Meet George Mitrovich

George MitrovichGeorge Mitrovich was born in San Diego, California. His primary education took place in San Diego area public schools; his secondary at Pasadena (Nazarene) College and, briefly, the School of Theology, Claremont, California. In May of 2007 he was awarded a Doctor of Human Letters Degree by Point Loma Nazarene University.

In 1966 he was named administrative assistant to Lt. Governor Glenn Anderson of California. In the presidential campaign of 1968 he was a press aide to Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Subsequently, he served as United States Senate press secretary to Senator Charles E. Goodell, Republican of New York, and Senator Harold E. Hughes, Democrat of Iowa. In addition, he worked for two members of the United States House of Representatives.

In 1975 he founded The City Club of San Diego, a non-partisan public forum. In 1985 he founded The Denver Forum. In 2003 The City Club was named the third best public forum in America and The Forum, fifth best. In addition, he chairs for the Boston Red Sox The Great Fenway Park Writers Series, the only literary series ever sponsored by a professional sports team. He also chairs the Red Sox’s annual birthday tribute to Jackie Robinson. Over 38 years, these three public forums, plus similar undertakings in Los Angeles and South Bend, Indiana, have concurrently presented more than 2,200 programs in the public interest – an average of more than 58 a year.

Mr. Mitrovich’s service on public boards and commissions, include: member and president, Ecumenical Council of San Diego County, an organization of more than 125 Christian churches; chairman, Better Government Association (BGA), an independent citizens committee committed to San Diego’s future; chairman, Committee on Charter Reform, whose proposal for changing San Diego’s city government from council manager to mayor council was adopted by voters in 2004; chairman, Committee of 2000, a citizens group that successfully supported the building of the city’s new downtown ballpark (the measure passed with nearly 60 percent of the vote); member, San Diego Human Relations Commission; member and chairman, San Diego Stadium Authority; vice-chairman, San Diego County Charter Review Committee; member, San Diego County Fiscal & Justice Committee; member, board of directors, San Diego Pops; member, board of directors, San Diego Crew Classic; member, executive board, National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ); member, board of directors, Citizens for Community Values (a children anti-pornography organization), and member, board of directors, Crime Victims Fund. In addition, he was the first San Diegan elected to the board of the California Historical Society (CHS).

A United Methodist layman, he has preached in some of America’s leading churches, including Washington’s National Cathedral and Highland Park United Methodist in Dallas. In 2008 Mr. Mitrovich was featured in the “Great Minds of Methodism” lecture/sermon series presented annually by the First United Methodist Church of Houston (the first layman selected). He believes Methodism’s founder John Wesley set the standard for Christian discipleship by proclaiming God’s grace for all and by his witness on issues of social justice and the evils of racism.

With the Reverend George Walker Smith, a Presbyterian minister, Mr. Mitrovich co-founded the San Diego Coalition for Equality, which came in response to racial unrest in Southern California. The United States House Representatives considered their proposal for a National Day of Unity, which was offered with leading clergy in response to President Clinton’s speech on race relations in America.

He was named by Charter 100, a professional women’s organization, “Man of the Year”; by Pacific Bell, an “Outstanding San Diegan”; by the San Diego Mediation Center, “Peacemaker of the Year,” and was given the NAACP’s “Community Involvement” Award. On two occasions he has been honored by The Catfish Club, San Diego’s leading African-American professional organization. In 1996 the California-Pacific Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church honored Mr. Mitrovich “For His Ministry and Labor to Overcome Racism and to Build A Multi-Cultural Church…” In addition, the San Diego Press Club awarded him its “Sitting Duck Award,” which was presented by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. The San Diego Daily Transcript named Mr. Mitrovich one of the city’s “Top Influentials of 2009.”

He has written extensively for North American newspapers, including The New York Times, Boston Globe, Toronto Globe and Mail, Baltimore Sun, San Diego Union Tribune, Denver Post, and Los Angeles Times. He has also written for The Christian Century, Frontier, Interpreter (a United Methodist Church magazine), United Methodist Reporter (a national Methodist newspaper), Good News (an independent Methodist magazine), and The New Oxford Review (a Catholic lay monthly). His essay on Joe DiMaggio appears in Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio, a book published by Carroll & Graf. His essay on the Boston Red Sox winning the 2004 World Series was featured in the spring 2005 edition of Elysian Fields Quarterly (EFQ), a baseball literary review.

Vital Speeches, long considered America’s foremost chronicler of contemporary speeches, published four of Mr. Mitrovich’s speeches, including “When the Walls Come Tumbling Down: The Arts in America” and “More Than a Game: The Moral Equation,” delivered at Boston’s famed Fenway Park to a symposium on “The Red Sox, Race, and Jackie Robinson.” As a result of his initiative Senators John Kerry and John McCain, joined by Congressmen Richard Neal and Peter King, introduced a bill to obtain posthumously the Congressional Gold Medal for Mr. Robinson. The bill – the final draft of which was written by Mr. Mitrovich – passed the Congress and was signed by President George Bush. The President presented the medal to Rachel Robinson and her family in a special ceremony at the United States Capitol, March 2, 2005. (Mr. Bush subsequently sent Mr. Mitrovich a personal note thanking him for his part in helping make possible the medal for Mr. Robinson.)

Unwilling to yield to time’s inexorable toll, he plays for the Mets in the San Diego Adult Baseball League (SDABL), 45 and over division. In 2002, by winning 16 games against only 2 losses, the Mets were regular and post-season SDABL Champions. The Mets repeated as league champions in 2009, 2012, and 2013.

He is married to La Verle Ann Sutherland of Spokane, Washington. They have three children: Carolyn, Mark and Tim. Carolyn has a son, Matthew James Mitrovich, a graduate of University of California Santa Barbara, while Tim and his wife, Lisa, have two daughters, Jessica and Juliette.