The University Record, October 18, 1999

Obituaries

George L. Grassmuck

George L. Grassmuck, professor emeritus of political science and special assistant and adviser to the Nixon administration, died of prostate cancer Oct. 10. He was 80.

Grassmuck, who taught at the U-M from 1957 until his retirement in 1990, was a well-known authority on American politics, policy and the presidency, and on the Middle East.

In 1960, Grassmuck took a leave from the U-M to serve as chief of research for then-Vice President Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign. He later was appointed by the Nixon administration as a special assistant for international affairs on the staff of the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare in 1968–69, and was a White House staff executive assistant as deputy to Presidential Counselor Robert Finch in 1970–71.

Grassmuck also served as a consultant to the international division of the Ford Foundation, the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools and the U.S. Office of Education in the 1960s and ’70s.

At the U-M, Grassmuck was assistant vice president for academic affairs and acting director of the Center for Near Eastern and North African Studies in the late 1960s. He also was a founding member of the national Middle East Studies Association.

Later, he became a member of the Gerald R. Ford Library advisory committee, served as secretary of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation in the 1980s and was honored with an Amoco Foundation Good Teaching Award in 1983.

Born Sept. 17, 1919, in Nebraska City, Neb., Grassmuck earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science from UCLA in the early 1940s. He served in the U.S. Navy during and after World War II and later received his doctorate in 1949 from Johns Hopkins University, where he taught for three years.

After short teaching stints at Boston University and UCLA, Grassmuck spent four years as an associate professor of public administration at the American University of Beirut in the mid-1950s before joining the U-M’s political science department.

He is survived by wife Barbara; three daughters, Janice Lilja, Karen Kraushaar and Terri Millson Dicius and their husbands; and four grandchildren, Emily, Matthew, Mark and Nicholas.

Cremation has taken place. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that those wishing to honor him consider a donation to their favorite charity or to the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation.

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Clement L. Markert

Clement L. Markert, former professor of zoology, died Oct. 1 at a hospice near his home in Colorado Springs, Colo. He was 82.

Markert was one of three U-M faculty members who in 1954 were suspended from the University for refusing to testify before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, chaired by Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

Markert eventually was reinstated, but the other two faculty members—Chandler Davis, a mathematics instructor, and Mark Nickerson, associate professor of pharmacology—were dismissed.

In 1990, Senate Assembly established an annual lecture series in their honor, the Davis, Markert, Nickerson Lecture on Academic and Intellectual Freedom, as a reminder to the academic community of the need for continuous vigilance to protect academic and intellectual freedom.

In a May 1998 letter from Markert and his wife to former Senate Assembly chair Peggie Hollingsworth, Markert said: “The Academic Freedom Lecture Fund had made a major contribution to the University of Michigan and to academic freedom in all universities. I look forward to our 10th anniversary celebration and to the next decade in supporting these fundamental requirements for the intellectual and cultural health of our academic community. . . .May the fund prosper for many years.”

Wilfred Kaplan, professor emeritus of mathematics, attended the hearings of two U-M committees investigating fellow faculty members during the McCarthy years, including those involving Chandler Davis. “It was very sad to have one faculty member interrogate another as to his political beliefs,” Kaplan said. “They unfortunately were driven to that by the politics of the times, and many later regretted their actions.

“This was the climate nationally and on campus. People were either frightened by it or caught up in history,” Kaplan said. “Clement Markert, Chandler Davis and Mark Nickerson were victims of this. It was very sad.”

Markert joined the U-M in 1950 as an assistant professor of zoology. Prior to that he was a Merck Fellow of the National Research Council at the California Institute of Technology, and junior instructor at Johns Hopkins University and a teaching assistant at the University of California.

Markert left the U-M in 1957, when he accepted a position at Johns Hopkins, later moving to Yale University where he chaired the biology department in 1965–71 and was the Henry Ford II Professor of Biology. He then joined North Carolina State University, where, as a leading authority in biological research, he was appointed the Distinguished University Research Professor of Animal Science and Genetics. His research interests focused on developmental genetics, reproductive biology and biotechnology.

He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and was co-chair of the Developmental Biology Interdisciplinary Cluster for President Gerald Ford’s Biomedical Research Panel in 1975.

He also served as president of the American Institute of Biological Sciences, the American Society of Zoologists, the Society for Developmental Biology and the American Genetics Association.

Markert was an ensign in the Merchant Marine in 1944–45 in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Markert is survived by his wife, Margaret; sons Alan (Valerie Huebner) of Farmington, Maine, and Robert (Pate) of Palo Alto, Calif.; and daughter Samantha Markert-Schreck (Ron) of Fremont, Calif.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Academic Freedom Lecture Fund, P.O. Box 4152, Ann Arbor, MI 48106.

The lecture series is supported by the Academic Freedom Lecture Fund, and co-sponsored by the Office of the President, U-M Chapter of the American Association of University Professors and Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs.

The fund received a $50,000 grant from the Kellogg Foundation last spring to support a major conference next year as part of the 10th anniversary celebration of the lecture series.

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