As 2013 came to an end, TFAS alumni and friends remembered the one year anniversary of the passing of revered professor George Viksnins, affectionately known by many as Uncle George. Due to his world-wide influence and admiration from TFAS students, his legacy continues through the George Viksnins Scholarship Fund.
The scholarship fund has allowed numerous students to experience TFAS, made possible by donations from alumni, supporters and friends of the professor. Almost 40 alumni contributed to the Scholarship Fund in the year since Viksnins’ passing in December 2012, along with numerous others since the fund was established in 2002.
“Ever since I heard that ‘gracious good morning’ back in the summer of 1986 as a student in ICPES, little did I know how often I would be reflecting on his great words of wisdom. A truly great man who, along with so many achievements, helped young minds truly appreciate the economic system we are a part of,” wrote Mark Millot (ICPES 1986).
For over 30 years, Viksnins educated more than 3,000 students in the Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems (ICPES). Beyond TFAS, Viksnins taught economics at Georgetown University and consulted the Federal Reserve, International Monetary Fund and the U.S. Agency for International Development. In his native Latvia, Viksnins served as an advisor to the National Bank of Latvia and received the Order of the Three Stars award for his influence in developing the Latvian monetary system. Viksnins’ influence was truly world-wide and his teaching is especially remembered at TFAS.
In 2013, TFAS held a celebration ceremony of Viksnins’ life. Roger Ream (ICPES 76), TFAS president, talked about how Viksnins has influenced programs at TFAS.
“George Viksnins is truly the standard we use when looking for professors to teach in our institutes. It is an unreachable standard but [one] nevertheless we hold up and seek to achieve,” Ream said.
Ream shared some of the sentiments Viksnins’ students wrote on the TFAS Facebook page at the time of his death. One student wrote that Viksnins was “a great man, a great teacher and an eloquent defender of liberty. He carried so well the torch of freedom.”
Viksnins’ former student and mentee Ilmars Rimsevics (ICPES 89), attended the ceremony and spoke about his mentor.
“George Viksnins’ inimitable charm and ability to see more in life than just rows of numbers and economic formulas, runs like a red thread throughout his entire life and work,” Rimsevics said.
Rimsevics, also a Latvian native, originally came to TFAS because he met Viksnins on a trip to D.C. while he was studying in New York. Rimsevics later went on to become a governor of the Bank of Latvia.
“I’m fully convinced the influence of his thoughts will continue both in Latvia and [the] U.S. for many years to come,” Rimsevics said.
Viksnins’ legacy also continues through his wife of more than 50 years, Mara Viksnins, their four children, seven grandchildren and his sister and brother.
Thank you to the TFAS alumni who honored Uncle George’s memory by making gifts to his scholarship fund over the past year*:
- Mr. Charles H. Abernathy (ICPES 80)
- Mr. P.R. Beckett (ICPES 94)
- Mr. Richard M. Bejtlich (ICPES 93)
- Mr. Clint Bolick (ICPES 78)
- Mr. and Mrs. William G. Byrd III (ICPES 82)
- Mr. William L. Collins (ICPES 74)
- Mr. Stuart D. Colburn (ICPES 89)
- Mr. David W. Draper, Jr. (ICPES 87)
- Mr. Eric V. Fox (ICPES 86)
- Dr. Roy H. Ginsberg (ICPES 73)
- Mr. James A. Gleason (ICPES 88)
- Mr. Ronald C. Hart (ICPES 81)
- Mr. Steven A. Hemmat (ICPES 81)
- Mr. Rodney P. Hughes (ICPES 04, IIPES 05)
- Mr. Kyle H. Jarzmik (ICPES 03)
- Mr. Andrew S. Kabala (ICPES 01)
- Mr. Richard G. Kolostian, Jr. (ICPES 88)
- Ms. Michelle A. Le (IPJ 95, AIPES 96)
- Mr. Joseph J. Lhota (ICPES 73)
- Mr. Daniel M. Livingston (ICPES 77)
- Ms. Rachel D. McDonald (ICPES 83)
- Ms. Melinda A. Watters Miller (ICPES 87)
- Mr. and Mrs. Bill Nabors (ICPES 80)
- Mr. Frederick J. Olk (ICPES 73)
- Ms. Anastasija Piskunova (AIPES 05, ICPES 06)
- Mr. and Mrs. Roger R. Ream (ICPES 76)
- Dr. David W. Robertson (ICPES 75)
- Mr. Jacob T. Rodenbiker (ICPES 02)
- Mr. Julian L. Shepard (ICPES 79)
- Mr. and Mrs. Keith A. Sias (ICPES 85)
- Ms. Kathryn S. Stanko (ICPES 72)
- Mr. David P. Steiner (ICPES 88)
- Ms. Jessica Teague (ICPES 75)
- Mr. William Towell (ICPES 78)
- Mr. Stephen D. Tuttle (ICPES 86)
- Mr. Nnanta C. Uwadineke (ICPES 84)
- Ms. Karen Young (ICPES 84)
*If we inadvertently missed you, please contact alumni@TFAS.org.