"George use to joke that he was married to his palm trees, his satsuma oranges, his roses," says Fred Holland, M55, of his lifelong friend and fellow TUSM alumnus George J. Kandzie, Jr., M55. Holland remembers Kandzie growing palm trees from seed and bringing kernels from Egypt and Jacksonville, Florida, where Kandzie had served as chief of pathology at St. Vincent's Healthcare for 30 years.
"In his free time, he was down on all fours, mulching, burying branches, readying spring blooms. Cultivating is a lot of hard work, and roses are like small children; they're always crying for attention," says Holland. Kandzie, he adds, was an avid reader of everything and anything. He had a marvelous Gallic sense of Enlightenment thinking, a French, cut-to-the-chase approach, free of sentimentality. He was also an ace pathologist."
Wanting to honor his mother and "do something for the school that gave him a first-rate medical education," says Holland, Kandzie established the Irene R. Kandzie Endowment Scholarship Fund in 1990. From time to time he made contributions to it, and in 2006, when he passed away, a large portion of his estate was added to the growing fund.
Why did Kandzie choose to endow a scholarship fund? "He had a soft spot for students, and he wanted to plan for the future," explains Holland. The Kandzie Scholarship Fund has financially supported 15 students since 2007, including Jessica Solomon - proof positive that the avid horticulturalist sprouted a garden that continues to bloom.