The History of Udvar-Hazy
The Udvar-Hazy building is the home of the College of Business at Dixie State University. The building is three stories high, the first two floors reserved for classrooms and the third floor housing faculty offices. The Udvar-Hazy building was dedicated to Etel and Erno Udvar-Hazy on March 28th, 1996.
BEGINNINGS IN BUDAPEST
Both Etel and Erno Udvar-Hazy enjoyed happy days growing up in Budapest, Hungary. Born in 1910, Etel was the youngest of ten children whose father was a wrought-iron manufacturer known for creating magnificent fences, gates and balconies. Erno, eleven years her senior, was the son of a prominent engineer who designed Budapest’s well-known chain bridge. Before deciding to venture into the textile industry, Erno attended medical school, but his love of beautiful fabrics led him to become a prominent fabric designer and distributor in Hungary.
While the newlyweds were honeymooning in Austria in July 1934, the vice-premier of Austria was assassinated by Austrian Nazis, a precursor to the beginning of World War II. During World War II, the Nazi-controlled government confiscated the Udvar-Hazy textile warehouse. Because it was not allowed for a man to own a business without joining the communist party, the couple restarted the business under Etel’s name.
During those terrible years of war, the Udvar-Hazys hid many persecuted Jewish and Christian friends, at the same time vowing to leave Europe as soon as possible. They held fast to their dream of being able to raise their sons, Andrew (born in 1941) and Steven (born in 1946) in a place where they could enjoy the blessings of freedom and liberty. Instilling in their sons these precious values, Etel and Erno often spoke of the day when their family would live in the great land of America.
But their escape was not easy. Erno, who had been a Hungarian army officer, spent ten long years painstakingly preparing an escape plan. Finally, in 1958, with only a few pieces of luggage and under the guise of departing for a week’s vacation, the family boarded a plane for Stockholm, Sweden. Leaving all else behind, the little family flew off into the future of their dreams.
THE AMERICAN DREAM
Living in New York City, the Udvar-Hazys had their freedom, but little else. Etel worked tirelessly for her family- caring for Erno, whose crippling rheumatoid arthritis drained his energy, and her teenage sons, as well as working for famous Broadway designers.
Andrew and Steven studied hard and soon began to thrive in America. Andrew received a full chemistry scholarship to UCLA, and the family relocated to Los Angeles. Andrew went on to receive his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and served as Dean of Chemistry at UCLA. Today he is one of Lawrence Livermore Laboratory’s top scientists.
Steven’s achievements are no less impressive. His love of aviation led him to start a commuter airline, Astro Air, at only 19 years of age. He was both a student and an instructor at UCLA, earning a degree in economics and international business while teaching graduate courses in airline management. In 1973 he and two partners started the International Lease Finance Corporation, which eventually grew into the world’s
premier commercial aircraft leasing company.
THE UDVAR-HAZY LEGACY
Erno Udvar-Hazy never lived to witness the great success of his sons. He passed away in 1969, but his legacy lives on. He will long be remembered for his remarkable courage and foresight, his great talent, and his love for his family and adopted country. The dream he shared with Etel has become a reality.
This building is dedicated to ERNO and ETEL UDVAR-HAZY in honor of their love of family, freedom, and education, and their never-dying hope for a brighter day to come.
Udvar-Hazy School of Business, dedicated on March 28, 1996