Frederick Neil Cleaveland

Frederic Neil Cleaveland, political scientist and former provost at Duke University, died Wednesday, Dec. 2 of kidney failure at the age of 90.

Born Oct. 30, 1915 in Phoenix, Ariz., he was a devoted father and husband. He was married to Barbara Henry Cleaveland, who died in August, for 65 years.

He is survived by three children: Marilyn McConnell of Berkeley, Calif.; Ann Gaubinger, of Northampton, Mass.; and Kenneth Cleaveland, of Andrews, North Carolina; 10 grandchildren; and three great grandchildren.

Frederic Cleaveland received his B.A. from Duke University in 1937 and his M.A. and Ph.D. in politics from Princeton in 1951. He was a leader at UNC during the tumultuous 1960s, serving as chairman of the political science department from 1958 to 1970 and chairman of the faculty from 1967 to 1970. Of his service to the university, legal scholar and activist Dan Pollitt writes, “Carolina is indebted to Fred Cleaveland. His soft-spoken voice rose high above the clamor, bringing reason, light and solutions…the epitome of academe.” After his work at UNC, Fred moved to Duke, where he held the position of provost from 1971 to 1978, also teaching political science there until his retirement.

As a scholar of government and public policy, Fred Cleaveland contributed to the field of public administration with several books and numerous other publications. He was a member of the board of trustees and chairman of the board for the National Academy of Public Administration in the 1970s. He also served as a senior staff member at the Brookings Instutution in the mid-1960s. His lively interest in public affairs persisted throughout his years and, until two weeks ago, he participated in a discussion group with other retired scholars who used the Socratic method to explore contemporary political and ethical issues.

Following his retirement from Duke, Fred and his wife lived half of the year in Eastsound, on Orcas Island. There, he took up farming, raised sheep and learned the crafts of spinning and weaving. He enjoyed hiking and was an active supporter of the Orcas Island Public Library.

A memorial service will be held for Fred at a time to be announced. Memorial donations may be made to the Interfaith Council of Chapel Hill or the San Juan Preservation Trust, Box 327, Lopez Island, WA 98261.