Lance LeLoup, who retired last month after a distinguished career in political science research, teaching and administration at WSU, died Thursday, July 23, at his home on Whidbey Island. He was 60 and had been suffering from cancer.
LeLoup, a highly regarded observer of the state political scene, had most recently served as vice provost of international programs for the university.
In his four years at International Programs, external funding for development projects around the world has tripled, the number of WSU students studying abroad has increased by 50 percent, international student enrollment has increased, international partnerships have been strengthened and expanded, and the campus and curriculum have become more internationalized. Under his leadership, the Office of Global Studies was created and the number of global studies minors went from less than five to more than 100.
LeLoup came to WSU in1996 to serve as chair of the department of political science, a position he held until 2001. He also served as director of the Thomas Foley Institute from 1998-2001. Earlier this year, he was promoted to the rank of Regents Professor, the first faculty member from political science to achieve that rank.
In 2007, LeLoup received the Aaron Wildavsky Lifetime Achievement Award for Research on Public Budgeting. In accepting the award, LeLoup said: “A lifetime achievement award almost by definition forces one to go back and retrace the journey that led to this moment. It has been a journey of starts and stops, of insights and dead ends, a journey of passion and discovery.”
LeLoup earned his bachelor’s degree in government from Georgetown and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Ohio State University. He worked as a legislative assistant to the minority leader of the Ohio State Senate before becoming a faculty member at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. After serving as a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Public Policy at Hungary’s Budapest University, LeLoup accepted the position of professor of political science at WSU in 1996.
“During my career, I have been easily distracted, not only by new research areas but by leadership opportunities, taking a total of six administrative positions over the past 30 years, including my current post as vice provost. But I have always considered myself a scholar first,” LeLoup said in accepting the Wildavsky award.
LeLoup’s in-depth knowledge of the political process, as well as his quick and ready wit, led to his being frequently quoted by reporters seeking insight into current political events in the state of Washington.
“Lance’s colleagues will remember him as a true friend, the first to celebrate the successes of others and to offer his support when things did not go well. Even as he accepted heavy administrative responsibilities he offered his time unselfishly to others, sharing his vast experience and knowledge with younger colleagues and graduate students,” said Cornell Clayton, a long-time colleague and friend who is the current director of the Foley Institute.
“In the past few days, I have received countless phone calls and e-mail messages from former students and colleagues from around the world, each with a story of how Lance had touched their lives or altered their careers. On Thursday the university community lost not only a respected scholar but an exceptional colleague and true friend who enriched the lives of all those who had the pleasure of knowing him. He will be dearly missed,” Clayton said.
LeLoup died surrounded by family and friends. His wife Pam works for the WSU Foundation. Survivors also include his mother Jean, one daughter Molly and two step-daughters Jennifer and Rebecca, a brother Leif and two sisters Laurel and Lynn.
A small memorial service was held by family and friends on Whidbey Island. No further services are planned.
The family has asked that contributions in his honor be made to scholarship fund they have established through the WSU Foundation. Checks can be written to the WSU Foundation, Lance LeLoup Memorial and can be sent to WSU Foundation, Pullman, WA 99164-1927