Paying tribute

Poland Consul General Robert Rusiecki bears a wreath covered in flowers and Poland’s flag at the gravesite of former President George H.W. Bush on Monday along with representatives of Grupo LOTOS, Poland’s largest oil refinery.

Representatives from the largest oil refinery in Poland paid tribute to George H.W. Bush on Monday during a visit to Texas A&M University.

Three officials from Grupa LOTOS placed a wreath at the gravesite of Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush while visiting with administrators at the Bush School of Government and Public Service.

Patryk Demski, Robert Sobkow and Grzegorz Pytel were on campus to establish a pair of scholarships in the former president’s name. The scholarships will allow Polish students to study international policy at the Bush School.

Jim Mazurkiewicz, a professor at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and president of the Polish American Council of Texas, facilitated the meeting.

“They wanted to pay tribute to Bush because he is highly revered. He and [former President Ronald] Reagan both made a major contribution, and certainly they were responsible for bringing a new republic to Poland a second time after the fall of the [Berlin] Wall,” Mazurkiewicz said.

Robert Rusiecki, the Polish consul general in Houston, said Monday’s visit was part of an effort by the company to establish American partnerships.

Most students from Poland travel to study in cities with large Polish populations, such as Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, Rusiecki said. Having the scholarship opportunity available at the Bush School will add value for students looking at Texas as an option, he said.

The three members of Grupa LOTOS were joined Monday by Mazurkiewicz, Rusiecki and Bill Arnold, a professor in the practice of energy management from Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business.

The scholarships will be the first for Central and Eastern European students at the Bush School, said Demski, the deputy CEO of Grupa LOTOS.

Demski said the scholarships offer an opportunity for Polish students to pay tribute to the political legacy that Bush left on Poland.

“I think it is fair to say that part of our freedom was made through his life work, through his ability to be so convinced in those difficult times when the Berlin Wall fell,” Demski said.

Bush was buried at the gravesite behind the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum following his death Nov. 30.

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