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Keeping Tradition
Prof. Stanistaw Popek, president of the Jan Zamoyski College of Humanities and Economics in Zamosc, talks to Waldemar Kazmierczak.


You are a unique among the heads of Polish colleges. As a scientist, you are active in the field of psychology, but you are also an excellent poet with a rich output, and a painter. Given your successful academic and artistic activity, why did you agree to admin ister this college?


It does not necessarily interfere with my other pursuits, but I do have less time for art. I was born and grew up near Zamosc and was a teacher in this city for many years. When I started working as an academic at the Marie Curie-Sklodowska University (UMCS) in Lublin, I did not cut off contacts with the former community and Zamosc. That would be against my nature. When I was offered the job of president of the College of Humanities and Economics in Zamosc, I was happy to return to a place I know very well, with ideas that to some extent I fill up with my own knowledge and experience.

Zamoyski College—this is what they call your school—may create a great obliga tion, given the region's heritage. Aren't you intimidated by this?

I often hear the nickname Zamoyski College. Our school wants to continue the beautiful humanistic traditions of the Zamosc Academy, established in 1594 by Jan Zamoyski. At that time, it was the third institute of higher education in Poland. We want to continue the ideological programs of Zamoyski, fulfilling not only teaching functions but also implementing important scientific functions. Our teachers and students carry out many needed sociological and psychological studies. We also organize important international scientific conferences, for example Students With Varied Talents and Skills in Contemporary Schools, and nationwide ones, with two worth a particular mention—a very interesting conference Identity in Social Transformation Conditions and a scientific session presenting research results on the Zamoyskis, Zamosc and Zamosc Entail in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The latter was a prelude to the huge scientific events that soon took place in several cities of the former bihski Zamosc Entail. It is organized by the UMCS 159745 and supported by our college. The fact that we were invited to co-organize the project testifies to the trust we enjoy and the role we play in this region. All these activities are described in professional publications, including the Zeszyty Naukowe brochures published by our school, which is an important reference to scientific publications printed in the print shop of the Zamosc Academy.

Aside from its role as an educational and scientific institution, opinions concerning the college are shaped by numerous cultur al events. This is your initiative and it clear ly refers to the activities of Jan Zamoyski who generously supported the development of arts.

This connection is obvious for people who know Jan Zamoyski's biography. But an Artistic Salon—a series of creative activities offered by a college to students and local residents—is frequent practice at Western schools. The goal is to facilitate access to high art for students in smaller communities. So this is not my idea, but I do take part in designing the arts program.

• And these are high-standard proposals.

Certainly many of them were warmly wel come by recipients. I'd like to note here the sculpture exhibition by Prof. Marian Konieczny from Cracow, the creator of Jan Zamoyski's bust decorating our college and of the new monument in the Old Town in Zamosc. We should also mention the excellent pianist Prof. Tadeusz Chmielewski, who enchanted listeners with Chopin music, and singing poet Leszek Dtugosz. Meetings with the writers—Longin and Zbigniew Okori, Jerzy Sprawka and Waldemar Michalski— prove that we also devote a lot of attention to literature. Already 19 Salons have taken place, with the participation of several dozen artists and large audiences. But only the Salons are a proof of the college's participation in the creation of cultural values. We organize New Year concerts at Zamosc Cathedral. The latest one featured the world-renowned Warsaw Accordion Quintet. Our students present their own artistic proposals during annual Student Picnics that attract audiences in the hundreds.

The 400th anniversary of the death of the college's patron, Jan Zamoyski, leads logi cally to a question concerning the program for the celebrations at the school.

This is a series of events that have been implemented since last year. I have already mentioned the scientific conference devoted to research on the Zamoyskis; soon our Zeszyt Naukowy summing up the research will be published. It will be edited by Prof Ryszard Szczygiel, the creator of this conference and of the conference that will take place in Zamosc and the region. These are the strongest events. We also organized a national painting event, and subsequent works will be presented at the conference. At the same time, we will hold an exhibition of plans, maps and images of Zamosc, in cooperation with the Zamojskie Museum and major Polish institutions holding document archives. We organized an original concert, Songs of Slavic Calliope, that presented music played at the palace of Jan Zamoyski; it was part of the Third Zamosc Culture Meetings. We are preparing a special presentation at our website that will present our patron in various roles. He was a very interesting figure and he continues to be a lasting source of inspiration for our students and teachers.

In a ranking of colleges prepared by the editorial offices of Rzeczpospolita and Perspektywy, the College of Humanities and Economics in Zamosc was listed seventh in the country and first in Lublin province in the private vocational college category. This is a great success, confirming the suc cess of the school's mission under your guidance.

I feel honored on behalf of the college's management, teachers, administration and students. This is the result of joint efforts, which, ' however, is also a big obligation for the future. ;


The Warsaw VOICE - September 4. 2005

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