Academy Member Judith Schurek recognized in U of T’s Alumni Spotlight

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Her Extraordinary Journey

Judith Schurek fled the Hungarian Revolution and studied at U of T. Now she supports scholarships for international students.

Judith Schurek was one year away from earning her mechanical engineering degree when she and her fiancé fled the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. They took refuge in Vienna, where Schurek (BASc 1958) heard about Canadian scholarships that could cover her final year – but that she would have to come to Canada to apply. This clinched their decision about where to go next, and in the winter of 1957 the newlyweds arrived in Toronto. Schurek became one of the first women to earn a mechanical engineering degree at U of T and went on to a successful career as an engineer and entrepreneur. Last year, Schurek, 85, gave more than $1 million to establish two Lester B. Pearson International Scholarships – one named for her, and one named in memory of her husband, Robert – which each cover four years of study for exceptional international students.

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