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Intro


Vítáme Vás

Since 1954, the Czech Educational Foundation of Texas (CEFT) has been promoting the study of Czech language and culture in Texas institutions of higher learning through a variety of funded endowment programs.

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Intro


Vítáme Vás

Since 1954, the Czech Educational Foundation of Texas (CEFT) has been promoting the study of Czech language and culture in Texas institutions of higher learning through a variety of funded endowment programs.

Explore

 

(Top Left) University of Texas at Austin; (Top Right) Texas A&M University; (Bottom Left) University of North Texas; (Bottom Right) Olomouc, Czech Republic.

 

 
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What We Do


What We Do

What We Do


What We Do

The State of Texas has one of the largest Czech-American populations in the USA. As many as 750,000 Texans trace at least part of their ancestry to the Czech lands of Bohemia and Moravia, which now make up the Czech Republic. Evidence of this heritage can be seen in annual Texas Czech festivals and celebrations, fraternal organizations, music and cultural programs, Czech- language newspapers, and publications of books about the Czechs in Texas.

Higher education has always been of unparalleled importance to the Czechs, and the Texas Czechs have continued a tradition of its advancement, supporting the teaching of Czech language and culture through the years at both the high school and the college level. In light of, and supported by such tradition, a farsighted group of Czech Texans in 1954 founded the Czech Educational Foundation of Texas (CEFT).

CEFT was formed for the purpose of promoting Czech language and culture in Texas through the support of higher education programs. From the beginning, CEFT has promoted Czech language classes and Czech studies programs, and granted scholarships to students in those programs.

 

Membership in CEFT is open to all persons who share the organization's goals, and directors are selected from the membership. As an independent, non-profit corporation, CEFT has no ties to any religious, fraternal, or other organization, though many of its, directors and members are active in those groups as well.

 

The Czech Educational Foundation of Texas is registered with the State of Texas as a non-profit corporation (Charter No. 122175-1) with tax-exempt status granted by the Internal Revenue Code (74-6060770).

 
 
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Programs


Programs

Programs


Programs

CEFT promotes the study of Czech language and culture in Texas institutions of higher learning through a variety of funded programs. Endowments have been set up at The University of Texas, Texas A&M University and the University of North Texas to continue Czech studies through classes, research, performances and student exchanges.  Below is a short summary of each endowment and how it enriches the Texas Czech culture by providing opportunities to study the language, the arts and the history of the native Czech lands.

The University of Texas

Club Čechie was established at the university in 1909. In 1914, members of Čechie along with folks of Czech descent from UT and other universities petitioned the Texas Board of Regents to have the Czech language formally taught. In 1915, the Texas Legislature passed the Wagstaff Bill which established the program. Czech language classes have been taught at the university since 1915.

THE TEXAS CHAIR IN CZECH STUDIES

In 1991, the Texas Chair in Czech Studies was formally established at The University of Texas at Austin with the endowment set up by the Czech Educational Foundation of Texas. The monies from this endowment support the Czech language classes, classes on Czech literature, and special research projects, many of which are historical in nature. One such special research project on Czech culture supported by CEFT and the UT endowment is the Texas Czech Legacy Project.  This project aims to translate stories and conversations from elderly Texas Czechs and retain them for future generations.  For more information on the project, visit our CEFT-TCLP page.  

In 2015, CEFT and the College of Liberal Arts Center for Russian and East European and Eurasian Studies celebrated 100 years of teaching the Czech language at The University of Texas. For more details on the offerings at UT and some of the most recent projects, visit our CEFT-UT page

Texas A&M University

TEXAS A&M AND THE CZECHS

Ties between Texas A&M and the Czech-American community of Texas were established early and remain strong today. The origins of the Texas Aggie Band can be traced back to the efforts of a Czech immigrant named Joseph Holick (Holik), who organized a cadet band on the A&M campus in the 1890s. Holick, a local cobbler, was also responsible for designing the famous boots worn by senior cadets. It is estimated that during his long career (he died in 1971 at the age of 103), his boot shop produced more than 30,000 Aggie boots. In 1905, judge Augustin Haidusek of La Grange, the first Czech-American to be elected to a state legislature and editor of the Czech-language newspaper Svoboda, was appointed to the Texas A&M College Board of Directors.

