The Texas Public Policy Foundation mourns the loss of Svetozar “Steve” Pejovich, a luminary in the field of economics whose work to defend private property rights, the rule of law, and individual liberty has inspired the conservative movement in untold ways. He passed away on February 12, 2021, only days before his 90th birthday. Yet as much as TPPF laments his passing, there is much more to celebrate about Steve’s tremendous life and legacy.
Born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, Steve lived through both the Nazi occupation of the land of his birth and its later fall to Communism. The resilience of his family and the values which they instilled in him during his youth, however, gave him the determination and optimism he needed to rise above the dire circumstances of his formative years. When he arrived in the United States in 1957, he dedicated himself to studying, teaching, and writing about the principles of free enterprise as the foundation for a fair and prosperous society.
Steve devoted himself to the idea that scholarship and research, not ideology or political maneuvering, are the best tools for promoting liberty and human flourishing in the world.
Steve earned a Ph.D. in Economics from Georgetown University in 1963. Over the course of his academic career, Steve worked for a number of institutions of higher education, including St. Mary’s College in Minnesota, the University of Dallas and Texas A&M. At A&M, he served from 1981 to 1990 as the director of the Center for Free Enterprise, now known as the Private Enterprise Research Center, where he brought internationally renowned economists together to elucidate the principles of a free-market economy. He continued working in the A&M Economics Department till he retired as Professor Emeritus in 2002.
Steve’s many distinctions in academia are too numerous to name, but among them, he was proudly committed to sharing his talents internationally. He was a senior research fellow at the International Center for Economic Research in Torino, Italy, a visiting scholar at Francisco Marroquin University in Guatemala, and a founder of the University of Donja Gorica in Montenegro (an independent state of the former Yugoslavia).
Steve was a longtime resident of the state of Texas and found that Texan values and ideals embodied his vision of freedom, prosperity, and the rule of law. His wit, humor, and generosity are remembered by the family, friends, and colleagues whose lives he touched.
TPPF is honored by Steve’s gift of his collected works to the Foundation, which are displayed in the Kercheville Library at our headquarters in downtown Austin. His daughter, Brenda, also carries on his legacy through serving on TPPF’s Board of Directors.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation strives to worthily model and advance the same spirit of liberty to which Steve Pejovich devoted his life.