Eldersveld, renowned 'U' political science professor, former A2 mayor, dies at the age of 92

BY LINDSAY KRAMER
Daily Staff Reporter
Published March 9, 2010

This is a developing story. For more updates, check michigandaily.com throughout the day and The Michigan Daily in print tomorrow.

Courtesy of University of Michigan Department of Political Science

Samuel James Eldersveld , a storied professor of political science at the University, passed away late last week at the age of 92.

Before his passing on March 5, Eldersveld had spent more than half his life teaching at the University and doing research around the world. He also served as mayor of Ann Arbor from 1957 to 1959.

Throughout his 54-year tenure at the University, Eldersveld authored 22 books and numerous articles often based on his travels — during which he studied the politics of India, the Netherlands, Sweden, Great Britain, Poland and China. Eldersveld focused his work on the comparative analysis of political parties, elites and mass political behavior.

He received numerous awards throughout his life including a career achievement prize by the American Political Science Association in 1986. In addition to the awards, he received recognition from his former students when they published a book in his honor in 1999.

Though he was highly esteemed for his teaching abilities, Eldersveld’s work on campus extended beyond the classroom. He chaired the University’s Political Science Department from 1964 to 1970 and helped to develop the University’s program into one of the best in the country. Among his honors, a professorship in the Political Science Department was named for him.

He also was an active member at his local church — St. Andrews Episcopal Church — for six decades.

As mayor of Ann Arbor, Eldersveld focused his efforts on creating Ann Arbor’s Human Relations Commission in which he worked to eliminate racial discrimination in housing, banking, business and education.