- Leslie M. Lipson, an emeritus professor at the University
of California, Berkeley, and an expert in political theory
and comparative government who had a deep concern for societal
ethics, died on Friday, Aug. 11, of prostate cancer. Lipson,
who lived in Berkeley, was 87.
Lipson was an important presence in the UC Berkeley Department
of Political Science for more than three decades," said George
Breslauer, dean of social science at UC Berkeley and a political
science professor. "He
wrote books on West European politics as well as political
theory, books that reflected his commitment to combining in-depth
empirical research with a concern for the great normative
issues that face us in contemporary society. He was truly
a scholar, a gentleman and a devoted and highly effective
a naturalized U.S. citizen, was born Nov. 14, 1912, in London
and educated at Oxford University, where he received both
his bachelor's and master's degrees. He received his doctorate
from the University of Chicago.
"The Great Issues of Politics," first published in 1954 (Prentice-Hall),
was published in 10 editions, translated in numerous foreign
languages, and used in the introduction to political science
courses across the country.
recent book, "The Ethical Crises of Civilization: Moral Meltdown
or Advance?" 1993 (Sage Publications), was an exhaustive work
that analyzed the historical development of civilizations
around the world in relation to their ethical choices. His
goal, according to his son, David R. Lipson, was "to assimilate
the lessons of history so as to create a pathway, in this
age of high technology, to a more humane present and future."
said his father devoted his life to the study of ethical choices
by individuals and society.
Lipson joined the UC Berkeley political science department
in 1950 and retired in 1984. Twice during that time, undergraduate
students selected him as the best teacher in the department.
Lipson also was credited with establishing stronger ties between
faculty and students while he served as chair of the department's
undergraduate program from 1977-1980.
his career, Lipson received numerous honors and awards, including,
in June 1980, the Berkeley Citation. The award is given to
individuals of extraordinary achievement in their field who
have shown outstanding service to UC Berkeley.
In a nominating
letter for Lipson, Chalmers Johnson, then-chair of the political
science department, wrote:
has been very appropriately described as a humanist, and this
quality has permeated his life and his scholarship...He has
also been an outstanding teacher. Not only does he have a
warm, informal, and most effective speaking ability, but he
has a genuine empathy for students.
been a highly respected individual and colleague. He symbolizes
integrity, devotion and service to all of us here who have
known and respected him as well as his admirers worldwide."
the campus, Lipson was active in the World Affairs Council
of Northern California, wrote humorous "light verse" poetry,
and shared his political expertise with broadcast and print
was a regular panelist and reporter on the Public Broadcasting
System's weekly program "World Press" from 1963 to 1976. He
covered the British press. As recently as January 1999, he
wrote an op-ed piece for the San Francisco Chronicle on "The
Free Market versus Democracy."
was the academic advisor of the Fromm Institute for Lifelong
Learning in San Francisco from 1989 through March, functioning
as faculty dean. He taught at the institute for 17 years,
beginning in 1983.
is survived by his wife, Helen Fruchtman Lipson, of Berkeley;
his son, David R. Lipson, of Mill Valley; and a granddaughter.
will be held at the campus's Faculty Club at 4 p.m. on Sunday,
Sept.10. A scholarship, the Leslie Lipson Scholarship for
the Study of Humanistic Values and Social Policy, is being
established at UC Berkeley in his honor.
may be made to The Leslie Lipson Scholarship Fund, c/o Law
Offices of David R. Lipson, One Maritime Plaza, Suite 400,
San Francisco, CA 94111.