Henry J. Jelinek, Jr., Class of 1968
International Business Innovator, Author
Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, during World War II, Henry J. Jelinek, Jr. and his family escaped to Canada at the beginning of the Cold War. After graduating from high school in Ontario in 1963, he earned his business certification in Switzerland. He received the Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Marietta College in 1968 and a Master of Arts in social psychology from the New School for Social Research (New York City) in 1970.
While a student at Marietta, Jelinek co-wrote "On Thin Ice." Published in 1965 by Prentice-Hall, Inc., the book chronicles the family's ordeals under Nazi occupation, subsequent Communist takeover, and their escape to the free world.
Active as a student, Jelinek helped establish the first varsity soccer program and scored the first competitive goal for Marietta College. He also worked on the campus newspaper and participated in various organizations including Greek life.
President and CEO of Jelinek Cork Group, Jelinek expanded the family-owned business founded in Europe in 1855 to an international company supplying cork and related products to most parts of the world. After the fall of communism in 1989, Jelinek returned to the Czech Republic restarting the business while helping support young entrepreneurs, their families, and future generations in their transition to the free market system and aiding that country with its rebuilding efforts. Jelinek is also an outspoken advocate for social responsibility by business and business leaders.
The McDonough Center's first Executive-In-Residence in 2004, Jelinek spent two months on campus, sharing his knowledge of international business with students. He served on the Marietta College Board of Trustees for several years and became a Life Associate Trustee while also serving as chair of the Marietta College Alumni Association Board of Directors.