Paul and Tish Szurek Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Liberal Arts
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 Denver, a 1981 graduate of The University of Texas at Austin College of Liberal Arts and Mrs. Tish Walker Szurek. This scholarship is the first of three endowments they created at UT Austin.
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 rigorous and excellent education. He remains grateful for the teaching and mentoring he received at UT from professors H. Malcolm McDonald, David Prindle, Peter Green, Ivan Taborsky, and others. As a student largely responsible for putting himself through school, Paul was and is appreciative of the affordability of his college experience at Texas.
In his second year at UT, Paul showed his adviser, Professor McDonald, a schedule that omitted the class on Anglo-American jurisprudence – a notoriously difficult class which McDonald taught. Professor McDonald, in his courtly way, insisted that 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. Professor 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. Professor McDonald continues in Paul’s memory as the prime example of the type of caring, invested teacher encountered so often at the University.
After graduating from UT, Paul went on to Harvard Law School and had successful careers as a corporate lawyer and in various executive roles with publicly traded and privately-held real estate companies. 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.
For both Paul and Tish, education opened doors intellectually and professionally. 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. Having lived in El Paso on and off for many years, Paul and Tish have an abiding love for West Texas and particularly the vibrant El Paso community. Recognizing the distinct challenges faced by students on the border, they want to support and enable students seeking higher education, to the benefit of both the students and the university.
Paul and Tish are actively committed to making UT financially attainable for academically promising students from all over Texas, and have since funded two additional endowments focused on student financial aid.
In 2018 the Paul and Tish Szurek University Leadership Network (ULN) Scholarship was established. The ULN supports high-achieving Texas students from low to middle income families throughout their college education, as part of UT’s commitment to college persistence and completion. The Paul and Tish Szurek Scholarship was established in 2020, in response to the Texas Challenge, for the benefit of students from El Paso.
Paul and Tish Szurek each earned degrees in liberal arts and wish to encourage others to pursue this course of study. They hope their endowments encourage students who might otherwise be discouraged by cost to consider attending UT Austin. Motivated by their faith, the Szureks see their giving as a way to enable new generations of students to thrive at UT and beyond, small building blocks in the long-term sustainability of a great state university and its valuable mission.