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Alumni Spotlight: A Personal Pledge to Pay it Forward
For Vince Pawlowski, BA ’85, the decision to generously support the new Class of 1985 Scholarship Fund with a $100,000 lead gift was born out of a simple desire to give back to the institution that had given him so much. I recently sat down with Pawlowski, a successful defense attorney who sold his practice in Florida and now manages real estate properties around the country, to talk about his ongoing philanthropy, most recent gift and his personal pledge to give back.

By Kris Muñoz Vetter

How did you hear about UD, and what inspired you to give so generously to the Class of 1985 Scholarship Fund?

I had already decided I wanted to go to a liberal arts program for college, and my dad told me about the Rome Program at UD. It was because of the scholarship I received through the Texas Scholars program that I was able to go to UD. So, I had always thought that I had a debt to the university for the quality of education I received — it was just excellent — and I had always thought that I would give back if I were ever in a position to do so. I just felt it was the right thing to do, to be able to open the door to school and to the world for someone else, just as the Texas Scholars program did for me.

In what way was your UD experience transformative?

UD opened my eyes to the benefits of a classical education. When I went to law school at the University of Mississippi, and as I dealt with a number of educated people in my career as a lawyer, it became apparent that not many of them had had the benefit of a classical education like I’d had. I know the education that I got at UD was so much better than what many of my contemporaries got.

Looking back now, and after being involved with the National Alumni Board for a time, I see how important my UD education was to my formation and to my worldview. I’ll never forget this Spanish family I met when I was on a train from Paris during the Rome semester. The father had been involved in the revolution, and he said something that I’ve never forgotten to this day: “They can’t take your education away from you. No matter what the government or anyone does, they can’t take it away from you.” 

What does your UD education provide?

In my field of law, you have to communicate to clients, to courts, to market yourself and to sell your position to jurors, and it helps to have different perspectives. My UD experience helped immerse me in other cultures and experiences with people from other parts of the country and from other countries. Good communication is a lost art. No one has conversations anymore; we’re all communicating by text. It’s such a challenge for parents today, but being able to communicate clearly, having a broad vocabulary and being able to understand so many different perspectives — all things I gained at UD — have helped me tremendously in my career and in my life.

How did Rome transform you?

It was my first time traveling on my own, and I was only 20 at the time. When you find yourself in a different environment, you really get to see how other people live, and when I went, it was pre-internet. The whole experience just gave me such an appreciation for travel, and introduced me to new ideas. We were able to make friends just by meeting other people from all different walks of life — people who I had nothing in common with — but had great experiences with. On that trip, for example, I met a professional hockey player and business student from Washington, D.C., and we became fast friends and traveled all around Europe. It was such an unforgettable time, and it’s really true that UD students are citizens of the world, not just citizens of Dallas, Texas.

What would you say to other alumni to encourage them to consider giving back?

Everyone has their own reasons for giving. If you’re able to give back, you need to find it in your heart to do so. If you feel like you have gained from your UD experience, why not give back? UD doesn’t have the benefit of Division I sports or boosters, but we do have a very highly educated and worldly alumni community. We just need to ensure the type of education we all benefited from at UD endures for future generations.

To contribute to the Class of 1985 Scholarship, click here, or to learn more about how to establish a similar endowed scholarship for your class, please contact Associate Director of Development Veronica Moreno at vmoreno@udallas.edu.

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Sep 22, 2021

Prior to the creation of Faculty Excellence Funds, the Class of 1988 began the endowed Alumni Fund for Faculty Development, which supports faculty research and...

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The University of Dallas ranked No. 6 in Regional Universities West for the second year in a row in the 2022 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s "Best Colleges,"

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