Most importantly, thousands of students with Czech surnames, from Adamek to Zvonek, have attended Texas A&M. In the early years especially, A&M's emphasis on agricultural studies drew students from the many rural communities settled by Czech immigrant groups.

Like Haidusek and Holick, a majority of these Texas Czechs were of Moravian heritage, with ancestral roots in towns and villages such as Frydek-Mistek, Frenstat, and Vsetin - all of which have given their names to rural Texas towns.

THE WILLIAM J. HLAVINKA FELLOWSHIP

For decades, the Iron Curtain stood as a barrier between Texas Czechs and their ancestral land. Since the recent, dramatic political changes in Central Europe new cultural and business ties have been developing between Texas and the Czech Republic--especially Moravia. Taking advantage of this new era of cooperation and mutual interest, CEFT has established the CEFT William J. Hlavinka Fellowship in 1999 at Texas A&M's College of Liberal Arts. This fellowship program is designed to make these ties even stronger and to benefit the Texas Czech community in many ways.

The Fellowship was made possible in large part by a major grant from the children of the late William J. Hlavinka, a East Bernard businessman and Texas A&M graduate who was active in his support of both A&M and Czech nationality organizations during his lifetime.

The CEFT Hlavinka Fellowship brings advanced graduate students from the two major Moravian universities -- Masaryk University in Brno and Palacky University in Olomouc -- to work toward an M.A. or Ph.D. degree in the Department of English at Texas A&M. In return, these advanced students teach Czech language lesssons which are open to both A&M students and members of the general public, and perform other services to the Texas Czech community on a regular basis including the translation of Czech letters and documents, consultation and participation in festivals and cultural programs such as genealogical and historical workshops, and assistance in preparation of museum exhibitions.  For more information about Hlavinka Fellowship and Czech activities at Texas A&M, visit our CEFT-TAMU page.

The University of North Texas

Texas Czechs love their music and dancing. The College of Music at the University of North Texas is the largest and one of the most respected comprehensive schools of music in the United States, with more than 1,700 music students enrolled in its bachelor's, masters, and doctoral programs.

The UNT College of Music also hosts the university's longest running and most successful international relationship, which has been a multifaceted association with the Czech Republic.  The College has sent its students abroad on numerous concert and cultural tours and has facilitated a vibrant exchange of students and faculty.

FRANK J. and HERMINE HURTA KOSTOHRYZ RESIDENCY and
DR. JIM J. and ROSE A. BEZDEK ENDOWMENT

In 2004, at the 50th anniversary of the Czech Educational Foundation of Texas, CEFT entered into a formal relationship with the University of North Texas to provide substantial financial support of its Czech activities.

The UNT College of Music is home to the CEFT Frank J. and Hermine Hurta Kostohryz Residency in Czech Music and Culture as well as the Dr. Jim J. and Rose A. Bezdek Endowment Celebrating Czech Music and Culture. The partnership between the University of North Texas and CEFT focuses on three activities:

  1. To bring distinguished Czech musicians, composers, artists, and educators to UNT for teaching, performing, and conducting research in Czech music and culture, and for purposes of outreach throughout the State of Texas, particularly to Texas-Czech centers of population;
  2. To stage colloquia and festivals of Czech music and culture; and
  3. To mount the production of Czech operas, emphasizing usage of the Czech language.

For more information about past perfomances and upcoming events, visit our CEFT-UNT page.

Current Events


Current Events

Current Events


Current Events

18th Anniversary of the Czech Educational Foundation of Texas William J. Hlavinka Fellowship at Texas A&M University’s College of Liberal Arts

Written By: Dr. Clinton Machann CEFT Chairman and Director and Lynette Urbanovsky CEFT English Publicity Officer and Director

