Polish American Congress Michigan Division President Ann Bankowski’s Letter to the President of Saginaw Valley State University

September 6, 2016


Office of the President

Saginaw Valley State University

Wickes Hall 349

7400 Bay Road

University Center, MI 48710


Dear President Bachand,

It is with great concern that I am writing to you in regards to the subject of Polish studies offered at Saginaw Valley State University. I know personally that classes of Polish language, history, and culture enjoyed much popularity among students over several decades, thanks much to the efforts and dedication of Professor Anna Dadlez. Over the years she communicated regularly with my late father, Kazimierz Olejarczyk, who was president and very active with the Michigan Division of the Polish American Congress, an umbrella organization of organized Polish Americans, which speaks out on issues of concern for the community statewide. I have continued contact with her even after my father’s passing in 2014. Her commitment to create relevant courses in this area has never wavered. We always were happy to hear about her successes and achievements (though not always easily won) at SVSU and appreciated that she was truly filling a need among the student population with the classes she taught. I understand that she has turned to you entreating that Polish culture courses be returned to SVSU.

Unfortunately her age and the need to care for her husband have forced Professor Dadlez to retire in December 2015 from the teaching that she so loves. She expresses great disappointment that Polish classes of any sort are not being continued, now that she is gone from the teaching staff. She has made recommendations of 2 very able teachers and Polish culture experts on the SVSU staff, both of whom are willing to continue the program. Even though I find that the university’s course catalog still lists several Polish classes, Dr. Dadlez insists that they are no longer being offered by the university.

The cancelling of Polish studies would negatively affect the Polish American population whose taxes contribute to the flourishing of SVSU. The fact that such courses would “fill up” so quickly in the past demonstrates that there is both a great interest and a need to learn more in this area of study. I understand that past educational exchange programs with Poland were quite successful. Dr. Dadlez has expressed willingness to be of help and with advice to anyone who could continue such courses. Poland has been on the world stage recently (World Youth Day in Krakow and the NATO summit in Warsaw this past summer) and any classes that bring current modern day Poland to the forefront, as well as its language and heritage to your students, especially of Polish ancestry, would be both valuable and informative to many. Michigan is a state with over 1 million persons of Polish ancestry and the thumb area is particularly rich in Polish immigrant history.

I plan to share these concerns with the Polish American Congress- Michigan membership at our next quarterly meeting in September. I only hope that you will reflect on both the need, interest, and the assets available for continuing such studies at SVSU, and look forward to learning that in the near future Polish studies classes will be re-instated at your prospering institution. I also hope to place your response on the Polish American Congress division website (www.pacmi.org) as interest in this subject seems to be on the rise.A copy of this letter is being sent to some groups who may be interested in our communication on this issue.


With best regards,


Ann Bankowski, President

Polish American Congress- Michigan

11333 Joseph Campau

Hamtramck, MI 48212



Tri-City Polish Heritage Society, Bay City

Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish, Bay City

Polish Legion of America Vets, Bay City

Polish Falcons of America, Saginaw

The Polish Mission, Orchard Lake

The Polish Weekly, Rochester

Friends of Polish Art, Royal Oak

United Polish Society, Saginaw