Dr. Szentkirályi received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Colorado, and will be joining the faculty in the Program for Writing and Rhetoric in the fall of 2017. Before moving to the foothills of the Rockies and beginning his doctoral studies at CU-Boulder, he lived out east in Connecticut, where he studied and taught philosophy; worked as the press secretary on a grassroots U.S. Senate campaign; and met his future (Ecuadorian) wife, Dr. María Fernanda Enríquez.
The youngest son of András and Enikő Szentkirályi, he was born and raised in the small, rural town of Bowling Green, Ohio. And as a first generation American citizen, Dr. Szentkirályi’s Hungarian heritage has uniquely shaped his formal studies, current research interests, and his career path.
After enduring the height of World War II in Hungary’s capital city of Budapest, which was the target of several aerial bombing campaigns, his mother fled Budapest with her family in 1945 and relocated to Germany. With their security still in jeopardy, she and her family sought asylum and immigrated to the States in 1951.
Dr. Szentkirályi’s late father, who also lived through the Second World War in Budapest with his family, became involved in the 1956 Freedom Fight against the Soviet Union—in which his older sister, a young nurse, was shot and killed while aiding victims of a street battle. Surviving one of the violent street battles of the uprising, his father was seized by Hungarian secret police, detained for several days, interrogated and beaten. What ultimately saved his father from execution was his youth: for in a time of moral bankruptcy, the Soviets oddly refrained from killing Freedom Fighters who weren’t legally adults. Understanding, however, that upon his 18th birthday he would be re-apprehended for his support of the resistance, Dr. Szentkirályi’s father was compelled to abandon his family, escaped to Austria, settled in Rome soon thereafter, only to enlist with the U.S. Army in 1959 and immigrate to the United States.
In learning the sobering details of his parents’ histories, and how they and various relatives were impacted by decisions of state actors, Dr. Szentkirályi became keenly interested in subjects of political morality—inspiring his commitment to the study of political theory and international relations, especially regarding matters of self-defense and intrastate conflict.
Motivating his other research interests in environmental political theory, and environmental policy and law, Dr. Szentkirályi also considers himself a devoted environmentalist. He has invested more than 1,600 hours of service in a number of environmental protection, wilderness conservation, and backcountry trail restoration projects, and various environmental education initiatives—having worked with such organizations as the Student Conservation Association (SCA), the U.S. Forest Service, the Wonalancet Out Door Club (WODC), The Nature Conservancy, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.