Before they met in Fort Myers, Fla., Zbig and Maureen Grabowski had lived in five countries combined. A professor emeritus of physics, Zbig was born in Poland, earned his PhD in Sweden, then taught at Purdue for 39 years. Maureen grew up in England, had a 10-year nursing career, lived in Laos during the Vietnam War and subsequently owned two businesses.
“We met at a Rotary club meeting,” says Maureen. “I learned that Zbig ate out three meals a day, so my line was, ‘If you would like a home-cooked meal, here’s my card.’” The Grabowskis married in 2005. Since then, they’ve also found a way to give to Purdue that’s perfect for them — the Zbig and Maureen Smitt Grabowski Study Abroad Scholarship. Funded through current donations and a will provision, the scholarship provides study abroad funding to College of Science students. In spring 2011, the Grabowskis’ generosity enabled one student to spend a year in England and another to spend a semester in Australia. “We enjoy receiving letters from students saying that studying abroad has opened their eyes and changed their outlook,” notes Maureen. “Zbig and I are hoping our gift will help many Purdue students develop a global understanding.”