Magazine Feature / People

Beall initiated growth of political science department

Charles “Mike” Beall, the DU professor emeritus who helped expand the size and recognition of the political science department, died at his Longmont, Colo., home Sept. 22. He was 84.

During Beall’s four-year stint as chair of the political science department beginning in 1966, the size of the department increased from four to 10 full-time faculty members and from 90 undergraduates to more than 370.

For years, Beall had the highest evaluations of any regular full-time member of the department, and his classes were first or among the first to fill during registration, records show.

“The high evaluations and class interest cannot be explained by high grades,” Beall wrote in a 1980 letter, “as my average grade ranks [are] in the lower one-third of the department grades awarded.”

Beall built his reputation as a tough yet popular teacher, says political science Professor Spencer Wellhofer.

“He was always very proud of his students and their accomplishments,” he says, noting that Beall had been very happy to see the success of his former student Condoleezza Rice although Beall was a strong liberal.

He was known for an “exemplary” record of contributions and service to the department and University in general, Wellhofer says. Beall served as vice president and then president of the Faculty Senate.

Beall was born in Fort Wayne, Ind., on May 13, 1924. He received his BA from DePauw University in 1948 after serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II for nearly four years. He earned his master’s degree and doctorate from Indiana University in 1949 and 1952, respectively.

He worked at the University of Wyoming for more than 11 years as both an assistant and  associate professor of political science. While in Laramie, Wyo., he lived what he taught: He served on the city council, the city board of adjustments and the Civil Service Commission; was elected chairman of the Albany County Democratic Party and was appointed to the United States Civil Rights Commission in Wyoming, serving as its first vice chairman.

Beall left Wyoming in 1963 and became the first head of the political science department of Eastern Illinois University before coming to DU in 1966.

He was passionate about teaching Soviet Union and Eastern European politics, colleagues say, and he was frequently featured in the media on such topics, was an invited guest lecturer all over the world and published numerous papers.

After retirement from DU in June 1982, Beall was a fixture at the Longmont Senior Center, where he volunteered for more than 20 years teaching classes in international relations and political philosophy. He was active in many other community endeavors and donated money and resources to tree planting in Longmont.

The Longmont Times-Call dubbed him their “own Johnny Appleseed.”

Beall is survived by his wife, Gretchen Hieronymus Beall; three children from his previous marriage to Lynette Bradley: Jacquelyn Schutte, Marilyn Bredar and Douglas Beall; and six grandchildren.

A memorial service was held Sunday, Oct. 5 at the Longmont Senior Center, 910 Longs Peak Ave. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Rawdat El Zuhur, a school for Palestinian children in East Jerusalem, or to the the City of Longmont Forestry Division.

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