Doctorate of Mendel University’s First Rector Discovered and Donated To University Collection

The Kraus brothers display the doctorate of the first rector of Mendel University. From left, Michal and Tomáš. Photo credit: MENDELU 

Brno, 9 Aug. (BD) – Brno’s Mendel University (MENDELU) has been given the doctorate of its first rector, František Bubák. Archive material over a century old was found in the Kraus family estate in Prague. After discovering who the precious documents belonged to, the Kraus brothers handed them over to the university archives.

In over 100 years separating Bubák and the current rector, Jan Mareš, the university has had 34 other rectors. “It was a completely unexpected discovery. The diplomas of our first rector will become an ornament of the university archives. We greatly appreciate the finders’ approach and thank them for this gift. We will display the diplomas on special occasions,” said Mareš.

František Bubák arrived in Brno in 1919 as a professor and directed the school for only one year, which corresponded to his tenure at the time. Photo credit: MENDELU.

Bubák was originally from Rovensko pod Troskami in the Liberec Region, and after leaving Brno he worked as a professor in Prague, where he died on 19 September 1925 in a sanatorium in Podolsk. According to contemporary obituaries, “a special kind of open-minded and world-renowned scholar disappeared from Czech scientific life. The work he left behind guarantees his immortality”.

The Kraus brothers found Bubák’s diplomas in their mother’s estate. “We had seen the old diploma tube since childhood, but had no idea how it had come to us for a long time,” said Michal Kraus. For the family, it was a mysterious story that they could not explain. The most likely explanation is that the family switched flats with the Bubák family in Prague in 1960 and that the diplomas of the first rector of the Brno University of Agriculture in Brno (today MENDELU) remained in the flat in Prague Nusle.

The papers, together with Bubák’s doctorate and membership diploma of the Masaryk Labour Academy, were kept in the cupboard with other documents. After their mother’s death, her children opened the box and decided to donate the diplomas to Mendel University. “We decided to offer the documents in their place. This is the institution following Professor Bubák. It is another piece in the historical mosaic,” said the youngest brother, Tomáš Kraus.

The more valuable of the two diplomas is the one from 1900, on the basis of which František Bubák was awarded a doctorate at Charles University. Photo credit: MENDELU

According to Filip Vrána, a spokesman for MENDELU as well as a historian, the diploma bears the signatures of three important personalities. Jan Gebauer, a well-known Czech Bohemian, was the rector and Václav Emanuel Mourek, a philologist, was the dean of the Faculty of Philosophy. The third signature was added by the famous Czech poet, then professor of European literature at Charles University, Jaroslav Vrchlický in the role of promoter. 

Mendel University has long been committed to the legacy of its first rector. In 1919, it adopted his grave in the Vinohrady cemetery, which it looks after. Professor Bubák was one of the founders of the University of Agriculture in Brno. He initiated negotiations on the choice of land for the new school building and the construction of the school’s farm and botanical garden. He was also an eminent scientist and in his time was one of Europe’s leading authorities on mycology. He is considered a pioneer of phytopathology and became the first professor in this field in the country. Bubák’s large mycological herbarium is still an important ornament of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

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