Board of Advisors

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Dr. Agnes Guthrie

Dr. Agnes Guthrie, a native of Poland, comes from a  family that suffered personal hardship and was active in the anti-German resistance during WWII. She entered medical school in Warsaw in 1956, served on the editorial board of the medical student newspaper, and participated in the student exchange program.  In 1963, after graduation, she came to the USA and entered postgraduate education in Dallas, Texas, specializing in radiology. After residency and fellowship at Baylor University Medical Center, she was hired as an instructor in pediatric radiology at Southwestern Medical School in Dallas and had a part-time private practice in Dallas.  In 1977, she joined the faculty of the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, radiology department, where she remained as clinician and teacher until 2020 when she retired from clinical practice during the pandemic but remains on the faculty as a volunteer teacher.
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Dr. F. Russell Hittinger

Dr. F. Russell Hittinger is the Professor Emeritus of Catholic Studies at the University of Tulsa.  He has been a full-time faculty at Fordham University and at the Catholic University of America.  He is a Visiting Professor at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology (Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley), and has served on two pontifical academies:  St. Thomas Aquinas and Social Sciences.
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Dr. John Hittinger

Board Chair

Dr. John P. Hittinger is the director of the Saint John Paul II Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., and a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. He has taught at St. Mary’s College in Orchard Lake and at the United States Air Force Academy. Dr. Hittinger shares a wealth of education and experience in John Paul II studies. As a professor of philosophy, he has spoken to more than 100 audiences and published numerous articles on the thought of St. John Paul II. He was the founder of the Pope John Paul II Forum for the Church in the Modern World. A seasoned traveler throughout Poland, he has made over a dozen trips, including leading 3 study abroad groups throughout the country. He has collaborated with scholars at a number of Polish universities and institutes, including the University of Silesia/Katowice, the Catholic University of Lublin, the Józef Tischner Institute/Kraków, the Warsaw John Paul II Center, and the Pontifical University of John Paul II in Kraków. Dr. Hittinger teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses on St. John Paul II.
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Rev. Grzegorz Hołub

Grzegorz (Gregory) Holub was born in Poland in 1969 and is a Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Kraków, Poland.  In addition to his native tongue, Polish, he is fluent in English, Italian, and German. Currently, he is a Professor of Philosophy (M.A., Theology, Ph.D., Philosophy) at the Department of Philosophy of the Pontifical University of John Paul II in Kraków. He was a visiting scholar and researcher at the University of Notre Dame, London University, and Harvard University. The primary focus of his work is on ethics, bioethics, philosophy of the human person, the philosophy of Karol Wojtyla. Rev. Grzegorz has authored 5 books including his latest one: "Understanding the Person: Essays on the Personalism of Karol Wojtyla" (2021.) He is also the author of about 100 articles in both Polish and English. His current focus includes general ethics, applied bioethics, philosophy of human enhancement, and the philosophy of Karol Wojtyla.
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Rev. Janusz Ihnatowicz

Honorary Member

Fr. Janusz Ihnatowicz was born in Poland and escaped in 1946 to the United Kingdom. He later emigrated to Canada but returned to Poland in 1958. He earned a B.A. in philosophy from the University College, Dublin, Ireland in 1951. As an avid writer, he was a member of the Young Polish writers' group in "Merkuriusz". Upon his return to Poland, he entered the Diocesan Seminary in Kielce, where he continued his studies until he was ordained a priest in 1962. He served as a chaplain to university students after becoming a priest. Under pressure from the Communist government, he returned to Canada, where earned an S.T.L. at St. Paul's University in Ottawa. In 1969, he was named to the faculty of the University of St Thomas, Houston, and in 1984, S.T.D. at the Angelicum, Rome. He is a professor emeritus and an accomplished poet (with 16 volumes in Polish and English, published).
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Ms. Monika Jabłońska-Chodakiewicz

Monika Jablonska is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at the University of Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski in Warsaw, Poland.  She is an author of “Wind from Heaven: John Paul II, The Poet Who Became Pope.” Her two books, about Saint John Paul II and Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, will be released in 2022. Monika participated in the documentary "The Divine Plan" about John Paul II and Ronald Reagan (2019). She also contributes to different media in the United States and Europe. She is a lawyer living in Washington D.C. area.
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Rev. Dr. Witold Kania

Witold Kania is a priest from the diocese of Katowice in Upper Silesia, Poland, currently serving the Parish of the Holy Cross in Tychy, Poland. He is the Archdiocesan Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus, Archdiocese of Katowice, Poland, and Chaplain to the Missionaries of Charity, Katowice, Poland. For many years, Fr. Witold has visited Houston and served parishioners at St. Vincent de Paul Parish. Fr. Witold is a visiting professor at the University of St Thomas in Houston, Texas, where he has given numerous lectures and has led the UST study abroad in Poland for the past three years. He holds a Ph.D. from the ecclesiastical faculty of philosophy, University of Navarra, Spain. He also earned a Licentiate in Theology from the Academy of Catholic Theology, Warsaw, Poland, and an M.A. in Theology from the Papal Academy of Theology, Kraków, Poland. Rev. Dr. Witold’s special expertise is in bioethics and ecology.
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Dr. R. Mary Hayden Lemmons

