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Quinnipiac University receives $1 million gift to create the Novak Family Polish Chair

A $1 million gift from Pete and Kasia Novak of Longmeadow, Mass. will fund a new academic chair at Quinnipiac University. The Novak Family Polish Chair is being established in support of the Central European Institute (CEI) at Quinnipiac University and will lead to the establishment of the Polish American Business Leader Scholars Program. Quinnipiac will match the Novaks’ gift, creating a $2 million fund in perpetuity.

“The Novak Family Polish Chair is an enormous addition to the CEI. It will allow us to replicate what we have done in Hungary, thus strengthening our ties to this important region,” said CEI Director Christopher Ball, who also is the István Széchenyi Chair in International Economics.

The CEI builds bridges between the United States and the nations of Central Europe by fostering relationships in three main areas: academic, business and culture. Within the university the CEI is an umbrella organization under which country-specific endowed chairs are established to develop relations between the United States and their respective countries. The Széchenyi chair was established in 2008 to foster relations with Hungary. Ball now serves as honorary consul of Hungary for the state of Connecticut.     

Pete Novak, a member of the CEI board, is general agent of Charter Oak Insurance and Financial Services Company headquartered in Springfield, Mass. The agency is represented throughout New England with offices in Western and Central Massachusetts, Greater Hartford, Greater New Haven, Fairfield County, Connecticut and metropolitan New York. Peter Novak also is on the Board of Trustees of The Kosciuszko Foundation, which is dedicated to promoting educational and cultural exchanges between the United States and Poland and to increasing American understanding of Polish culture and history.

“Kasia and I are pleased to provide the funding for a chair at Quinnipiac University that will further enhance the efforts of the CEI while paying tribute to our heritage,” said Pete Novak. “Professor Ball has done a remarkable job building the Institute so I am confident that our investment will make a real impact in Poland.”

The Polish American Business Leader Scholars Program will provide annual scholarships for Polish students to pursue their MBAs at Quinnipiac and gain corporate experience at American companies before returning to Poland. “This type of program has been a remarkable success with students from Hungary,” Ball said.  “They not only gain the valuable technical skills necessary to compete in a global marketplace, they also benefit from learning ‘soft skills’ that so many companies desire.”

Quinnipiac is a private, coeducational, nonsectarian institution located 90 minutes north of New York City and two hours from Boston. The university enrolls 6,500 full-time undergraduate and 2,500 graduate students in 58 undergraduate and more than 20 graduate programs of study in its School of Business and Engineering, School of Communications, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, School of Law, Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine, School of Nursing and College of Arts and Sciences. Quinnipiac consistently ranks among the top regional universities in the North in U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges issue. The 2013 issue of U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges named Quinnipiac as the top up-and-coming school with master’s programs in the Northern Region. Quinnipiac also is recognized in Princeton Review’s “The Best 377 Colleges.” The Chronicle of Higher Education has named Quinnipiac among the “Great Colleges to Work For.” For more information, please visit www.quinnipiac.edu. Connect with Quinnipiac on Facebook at www.facebook.com/quinnipiacuniversity and follow Quinnipiac on Twitter @QuinnipiacU.

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