Founding Director James E. McLeod

“No single individual has had a greater impact on the vitality and the quality of student life at this university. Jim was truly a man of wisdom, compassion and steadfast loyalty to the university. He enjoyed deep and lasting respect from all who were fortunate to interact with him.”

-Mark S. Wrighton  

Chancellor, Washington University in St. Louis




Recognized as one of the university’s most effective leaders, Dean James E. McLeod (1944-2011) spearheaded many successful undergraduate efforts, including developing a residential college approach to dormitory living; strengthening the undergraduate advising system; constructing new small-group housing; advising the new undergraduate curriculum effort in Arts & Sciences; enriching the mix of seminar experiences for freshmen; establishing and building the John B. Ervin Scholars Program; and helping initiate and shape the expanded study-abroad program. His influence touched every aspect of campus life.

Dean McLeod was born and raised in 1944 in Dothan, Alabama. His family’s emphasis on education spurred him to study Chemistry and German at Morehouse College. He received his degree in 1966 and pursued a graduate degree in German at Rice University, where he was a National Defense Education Act Fellow and Woodrow Wilson Fellow. After teaching at Indiana University in Bloomington, Dean McLeod joined the Washington University in St. Louis community in 1974 as Assistant Professor of German and Assistant Dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

During his time at Washington University, Dean McLeod served as Assistant to the Chancellor and Director of African and African American Studies. He was appointed Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences in May of 1992 and Vice Chancellor for Students in 1995. In 1987, Dean McLeod was named the founding Director of the John B. Ervin Scholars Program, a position he held until his death in September 2011.


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