19th and 20th century A large number of people traveled from Slovakia to North America, mainly to the United States. Many of them were miners or laborers in the steel and lumber industries. They left Slovakia seeking a better life and settled permanently in the New World.
1968 – 1989 From the time of the Soviet occupation until the revolution of 1989, a second wave of Slovak immigrants arrived in the United States. Again, they emigrated from Slovakia in hope of finding better living conditions.
Early 2012 Slovak and American university professors in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, observed a demand for Slovak language instruction in the United States. According to statistics, about 1.2 million U.S. residents claim Slovak heritage; expatriate associations report the figure at about 3 million people. Often, these people have lost contact with the Slovak language and would like to be in touch with it once again.
June 2012 Representatives of the project wrote to the head of Slovakia’s Department of Education, Science, Research and Sport, Dušan Čaplovič. They described the situation observed by Slovak expatriates in the United States and proposed establishing the Slovak Language Center in the United States. Minister Čaplovič welcomed and supported the project.
October 2012 With the goal of selecting the primary U.S. partner for the Slovak Language Center, formal meetings began with representatives of some of Pennsylvania’s leading universities — Robert Morris University, the University of Pittsburgh and California University of Pennsylvania.
Nov. 4, 2012 After meetings with California University of Pennsylvania, it was selected as the partner university and the basic purposes of the project were outlined. A temporary headquarters for the Slovak Language Center was established in Sewickley, Pa.
2013 Further meetings and project planning sessions shaped the relationship between the Slovak and U.S. sides of the project.
Oct. 25, 2013 At the Slovak Language in the World conference in Bratislava, representatives of Slovakia’s Department of Education, Science, Research and Sport met with representatives of California University of Pennsylvania, including Interim President Geraldine M. Jones. Both parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which gave official status to the Slovak Language Center. They also discussed how to proceed with the center’s development.
November 2013 A series of regular meetings began to define the organizational structure of the Slovak Language Center. The SLC created a team of teachers who would be responsible for the systematic teaching of Slovak language in the United States.
March 31, 2014 The Slovak Language Center launched its interactive website. Its purpose is to inform and seek additional partners for this project.