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In Memoriam: October 2016

Published: October 3, 2016

Don Urquhart, a member of the CSULB political science teaching faculty and subsequently of its Political Science Department, where he taught until his retirement in 1982, passed away on July 21, in Vista. He was 95 years old and at the time of his passing had the distinction of being the oldest retired member of the CSULB faculty.

Urquhart was born on June 11, 1921, in Miami, Ariz. Raised in the state of Washington, he served in the U.S. Navy during the Second World War and then completed work for an M.A. from the University of Washington. He received his Ph.D. from UCLA in 1957 with a dissertation on “Adjudication and Rule Making in Los Angeles Municipal Administration.”

A pioneer member of the faculty at what was then Long Beach State College, Urquhart’s tenure began before the present Political Science Department was formed. He began teaching on a part-time basis in the Spring of 1953, before he received his Ph.D., and taught full-time beginning in the Fall of 1954.

In academic year 1954-55, he served as “area representative” to the college’s Division of Social Sciences, which then included the political science faculty.

Urquhart was among the faculty who strongly opposed the authoritarian style of the first president of the college, P. Victor Peterson, which, in part, led to Peterson’s resignation. He also played a significant role in development of the Political Science Department, chairing it from 1966-68, and he was present when Long Beach State College later evolved into CSULB.

Originally hired to teach public administration, Urquhart soon came to specialize in classical and modern political theory. He was a dedicated teacher and took pride in inspiring a number of his students to become university professors. It was his dedication to teaching that led him to give up the department chairmanship and return to the classroom.

Even tempered and thoughtful, Urquhart contributed to continuity among his peers by mentoring new department faculty members.