The Unveiling of the SGS Memorial Plaque at the Rectorate of the University of Belgrade
On 21 October 2016, as part of the celebration of 125 years of the foundation of our Society, a solemn gathering was organised at the Rectorate of the University of Belgrade and a memorial plaque was unveiled in the courtyard of Captain Miša's Building. The idea of putting up a memorial plaque at the site where the Geological Survey of the Higher School, and later of the University, operated since its founding in 1880 until it moved to a new building in 1952, and where the Serbian Geological Society was founded in 1891, has long been present among our members but unfortunately could not be realised until the present.
Thanks to the understanding of the current Collegium of Rectors of the University of Belgrade and especially to Vice-Rector for International and Inter-University Relations, Ivanka Popovic and Vice-Rector for Science, Innovation and Transfer of Technologies, Živoslava Tešić, who are, or have been, at the helm of our closest associate – the Serbian Chemical Society – the idea was finally realised.
The conceptual design and text have been adopted at the session of the Society’s Administration in 2015. The development of the memorial plaque has been entrusted to our long-time member Zoran Djajić ("The Stone of Serbia"), who provided the stone as a donation to the Society of stone and mounted the plaque after its final treatment.
The unveiling of the memorial plaque was attended by the participants of the SGS celebratory event. Vice-Rector Ivanka Popović and Professor Aleksandar Grubić, our long-time President and this year's winner of the SGD medal, who was also the main initiator of this idea, spoke at the unveiling. In his speech, Prof. Grubić reminded the guests where the office of Jovan Žujović used to be, right above the entrance through which generations of geologists passed going up and down the staircase. In his short speech he said the following:
"When I walked down this staircase on 30 June 1952 as a recently graduated geologist, I could never imagine that 64 years later I would be standing in the same place, entrusted with a lovely task: to unveil the memorial plaque of such important historic note...
All the important events and activities of our Company took place here, in the beginning on the first floor only, and after the World War I in this entire part of the building. This was the case until the autumn of 1952, regardless of anything, regardless of even the biggest changes experienced by the Society. In 1952, however, together with its host - the Institute of Geology and Paleontology of the University of Belgrade - the Society moved to its new premises in Kamenička Street 6.
We have believed for a long time now that it was very important for the history of our Serbian science and culture to visibly mark the place of founding and many decades of operation of the third scientific society in Serbia. We have lived to finally see that day, thanks to the involvement of the generation of geologists which now leads the profession, and thanks to the understanding of the Collegium of Rectors of the University of Belgrade, to whom we are immensely grateful. The most energetic advocate for this memorial plaque in the distinguished Collegium was the Vice-Rector Professor Dr Ivanka Popović, to whom we would like to express our great respect and collegial gratitude. We have lived to see the day, and - if you don’t mind - we are very happy about that.
From this moment on, the memorial plaque shall be open to the public."