Mary Hayden Lemmons is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of St. Thomas, MN. She earned her doctorate at the Center for Thomistic Studies, M.A. in philosophy at Niagara University, and B.S. in biochemistry at the State University of New York at Binghamton. Besides publishing many articles focusing on Thomas Aquinas and St. John Paul II, she published Ultimate Normative Foundations: The Case for Aquinas’s Personalist Natural Law, edited and contributed two chapters to Woman as Prophet in the Home and the World, a bookexploringJohn Paul II’s philosophy and theology of women. Dr. Lemmons also serves as the founding president of the Society for Thomistic Personalism, the president of University Faculty for Life, a special issue editor for Studia Gilsoniana, and an Advisory Board member for the family studies program at the University of St. Thomas, MN.
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Dr. Michał Łuczewski

Michał Łuczewski, PhD, a professor of sociology at the University of Warsaw and a visiting fellow at Christ Church, Oxford University. He is the co-founder of the Two Wings Institute. He is the Former Director of Programmes of the John Paul II Centre in Warsaw, a frequent commentator for both Polish as well as international press, and an author of displays and TV-documentaries, including most recently his ten-episode series on John Paul II’s legacy. He was a Fulbright Scholar at Columbia University, a Jozef Tischner fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna and a lecturer at the joint MA-program of Centre for Social Studies in Warsaw and Lancaster University. He is the author of multiple books and has held a series of lectures at various universities, including DePaul, Purdue, Notre Dame, Villanova, and Brown.He has initiated John Paul II memorial lectures and edited an ensuing volume with contributions including David Alton, John Finnis, Rocco Buttiglione, Frans Alting von Geusau, Hans Joas, Michael Welker, Gerhard Ludwig Müller and Stefano Zamagni. Michał Łuczewski served in the Polish President's National Development Council, remains the main strategist of one of the chief economic congresses in the Trimarium-region, and is a member of the Board of Polska Wielki Projekt Foundation, a leading Polish think-tank. In his public engagement, he is a proponent of dialogue, peace and reconciliation between polarized parties, for which he was nominated for the Grand Press prize. With his wife, prof. Paulina Bednarz-Łuczewska, they are living in Warsaw with four kids.
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Dr. Witold J. Łukaszewski

Honorary Member

Dr. Witold J. Lukaszewski is a Professor Emeritus of Sam Houston State University and a native of Poland who immigrated to the United States (1950) via Britain after having an early life that was impacted by WWII, which included being deported to Kazakhstan from Poland.  He served in the US Army from 1952-1955, became a naturalized citizen in 1953, and graduated with honors from the US Army Advanced Leadership School in 1954. Upon completing his military service, he resumed his studies, obtaining a B.A. degree in 1958 and an M.A. degree in 1962, both from Seton Hall University, and a Ph.D. degree from Columbia University, New York, in 1973. In 1970, he was appointed to the Faculty of Sam Houston State University, from which he retired in 2009.  During his tenure, he guest lectured at universities, foreign governmental institutions, and served as a media advisor to NBC-TV for John Paul II’s visit to Poland (1983) and others such as the BBC. He has been engaged in civic-political activities within the Polish community (both domestically and internationally), at Sam Houston State University, the local high school districts, and civic clubs.
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Mr. Larry W. Massey, Jr.

Development Committee Chair

Mr. Massey was born in London, England in 1955 and grew up in Pascagoula, Mississippi. He holds a BBA in finance from the University of Texas – Austin, and a graduate degree in Trust Administration from the Southern Methodist University school of banking. Mr. Massey converted to the Catholic faith in 2000 and is now an active member of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church. He is a member of various groups and boards, including the Houston Philanthropy Circle, the San Jose Clinic, Catholic Literary Arts, the Institute for Spirituality & Health, and the Coalition for Life.  In 2008 he co-founded the Texas Medical Center/West University place branch of the Bank of Houston. He retired from banking in 2014. Mr. Massey was elected president and director of the Scanlan Foundation in 2015 and continues to serve in that role today. He resides in the Houston area with his wife Susan.

 

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Jolanta Mazewski-Dryden

Development Committee Co-Chair

Jolanta Mazewski-Dryden is an immigrant from Poland with a history of active involvement in the Polish community and organizations and a graduate of University of Houston (Marketing/Management). She actively promotes the Polish culture, history, language, arts, and heritage throughout Texas and serves on the Polish-American Council of Texas, Polish Progressive Lodge 2336, Council 182 Representative, and community champion for the Polish Heritage Center (Panna Maria, TX). For 24 years she worked as Director of Conference & Exhibitions for International Exhibitions, where she developed and expanded business both here in the US and international markets.  As the owner of Dryden Event Productions (DEP) that specializes in event development, production, and management, she has over three decades of experience and knowledge with clients from both corporate and non-profit organizations.  She serves as a Fraternal Advisor - Region H, Polish National Alliance – A Polish/American fraternal benefits society offering life insurance and annuities with a wide array of products and benefits. She currently lives and works in the greater Houston area.
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Dr. Jim Mazurkiewicz

