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Former U of M College of Liberal Arts Dean and CURA Founder Fred Lukermann passes away

Photo of Fred Lukermann

Fred Lukermann

September 3, 2009
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Fred Lukermann, University of Minnesota geography professor and former dean of the College of Liberal Arts, passed away on September 1, 2009 from injuries he suffered in a fall outside his home. He was 87. A Minneapolis native, Lukermann graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1940 and entered the University of Minnesota the following fall. After U.S. Army service, he returned to the University, earning his B.S., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees.

Lukermann joined the University of Minnesota’s geography faculty in the early 1950s. The geography department steadily achieved national and international eminence, with Lukermann nurturing a pervasive spirit of wide-ranging and creative intellectual inquiry within the department and across the University.

He assumed several leadership and administrative roles at the University of Minnesota: chair of the Department of Geography; associate dean for social sciences in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA); assistant vice president for academic affairs; and dean of CLA. Working with CLA Dean E. W. Ziebarth and university Vice President Jerry Shepherd, Lukermann was instrumental in establishing the Departments of African American & African Studies, American Indian Studies and Chicano Studies; the Urban Studies Program; the School of Public Affairs (later renamed the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs) and the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA).

In addition to his inspired teaching, generous advising of graduate students and creative scholarly output, Lukermann pursued a life-long interest in proto-geography in Classical Greece, in the development of modern geographic thought and practice within the history of science, in the historical geography of North America, and in cultural pluralism.

Lukermann was preceded in death by his wife Barbara, son Bruno and his parents; he is survived by daughters Carla Lukermann and Kathryn (Warren) Plaisance and two grandsons.