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Madame Marie Sklodwoska Curie Statue

Madame Marie Sklodwoska Curie Statue
Dedication Ceremony in Polish Garden
June 7, 2009

It's not surprising that Marie Siemionow, MD, PhD of the Cleveland Clinic considers Madame Marie Sklodowska Curie to be a role model. Madame Curie is a role model for all scientists - especially women.

Most of us know that Madame Curie discovered the elements radium and polonium and that she helped create the theory of radioactivity. Anyone who has ever had an X-ray, owes a debt to Marie Curie.

Madame Curie bust

What you may not know are the many struggles that young Maria Sklodowska had to face to learn. She was born on November 7, 1867, in Warsaw which was under the control of the Russian Tsar.

Women were not permitted to study at the University of Warsaw. So Maria and her older sister Bronya joined other students at a "floating university." The classes met at night, at changing locations to avoid detection by the czar's police.

Dr. Marie Siemionow at the new Madame Curie statue

Dr. Marie Siemionow at the new Madame Curie statue

Throughout her career, Marie met resistance because she was a woman but she managed to overcome them. She became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and is one of only two people to win 2 Nobel prizes in different fields. She won in Chemistry and Physics. Linus Pauling was the other winning in Chemistry and Peace.

Despite her achievements, in 1911 the French Academy of Sciences refused to abandon its prejudice against women and she failed by two votes to be elected to membership. Though discouraged and ill, Marie Curie kept working and mentored students. Curie's doctoral student, Marguerite Perey, would be the first woman elected to the Academy - in 1962, over half a century later.

She is recognized by a newly rededicated bust at the Polish Cultural Garden in Cleveland. It was fitting that Marie Siemionow, MD, PhD gave the keynote address at the ceremony.

The beautiful weather, the statue of Madame Curie and the pride of the Cleveland Polish community all contributed to the overflowing crowd at the event. As people entered the Polish Cultural Garden, the bust was covered with a red cloth and later unveiled during the ceremony.

Madame Curie statue covered before rededicaion - Polish Garden

Students displayed their award-winning works celebrating National History Day.

Nicolette Fee with her project about Elizabeth Blackwell

Nicolette Fee with her project about Elizabeth Blackwell


Bethany Santiago-Meyus and Christine Oszris with their projct on Madame Curie

Bethany Santiago-Meyus and Christine Oszris
with their project on Madame Curie


Professor Joanne Uniatowski, D.M.A. began the program by leading the crowd in the Polish and American National Anthems.

Professor Joanne Uniatowski, D.M.A. began the program by leading the crowd in the Polish and American National Anthems.

Professor Joanne Uniatowski leads the Anthems


In the short video below, Judge Diane Karpinski introduces Prof. Joanne Uniatowski for th Anthems and then Rev. Eric Orzech, president of the Polish American Priests Association, gives the Invocation.




Rev. Eric Orzech, president of the Polish American Priests Association, gives the Invocation

Rev. Eric Orzech, president of the Polish American Priests Association, gives the Invocation

Judge Diane Karpinski then told the crowd the history of the sculpture of Madame Curie in the Polish Cultural Garden. The original sculptor was Frank L. Jirouche and the restoration sculptor was Timothy Riffle. The engravings were by Milano Mounuments and Teresa M. DeChant was the Art Consultant.

Judge Diane Karpinski

Judge Diane Karpinski


In the video below, Judge Karpinski gives the history of the sculpture and then introduces Cultural Garden president Paul Burik who tells how Madame Curie transcends nationality.




Cleveland Cultural Garden president Paul Burik

Cleveland Cultural Garden president Paul Burik


Mr. Burik also recognized the many guests in attendance from other Cultural Gardens.

Polish American Congress President John Borkowski then introduced many of the Polish VIPs in the audience.

Polish American Congress President John Borkowski introduces Polish VIPs

Polish American Congress President John Borkowski


In the video below, Polish American Congress President John Borkowski introduces Polish VIPs and Congressman Dennis Kucinich speaks about Cleveland's Polish community at the rededication of the Madame Curie Statue in Cleveland.





Congressman Dennis Kucinich

Congressman Dennis Kucinich



Then Judge Karpinski introduced the keynote speaker, Dr. Maria Siemionow, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. Siemionow spoke about the accomplishments, firsts and influence of Madame Marie Sklodowska Curie.







Dr. Marie Siemionow

Dr. Marie Siemionow


See more about Dr. Marie Siemionow at ClevelandWomen.Com

Next, Polish Garden president Ben Stefanski told how women were most responible for the restoration of the Madame Curie statue. Restoration Donors were: Christine and Barbara Burke, the Cooke Family, Elizabeth Dabrowski, the daughters of Helen Karpisnki, Grazyna Palczewski, Maria Siemionow, Margaret Wong and the Liberty Holden Trust Fund.

Stefanski also revealed some terrific news. He invited the crowd back next year when the Chopin bust would be restored and in 2 years for the Paderewski statue.

These items are covered in the video below as well as a story that Stefanski tells about General Pulaski




Polish Garden president Ben Stefanski

Polish Garden president Ben Stefanski

After some concluding remarks and a benediction by Rev. Orzech, came the Playing of the Hejnal by Michael Carey.




If you wonder why the music stops so abruptly, learn more about the Legend of the Hejnal. An impromptu closing song signalled the crowd to mix and mingle and head to St. Casimir Parish hall for a reception and performance by the Alliance of Poles "Piast" Dancers.





More Photos from the Event

Polish Garden president Ben Stefanski with grandddaughter Bridget

Polish Garden president Ben Stefanski with grandddaughter Bridget


Singing the National Anthems

Singing the National Anthems


Restoration Sculptor Timothy Riffle with his wife Lina

Restoration Sculptor Timothy Riffle with his wife Lina


Singing the National Anthems

Singing the National Anthems


Joanne Uinatowski and her mom

Joanne Uniatowski (right) and her mom


Congressman Dennis Kucinich with Rev. Eric Orzech, president of the Polish American Priests Association

Congressman Dennis Kucinich with Rev. Eric Orzech, president of the Polish American Priests Association


Piast dancers in the crowd

Young 'Piast' dancers in the crowd


Restoration Sculptor Timothy Riffle with his parents

Restoration Sculptor Timothy Riffle with his parents


Madame Curie statue crowd at Polish Cultural Garden in Cleveland

Listening to the speakers


Judge Diane Karpinski and Polish Garden president Ben Stefanski pose with the newly restore statue of Madame Curie

Judge Diane Karpinski and Polish Garden president Ben Stefanski pose with the newly restored statue of Madame Curie




See more of the Polish Cultural Garden

Legend of the Hejnal


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