John and Mary Polikowsky spent long, happy careers teaching art and English. Now, more WWU students who dream of a life as a teacher will get their chance, too.
The Polikowskys decided to bequeath their estate to Western for a scholarship for prospective English and art teachers. While neither graduated from Western, Mary was an assistant professor of English at Western from 1987 to 1994 and was well known for training and mentoring future English teachers.
Both Polikowskys built a rewarding life around their teaching careers. John, a World War II veteran who spent some of his time in the Army as a ski instructor in Europe, earned an MFA in ceramics with the GI Bill and later taught art at Ingraham High School for 20 years. The Polikowskys met at Ingraham, where Mary was a language arts and social studies teacher with a doctorate in English literature. They married in 1993.
In retirement, they shared their love of books and travel, sailing the 44-foot sailboat John had built out of an empty hull. While Mary passed away in 2016, the book club she created more than 20 years ago lives on. John, 95, lives in Edmonds.