It is with sadness that the Department of Political Science announces the passing of David C. Leege, professor emeritus of political science and a fundamental researcher in the fields of electoral behavior and religion and politics in the United States.
We have included his obituary here.
On May 18, 1937 in Elkhart, IN, Harold and Nellie (Bliss) Leege gave birth to their last child and named him David C. In Green Valley, AZ on November 20, 2021, he left this world for perpetual life with God. in Paradise. There he was united with his two parents, his sister Catherine and his brother Philip. His beloved wife Patricia, 85, survives with Philip’s wife, Judith Driscoll and two Leege sisters, Josephine Martin, 92, and Melba Panhorst, 88.
David and Patricia A. (Schad) were married on June 8, 1963 at Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest, Illinois, where both were young teachers at Concordia Teachers College, she was organist and music teacher. They have been blessed with 58 years of mutual love and respect. They have three caring children, David M. (Rebecca Chandler), Atlanta GA, Lissa (Frank D’Arcangelo), Statesboro GA and Kurt (Hannah Davies), Castlerock, N. Ireland and five grandchildren, Micah and Emory, 19 and 14, Estelle and Julian, 11 and 9 and Seren, 5.
Leege received his BA from the University of Valparaiso in 1959 and his PhD in Political Science from Indiana University in 1965, with assistance from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation and doctoral scholarships from Indiana University. Dave also studied in advanced programs at the University of Chicago and Michigan. He then taught twice in Michigan for a summer program after his research methods textbook (Leege & Francis, Policy research: design, measurement and analysis) was published in 1971 by Basic Books.
Dave’s work as an academic institution builder, teacher and author / scholar has led him to develop research institutes and public writing projects at universities primarily in the Midwest, East, Europe and the National Science Foundation in Washington, DC. Through the various moves, the summer residence in the cabin colony at Camp Arcadia, MI has provided joyful moments with friends from across the country for over fifty years.
At the University of Missouri, Columbia (1964-68), he established a statewide survey research center that conducted academic research for academic and political organizations across the State. The peculiarity of the center was that it also built up a publishing network of nearly 100 newspapers and other outlets.
All reports were archived under POSU (Public Opinion Survey Unit, University of Missouri).
At SUNY – Buffalo (1968-70), he established a statewide research and data archive center with an emphasis on urban policy. At the University of Illinois at Chicago (1970-1974), he worked on a joint doctoral program in public policy with the Champaign-Urbana campus.
In 1974-76, while a program director at the National Science Foundation, he led the founding of the American National Election Studies and then chaired its board of directors. ANES is the primary source of data on the opinions and choices of the American electorate from 1952 to the present day.
The mission of the University of Notre Dame (1976-retired 2003) was by far the most difficult – to set up new research and graduate teams with research support that could create new areas of strength. doctoral research in the social sciences, human sciences and related professions (the institution was then called the Center for the Study of Man in Contemporary Society).
After being cited as one of the American Academy’s 100 Outstanding Young Leaders by the American Council on Education, Dave’s missions at Notre Dame have turned more to continuity and problem-solving. He has been the Provost’s assistant for affirmative action hiring, visiting 18 campuses in the process, looking for recruits and reviewing policy. Then came a huge reorientation.
Examining the results of the pilot project, Leege staff assembled a new research team to design and complete the Our Lady of Catholic Parish Life Study, based on nationwide probability samples. He captured the traits and character of the ward, professional leadership, volunteer leadership, style of worship and planning, measures of leadership and success. The results were organized into a series of 15-part reports, written by Leege and an external researcher each time. Critics in Catholic research circles also reviewed each report before publication. These reports were then summarized in a book by Mgr. Joseph Gremillion and journalist Frank Castelli. At this point, the series of scholarly publications, theses and articles followed. The most enjoyable part for Dave and the central research team was meeting with national and local leaders to review the results.
During this period his teaching included establishing a foreign faculty exchange program at Louvain, Belgium and leading the London program for Notre Dame undergraduate arts and humanities students (including UK government internship opportunities).
As the number of new university programs at Notre Dame continued to grow, Dave took particular pleasure in establishing the Hesburgh program in the public service. After designing on-campus preparatory courses in Politics, Methods, and Ethics, the students completed a semester in Washington DC with lectures and an agency assignment. Many continued all summer on paid assignments. Today, some have become Washington’s brightest journalists and political analysts. Some are emerging party leaders. Only one, to Dave’s knowledge, could be judged as having questionable ethical behavior, a measure of the success of the program. Dave and Pat have supported the program with an award for top student each year. It was easy to be successful when Father Ted was the role model.
Dave went on to receive undergraduate teaching awards, the Henkel Award for Outstanding Graduate Research, and Special Mention for Service to the Hesburgh Program. After taking a five-year assignment as the Director of the Graduate Program in the Department of Political Science and expanding it considerably, he devoted all of his time to undergraduate and doctoral students. He was particularly careful to recognize the contributions of graduate student collaborators to writing projects.
Upon his retirement in 2003, he and his frequent contributor, Kenneth Wald of the University of Florida, facilitated the publication of 25 books as editors in a Cambridge University Press series–Cambridge Studies in Social Theory, Religion and Politics. They also published their own historical book, Leege, Wald et al., The politics of cultural differences (Princeton Univ. Press, 2002), where they document the displacement of economic conflict by cultural conflict as a dominant force in American elections since the time of Richard Nixon. Three years later, the book received the American Political Science Association award for the best book in recent years on religion and politics.
Upon request, Dave continued to write feature articles for Tom Edsall to inform his column in the New York Times. Edsall was taken by surprise when in September.
2019, Dave described the elements of a planned re-election coup for the president. Donald Trump had carried out tests in various states. January 6, 2021 brought together the strategies that the former president and his advisers considered to be the most effective.
Dave’s particular joys in retirement included over a dozen years of service as a member of the board of directors, then chair of the Lutheran music program, and nine years of service on the board of directors of True Concord. Grammy Award nominated Voices and Orchestra. He notably worked on audience development at local and national level. Dave and Pat created small endowments to promote organ recitals, learning of liturgical music and hymns, and a special category, an endowment honoring St. Olaf Elders David and Lissa with special funds to attract attention to the first article responsibilities of Christians in matters of the environment. and human rights initiatives.
During these years, the Leege understood the central role of cultural immersion in understanding the peoples of the world. Foreign study programs have become the academy’s main instrument for this. Throughout the modern academy, study abroad is the starting point for learning about cultural respect and political rights.
Memorials can be addressed to Camp Arcadia (JS Bach Fund for Lutheran Church Music) and the Academy and the Lutheran Summer Music Festival. Memorial services in Green Valley, AZ and Arcadia, MI will be announced at a later date.
To leave condolences online, please visit the Angel Valley Funeral Home, Tucson, AZ website.
+ SOLI DEO GLORIA +