Born a child of Polish immigrants, Norbert Cudnowski ’50 always embodied the idea of the “American Dream”. He worked hard, portrayed passion and kept faith at the core of everything he did.
After graduation, Norbert served in the U.S. Air Force as part of the first generation of U.S. Air Force Jet Fighter pilots and a member of the 339th All Weather Fighter Interceptor Squadron in Japan and Korea from 1952 to 1955. He was honorably discharged and returned stateside to begin a long, successful career as a pilot at United Airlines. Soon after, he met Carole who had worked as a flight attendant. They got married and went on to have five children.
According to his daughter, Cathleen Cudnowski Dixon, “He was so thankful for the opportunities that Lewis had given him. He loved what he did and felt that Lewis played an instrumental role in making his dreams come true.”
Norbert unfortunately passed away in October 2020. To honor his inspiring legacy, Cathleen and her husband David established a scholarship at Lewis University. This generous gift, in honor of her parents, will help provide support to future Lewis University Flyers studying aviation.
For years to come, the Captain Norbert & Carole Cudnowski Aviation Opportunity Endowed Scholarships will change the lives of students following in Norbert’s footsteps and allow his Lewis legacy to live on.
“My father valued faith in action, so we want to take our blessings and pay it forward. For anyone who is passionate and works hard, like my father, I want to make it easier for them to achieve their dreams. And I know it is what my parents would want as well.”
In order to make an even more significant impact, the family has also decided to provide a generous $10,000 matching gift in support of the 2022 Day of Giving at Lewis. They will match every gift made to support aviation for Day of Giving, dollar for dollar. Cathleen hopes that this will make the Lewis community enthusiastic about the powerful impact their own gift can have on today’s Flyers. To learn more about Lewis’ annual Day of Giving, visit us online at alumni.lewisu.edu/Give22.