ST. AUGUSTINE, FL  Victor Ostrowidzki, Flagler College’s director of the Forum on Government and Public Policy and a longtime professor at the college, died on Saturday after battling melanoma.

Ostrowidzki, 80, was a veteran journalist who had served as a White House reporter during the Reagan administration and covered health-care issues in the Clinton era. He also reported on every presidential election from 1964-1988.

He joined the faculty of Flagler College in 1997, and went on to found the Forum on Government and Public Policy, which brings in journalists and other experts to speak about current issues. The Forum has brought to the college names such as Robert Novak, David Broder, Joe Klein, Anne Coulter, Pat Buchanan and Chris Matthews.

Ostrowidzki taught Campaigns and Elections for our Humanities department and Media Power in Politics for Communication.

He was a native of Poland, and during the Soviet Union Occupation of Poland (1939-1941), Ostrowidzki’s father, a high-ranking Polish government official, was captured as a prisoner of war. At this time, Ostrowidzki’s mother, brother and grandfather were deported to Siberia while he was on vacation visiting his aunt. He survived both the Soviet Union and German occupation of Poland and was later re-united with his family in England in 1948. Two years later he moved with his family to the United States.

Ostrowidzki started working for the Hearst paper, the Times Union in Albany, New York, as a copy boy in 1953. He graduated from Siena College in 1954 and served in the United States Army from 1954-1957. During his military career he aided Hungarian refugees escaping from the country in the midst of a revolt against the Soviets.

In 1957, Ostrowidzki started working for the Times Union as a reporter. He was promoted to Capitol Hill bureau chief in 1960. In 1961 he was recalled to active duty for the Berlin and Cuba crisis, as an interpreter. After he completed his active duty, he earned a Master of Arts from Siena College and started covering Washington D.C. for Hearst Newspapers.

At Hearst, he served as White House, National, Foreign, War and Congressional Correspondent and Chief Political Writer. Ostrowidzki covered every presidential campaign for Hearst from 1968 until his retirement in 1997.

He is survived by his wife, Sharon; three children; two step-children; six grandchildren; four step-grandchildren; and a brother.


Flagler College is an independent, four-year, comprehensive baccalaureate college located in St. Augustine, Fla. The college offers 24 majors, 29 minors and two pre-professional programs, the largest majors being business, education and communication. Small by intent, Flagler College has an enrollment of about 2,500 students, as well as a satellite campus at Tallahassee Community College in Tallahassee, Fla. U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review regularly feature Flagler as a college that offers quality education at a relatively low cost; tuition is $22,500, including room and board. A relatively young institution (founded in 1968), Flagler College is also noted for the historic beauty of its campus. The main building is Ponce de Leon Hall, built in 1887 as a luxury resort by Henry Flagler, who co-founded the Standard Oil Company with John D. Rockefeller.

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