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Great Leaders: Lukas Grabiec

Lukas Grabiec absorbed a “can do” attitude and sense of confidence from his time in the Honors College and professors like Dr. Ross Lence. Read more of Lukas's Honors story...

Lukas GrabiecWhy did you choose Honors?

My family and I moved to Houston from Rochester, NY, when my dad accepted a position as a violin professor at Moores School of Music at the University of Houston. Greg, my older brother, was attending college in Rochester at the time of the move and debated transferring down to join us in Houston. He visited the UH campus, met Honors students like Jesse Rainbow, and decided that it would be the perfect fit for him and transferred. That began my journey with the Honors College.

As I completed high school, I frequently tagged along to events at the College and got to know people like Jodie Köszegi, Deans Estess and Monroe, and Honors student Brody Fontenot. So, when it was time to decide where to attend college the answer was solid and immediate: The Honors College at the University of Houston. My decision was wonderful because it allowed me to stay close to my family, follow in the footsteps of my brother, and receive an incredible education. Plus, I got to meet some really cool people!

How did the Honors College prepare you to become a great alumni leader?

The Honors College forced you to be ready and prepared for anything. The class sizes were so small that there was nowhere to hide! The only option you had was to adequately prepare to be put on the spot. The Good Dr. [Ross] Lence would drill you again and again if he felt your answers were not thorough or intelligent. But I never feared the Socratic Method courses I took in law school because of this way of teaching! I think overall the Honors College challenged me early on and often, but it also gave me this immense confidence to tackle anything and I attribute part of my success to that approach.

What was the most profound take away that has resonated throughout the years?

The most profound take away for me was the “can do” attitude and spirit of the Honors College. There was always a preface of “if you work hard,” but that was quickly followed by, “we will work hard with you.” This positive outlook and deep support allowed me to dream bigger and pursue post-undergraduate options that I probably would not have taken had these systems not existed. The faculty and staff of the College encouraged us to take risks, do new things, and get involved and it is a mantra I follow today.

What's your favorite Honors memory?

I have quite a few favorite memories of Honors but I have to say Honors Retreat produced many of them. One year Jesse Rainbow and I showed up at Retreat, face painted like members of KISS, and spent the entire day like that. In the evening we performed Jesse’s original ballad “Human Situation Blues” as the finale of the day. At another Retreat my brother, Jesse, and I sang the Polish Boy Scout hymn (which was amusing because, of course, Jesse spoke no Polish) very straight faced and throughout the rest of my collegiate career I reprised that song at the requests of the Deans or Jodie to the amusement of all around me. All together the stories of retreat, Model Arab League with Jodie and Andrew, Bill’s interesting restaurant choices, and just general shenanigans make me think fondly of my time in the Honors College.

About Lukas Grabiec

Lukas Grabiec, Esq., is Corporate Counsel at Intel and provides legal support to the Technology Manufacturing Group (TMG), which is responsible for all Intel factories and manufacturing globally. Lukas was most recently recognized in the legal community as the “Up and Comer” Attorney of the Year for 2012 by the Association of Corporate Counsel and also was selected to the prestigious School for Leaders (Szkoła Liderów) program in Warsaw, Poland, sponsored by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is heavily involved in various organizations, including being the Vice-Chairman of the Arizona Bar In-House Counsel Committee, guest lecturer for the Top 500 Innovators Program at Stanford University, a current Director and founding member of the US-Poland Trade Council (USPTC), and organizer of the Polish Heritage Night in the NBA. Lukas received his Juris Doctorate (JD) from Case Western Reserve University, his MBA from École de Hautes Études Commerciales (EDHEC), a B.S. in Political Science from the University of Houston Honors College, as well as a Certificate of Polish Studies from Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. During law school he worked with the U.N. - Special Court for Sierra Leone and wrote briefs helping prosecute War Criminals. This UN project, which was organized by Case Western, American University, and the Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG), was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Lukas has been featured or interviewed by TVP Telewizja Polska, CNBC, Arizona Business Magazine,, Tygodnik Angora, FoxSports,, and Przeglad Sportowy.