The Czech Educational Foundation of Texas (CEFT) held an 18th anniversary celebration for the William J. Hlavinka Fellowship at Texas A&M University’s College of Liberal Arts at the Texas A&M Recreational Center on Saturday, October 21.  The CEFT William J. Hlavinka Fellowship at Texas A&M is unique. It is designed to bring advanced graduate students from two Moravian universities (Masaryk University in Brno, Palacký University in Olomouc) to Texas A&M, establish Czech language classes in the Bryan-College Station area for members of the general public, provide Czech-to-English translation services for the Texas Czech community, provide assistance to Czech-American historical and cultural groups in Texas, and encourage cultural and educational ties between the State of Texas and the Czech Republic. Currently the classes are being organized by the Brazos Valley Chapter of the Czech Heritage Society in Bryan and are held on Mondays at 7:00pm at the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Bryan Parish Activity Center. The usual procedure for a Czech Fellow is to stay at A&M for two years and earn an MA in English, with an emphasis on American literature (while teaching the local Czech classes) before returning home and pursuing a PhD in English and American studies in the Czech Republic. The current Fellow is Jan Beneš, from Masaryk University.  The endowment in the Texas A&M Foundation, funded by members of the Hlavinka family and supplemented through the years by the Hlavinkas and other generous supporters, has made all of this possible.

The celebration began with the posting of the colors by an Honor Guard from the American Legion. An ensemble from the Texas A&M Century Singers sang the American national anthem, as well as “Texas, Our Texas,” “The Spirit of Aggieland” and “The Aggie War Hymn.”   Following the Texas A&M Century Singers, CEFT Director Lynette Urbanovsky sang the Czech national anthem, “Kde Domov Můj,” and guest vocalist Michael Morris sang the Slovak national anthem, “Nad Tatrou sa Blýska.” Both were accompanied by Kovanda’s Czech Band, from Houston, Texas.  The namesake of the fellowship’s brother, Joe Hlavinka, Jr., welcomed guests and introduced members of the Hlavinka family.  The Unity of the Brethren minister and CEFT Director, Dr. Mark Labaj, led the invocation.  An elaborate Czech-themed meal was prepared and served by the local restaurant Veritas Wine and Bistro.  During the meal, the crowd was entertained with accordion music and singing by Henry Machichek of the Praha Brothers Band and his wife Susan Machichek.  Both were dressed in traditional Czech kroje (costumes).  Following the meal, the Honorary Counsul to the Czech Republic and CEFT Director Brian Vanicek spoke about upcoming Czech events, thanked the late Ben Trcalek, Jr. (former CEFT director and another large contributor to the Fellowship) family that was present, and introduced Chancellor John Sharp of the Texas A&M University System. 

The CEFT was honored to have Chancellor Sharp as its keynote speaker. Chancellor Sharp gave an inspiring talk, emphasizing the importance of the Fellowship, and spoke about his own Czech ancestral roots.  Following Chancellor Sharp, Professor Emeritus and former Head of the Department of English at Texas A&M University, Dr. J. Lawrence Mitchell discussed his experiences working with the CEFT William J. Hlavinka Fellowship. The CEFT was also proud to have former Fellow, Hana Waisserová, currently a Lecturer of Czech Studies at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and current Fellow Jan Beneš speak of their firsthand experiences in the Department of English at Texas A&M.  Following the Fellows’ presentations, a very special guest, Miss Reveille IX, made an appearance at the celebration.  Following Miss Reveille, special appearances were also made by Sara (Middlebrook) Armor, the 2006 Miss Czech-Slovak USA Queen, and Jana (Vaculik) Riley, the 2001 Miss Texas-Czech Slovak Queen Independent Representative.  Both ladies came dressed in traditional Czech kroje costumes and discussed their experiences. 

A concluding presentation was made by CEFT Director Paul Hlavinka. The oldest son of William J. Hlavinka, Paul thanked the attendees and encouraged them to contribute to a continuation of the CEFT William J. Hlavinka Fellowship.  The event closed with music by Kovanda’s Czech Band of Houston, with guest vocalist Michael Morris.  The event was emceed by CEFT Director Dr. Woody Smith.  For more information about the fellowship, please go to our website page, https://www.ceft.us/ceft-tamu/.

 
Pictured Above: Secretary and CEFT Director Paul Hlavinka to the left, the Eldest Son of William J. Hlavinka. Also pictured, Robert and Evelyn Rosenbaum.  

