In the laudation in honor of Prof. Skarżyński, Prof. Jarosław Mizera, Dean of the Materials Engineering Department and the Chairman of the Award Chapter, has said: ‘In order to introduce Prof. Skarżyński I will remind you only a few of his most important achievements in fields of science and technical innovation. In 1992, Prof. Skarżyński conducted the first in Poland cochlear implantation surgery on a deaf person, thus starting the program of treatment of total deafness in our country. Six years later he conducted a surgery of auditory brainstem implantation. He developed and implemented the first in the world program of treatment of partial deafness in adults in 2002, and since 2004, also in children. After twenty years of his work Poland is the global leader in hearing screening of children in different age groups. He is the co-author of multimedia tools for hearing screening (‘I Can Hear, Audiometer AS), and later for screening of vison – ‘I Can See’ and speech – ‘I Can Speak’. All these tools made up the first Polish interactive medical portal ‘Telehealth’. Prof. Skarżyński conducts extensive education activities for students and physicians from Poland and abroad, delivering lectures and conducting demonstration surgeries. He is a co-author of several patents. Since 2011 he is the National Consultant for Otorhinolaryngology. He is also the initiator and creator of the unique on a global scale medical institution – the World Hearing Center in Kajetany near Warsaw, a part of the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing. He holds the extraordinary number of titles: is the Honorary Professor of the Brigham Young University in Provo, USA (1998), the National Medical University ‘Nicolae Testemitanu’ in Kishinev, Moldova (2013) and the Institute of Mother and Child in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (2016). He is the doctor honoris causa of the Maria Grzegorzewska Pedagogical University (2011), the University of Warsaw (2012) and Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin (2014). He is a member of major international scientific societies, President of the Committee of Clinical Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences, member of the Scientific Council of the Minister of Health, Deputy Chairman of the Main Council of the Research Institutes (RGIB), the honorary member of the Polish and Slovak Society of Otolaryngologists, first Polish member of the American Otological Society and American Neurotology Society, member of CORLAS, POLITZER, ISA, IAO, EAONO, EFAS and other societies.
Prof. Skarżyński is a laureate of several tens of Polish national awards bestowed by the President of Poland, Prime Minister of Poland, Minister of Health, Science, Foreign Affairs, Economy, Development, Education, medical community and many prestigious Polish and international awards. He has been decorated by the President of Poland with the Knight’s Cross, Officer’s Cross and Commander’s Cross of the order of Polonia Restituta, and state orders bestowed by the King of Belgium (twice), President of Georgia and President of Ukraine. He is the Honorary Citizen of Warsaw, as well as of the Community and Town of Czyżew. At the 25th anniversary of Polish freedom, in vote organized among readers of ‘Gazeta Wyborcza’ and audience of TVN Television, he had won the title of the Man of Freedom in category Science. Also Polish Church appreciates Professor’s achievements and had awarded him many times: with medal ‘For Merits for Warsaw Archdiocese’ awarded by HE Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, Primate’s Medal bestowed by HE Archbishop Primate of Poland Wojciech Polak and Papal Medal ‘Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice’ bestowed by Pope Francis. He is the winner of the Order of Smile and the order ECCE HOMO. He received medals from: the Medical University of Warsaw, the F. Chopin University of Music, Warsaw University of Technology, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Gdańsk University of Technology, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University and many others. Since several years, Prof. Skarżyński and members of his team collaborate with Materials Engineering on multiple research projects.
During the ceremony of Inauguration of the Academic Year, Prof. Skarżyński delivered also on Opening Lecture titled ‘The Role of Hearing in Development of Modern Society. The nature of risk and leadership”. Prof. Skarżyński, who had created from scratch Polish model of care for people with hearing loss comprising early diagnostics, treatment and rehabilitation, was glad to share his knowledge and experience with the young generation.
– We have done much, but still there is a lot to be done. – He commented the achievements of his team during the meeting. – Recently, 25 years have passed from the time that I had started working on the program of cochlear implants and 20 years from establishing of the Institute of Physiology and pathology of Hearing. It had been, first of all, the time of work. Today we can talk of success, but the success did not fall from the sky. It needed sacrifice, discipline, determination and strength to work a dozen hours per day. Work, as I often say, is my passion. It always had the specific goal – to bring help to patients who, because of lack of proper treatment, had no chance of returning to the world of sounds – continued Prof. Skarżyński.
Professor Skarżyński advised students not to be afraid of risk. He reminisced, how great had been the risk tied to the first attempts of treatment of hearing loss and following pioneering hearing improving surgeries including the first in the world cochlear implantation in a patient with partial deafness. – Risk is an inherent element of progress. If we do not take it, we do not give ourselves a chance to succeed. – Prof. Skarżyński had underlined also the importance of hearing in communication, which is essential for education and development.
The ceremony included also awards for best lecturers – they received the ‘Golden chalk’ from their students. Best students in turn were awarded diplomas with distinction. Special awards of the Rector of the Warsaw University of Technology received also the most distinguished lecturers of the Materials Engineering Department.