The Polish University Club of New Jersey was originally conceived in 1925 by a small group of Polish-American college graduates under the name of the Polish Collegiate Club. According to the press accounts preserved in the organization’s archives, in 1928 the name was changed to the Polish University Club of New Jersey. The founding members were:
Paul P. Bogatko, Dr. Adam T. Gutkowski, Dr. Joseph Michalski, Dr. Henry T. Obuchowski, Stephen W. Golinski, Dr. Edward A. Bogdan, Alexander T. Jaskiewicz, Edward G. Mrozek, Joseph P. Wludyka and Francis J. Regula
The main purpose of the organization is “to promote cooperation, good will and mutual help and understanding among its members; to propagate the American and Polish ideas and ideals; to foster patriotic sentiments…”
The organization blossomed through the years promoting cultural activities and awarding scholarships. In 1931, the wives of the members of the Polish University Club organized an Auxiliary with the same goals.
In 1953, the Club expanded the realm of its activities by inaugurating the Institute of Polish Culture at Seton Hall University. The Institute is charged with presenting programs on Polish American political, historical, artistic and literary issues to familiarize the community with the relevance and importance of these issues in a democracy; to promote a deeper appreciation of the Polish American heritage; and to serve as a reminder of Poland’s struggles for autonomy and freedom.
In 1982, the Polish University Club of New Jersey opened its doors to female graduates, and shortly thereafter the Auxiliary members became a part of the Club.
The Polish University Club of New Jersey has always taken great pride in supporting young adults who are striving for higher education. In order to promote this interest, it has awarded many scholarships to deserving students. The first scholarship was awarded to Victor M. Krygowski. Since then, a total exceeding $500,000 has been awarded to more than 500 students pursuing their educational goals.
Money for the Scholarship Fund is raised from contributions of past recipients, members, friends, bequests and the proceeds from social affairs. Edward Starr and Paul Bogatko deserve special mention as the Club’s most generous contributors. Edward Starr left a bequest of $275,000 to the Scholarship Fund, and Paul Bogatko endowed Syracuse University with $231,000 to establish a scholarship fund in his memory. Paul chose the Polish University Club of New Jersey to recommend Polish-American students attending Syracuse University for these awards. Wanda and Wallace Nowel have also endowed a scholarship at Providence College with which they chose our Club to recommend Polish American Students for this award.