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Bailey College of Science and Mathematics

Supporting the Mustang Family One Dream at a Time

Kostalnick family

Daniel and Suzanne Kostalnick (Biological Sciences, '96 and English, '92 and M.A., English, '95, respectively) found a new home in San Luis Obispo when they landed separately at Cal Poly as freshmen. Today, they know they’re still part of the Mustang family, and they want to give back to the university where their personal and professional lives began.

Daniel, a physician, and Suzanne, a teacher, met at the Newman Catholic Center during their first year. They found Cal Poly through family members, and throughout their academic careers, their families played an important and supportive role.

Daniel had always wanted to be a physician, and his parents supported that goal wholeheartedly. Suzanne found her passion for teaching while at Cal Poly, and her family helped her turn that sense of purpose into a reality.

For Daniel’s mother, Maureen Ann Richards Kostalnick, Cal Poly represented everything wonderful about California: academic excellence and opportunity. The family shared many fond memories of Thursday nights at the Downtown SLO Farmers’ Market and lazy Saturday mornings eating cinnamon rolls in Shell Beach.

When Maureen Kostalnick passed away in February 2020, the family knew they needed to find a special way to celebrate her life. Because she had always championed her children’s dreams, Daniel and Suzanne decided to keep Maureen’s generous spirit alive in the world by helping others achieve their goals.

“When thinking of ways to honor our mom, and in remembering her love of Cal Poly and this place, it was an obvious choice: Enable the dreams of others, as she had enabled our dreams — pay it forward,” said Daniel.

“None of us achieves our dreams alone. Many are responsible for enabling the dreams and achievements of any one singular person,” Suzanne added.

The Kostalnick’s financial gift will establish The Daniel J. and Suzanne M. Kostalnick Family Endowment that will pay medical school application fees for two aspiring physicians every year.

“One of the barriers to entry to medical school is the application process and fees — it’s a huge barrier for many,” Daniel said. “With a significant shortage of physicians in the United States being projected over the next decade, we need to help with the accessibility of medical education and fostering the education and professional growth of talented physicians that come from Cal Poly.”

The Kostalnicks believe Cal Poly is the perfect place to begin a medical education. “Cal Poly’s undergraduate education process is truly unique and excellent and fosters a love of learning in the Learn by Doing approach that is second to none,” Daniel said.

Cal Poly is currently home to the Kostalnicks’ oldest daughter, the seventh member of their extended family to attend the university.

“We are truly a Cal Poly family and the sense of pride and belonging here runs deep for all of our family—even those who have attended other universities,” Daniel said. “Having a place that holds so much meaning — both academically and emotionally — is something truly special.”

With this gift, the Kostalnick family is playing an important role in enabling the dreams of future generations of the Mustang family.

“Our hope is that anyone who is fortunate enough to call Cal Poly their academic home and the place where — as it was for us — their life begins, can share that sense of pride and belonging to this Mustang family. That they can feel that familiar and comforting feeling of ‘home’ that our family feels by being a part of our larger Cal Poly family,” Suzanne said.

If you would like to help support future doctors with their medical school application fees, please consider donating to the new endowment.