In celebration of Charles Kolodzey’s (MSCE ’46) passion for travel and cultural experiences, the department has established the Charles Kolodzey Travel Grant Program. This program, made possible through a generous bequest to the CAEE Department in his will, is the first of its kind within the department and honors his lifelong interest in supporting engineering education.
The intent of this program is to provide an opportunity for PhD students in the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering to attend technical conferences, make oral and poster presentations about their dissertation research, and to develop a network of colleagues at other universities. It is thought that students with these experiences will be better prepared to embark on an academic career.
Charles Edwin Kolodzey Leaves a Legacy for CAEE
Born on January 28, 1914 in Yorktown, Texas, Charles Edwin Kolodzey knew early on that he would become a Texas Longhorn. However, before he became a UT engineer, he attended St. Edward’s University and graduated in 1936 with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering. Charles enrolled at UT to pursue his master’s degree in civil engineering. It was during this time that he met and courted his future wife, Claire Swenson, a UT home economics student. Claire graduated during the summer of 1939 and the two were married in Austin on July 8, 1940.
Charles studied under CE legends such at TU Taylor, John Focht and Phil Ferguson. He was one course shy of completing his degree when he was drafted by the Navy and shipped overseas to serve in Australia. Upon returning to the U.S. in late 1945, Charles re-enrolled in civil engineering and completed his degree work in spring 1946.
In the early 1990’s, Charles and Claire donated funds to create the Charles Edwin Kolodzey Endowed Presidential Scholarship. Claire was diagnosed with cancer in 1999 but treasured every minute of her life until her passing in 2001. Since then, Charles remained active in the community, his church, at St. Edward’s and of course, UT Austin. He never missed an annual scholarship banquet in the 15+ years that he was a donor. In addition, he regularly attended CAEE alumni functions and was always the life of the party well into his 90’s.
Charles was also a longtime Friend of Alec and knew that he wanted to do something special for the CAEE department. After much consideration, Charles established a gift annuity with shares of his ExxonMobil stock in April 2005. Interest generated from this gift paid him a fixed income for the remainder of his life and upon his passing, the principal created three very special endowments: The Charles E. Kolodzey Civil Engineering Centennial Endowment, the Charles E. Kolodzey Dean’s Endowment in Engineering and the Claire Swenson Kolodzey Excellence Endowment in the Department of Human Ecology (formerly Home Economics). When thanked for his incredible generosity, Charles used to say, “No, it’s UT that should be thanked. Because of the education I received here, my career and my life were so enriched.”
Charles Edwin Kolodzey passed away earlier this year, just six days after celebrating his 95th birthday. He lived life to the fullest, gave back in a profound way, and will be proud to know that one of his legacies will be helping others further their careers while gaining invaluable life experience through travel.
The department is now accepting applications from CAEE doctoral students who plan to attend conferences during the 2012-2013 academic year. Students may apply for summer 2013 conferences. A maximum of one travel grant per year, per student will be granted.
To learn more: