Hipolit Cegielski Society – its concept and objective

The Hipolit Cegielski Society is a hallmark of organic work in Poland. It has managed to gain trust of the people and major institutions nationwide and of selected institutions in Europe. It awards, inspires, and lays foundations for the quality of Polish cultural, economic, and social life. It has been doing so for more than 20 years now.

The Society’s activities has become a permanent element of civic life stakeholders operating on a pro bono basis – for the general good. Members of the Society include representatives of various occupations, professions, and opinion leaders. The Society’s objective is that their concerted actions show and preserve the ethics of organic work and its various dimensions in contemporary social life – in accordance with the historical fact that Wielkopolska’s population has always presented a high level of civic virtues. Such values as dutifulness, responsibility for one’s words and actions, punctuality, thriftiness, reliability, and honesty remain the benchmarks for our organisation’s activities. Imitation of these virtues makes us better and more aware of our place in the community.

The Society’s programme and actions refer to the figure of Wielkopolska’s leading civilisational and economic growth precursor of the 19th century – Hipolit Cegielski. This great citizen of Poland, from Wielkopolska, lived in the years 1913-1968. Although he died at a relatively young age of 55 years, his efforts in the field of economy, as well as science and culture, were so momentous that they may serve as a model for the next generations of citizens of Wielkopolska, Poland, and the whole world alike.

By continuing the concept of organic work advocated by Hipolit Cegielski, the Society promotes the knowledge of his life and achievements that have once served to improve the economic, educational, cultural, and spiritual level in the community. These are actions aimed at developing and preserving modern positivism among the contemporary Polish society.

At the moment, the Society has around 100 members, has its own banner and hymn entitled "Labor Omnia Vincit”, promoting the concept that "Work conquers all”. The Society has thousands of friends and well-wishers who are actively involved in its activities aimed at promoting patriotic behaviour and implementing the concept of organic work. The Society’s key projects include:

The Golden Hipolit Trophy

As a part of their statutory tasks, the Hipolit Cegielski Society especially honours those people who in addition to duly performing their duties positively influence others, by motivating them to work harder and by being a role model. This is reflected by awarding the title of "Eminent Organic Work Personality” to outstanding persons along with the Golden Hipolit Trophy.

The first Golden Hipolit Trophy was presented by Marian Król, President of the Society, to Pope John Paul II on 1 August 2001 during the 1000th General Audience in Vatican. The Holy Father blessed our activities and thanked us for the gift. Decisions of the Chapter are autonomous and final. There is no voting on the candidates for the Golden Hipolit Trophy. The candidacy must be adopted by acclamation.

The Honorary Hipolit Trophy

Another of the Society's major projects is awarding the Honorary Hipolit Trophy and the title of "Organic Work Leader” (for Poles) or "Friend of Poland and Polish people” (for foreigners) to eminent representatives of various fields of social life, science, culture and arts, and economy.

The Chapter of Honorary Hipolit is presided over by vice-chancellors of Wielkopolska’s universities. The first trophy and title were awarded to Jan Kulczyk, a businessman. The trophy has been awarded since 2002. Candidates are proposed by persons enjoying public trust and by previous winners.

The "Labor Omnia Vincit" Medal

The Society, wishing to express their appreciation, respect, and gratitude to people especially active in promoting the concept of organic work and in charitable activities and helping other people, in 2005 established the Silver and Golden "Labor Omnia Vincit” (Work Conquers All) Medals. These medals are awarded to both Polish nationals and to foreigners.

Candidates are proposed by persons enjoying public trust and by previous winners.

The Young Positivist Medal

The Society greatly values work with young people and inspiring them with organic work concepts. Since 2002, we have been running the Young Positivists Club project. Winners of the Young Positivist Medal automatically become members of the prestigious Young Positivists Club. It is an association of over 300 leaders in various areas. The Young Positivist Medal is awarded to particularly active young proprietors, CEOs, managing directors, and staff members of companies and businesses, cultural and arts institutions, and universities. The winners must be characterised by entrepreneurial spirit, innovativeness, full commitment to professional responsibilities, and very good manners. Proposals of candidates may be submitted by organisations and institutions, by persons enjoying public trust, and by previous winners.


Continuous co-operation with business circles from both Wielkopolska and Poland is of vital importance. In 2016, the Society established the Hipolit Cegielski Polish Entrepreneurship Club (HC PEC). Its members are world-famous Polish businesses which showcase the reliability and represent our country’s and region’s economy. HC PEC was established by practitioners and experts of various industries.

