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John Spakowski '42, 1920-1998
September 7, 1998
John W. Spakowski '42, a longtime booster of UConn athletics, died on June 23 at his home in Florida.
"John was an extremely generous and proud supporter of his alma mater," says Dee Rowe, special adviser for athletics. "He had a truly genuine caring and concern for his University."
In 1989, Spakowski contributed $500,000 toward construction of the UConn Sports Center (now known as the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion), creating the John W. Spakowski Center for Sport, Leisure, and Exercise Sciences within the sports complex. At the time, Spakowski's gift was the second largest ever made by an individual to the University.
"Several key individuals were dedicated to placing the Department of Sport, Leisure and Exercise Sciences within the new sports center complex, but the overwhelming generosity of John Spakowski helped make it a reality," says Carl Maresh, who heads Sport, Leisure and Exercise Sciences. "Before Gampel Pavilion was constructed, the department was housed in several different locations on campus. The John W. Spakowski Center for Sport, Leisure, and Exercise Sciences made it possible to bring our faculty members together in one location with state-of-the-art research facilities."
In recognition of his contributions to the University, the Board of Trustees bestowed its highest honor, the University Medal, on Spakowski in 1992.
As a student, Spakowski worked his way through school by printing and selling the first UConn football and basketball programs and designing and selling the University's first class rings.
After graduation, he served with distinction with the U.S. Army in the Pacific during World War II. Following the war, Spakowski returned to the Philippines as a civilian, becoming chair and chief executive officer of Philippine Amusement Enterprises Inc. and Republic Chemical Industries. He also started two restaurant chains with franchises in the Philippines, and developed other interests in the Far East. After returning to the United States in 1979, he achieved success as an investment counselor.
A long-time member of the UConn Club, Spakowski is survived by his wife Lucia, three sons, and three grandchildren.