A dedicated fundraiser committed to his profession and the causes he represented, Bob used his strong work ethic, ability to establish personal relationships, and innovation and creativity to succeed. A lifelong learner, Bob was not afraid to seek out new challenges and opportunities for personal and professional growth. The recipient of the Bob Mesko Scholarship should embody these qualities and serve as an example to others the impact that one individual can have on their community.
Robert “Bob” Z. Mesko was a beloved member of the nonprofit community in Denver before his passing in November 2012. As part of the inaugural class of the Institute for Leaders in Development (then known as Emerging Leaders in Development), Bob added a level of intellectual curiosity, life experiences, and smart wit to the “pioneers” of this first group. He remained a proud alumnus, encouraging other aspiring leaders to join the program.
Bob had a wonderful smile, a quick sense of humor, a tremendous intellect, and a passion for family, life and career. Born in Bratislava, Slovakia, he immigrated to the United States with his family when he was 6 years old. He grew up in New York City and was a proud alumnus of Regis High School in New York City, and from Columbia University. In 2006, he fulfilled a life-long dream of appearing on Jeopardy and became a seven-time champion.
From 1997 to 2002, Bob founded and served as Executive Director of the Bratislava Dance Theater in Slovakia. He returned to the United States and served as an Arts Management Fellow at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In 2004, he moved to Denver where he continued his work for the advancement of the arts as Director of Development for the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. From there, Bob went on to work at the University of Denver as Director of Development for the performing arts program and the Newman Center.
Bob was an avid patron, enthusiastic advocate and appreciator of the arts, with a particular passion for modern dance. Just months before his death, he performed with the AXIS Dance Company at the University of Denver, despite being in the midst of chemotherapy treatment.
Bob's love for his family and passion for life sustained him during his long and difficult battle with cancer, and his memory will live on with his many colleagues, friends and family.
The Bob Mesko Scholarship