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Slobodan Jaric
Slobodan Jaric, shown here in a 2004 photo, published 150 papers in international journals during his career and was known for his enthusiasm mentoring graduate students and postdocs.

In Memoriam: Slobodan Jaric

Photo by Kevin Quinlan

Campus remembers prolific scientist, revered mentor

Slobodan Jaric, a longtime professor in the University of Delaware Department of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology (KAAP) who also shared his biomechanics knowledge as a visiting professor around the globe, passed away on Aug. 18. He was 67.

Dr. Jaric’s research at the University focused on motor control in healthy individuals as well as those with neuromotor disorders. He worked in the KAAP Human Performance Lab and was known for his enthusiasm in mentoring graduate students and postdocs and attracting visiting researchers from around the world for training or research collaboration.

“Wonderful young people were drawn to him and this was a gift for all of us. Slobodan was an incredible role model for me as a gentleman and a scholar, and I know he will be missed by anyone who knew him,” said Chris Knight, an associate professor in KAAP and colleague of Dr. Jaric. “He was a true global citizen and scholar. My favorite moments with him were hearing his thoughts on topics unrelated to our work. I am grateful for the fascinating perspectives he brought to my attention.”

Dr. Jaric was prolific as a scientist, publishing 150 scientific papers in international journals. His recent work used an innovative method to understand the coordination between handgrip forces and reaction forces during object manipulation.

In another line of research, he studied how mechanical force and power are scaled to human dimensions. While at UD, he received funding from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to develop and evaluate tests that measured hand grip in people with multiple sclerosis.

Dr. Jaric came to the University of Delaware in 2002 from Umea University in Sweden, where he worked after leaving his native Serbia. He earned his undergraduate degree from the Faculty of Physics at the University of Belgrade in 1976 and his doctoral degree from the Faculty of Physical Culture at the University of Belgrade in 1986. As a visiting professor, he worked at several institutions in the United States and abroad.

Dr. Jaric retired from the University of Delaware in 2016, but his imprint was lasting on the students he mentored during his tenure.

“It is impossible to explain how influential Dr. Slobodan Jaric has been in every aspect of my life. He was not only a great academic adviser, but also he was a father-like figure,” said Mehmet Uygur, who earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in health sciences at UD. He is now an assistant professor at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey.

Contributions can be made in memory of Dr. Jaric to the Department of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology at the University of Delaware. Please send contributions to: University of Delaware, Gifts Processing, 83 East Main St., 3rd Fl., Newark, DE 19716.  Make checks payable to: ‘University of Delaware’ and include on the memo line “in memory of Dr. Slobodan Jaric.”  Gifts can also be made on the University of Delaware’s secure website, www.udel.edu/makeagift. Contributions will support student travel.

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