of those involved and those he thought could help make things better. He served on the Scholarship Committee. My only complaint there was that he invariably recommended that my suggested awards be larger, never smaller.”

Antoniewicz’s passion for mentoring young scientists extended beyond the UT campus. He served as director of the Science Contest for the University Interscholastic League for more than 30 years, preparing the contest and test materials and introducing the UIL activities to hundreds of secondary school teachers every year.

He also was part of a group that established and administered the Saturday Teachers Workshop. This program invited high school physics teachers and their students to campus for three lectures given by physics faculty. The teachers often participated in an afternoon workshop where they created a physics demo or experiment they could take back to use in their classes. The program received a College of Natural Sciences Outreach Award.

The Antoniewicz family established the Peter R. Antoniewicz Endowed Scholarship in Physics to honor his lifelong commitment to undergraduate physics students and the study of science at the secondary level. This scholarship will be available to undergraduate students, including incoming freshmen. All other qualifications being equal, preference will be given to students who placed in a UIL natural sciences competition.

For more on Pete Antoniewicz’s life and career, including his experiences as a child refugee in World War II and his many contributions to Department of Physics and The University of Texas at Austin, see his biography at the History of the University of Texas Physics Department website, composed by his friend and colleague Mel Oakes, emeritus professor of physics.

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