Professor Alexander L. Srbich will be remembered by many generations of students at San Diego State University. Many of his students have gone on to successful careers as businessmen, professors, engineers, doctors, teachers and many other professions. However, they all remember their professor for his ingenuity, determination and love for education. Most importantly, Dr. Srbich mentored and encouraged students of Serbian descent to study, achieve their best and never forget their Serbian heritage. And now, a new generation of students of Serbian decent will remember Professor Srbich’s commitment to educational excellence through a new scholarship that soon will be available through St. George parish.
In May of this year Professor’s family met with Fr. Bratso and Miro Copic, chairman of Endowment committee, to discuss the possibility of establishing an endowment fund to offer an annual scholarship to college bound students. The result is a $50,000 endowment that will fund the $1,000 annual Professor Alexander Srbich Scholarship. The first scholarship will be awarded in the May/June of 2012 with the details of the application process to be announced in early Spring. The winning recipient will be announced during St. George’sVidovdan celebration each year.
We are grateful to to the Srbich Family including Professor Srbich’s widow, Mrs. Jeannette L.H. Srbich, and their children, Leo A. Pei, M.D., Eva P.-S. Leonard, M.D., and Victor Pei, CRS, and their families for establishing the Endowment.
May our Lord grant Professor Alexander Srbich’s memory to be eternal!
Professor Srbich’s Family Speak About Their Daddy In Their Own Words
Professor Dr. Alexander Leka Srbich was our Daddy. In 1961, he married our mother, a Chinese widow with three young ones in elementary school. Daddy never referred to us as his step-children, but raised us as his
own children. He raised us strictly with his military background as a member of the Serbian King’s Guard. He raised us also in the Serbian tradition. He took us to the Venerable Mother Angelina Serbian Orthodox Church (of which he was a charter member and president for years). There we enjoyed Sunday services and slavas. There we also worked on the grounds and building projects during its early years. We learned Serbian songs and ate Serbian foods. We celebrated St. Michael’s day with large gatherings at home every November 21. Daddy was proud of his heritage and instilled the same in us. He commanded respect and honor in the Serbian community for his leadership, generosity, and patriotism.
Dr. Srbich was a scholar and a gentleman. He believed in lifelong learning and exemplified it with five degrees in total. He had an illustrious career as an university professor and a community industrial engineering/management consultant. Daddy encouraged us to pursue educational and professional goals beyond a college degree. He also made certain we were well-rounded and cosmopolitan. We grew up with classical music, piano lessons, violin lessons, sports, and scouting experiences, balanced with rigorous academics, foreign languages, and national defense seminars. He honored God and understood that spiritual health and a clear conscience were
essential to living well. He raised us Christian, whether we attended a Protestant church or the Orthodox church. He knew that there was room at the cross for all and accepted Christ as his Savior. Daddy ran his household economically, but was generous to others, especially Serbian and charitable organizations. He extended his love to Mother’s parents and relatives
as his own family…winning their love and appreciation in return.
God blessed Daddy with long life and good health even though he suffered as a prisoner of war for four years in the 1940s. He travelled, enjoyed the opera, horseback riding, gardening, soccer, and football. Daddy sacrificed raising us without having his own biologic children. He had no Serbian family members in the States, but he longed to donate money to help Serbian young people pursue higher education. In his honor then, to make his dream come true and pass on his legacy in the local Serbian community, we, his family, are establishing a perpetual endowment to award a $1000 scholarship yearly to a deserving Serbian high school graduate heading for
college or university.
Daddy often said to us, “we deserve our lives only as much as we give to others.” So, in his memory, we want to encourage and invest in young people of Serbian heritage to pursue continued academic excellence with God’s indwelling motivating and empowering them to serve others and bring glory to Him.
Mrs. Jeannette L.-H. Srbich, Leo A. Pei, M.D., Eva P.-S. Leonard, M.D., and Victor Pei, CRS, (retired A.I.A. & R.A.)
Biography of Professor Alexander Srbich
Dr. Alexander L. Srbich, Professor Emeritus, San Diego State University was born September 16, 1914, to Jivko and Perceda Valovich Srbich in Zajecar, Yugoslavia. He was an artillery commander in the King’s Guard of the Royal Serbian Army and was captured by the Nazis.He became a prisoner-of-war in Nuremberg, Germany for four years, then escaped and joined the British Army.
At the end of WWII, he returned to his university education, and obtained a second Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in Cologne, Germany. British benefactors (direct descendants of Benjamin Franklin) granted him a scholarship to further his education in the United States, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree in 1956 from the University of Michigan, College of Engineering. He went on further to receive his Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Minnesota and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Industrial Engineering in 1961.
He was elected a member of Beta Gamma Sigma in 1962; a senior member of the American Institute for Industrial Engineers in 1964; a senior member of American Society of Tool and Manufacturing Engineers in 1964-65; received his California State Professional Engineer’s license in 1968; was elected into Sigma Iota Epsilon, an honorary management fraternity, in 1971; received several awards from the American Institute of Industrial Engineers throughout his career; and in recognition for his contribution to the teaching and practice of management, was admitted to membership in the Academy of Management. Amongst his many accomplishments, Dr. Srbich was honored as “Man-of-the -Year” by the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS) in 1972-1973; with three APICS “Award of Merit” in 1974 and 1975; and an APICS Presidential “Award of Merit” in 1975.
Dr. Srbich taught industrial engineering, management, and economics in the School of Business Administration at San Diego State University since the 1950’s, retiring in 1984 as an honorary Emeritus faculty member. He consulted for private industries, including the San Diego Zoological Society, Mercy Hospital, and General Dynamics. He also consulted for various other organizations and manufacturing companies in Southern California and in Tokyo, Japan. From 1969 through 1970, he was a visiting faculty member for the Chinese University of Hong Kong and a visiting researcher at University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Srbich spoke many languages besides English including French, German, Italian, Russian, Latin and his native Serbian. He believed in life-long learning and even geared up to use the computer in his mid and late eighties.
In 1961 he was on a teaching sabbatical in East Asia when he fell in love with a widow with three young children. It was love at first sight and they were married at the end of that year. Dr. Srbich died peacefully on November 13, 2010 and is survived by his wife of 49 years, Jeannette Loh-Hui Pei Srbich, of San Diego, children Leo A. Pei, M.D. of Baton Rouge, Eva Pei-Srbich Leonard, M.D. of San Diego, and Victor Pei, architect, of New York. His older brother, George Srbich, preceded him in death in the 1980’s. He is also survived by one niece, Danica Srbich Rakitic, and two grandnephews, Dusan and Stefan Rakitic, of Belgrade. He is also survived by eight grandchildren (from Texas to Louisiana to New York to Massachusetts) and five great-grandchildren.