In Memoriam - George Vid Tomasevich (1927 - 2009)


George Vid Tomasevich
1927 - 2009

George Vid Tomasevich, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology (Buffalo State College) died on December 3, 2009, at his Berkeley, California home. He was 82. Professor Tomasevich came to the US after the WWII. He received his B.A. in sociology from Roosevelt University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. From 1968 to 1995, when he retired, George Tomasevich was one of the founding members of Anthropology Department there (with June Collins), as well as one of the founding members of NASSS. Much loved by his student and colleagues, he is survived by his sister Nada and brother Vladimir.

In Memoriam - Dimitrije Djordjevic (1922 - 2009)


Dimitrije Djordjevic
1922 - 2009

Dimitrije Djordjevic was a beloved husband, father, step-father, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend. Born February 17th, 1922, died March 5th, 2009 after a valiant struggle with Alzheimer's disease. The definitive gentleman and scholar, he was a man of true grace, charm and wit, we "shall not look upon his like again."

Born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia) Dimitrije grew up in a "cozy, protected childhood and adolescence in pre-World War II days." As the scion of a distinguished 4th generation Belgradian family his future was very bright but then came the War and the juggernaut of the Nazi invasion of Eastern Europe. Dimitrije, known as "Mita" to all who knew and loved him, quickly joined the underground resistance group with his younger brother Mihailo. Together with many others they became devoted followers of General Dragoljub "Draza" Mihailovic and first fought against the forces of fascism and later communism. Civil War swept through the country after the defeat of the Nazis. Mita survived imprisonment by the Nazis in the notorious Mauthausen prison in Austria only to be captured and imprisoned again in more than one concentration camp in Yugoslavia. Eventually pardoned in 1947 Mita returned to his family in Belgrade and began his scholarly career.

Due to his resistance to the regime of Marshal Josip Broz Tito, Mita had great difficulty finding a job and gaining entry to the University of Belgrade. After a long struggle he succeeded and obtained his PhD in History in 1962. His academic career began with his trips to Greece, Germany and eventually the United States on lecture tours. Ultimately he was offered positions at several prestigious universities and elected to join the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1970. At the History Department he organized the Graduate Program of Balkan Studies and taught modern Yugoslav, Blakan and European history. He was tremendously proud of his 19 PhD candidates as well as 9 MA's. He called them all his "Balkan Family". At his retirement in 1991 his grateful students assembled a "Festschrift" (a collection of essays) in his honor titled, "Scholar, Patriot, Mentor".

Dimitrije was the author of 22 books in four languages and countless articles. He always said he suffered from "graphomania". His most touching and emotional work was his autobiography "Scars and Memory, Four Lives in One Lifetime" published in 1997 which describes his carefree youth in Belgrade, the descent of the black mantle of Fascism and the advent of communism that swept away all he knew and cared about in his beloved country. After his retirement emeritus from UCSB as "a leading international scholar of Balkan History" per Chancellor Henry T. Yang, he and his wife Nan continued with their extensive travels and enjoyed time with their combined families of children, grandchildren and one great-grandchild. In later years there were many long walks on the beaches of his beloved Santa Barbara with their adored dog, "Buba".

Mita's dear brother Mihailo "Misha" Djordjevic preceded him in death in 1991. He is survived by his loving wife, Nan, his daughter Jelena Markovic (Rade), his grandson Vladimir Markovic (Natasha), his granddaughter Danijela Markovic and great-granddaughter Tara Markovic all of Belgrade, Serbia as well as his step-children F. Taylor Sarguis (Claudine), Tod F. Sarguis, and Nina S. Walker (Matthew) all of California. Services are pending in Belgrade, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. Friends may donate in his honor to the charity of their choice if desired.

In Memoriam - Alex N. Dragnich (1912-2009)


Alex N. Dragnich, 97, a retired professor of political science at Vanderbilt University, died August 10,2009 at the Collington Episcopal retirement community in Bowie, MD. A specialist in Slavic studies, and an authority on the multinational state known as Yugoslavia from its origins in 1918 to its demise in 2003, Prof. Dragnich was a prolific author. He published his last article, on relations between Serbia and Montenegro, just a few months before he died.