Pictured Above: Secretary and CEFT Director Paul Hlavinka to the left, the Eldest Son of William J. Hlavinka. Also pictured, Robert and Evelyn Rosenbaum.  

Henry and Susan Machichek performing in traditional Czech kroje.

Henry and Susan Machichek performing in traditional Czech kroje.

Ensemble from the Texas A&M Century Singers.

Ensemble from the Texas A&M Century Singers.

Welcoming by Chairman, CEFT Director and Advisor of the CEFT William J. Hlavinka Fellowship, Dr. Clinton Machann.  

Welcoming by Chairman, CEFT Director and Advisor of the CEFT William J. Hlavinka Fellowship, Dr. Clinton Machann.  

Posting of the Colors by the American Legion Honor Guard

Posting of the Colors by the American Legion Honor Guard

The namesake of the fellowship’s brother, Joe Hlavinka, Jr., welcomed guests and introduced members of the Hlavinka family.

The namesake of the fellowship’s brother, Joe Hlavinka, Jr., welcomed guests and introduced members of the Hlavinka family.

Unity of the Brethren Reverend and CEFT Director Dr. Mark Labaj gave the invocation.

Unity of the Brethren Reverend and CEFT Director Dr. Mark Labaj gave the invocation.

Keynote speaker Chancellor John Sharp of the Texas A&M University System and guest Chancellor Emeritus Lamar Urbanovsky, Former Chancellor of the Texas State University System.

Keynote speaker Chancellor John Sharp of the Texas A&M University System and guest Chancellor Emeritus Lamar Urbanovsky, Former Chancellor of the Texas State University System.

Honorary Consul to the Czech Republic for Texas and CEFT Director Brian Vanicek speaking at the CEFT William J. Hlavinka Fellowship Anniversary.

Honorary Consul to the Czech Republic for Texas and CEFT Director Brian Vanicek speaking at the CEFT William J. Hlavinka Fellowship Anniversary.

Keynote speaker Chancellor John Sharp of the Texas A&M University System presenting at the CEFT William J. Hlavinka Fellowship.

Keynote speaker Chancellor John Sharp of the Texas A&M University System presenting at the CEFT William J. Hlavinka Fellowship.

Professor Emeritus and former Head of the Department of English at Texas A&M University, Dr. J. Lawrence Mitchell discussed his experiences working with the CEFT William J. Hlavinka Fellowship

Professor Emeritus and former Head of the Department of English at Texas A&M University, Dr. J. Lawrence Mitchell discussed his experiences working with the CEFT William J. Hlavinka Fellowship

Former Fellow, Hana Waisserová, currently a Lecturer of Czech Studies at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln spoke of her firsthand experiences in the Department of English at Texas A&M University.

Former Fellow, Hana Waisserová, currently a Lecturer of Czech Studies at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln spoke of her firsthand experiences in the Department of English at Texas A&M University.

Current Fellow Jan Beneš spoke of his firsthand experiences in the Department of English at Texas A&M University and teaching the local Czech language class.

Current Fellow Jan Beneš spoke of his firsthand experiences in the Department of English at Texas A&M University and teaching the local Czech language class.

Three queens were present: Miss Reveille IX, made an appearance at the celebration.  Following Miss Reveille, special appearances were also made by Sara (Middlebrook) Armor, the 2006 Miss Czech-Slovak USA Queen, and Jana (Vaculik) Riley, the 2001 Miss Texas-Czech Slovak Queen Independent Representative.

Three queens were present: Miss Reveille IX, made an appearance at the celebration.  Following Miss Reveille, special appearances were also made by Sara (Middlebrook) Armor, the 2006 Miss Czech-Slovak USA Queen, and Jana (Vaculik) Riley, the 2001 Miss Texas-Czech Slovak Queen Independent Representative.

A concluding presentation was made by Secretary and CEFT Director Paul Hlavinka, the oldest son of the late William J. Hlavinka. 

A concluding presentation was made by Secretary and CEFT Director Paul Hlavinka, the oldest son of the late William J. Hlavinka. 

The Kovanda’s Czech Band with Guest Vocalist Michael Morris.  

The Kovanda’s Czech Band with Guest Vocalist Michael Morris.