Prof. Henryk Skarżyński received doctor honoris causa title of the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University (UKSW) in Warsaw 

On 27 May 2022, in the Schuman Hall of the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw, the Senate of the UKSW held a formal session on the occasion of the University Fest Day. During the session, Prof. Henryk Skarżyński, MD, Ph.D., dr. h.c. multi received the title of doctor honoris causa of the University. Many guests gathered at this ceremony, held on the eve of the liturgical commemoration of Blessed Stefan Wyszyński, the University’s patron. There were representatives of state and local authorities, rectors of Warsaw universities, and the academic community of UKSW: lecturers, administration personnel, students, and postgraduate students.

– Today’s ceremony is a kind of culmination of the UKSW’s efforts to educate the future medical staff – said Rev. Prof. Ryszard Czekalski, Ph.D., Rector of UKSW. – Professor Henryk Skarżyński, in a way, becomes a patron of the Medical Faculty as he receives the first title of doctor honoris causa in medical sciences at our University. We are proud that such an eminent person, creator, and initiator of contemporary medical trends, the teacher for many generations of doctors and scientists, joins the exceptional group of our honorary doctors.

Addressing the new honorary doctor of UKSW, his Magnificence, the Rector said: – You are a role model for us and excellent support and ambassador in the further development of medical sciences at the UKSW.

Prof. Henryk Skarżyński is a otosurgeon, otologist, a specialist in otorhinolaryngology, audiology, phoniatrics, and pediatric otolaryngologist of a world renown. He graduated from the Medical Academy in Warsaw in 1979. He was awarded a doctor of medicine degree in 1983 (dissertation: Condition of Lymphatic Vessels of Mucosa in the Laryngeal Cancer), a postdoctoral degree in 1989 (dissertation: Clinical and Experimental Studies of the Lymphatic System of the Lower Pharynx in Health and Cancer), and the title of professor of medical sciences – in 1995. For twenty years (from 1980 to 2000), he worked at the Department of Otolaryngology, Medical Academy of Warsaw (now Medical University of Warsaw). At the Academy, he held the posts of assistant  (1980), senior assistant (1982), reader (1985), assistant professor (1990), and an associate professor at the Medical Academy (1993). He also performed the functions of the deputy head and head of the ward and later the deputy head of the Clinic of Otolaryngology (1989 to 1996).

From 1994 to 1998, he was the national specialist in audiology, then the national consultant in audiology and phoniatrics (1998 to 2001, and 2008 to 2011). He has been the national consultant in otorhinolaryngology continuously since 2011.

From 2002 to 2018, Prof. H. Skarżyński was the head of the Department of Audiology and Phoniatrics at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw; later, he launched a music therapy program at the IFPS to specifically support the auditory development of users of various hearing implants.

Prof. H. Skarżyński is an honorary professor of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, USA (1998) and a doctor honoris causa of three universities: the Academy of Special Education in Warsaw (2011), University of Warsaw (2012), Maria Curie-Skłodowska University (2014). He is also an associate professor of the Nicolae Testemitanu State University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Kishinev, Moldova (2012) and an honorary professor of the National Center for Mother and Child in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (2016). The awarded titles reflect his extraordinary cooperation with these centers and the high position held in Poland and abroad.

In her laudation, the Deputy Dean for Clinical Affairs and Development of WM.CM UKSW, Prof. Ewa Barcz, MD Ph.D., emphasized that one of the most outstanding achievements of Prof. Skarżyński was the construction and management of the International Hearing and Speech Centre in Kajetany near Warsaw, which constituted the first part of the World Hearing Centre. It is worth mentioning that Prof. H. Skarżyński, from 1993 to 1996, was also the organizer and director of the Diagnostic, Therapeutic, and Rehabilitation Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing “Cochlear Center” in Warsaw. It was the second such institution in Europe to provide comprehensive care for people with hearing impairments. Since 1996 he has been the director of the departmental Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing (IFPS), which he initiated, developed its program, and was its principal organizer. From 1998 to 2003, he was the Head of Ear Disorders Clinic of the IFPS in, and since 2003 he has been the Head of Otorhinolaryngology Surgery Clinic. In 2003, owing to his initiative, program, and substantial financial resources earned, the International Hearing and Speech Center in Kajetany near Warsaw was built, organized, and opened as the first part of the World Hearing Center. The second part of the World Hearing Center (WHC) – a unique facility in this area of science and medicine – was built and launched in 2012, according to Prof. Skarżyński’s program, thanks to the resources earned mainly by the team led by him. Since 2003, the world’s largest number of hearing-improving surgeries (approx. 12 to 15 thousand medical procedures annually) have been performed at the World Hearing Center managed by Professor.

The laudation reads further that “the distinguished laureate has impressive scientific achievements, at a very high, world-class level. He is the author or co-author of 418 publications in peer-reviewed international journals indexed in the Journal Citation Report and 531 publications in national journals. Moreover, Prof. Henryk Skarżyński is an editor or co-editor of 8 foreign monographs and 52 monographs published in Poland. The number of chapters authored or co-authored by Prof. Henryk Skarżyński is more than 60 in foreign monographs and the same in Polish monographs. He is the author and co-author of 3901 congress and conference papers, mainly international ones”.

