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Paul and Tish Szurek Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Liberal Arts

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The Paul and Tish Szurek Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Liberal Arts was established by the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System on January 28, 2003, for the benefit of the College of Liberal Arts. Gift funds were provided by Mr. Paul E. Szurek of Asheville, North Carolina, a 1981 graduate of The University of Texas at Austin College of Liberal Arts and Mrs. Tish W. Szurek of Asheville, North Carolina.


Paul Szurek graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 1981 with a BA in government. He participated in the Student Council for the College of Liberal Arts, where he made lifelong friends while earning a high-quality education. He was always grateful for the education and mentoring he received at UT from professors H. Malcolm McDonald, David Prindle, Peter Green, Ivan Taborsky, and others. He is especially grateful that his education was affordable.

While a junior at UT, Paul showed his adviser, Professor McDonald, a schedule that omitted the class on Anglo-American jurisprudence. This class, which McDonald taught, was notoriously difficult. McDonald, in his courtly way, insisted Paul should register for the class. The class turned out to be every bit as difficult as he had feared, but it was worth more to him than any other. McDonald pushed Paul towards an enriching if difficult curriculum and provided him a challenging and thought-provoking experience. To this day Paul is impressed with the care and tact his adviser used to lead him to a harder class. Paul feels the course taught him the rigor and attentiveness he needed in law school and thereafter. McDonald continues in Paul’s memory as the prime example of the type of caring, invested teacher encountered regularly at the University.

After graduating from UT, Paul went on to Harvard Law School and had successful careers as a corporate lawyer and chief financial officer of a publicly traded real estate company. For many years Paul served on the advisory council for the College of Liberal Arts. Tish Szurek is a 1987 graduate of Duke Law School and a 1984 graduate of Columbia College. She married Paul in 1987. During their years of marriage, Tish has been incredibly supportive of Paul’s ongoing engagement with the University and she appreciates the opportunities Paul’s UT education made possible. Tish teaches political science in Asheville, North Carolina.

When their success permitted them to give back to the University, they endowed the Tish and Paul Szurek Endowed Scholarship for the Liberal Arts to assist and encourage students from El Paso County and other Texas border counties to seek their education at The University of Texas. Tish and Paul believe in the teaching that everyone is equal in God’s eyes. To this end, they hope this scholarship will encourage students to attend UT who might otherwise be discouraged by the cost of education.

The Szureks both earned liberal arts degrees and wish to encourage others to pursue this course of study. They lived in El Paso for many years and noticed reluctance among students there to attend UT Austin, mostly, they felt, due to cost concerns. They hope this endowment will encourage students from El Paso to consider UT Austin.

This endowment reflects their desire to see more people have a comfortable opportunity for an education. It is also a great comfort to know that no matter what ups and downs life might bring for students, this scholarship is fully established and will continue to serve people and reflect to them the faith that motivates everyone. In the Szureks’ eyes, it is one small building block in the long-term sustainability of a great state university and its valuable mission.

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