Event Recaps | 24 July 2022

Blossoms Into Gold


On July 24, 2022, local authors Donna F. Mekis and Kathryn Mekis Miller gave a talk at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History about their recent book Blossoms Into Gold: The Croatians in the Pajaro Valley. This event was sponsored by UC Santa Cruz University Library and The Humanities Institute.

Watch the video of the event here.

Of all the immigrant groups who flocked to California in the last two hundred years, probably the least known are the Croatians of the Dalmatian Coast. Often identified as Austrians, Slavonians, or Dalmatians, they came from a glorious background of international traders, sailors, and political thinkers few people in America knew about, and brought with them knowledge that would change the way the United States did business. At the same time, they transported their customs and beliefs to their new home and established a way of life that was vibrant and rich in traditional folkways. Join the authors of Blossoms into Gold for a discussion of this community’s fabled past and economic innovations in the Pajaro Valley.

Donna F. Mekis holds degrees in both Anthropology and Education from UC Santa Cruz. She had a forty-year career in higher education, working at both UC Santa Cruz and Cabrillo College. At Cabrillo, Donna developed and directed both the Transfer Center and the Honors Transfer Program. Recently, she served as the President of UCSC’s Alumni Association and is currently a Trustee on the UC Santa Cruz Foundation Board.

Kathryn Mekis Miller did her undergraduate and graduate work at UC Berkeley. She and her husband Marshall Miller opened their first retail store in Santa Cruz in 1971. They have developed a number of successful businesses under the umbrella name Sun Shops, which has now become a second-generation Santa Cruz business. In 2009, Sun Shops were honored as the Business of the Year by the Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce.

For more information, please visit Blossoms into Gold.