Prof. Dragnich joined the faculty of Vanderbilt University in Nashville in 1950, retiring in 1978 after having served as chairman of the political science department from 1964-69. Reflecting his multiple elections to Vanderbilt’s Faculty Council and University Senate, he received the Thomas Jefferson Award in 1970 for “distinguished service to Vanderbilt through extraordinary contributions as a member of the faculty in the councils and government of the university.” He also served as President of the Southern Political Science Association, and Vice-President of the American Political Science Association, during the 1960s. He held the Chester Nimitz Chair at the Naval War College in Newport, RI from 1959-60, and afterwards remained a consultant to the Department of Defense.

He was a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution in Stanford, California from 1978-81. He was a Distinguished Lecturer at Washington & Lee University (Lexington, VA) in 1982. Following a brief retirement in Spokane, WA, he settled in Charlottesville, VA where he continued scholarly research and writing. In 1988, he and his late wife became charter residents of the Collington Episcopal retirement community in Bowie, MD. From there, he continued to author books, journal articles, Op-Eds, and a steady stream of letters to the editor. Among his eleven books, Prof. Dragnich is probably best known as the original author of the textbook, Major European Governments (1961), which added more authors and is still in print, and used worldwide, forty-eight years and nine editions later.

Prof. Dragnich became an expert on Yugoslavia during World War II while serving in Washington as a foreign affairs analyst for the Department of Justice and the Office of Strategic Services. Following the war’s end in 1945, he taught at Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio until joining the US Foreign Service in 1947. From then until he returned to academia in 1950, he was Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. That experience spawned his first book, a scathing critique of the new communist regime, Tito’s Promised Land, in 1954.

He continued to write on Yugoslavia and Serbia for the rest of his life, including a short monograph written in 1992 for general readership, Serbs and Croats: The Struggle in Yugoslavia, that went through multiple printings. A frequent panelist at Washington policy gatherings, Prof. Dragnich made guest appearances on the then MacNeil/Leher News Hour as the Balkans erupted into conflict. Prof. Dragnich was critical of US foreign policy in the region, believing that the Dayton Accords of 1995 would not have been necessary had the US played a more constructive role in the early stages of Yugolavia's disintegration. The Serbian Government awarded him the “Yugoslav Star, First Class” in 2002 in recognition of his efforts to foster a positive image of Yugoslavia and Serbia in the United States.

The son of Serbian immigrants from Montenegro, Prof. Dragnich was born in 1912 on his parents’ homestead outside Republic, Washington. When he was nine, the Ferry County truant officer found their log cabin in the mountains and informed his father that education was compulsory in America. He and two siblings entered a rural, one-room schoolhouse not knowing a word of English, the first of their kin to ever sit in a classroom. Although his education was frequently interrupted by Depression-era poverty, including an entire year spent cutting logs and building roads during college, he graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1938, and completed work on his doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley in 1942 (wartime service delayed his Ph.D. until 1945).

A keen gardener whose belief in homegrown vegetables reflected his farming roots, Prof. Dragnich left the growing of flowers to his wife, Adele Jonas Dragnich, who died in 2000. Survivors include a daughter, Alix Lombardo of New York City, and a son, George Dragnich of Geneva, Switzerland, and three grandchildren, Marisa, Paul, and Alexander. A son, Paul Dragnich, predeceased him.

In Memoriam - Ruzica Popovitch-Krekic (1940-2011)

Ruzica Popovitch-Krekic

It is with heartfelt sadness that we acknowledge the loss of our dear friend and colleague Ruzica Popovitch-Krekic, who passed away on June 9, 2011 in Los Angeles after a long and valiant struggle with cancer. With a background in Russian literature and library science (B.A. George Washington University; M.A. Ohio University; M.A. Catholic University of America), Ruzica enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a Senior Reference Librarian for the Library of Congress. She was a dear friend to all, and she epitomized the very spirit of NASSS-indeed the heart and energy of our society. Her dedication was unparalleled. Driven by her belief in and love of the organization, she worked tirelessly on our behalf: vivaciously, efficiently, and with incredible enthusiasm. Even in her last months she found the strength and focus to produce the newsletter, so full of praise for the achievements of others and optimism for our future endeavors: the next ASEEES convention, the panels, and exciting location-her adopted hometown of Washington, D.C. We join her husband Barisa and sister Ljubica in their grief.

The Ruzica Popovitch-Krekic Special Fund has been established in her memory by her sister Ljubica D. Popovich. The purpose of this Special Fund is to assist with the scholarly needs of members, associates, and participants in the publications and conferences of the North American Society for Serbian Studies. 