The resolution of the Senate of UKSW on awarding the honoris causa title was read out by the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of Collegium Medicum  Filip Szymański, MD, Ph.D., university professor:  “The long-term scientific and organizational activity of Prof. H. Skarżyński proves that he is one of the most important and respected specialists in medical sciences. Innovative activity of the laureate contributed to the promotion of achievements of Polish science in the world and its development in our country”.

The resolution also reads: “Prof. Henryk Skarżyński, MD, Ph.D. dr. h.c. multi is an outstanding otorhinolaryngologist of international renown and authority as one of the best specialists in cochlear implants and otosurgery. Prof. Henryk Skarżyński’s innovative activity in the fields of hearing implants, audiology, otosurgery, and telemedicine contributed to the promotion of Polish medicine worldwide and the dynamic development of these areas in Poland. For many years, the achievements of Prof. Henryk Skarżyński for many years have given Polish patients a real chance to receive medical care at the highest world level”.

The reviewers of the honoris causa doctorate: Prof. Alojzy Nowak, Ph.D., Rector of the University of Warsaw, and Prof. Marek Krawczyk, MD Ph.D., former Rector of the University of Warsaw, attended the ceremony.

The newly nominated doctor honoris causa of UKSW, Prof. Henryk Skarżyński, MD, Ph.D. dr. h.c. multi presented the lecture entitled “Success in Science and Medicine – Pros and Cons.”

– The analysis of many successes of researchers, inventors, and discoverers recognized in history shows that you should build your faith and belief in the success achieved. At the same time, one should not ignore the barriers and adversities that can cast a shadow over any success –  said Prof. H. Skarżyński. He underlined that his success is the effect of support and belief in him and his ideas shown by many people. – This support has always empowered me, helped me overcome difficulties, and challenged me to work hard in several areas simultaneously – clinical, scientific, didactic, and organizational.

At the same time, Professor stressed that “while introducing innovative solutions, one should not avoid the risk, which is an inherent element of progress. If we do not take it, we will not give ourselves a chance to succeed. Only such an approach enables us to endure any possible failure”.  

He pointed out that he had always abounded in ideas.  – I never complained that something could not be done. I have always been a realistic optimist, and I am still today. Overcoming successive barriers may not always be pleasant, but life would not be so interesting then. It gave me a chance to leave a mark on the earth – he added.

The honorary doctor of medical sciences of UKSW emphasized that the opening of the Faculty of Medicine of  Collegium Medicum at UKSW required courage and the intensive work of many people. “It did not come into being out of nothing.” – It takes a lot of sweat to make the most recent faculty of the University become recognized and make a permanent contribution to the University’s heritage and  Polish and world science and medicine. I am deeply convinced that this is going to happen.

After receiving the title, doctor honoris causa received congratulations from numerous guests, personnel of the World Hearing Center, and the academic community of UKSW. The Minister of Education and Science sent words of appreciation. Przemysław Czarnek, Ph.D. in a letter read out by the counselor of the Minister of Education and Science,  Tomasz Wicha, Ph.D. “The work of Professor Henryk Skarżyński commands my great respect. His knowledge, experience, commitment, and determination deserve the highest praise”. Elżbieta Lanc, a member of the Mazovian Voivodeship Board, who attended the ceremony, said that the honorary doctorate of UKSW was a recognition of the beautiful work of the Professor, who is a very humble man. “The university has got now a wonderful ambassador.”

Hearty congratulations to Prof. Henryk Skarżyński gave Cardinal  Kazimierz Nycz, Grand Chancellor of the Ecclesiastical Faculties at UKSW.

After the official ceremony in the Schuman Hall, the University invited its guests to a picnic. The UKSW celebrations ended with the Holy Mass on Sunday, 29 May, at 9:00 a.m. at  St. Cross Church on Krakowskie Przedmieście.

Congratulation letters were delivered by:

Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, Apostolic Nuncio to Poland

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki

Prof. Tomasz Grodzki, Speaker of the Senate 

Piotr Zgorzelski, Deputy Speaker of the Sejm

Bartłomiej Chmielowiec, Patient Ombudsman

Konstanty Radziwiłł, Governor of the Mazovian Voivodship 

Jarosław Szymczyk, Commander-in-Chief of the Police

Jan Nowak, President of the Office for Personal Data Protection

Filip Nowak, President of the National Health Fund

Jan Józef Kasprzyk, Head of the Office for War Veterans and Victims of Repression

Gertruda Uścińska, President of the Social Insurance Institution

Prof.  Jerzy Woźnicki, Ph.D., President of the Board of Polish Rectors Foundation

Prof. Waldemar Kostewicz, Ph.D., President of the Polish Medical Association

Prof. Halina Sienkiewicz-Jarosz, MD, Ph.D., Director of Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology

Rev. Prof.  Mirosław Kalinowski, Ph.D., Rector of the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin,

Prof.  Krzysztof Zaremba, Ph.D., Eng. Rector of the Warsaw University of Technology

Mariusz Feltynowski, Ph.D., Eng., Chief Brigadier, Professor and Rector of the Main School of Fire Service (Szkoła Główna Służby Pożarniczej)

Rev. Marian Strankowski, Ph.D., Rector of the Archdiocesan Higher Theological Seminary in Białystok

Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz, Chairman of the Polish People’s Party (PSL)

Nikodem Bończa-Tomaszewski, President of the Management Board of Exatel