WMU News

Provost Litynski honored by Polish government

Nov. 15, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- Dr. Daniel M. Litynski, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Western Michigan University, has been awarded the Cavalier Cross of Merit by the president of the Republic of Poland, in recognition of his efforts on behalf of Polish-American relations.

Litynski was in New York Nov. 12 to receive the award during a ceremony at Poland's Consulate General. The award was presented by Agnieszka Magdziak-Miszewska, Poland's consul general in New York, on behalf of Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski. The ceremony was part of the annual celebration of Poland's Independence Day, which is Nov. 11.

"It is an honor to receive this award from the Polish government," Litynski says. "There are long-lasting cultural ties between Poland and America that have developed over the past 200 years, and as we go into the future in this era of global connections, this is a partnership that can only continue to grow."

Litynski, who until recently was the University's engineering dean, came to WMU in 1999 from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he has been active in building and maintaining relationships with Poland on a number of fronts. He was an organizer and frequent speaker at that institution's Kosciuszko Day ceremonies, an annual event held to honor General Thaddeus Kosciuszko, a Polish army officer who became a U.S. Revolutionary War hero and the chief engineer for the fortifications at West Point. In addition to his engineering prowess, Kosciuszko, who Litynksi calls "a great soldier, engineer and gentleman," was instrumental in winning a number of critical battles for the Americans, including the Battle of Saratoga. Polish consular officials say it was Litynski's role in establishing the Kosciuszko Day tradition at West Point that is the primary reason for his selection as a recipient of the Cavalier Cross of Merit.

In addition, Litynski was a member of the International Advisory Committee that in 1992 helped establish the International Faculty of Engineering at the Technical University of Lodz in Poland. During the 1993-94 academic year, he became the first visiting professor and external examiner on that faculty body, teaching computer science at Lodz for six months.

A frequent visitor to Poland since 1990, Litynski has been a speaker at several professional technical conferences there and has visited several educational institutions and the military academies in that nation. As a West Point faculty member and department chairperson, he sponsored a series of Polish cadets who came to West Point to study.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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