Dr. Jim Mazurkiewicz serves as a Regents Fellow, Leadership Program Director, and Professor of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. He is a fifth-generation Polish-American and a native of the Brazos Valley. His family originally settled in Washington County at the end of the nineteenth century and they still own the operate the family farm in Chappell Hill, Texas. He graduated from Waller High School and received a B.S. and Ph.D. from Texas A&M University and a Masters from Texas Tech University. He is currently President of the Polish-American Council of Texas, an organization bringing together all of Texas Polonia. Jim is vested in building bridges between Poland and Texas. As of Jan. 1, 2018, 380 Texans have visited Poland and 221 Poles have visited Texas through programs and bilateral visits run by organizations he leads. Jim has been the recipient of several awards, including Regents Fellow in 2012, the Bryan-College Station Volunteer of the Year Award in 2013, the Medal of Merit from the Polish President in 2016, and the Medal of Honor from the Polish Minister of Agriculture in 2011. Jim married Kathy Gore from Houston in 1978 and they are proud parents of three children.
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Dr. Waldemar Priebe

Dr. Priebe (Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry, University of Warsaw) is a Professor of Medicinal Chemistry in the Department of Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. He holds the title of Professor of Chemistry in the Republic of Poland, as granted by former President of Poland, Alexsander Kwaśniewski, in recognition of his seminal contributions in the field of Chemistry. His research is focused on the discovery and development of new anticancer therapies and he is the founder of 5 biotechnology companies. Dr. Priebe is also in active collaboration with Polish researchers at several Polish institutions, with over 40 researchers from Poland having trained in his laboratory. In 2013, he received the Polish Academy of Sciences Medal and the Order of Polonia Restituta (Officer’s Cross Class). In 2015, he was appointed by the President of Poland to the National Development Council of Poland (Narodowa Rada Rozwoju) and received the Outstanding Polish Scientist award. Professor Priebe is also a Trustee of the Kościuszko Foundation and President of the foundations’ Texas Chapter. Professor Priebe and his wife, Dr. Teresa Szwarock-Priebe, reside in Houston, Texas, and have two daughters.
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Dr. Piotr Przybylski

Dr. Piotr Przybylski, Assistant Director for Polish Studies Program at the St. John Paul II Institute, is a Polish native (Kraków, Poland) with expertise in Polish history and heritage. He co-founded the Polish Studies program at the University of St. Thomas and actively promotes it amongst the Polish diaspora and in Poland. His work is dedicated to growing the program.  Additionally, he is an energetic contributor and prominent leader of Texas Polonia, with over 20 years of collaboration with various key academic and governmental institutions and companies in Poland, the United States, and the European Union. He serves as the first vice-president of the Polish American Council of Texas. As an accomplished Geoscientist and Engineer, he has had the opportunity to work in the Oil & Gas arena for 20+ years and as the Oil & Gas Advisor of the Polish American Chamber of Commerce in Texas. He lives in Houston, Texas with his wife and three children.
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Honorable Robert Rusiecki

Honorary Member

Robert Rusiecki is the Polish Consul General in Houston. His previous appointments were the Consul General of the Republic of Poland in London and Deputy Consul General/ acting Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago. Prior to diplomatic service, he had been working for Austrian, German, and Dutch financial institutions for several years.  Robert Rusiecki is a graduate of Warsaw University in Poland.
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Mr. Russell Shaw

Russell Shaw received both his B.A. and M.A. degrees from Georgetown University. After working as a journalist with the Catholic News Service, he served from 1966 to 1969 as director of publications and information with the National Catholic Educational Association. From 1969 to 1987, he was the secretary for public affairs of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference (predecessor of today's U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.) From 1987 to 1997, he served as the Director of Information of the Knights of Columbus. A full-time freelance writer since 1997, he has contributed hundreds of articles, columns, and reviews to periodicals in the U.S. and other countries and is the author or co-author of 24 books, including the newly published The Life of Jesus Christ (Our Sunday Visitor Books). He is a former consultor of the Pontifical Council of Social Communications and serves, or has served, on the boards of several organizations and institutions. The Catholic University of America awarded him an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 2019. He and his wife, Carmen, have five children, ten grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
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Dr. Ewa Thompson

Ewa M. Thompson is Professor of Slavic Studies Emerita and former chairperson of the Department of German and Slavic Studies at Rice University. Before she came to Rice, she taught at Indiana, Vanderbilt, and the University of Virginia, and lectured at Princeton, Witwatersrand (South Africa), Toronto (Canada), and Bremen (Germany). She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Warsaw and her doctorate from Vanderbilt University. She is the author of five books, about fifty scholarly articles, and hundreds of other articles and reviews. Her books and articles have been translated into Polish, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Russian, Croatian, Czech, Hungarian, and Chinese. She has published scholarly articles in Slavic Review, Slavic and East European Journal, Modern Age, and other periodicals and has done consulting work for the government and private institutions and foundations. She is the Founder and former Editor (1981-2017) of Sarmatian Review, an academic quarterly on non-Germanic Central Europe. She writes a bi-weekly column for Teologia Polityczna (www.teologiapolityczna.pl).