SVU

CZECHOSLOVAK SOCIETY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES

MILOSLAV RECHCIGL, JR.

Mila Rechcigl, as he likes to be called, a scientist, scholar and amateur historian, is current President of the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU).

He is a native of Mlada Boleslav, Czechoslovakia, who has lived since 1950 in the US. After receiving a scholarship, he went to Cornell University where he
studied from 1951-58, receiving his B.S., M.N.S., and Ph.D. degrees there, pecializing in biochemistry, nutrition, physiology, and food science. He then spent two years conducting research at the National Institutes of Health as a postdoctoral research fellow. Subsequently he was appointed to the staff of the Laboratory of Biochemistry at the National Cancer Institute.

During 1968-69 he was selected for one year of training in a special USPHS executive program, in research management, grants administration, and science
policy. This led to his appointment as Special Assistant for Nutrition and Health in the Health Services and Mental Health Administration. In 1970 he joined the Agency for International Development as Nutrition Advisor and soon after was promoted to the position of Chief of Research and Institutional Grants Division. Later he became a Director with the responsibility for reviewing, administering and managing AID research.

He is the author or editor of over thirty books and handbooks in the field of biochemistry, physiology, nutrition, food science a technology, agriculture,
and international development, in addition to a large number of scientific articles and book chapters.

Apart from his purely scientific endeavors as a researcher and science administrator, Dr. Rechcigl devoted over 40 years of his life to the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU). In 1960-62 he served as secretary of the SVU Washington, DC Chapter.

He was responsible for the first two Society's World Congresses, both of which were a great success and which put the Society on the world map. He also edited the Congress lectures and arranged for their publication, under the title The Czechoslovak Contribution to World Culture (1964, 682 p.) and Czechoslovakia Past and Present (1968, 2 volumes, 1900 p.). The publications received acclaim in the American academic circles and greatly contributed to the growing prestige of the Society worldwide. Dr. Rechcigl was also involved, one way or another, with most of the subsequent SVU World Congresses, including the recent SVU Congresses in Prague, Brno, Bratislava, and Washington DC.

Prior to his current term as the SVU President, he held similar posts during 1974-76, 1976-78, and again in 1994-96, 1996-98. and 1998-00. In 1999, in conjunction with President Havel's visit to Minnesota, he organized a memorable conference at the University of Minnesota on "Czech and Slovak America: Quo Vadis?".

Together with his wife Eva, he published seven editions of the SVU Biographical Directory, the last of which appeared in 1992, and currently is working on the new edition. He was instrumental in launching a new English periodical Kosmas - Czechoslovak and Central European Journal. It was also his idea to establish the SVU Research Institute and to create the SVU Commission for Cooperation with Czechoslovakia, and its Succession States, which played an important role in the first years after the Velvet Revolution of 1989.

He was also instrumental in establishing the National Heritage Commission with the aim of preserving Czech and Slovak cultural heritage in America. Under its aegis, he has undertaken a comprehensive survey of Czech-related historic sites and archival material in the US. Toward this end, he has already compiled a tentative listing, "Czech-American Historic Suites, Monuments, and Memorials."

Among historians, Dr. Rechcigl is well known for his studies on history, genealogy, and bibliography of American Czechs and Slovaks. A number of his publications deal with the early immigrants from the Czechlands and Slovakia, including the migration of Moravian Brethren to America. In the last few years he has been working on the cultural contributions of American Czechs and Slovaks. A selection of his biographical portraits of prominent Czech-Americans from the 17th century to date has been published in Prague, under the title Postavy nasi Ameriky (Personalities of our America) (2000; 350 p.).

In 1991, on the occasion of its 100th anniversary, the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences awarded him the Hlavka Memorial Medal. In 1997 he received a newly established prize "Gratias agit" from the Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs. In 1999, on the occasion of President Vaclav Havel's visit to the US, President Havel awarded him Presidential Memorial Medal.

He and Eva have two children, Jack and Karen, and five grandchildren.

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