The universal dimension of entrepreneurship is reinforced by numerous nationwide and regional conferences, training events, debates, and galas featuring foreign guests. Our Society is the host, a co-host, a partner, or an honorary patron of such events.

"The Best in Poland” Certificate

"The Best in Poland” (previously the "Good because it’s Polish” emblem, which had been awarded since 1992 to products and since 2000 to services) is a certificate awarded during the National Consumer Contest of Products and Services Quality. The contest evaluates the quality of products manufactured in Poland and EU countries and the quality of services rendered by craftsmen and other service providers. These contests’ major merit consists in the fact that it is the consumers and customers of the services decide who should be awarded the emblem and the certificate.

The most highly valued manufacturers and service providers receive the Hipolit Trophy on a stone. From the onset of our operations, we have awarded over 2,000 certificates and 200 trophies to contest winners. The "Best in Poland” certificates have been awarded since 2004.

The Scholarship Fund

The Scholarship Fund is a nationwide project. It can be used by talented secondary school and university students with low incomes, especially those from rural areas and small towns.

The Board of our Society grants scholarships to secondary school and university students with good academic performance and with outstanding social activity for the benefit of their school and community.

The Scholarship Fund is funded by donations of individuals as well as payments and subsidies from companies and other business entities.

Presently, the Society funds scholarships to students in all provinces of Poland.

Schools, institutions, and volunteers

Co-operation with schools having Hipolit Cegielski as their patron is an important part of the Hipolit Cegielski Society’s activities. Our Society also co-operates with schools and social organisations who received the Hipolit Cegielski Trophy or bust from us.

The Society’s activities are social work on a non-profit basis. The Society has a large group of volunteers who support its substantive activities.

Erection of monuments of Hipolit Cegielski and Ignacy Jan Paderewski

The Society’s projects to initiate and build two monuments in Poznań – of Hipolit Cegielski in 2009 and of Ignacy Jan Paderewski in 2015 – were highly valuable and had particular patriotic and didactic importance.

The honorary patronage over erection of the Hipolit Cegielski’s monument and over its unveiling ceremony on 19 September 2009 was assumed by the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister for Economy. In 2010, the Society put forward a proposal to build a monument of Ignacy Jan Paderewski in Poznań, at the Stefan Stuligrosz square in front of the Ignacy Jan Paderewski Academy of Music. This exquisite piece of art was completed by the Society within five years’ time, solely from social fundraising.

The honorary patronage over the Ignacy Jan Paderewski monument unveiling ceremony on 6 May 2015 in Poznań was assumed by the President of the Republic of Poland.

Gaspar Józef Hipolit Cegielski 1813 - 1868

Gaspar Joseph Hippolyt Cegielski (1813 - 1868) – a teacher, philologist, industrialist, publisher, and public activist – is one of the most outstanding people in the history of Wielkopolska. Thanks to his exceptional abilities, conscience, and hard work, Cegielski acquired knowledge and succeeded – at first, as a teacher and a scientist, and next, since 1846, under other circumstances, as a merchant, an industrialist and a publisher. His great personality, versatility and energetic activity made him strongly influence the public and political life, culture, and economics of the region.

Cegielski was born on 6th January 1813 in Ławki, near Trzemeszno, as a son of Michał and Józefa, maiden name Palkowska. One can distinguish two distinct phases in Cegielski’s life. In the first one (to 1846), he acquired knowledge, and next he worked as a teacher and devoted himself to linguistic studies. When forced to resign teaching, he established an iron shop in Bazar, which soon started to expand into a repair shop and a factory. At the same time, since the early forties, Cegielski engaged himself in public and publishing activity.

Due to financial hardships of the family and his mother’s early death, Cegielski was left to his own devices since the earliest years. He was educated in Trzemeszno (1827 – 1830), and next at Maria Magdalena Grammar School of Poznań (1830 – 1835). Through all these years, he was the top of the class in languages and mathematics. Thanks to these abilities, he got a government scholarship, and started studying classical philology at the University of Berlin (1835 – 1840), where he graduated with thesis: De negatione, as a doctor of philosophy.

The knowledge enabled Cegielski to realise the goal of his life, of the time, which was taking up a job of a teacher at a grammar school. He taught Latin, Greek, Polish, history and geography at Maria Magdalena Grammar School of Poznań in 1840 – 1846. At the same time, he worked hardly as a scholar, publishing linguistics dissertations and articles with "About Polish word and its conjugations” (1842), and others. He wrote a handbook of Greek grammar (1843) and a well known, "Learning Poetry” (1843) reissued several times, which, beside the poetry theory, contained extensive extracts from Polish literature. When professionally and financially stabilised, in 1841, he married Walentyna Motty. The Cegieskis had three children: a boy - Stefan and two daughters - Karolina and Zofia.

The first phase of Cegielski’s life ended in 1946, when he refused to fulfil the order of school authorities to inspect the flats of his pupils who were suspected of patriotic conspiracy. Cegielski was suspended and right after removed of his position in the school. Necessity of a livelihood and the lack of prospects for reemployment in a grammar school made him decide to begin a merchant activity. After praxis in Berlin, he established, with Józef Łukaszewicz’s financial assistance, an iron shop in Bazar on 30th September 1846. The enterprise started to expand into a repair shop during the following years, to move to Butelska St. (1850), and an agricultural tools and machines factory, at Kozia St. (1855). Its products were sold in The Great Duchy of Poznań and exported to Prussia, Silesia, and the Kingdom of Poland. A heavy demand for Ciegielski’s machines made him extend his works again. In 1859, a modern foundry and an assembly department was put into operation in Strzelecka St., in which, besides agricultural machines and tools, devices for mills, oil mills, distilleries, water pipes and gas-works were made, too. Relating to his economic activity, Cegielski wrote and published a well illustrated catalogue of his products in 1858, under the title: "Tools And Machines Acknowledged As Mechanical”, which was one of primary publications on the topics within the original Polish territories. In spite of a brisk competition of German and Jewish firms, Cegielski succeeded. His factory became the most important Polish manufacturing plant in Poznań, and its founder – the most remarkable Polish industrialist on the Prussia annexed territories.

Despite the management activities in the continuously growing industrial enterprise, Cegielski continued his scientific research, and was engaged in a public and publishing activity. In 1852 he published a new, extended edition of his thesis: "About Polish Word And Its Conjugations” and a second edition of "Learning Poetry”.

Still working at the Maria Magdalena Grammar School, he made friends with Karol Marcinkowski, and joined his Society for Scientific Aid for Youth from The Great Duchy of Poznań. After Marcinkowski’s death, Cegielski took up several duties in the organization, including vice-presidency during the period of 1850 – 1868. With his help and support, the Society was able to overcame the financial hardships, and became the biggest scholarship institution on the territories annexed by Prussia. Moreover, Cegielski acted actively in The Industrial Society, the activities of which which co-originated and lead as a president; The Central Society of Economics, lead in 1865 – 1868; The Poznań Society of The Friends of Science.

Working in school, yet, he published in "The Scientific Advocate” (1840) an article entitled ”On The Rules for Upbringing in High Schools”, where he postulated a thorough school reform. Relating to this, Cegielski was, together with Edward Raczyński, a propagator, co-originator and a sponsor of the Real School of Poznań. He was a member of its superintendent’s office in 1853 – 1867. He was also interested in school affairs having a seat in Poznań Town Council for many years, which was a one more section of Cegielski’s public activity.

Cegielski belonged to a group of Polish press co-originators in The Great Duchy of Poznań. He established the first Polish daily paper in 1848, named "The Polish Newspaper”, of which he was the editor-in-chief, and one of the authors for some time. After the liquidation of the paper, in 1850, due to the restrictive press regulations imposed by the Prussian regime, he established "The Polish Messenger” together with W. Stefański and W. Bendkowski. The paper was published until the end of 1851. Cegielski returned to publishing in 1859, to establish "The Poznań Daily”, which in the course of time became one of the most important newspapers in Wielkopolska. Cegielski made them both - "The Polish Newspaper” and "The Poznań Daily Paper” – of national-liberal character. His political activity was relatively scarce. He was a deputy in Prussian Seym for a short time in 1849, and operated in a Polish election committee in the following years. Cegielski raised political problems in his articles and in "A Matter of Poland in The Front of The European Congress Tribunal” booklet published in Brussels (1864).

Having all the duties to fulfil, Cegielski often felt exhausted since his earliest years and fell ill very often. He died on 30th November 1868 in Poznań. With his death, the Polish people lost one of their leaders, particularly devoted to re-creating the nation’s cultural identity, and triggering the economic modernisation. It was all possible due to his extensive knowledge and expertise, public and economic activity, but also to his temperament, charisma of extraordinary social skills, pragmatism, and perseverance. Cegielski was a teacher, an industrialist, a public activist, but also a loving husband and father, looking after his family’ health and prosperity. He was able to combine his knowledge and great sophistication with humanistic, liberal ideas and profound understanding of material affairs and economic development of the original Polish territories. It was an important contribution to the support and expansion of the organic work in the area.

Tadeusz Janicki

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