Scott J. Seregny (1950-2003)
Kevin Cramer and Michael Snodgrass, September 2003
Scott J. Seregny, professor of Russian history at Indiana University—Purdue University-Indianapolis, died early in the morning of June 16, 2003 at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis after a three-year battle with cancer. Seregny was born in Detroit on November 20, 1950. In 1972 Seregny received a bachelor's degree with honors in Russian Studies at the University of Michigan, where he later received a PhD in Russian history in 1982. He once said his interest in Russian history was kindled when he found John Gunther's Inside Russia Today on his father's bookshelf. He was highly regarded in his field as an expert on the educational system, peasant life and culture, and rural society of czarist Russia before the 1917 Revolution. An active scholar, Seregny spent two years at the Russian Research Center at Harvard and was the recipient of many prestigious awards and fellowships, including several from the Fulbright Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. His influential book Russian Teachers and Peasant Revolution was published in 1989. He also co-edited a study of politics and society in rural Russia, and produced over 40 articles, book chapters, conference papers, reviews, and translations. At his death he was working on a study of rural politics in prerevolutionary Russia and an article on post-Communist education.
Seregny's significant achievements as a scholar were matched by his accomplishments in the classroom. He felt teaching to be his main vocation and his popular classes were filled with students attracted by his reputation for high standards, engaging lectures, imaginative course design, and cutting-edge scholarship. He was also unstinting in his work with graduate students, reading innumerable theses and sitting on defense committees. He inspired many to pursue careers in education and during his illness his former students made sure he knew how deeply he had touched their lives.
Seregny was a great friend—a gentle and courageous man whose advice, help, and encouraging words one could always count on. He was one of the pillars of the history department at IUPUI, and his collegiality, sense of humor, and reassuring presence "down the hall" will be sorely missed.
Seregny is survived by his wife, Cathy (Bruggeman) Seregny, his sister, Julie Mahoney of Macomb, Illinois, and his mother, Dolores, and brother, Jeffrey, of suburban Detroit. Funeral services for Seregny were held in Troy, Michigan, on Friday, June 20. A memorial service will be held for Indianapolis friends and colleagues in early fall when IUPUI classes resume. The family asks that memorial tributes be made in Seregny's name to the National Cancer Institute, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20892.
—Kevin Cramer and Michael Snodgrass, IUPUI