Polivka, Former Social Work Chair, Passes Away

October 29, 2009Print-Friendly Version


Jirina Polivka. Photo courtesy of Dennis Polivka

Jirina Polivka. Photo courtesy of Dennis Polivka

On Sept. 22, Jirina Polivka, a former chair of the Social Work Department at Mason, passed away at the age of 83. Her husband, Dennis Polivka, who was an adjunct professor and director of the internship program in the Department of Public Affairs, provided the following announcement. The Polivkas retired in 1988.

Dr. Jirina Polivka passed away Sept. 22, 2009, in Venice, Fla., after 55 years of marriage and a highly successful academic career in the field of social work. Dr. Polivka served for many years as the chair of the Department of Social Work at Mason and assisted in the founding of the Department of Social Work at Prague’s Charles University, where she enjoyed a faculty position. She was a recipient of a graduate degree from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and a doctorate in social work from Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Polivka received a second doctorate from Charles University in 1991, 52 years after she left the school before graduating due to political reasons. She was reunited with 53 of her classmates who returned for degrees, and it was a joyous time. Dr. Polivka presented a paper on women’s issues [in] the summer of 1991 at the World Congress of the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Polivka was well loved by her family, many friends and professional colleagues. She had a full life with many accomplishments as a dedicated academician and believer in the discipline of social work. Her retirement years were spent with many journeys and trips to the spas in Bohemia and Slovakia, as well as enjoyable sunsets at her last home in Warm Mineral Springs, Fla.

Please always remember the joyful spirit that graced our lives with Jirina Polivka’s company. To honor her life, please do one good deed in your own name for her.

– Dennis Polivka


1 Response

  1. donna bafundo says on:

    Dennis, we remember Jirina and you with the fondest of memories. I have many beautiful garnets, thanks to Jirina. As beautiful as they are, the memories of her are more precious than the stones. She was a mentor to me as a very young professional at GMU. We shared good times together, including your home on Lake Barcroft. We send you our most sincere sympathy.
    Fond regards,
    Donna and George Bafundo
    Hilton Head Island, SC

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