Loyola graduate Koziol named a Pat Tillman scholar
Former Glenview resident Peter Koziol was selected as one of 59 Pat Tillman Military Scholars. | Photo courtesy Peter Koziol
Updated: July 15, 2012 2:27PM
A naval officer and nuclear engineer, Peter Koziol formerly of Glenview was nevertheless taken aback when his boyhood newspaper asked for a telephone interview.
A 2002 graduate of Loyola Academy in Wilmette, he also is one of 59 students recently selected as a Pat Tillman Military Scholar.
He will enter the Stanford Graduate School of Business in December in California to study how civilian nuclear energy programs can reduce the country’s reliance on foreign oil, he said.
“I just found this out — my hometown newspaper wants to talk to me. This is great, thank you,” he said. “I still consider Glenview my home and hope to venture back there someday.”
With distinction, in 2006 he graduated from U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md., with a degree in political science.
Afterward, Koziol served three years as a naval officer and nuclear engineer aboard a U.S. submarine in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
He went to Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in Glenview, where he met Pete Bobis as fourth-graders.
The two friends earned Eagle Scouts badges in 2002, and Bobis attended Koziol’s wedding last year to his wife, Jill.
“Most memories of Peter are about both of us in scouts over the years. I’d get two or three merit badges at scout camp in northern Wisconsin, and he’d get nine or ten. He was always very driven and focused,” Bobis said, who lives in Chicago and sells promotional products.
“During college and home on summer break, when asked he’d tell people he went to a small college out east that was not prestigious at all. Small college? Not prestigious? It was the Naval Academy at Annapolis. Always modest, too,” said Bobis, a 2002 graduate of Glenbrook South High School in Glenview.
Koziol knew he wanted a Navy career since he was young boy, mostly inspired by his mother who was Navy reservist for 30 years.
“I have a wonderful family legacy of public service instilled in me by my parents, aunts and uncles.
“And Boy Scouts Troop 57 while at Our Lady of Perpetual Help really set an example of leadership for me. Scouts showed an interest in my success and taught me leadership.”
He also earned a master’s degree in National Security Policy at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. and currently is a personal aide to a three-star general.
Looking ahead, Koziol said working in the clean energy field was an attractive career, as well as public office and politics.
“Being an engineer on a nuclear sub, the technology showed me alternatives to our dependence on just oil, such as nuclear energy and natural gas and solar and wind energy.”
In public service, he admired Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill.
“Mark’s a naval reservist and he served with distinction in the U.S. Navy. I’ve always followed local and national politics,” Koziol said.
In its fourth year, the Pat Tillman Foundation has awarded $3.2 million in scholarship funds to 230 Tillman Military Scholars pursuing education.
“It’s a huge honor to be associated with a man who put country before self. Pat had many opportunities to make money, but he chose to serve our country,” Koziol said.
Family and friends established the Pat Tillman Foundation following his friendly-fire death in April 2004 while serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment in Afghanistan.
In 1998, the Arizona Cardinals drafted Tillman to play in the National Football League, where he started 10 of 16 games at safety.
In 2002, eight months after the
, Tillman turned down a $3.6 million contract from the Cardinals to enlist in the U.S. Army.