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Albert Angus Campbell
LSA Minutes

1910 — 1980

The College of Literature, Science, and the Arts wishes to express their heartful sorrow at the loss of Angus Campbell, internationally renowned social scientist and recently retired as Director of the University's Institute for Social Research, who died on December 15, 1980.

For nearly 35 years, Angus Campbell was a pillar of strength in the university community. He was one of its most talented citizens, and his loyalty and devotion to the University was complete. Although an extremely busy man in his own right, he gave unstintingly of his time to all problems of University governance where his wisdom was needed. His sure vision of the great research university was depended on with gratitude by a succession of our Presidents.

Angus Campbell was born August 10, 1910, in Leiters, Indiana and grew up in Portland, Oregon. He received his B.A. and M.A. in Psychology from the University of Oregon in 1931 and 1932, and then began doctoral training at Stanford, working most notably with Kurt Lewin and E.R. Hilgard. Upon receiving his doctorate in 1936, he became an instructor in psychology at Northwestern. In 1942 he went to Washington, D.C., to do research for the government on the social and economic effects of World War II on the American public. Here, at the Department of Agriculture's division of program surveys, he encountered the group of researchers under Rensis Likert which was to move in 1946 to Ann Arbor as the founding nucleus of the Institute for Social Research at the University. He was Professor of Sociology and Psychology, and for 25 years he served as Director of the Survey Research Center, the Institute's largest component. In 1970 he succeeded Likert as Director of the full Institute. He retired as Director in 1976 but resumed a life of full-time research. He was on his retirement furlough at the time of his death, although he had just received a further research grant.

At the same time that he was a prime mover as research administrator in developing the University's Survey Research Center and Institute for Social Research to its current position of high international eminence, Angus Campbell was vitally engaged in the research and writing which he loved. His own scholarly work was remarkably far-ranging and seminal. In the late 1940's and 1950's he founded the research group within the Institute which produced the continuing sequence of national election studies now formally recognized by the National Science Foundation as a "national resource," the first such attribution for the social sciences. With his associates he wrote The Voter Decides (1954), The American Voter (1960), and Elections and the Political Order (1966) as well as many articles which have defined the study of electoral politics by political scientists. With this activity proceeding, he moved in 1967 to studies of race problems in American cities for the National Commission on Civil Disorders, producing the volume White Attitudes toward Black People.

His interest in monitoring trends in racial attitudes again has been continuing at the Institute. In the 1970's he developed a program of studies of perceptions of the quality of life in the American population which once again continues, and in connection with it authored The Human Meaning of Social Change (1972), The Quality of American Life (1976), and Sense of Well Being in America (1981). In a true sense he lived several research careers in a single lifetime.

Angus Campbell's stature in the eyes of his scholarly peers at the University, nationally and abroad is suggested by the long list of honors he has received. Among these have been election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Distinguished Achievement Award from the University for his scholarship, teaching and service, a distinguished achievement award from the American Association for Public Opinion Research, an honorary doctorate from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, England, the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the American Psychological Association, the Lazarsfeld Award of the Council for Applied Social Research, the Lasswell Award of the International Society of Political Psychology, selection as the Distinguished Senior Faculty Lecturer at this University, and election to the National Academy of Sciences.

The range and depth of Angus Campbell's contributions to the excellence of the University and its luster in the world is difficult to encompass. He was vigorous until the end, and he will be sorely missed by all of us as counselor and as friend. His colleagues deeply mourn his passing.

Dr. Campbell is survived by his wife, Jean; a son, Bruce, and daughters, Joan and Carol.