The Ružica Popovitch-Krekić Special Fund

Established in memory of Ružica Popovitch-Krekić by her sister Ljubica D. Popovich, the purpose of this Special Fund is to assist with the scholarly needs of members, associates, and participants in the publications and conferences of the North American Society for Serbian Studies.

The Special Fund will be administered by the Executive Board of the North American Society for Serbian Studies (NASSS) to which proposals should be directed. To receive funding the application must be approved by three members of the Board. Support may be allocated for a broad variety of purposes, including but not limited to, textual translation, illustration costs, other special publication or conference presentation needs.

Tax exempt contributions to the Ružica Popovitch-Krekić Special Fund are invited and may be directed to the Treasurer of the North American Society for Serbian Studies: 

Sonja Kotlica
1301 Delaware Avenue SW
Washington, D.C., 20024

In Memoriam - Gojko Vuckovic (1952-2013)


Gojko Vuckovic

The longtime member and supporter of NASSS, Dr. Gojko Vuckovic (61) passed away on October 11, 2013 in Los Angeles, after a brief battle with gastric cancer. Dr. Vuckovic received his B.A. from the University of Belgrade. After arriving to the United States, he received a M.S.M. from the Arthur D. Little School of Management, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1990) and a M.P.A. from Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1991). He also received his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California (USC), School of Public Administration, Los Angeles, California (1996) with a concentration in the areas of comparative politics and administration.

Upon arriving to the Unites States, Dr. Vuckovic worked on scholarship related to the peace, stabilization and development of Southeast Europe, with particular emphasis on the integration of countries of the former Yugoslavia into the international community and more recently on public education. He was an Affiliated Scholar with the Center for Multiethnic and Transnational Studies (1994-1998), researching the role of domestic and international forces in ethnic conflict management, with particular attention paid to the United Nations, the World Bank and the European Union. He also served as a Visiting Scholar at the Center for International Studies, University of Southern California, Los Angeles (1998-2001), conducting research on governance, capacity building and civil society in transition. For the past twelve years, (2001-2013), Dr. Vuckovic worked as a Senior Research Analyst with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) on researching and evaluating various educational projects, including Proposition 227, a state ballot initiative requiring that all public school children in California be taught in English. Among other things, Dr. Vuckovic also served as a Director of the Leadership Project of the LAUSD Leadership Academy.

Dr. Vuckovic was honored with the Morris Abrams Award in International Relations and Peace in 1994. He was a fellow at the Institute for the Study of World Politics and United Nations Industrial Development Organization and served on the editorial board of the Journal of East-West Business. He extensively published and presented work at conferences, seminars and other public events. In addition to his book "Ethnic Cleavages and Conflict: The Sources of National Cohesion and Disintegration - The Case of Yugoslavia" (published by Ashgate, England in 1997). Dr. Vuckovic has also authored numerous scholarly papers and articles, conference and policy papers on topics of ethnic conflict management, governance, world affairs, leadership and education and extensively published, including in the magazines World Affairs and East European Quarterly.

Dr. Vuckovic was a member of the Center for European Studies of Harvard University (CES), the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA), the American Academy of Political and Social Science (AAPSS), the American Education Research Association (AERA) and the California Education Research Association (CERA).

Dr. Vuckovic is survived by his wife Ivana, sons Ivan and Milosh, sister in law, Gordana and father in law Vojin Ognjanovic, all of Los Angeles, as well as mother Zorka, brother Dr. Vladimir and the Vuckovic family of Belgrade, Serbia. Dr. Vuckovic was buried at the Serbian Cemetery in Los Angeles.

The Dr. Gojko Vuckovic Memorial Fund was established per his wishes to assist with the scholarly needs of the NASSS. Tax exempt contributions to the Dr. Gojko Vuckovic Memorial Fund are invited may be directed to: The Dr. Gojko Vuckovic Memorial Fund, c/o Serbian Studies and mailed to Ms. Sonja Kotlica, Treasurer of the NASSS, 1301 Delaware Avenue SW #N112, Washington, D.C., 20024. The purpose of this Memorial Fund is to assist with the scholarly needs of members, associates, and participants in the publications and conferences of the North American Society for Serbian Studies.

The Special Fund will be administered by the Executive Board of the North American Society for Serbian Studies (NASSS) to which proposals should be directed. To receive funding the application must be approved by three members of the Board. Support may be allocated for a broad variety of purposes, including but not limited to, publication or conference presentation needs.