Dr. Stephen Hanzély


This is the year of recognition for Dr. Stephen Hanzély. In April 2016, just months before being selected as an NMSU Distinguished Alumni, he was selected to receive the Youngstown State University (YSU) Heritage Award, the most prestigious honor YSU bestows on its former faculty and staff. Stephen’s dedication to his alma mater and his students is apparent ineverything he does.
Stephen, who received a Master of Science and a Ph.D. in Physics from NMSU, spent 39 years teaching Physics and Astronomy at YSU in Ohio.
While at YSU, he received several awards including four Distinguished Professorship Awards, the YSU Centurion’s Outstanding Professor Award, two Student Services Awards, and two Faculty Service Awards issued by the Faculty Association. Stephen served as Chairman of the Physics and Astronomy Department for five years and was appointed by the president of YSU to become the university’s first director of Faculty Relations. A native of Hungary, Stephen returned to that country in 1994 as a J. William Fulbright Scholar and taught one semester at the University of Veszprém.
“NMSU gave me an opportunity to finish my graduate studies and prepared me for a successful career as a professor at Youngstown State University,” he says.
After his retirement from YSU in 2002, Stephen started volunteering for Habitat for Humanity of Mahoning County, Ohio; first swinging a hammer at construction sites, later becoming president of the Board of Directors and interim executive director. He also served as principal grant writer and succeeded in securing $1.5 million in funds for the local Habitat affiliate. While attending a Habitat for Humanity International conference, he had the good fortune of being photographed with former President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter at their Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia. His work with Habitat for Humanity was truly recognized when he received the State of Ohio Habitat Volunteer of the Year Award in 2009. As refugees from Hungary and former international students themselves, Stephen and his wife Brigitta feel a moral obligation to find some way to repay the generosity that they were afforded upon their arrival in the United States. The couple has supported NMSU financially since the late 1960s, and in 2012 they established the Dr. Stephen and Brigitta Hanzély Endowed Scholarship. The endowment provides financial assistance to undergraduate students, including international students, majoring in Physics at NMSU.