Two Sisters’ Scholarships Honor Their UWM Years

November 16, 2017
Teresa and Mary Dominiak

Teresa Dominiak ’74 and Mary Dominiak ’76 have both established endowed scholarships at UWM, and both have decided to increase the value of their scholarships with gifts from their estates. Teresa’s scholarship supports undergraduates in the College of Nursing, and Mary’s supports undergraduates in the Honors College. Their scholarships honor their parents: Florian J. and M. Barbara Dominiak.

The sisters grew up on Milwaukee’s south side and both lived at home with their parents while going to school at UWM. Teresa graduated from the College of Nursing, and Mary earned a general bachelor’s degree – with honors – from the College of Letters & Science.

Although their education didn’t go beyond high school, Mr. and Mrs. Dominiak believed their daughters should pursue a college education, and they saved and planned in order to make that possible. Both daughters finished their bachelor’s degrees free from debt and ahead of schedule, finishing in three and a half years and three years, respectively.

Teresa and Mary entered different fields, but they each had the same mantra: You can do anything.

“People always say nursing is task-oriented,” Teresa explains. “It’s not about tasks; it’s about anticipating what might happen, preventing negative outcomes, and fostering positive ones. You can do anything with a nursing degree! I worked in obstetrics, the emergency room, the intensive care unit, and then in information and technology for 22 years, making nurses’ lives easier. If you have a positive attitude and you know how to organize and prioritize, the right jobs come to you.”

Mary pursued a law degree at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., after graduating from UWM. “My UWM education had prepared me well. It was a perfect foundation!” Mary recalls. “My legal career was eclectic. I worked in telecommunications law when the Bell System ceased and cell phones were emerging. I taught at a paralegal school, where I was the director of education, and then I worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for 22 years. I’m retired now, and I get to play with airplanes!”

With her gifts to UWM, Mary hopes to help other students be creative and inquisitive. “I want to help them build their own future the way I did.”

Teresa believes that the best way for her to help students build their future is to give. “You are the future when you give a scholarship,” she says. “If you’re not investing in the future, what kind of future are you going to have?”