Otmar Drekonja, professor emeritus of German at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, passed away on July 30, 2007.
Born in Kornat, Austria in 1934, he was granted a Fulbright scholarship to the United States in the early 1960s. He was recruited by Saint John’s University, where he spent a distinguished career in the Department of Foreign Languages spanning 37 years of teaching as professor of German.
In 1977 Otmar Drekonja co-founded the Salzburg Program, directing groups of students on study abroad programs in Salzburg and elsewhere in Central Europe. He received an award as Teacher of the Year from St. John’s University in 1991. He was also awarded the Austrian Medal First Class for Arts and Sciences in 1991. After his retirement, his former students sought to celebrate his legacy of international education by establishing the Otmar Drekonja German Cultural Studies Scholarship. As much admired teacher and mentor, his distinguished teaching career resonates in the personal and professional lives of generations of students.