Jerome Liebling, founder of CLA's film and photography program, died July 27, in Northampton, Massachusetts, at 87. His pioneering photographs of urban life, politicians, and ordinary people are in the collections of, among others, the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Motivated by the lack of emphasis on photography in academe, he came to CLA in 1949 to establish its first film and photography program. In 1969 he moved to Hampshire College, Amherst, did the same thing there, and exercised profound influence on a generation of filmmakers, including Ken Burns. He produced award-winning documentaries with his CLA colleague, Allen Downs, and wrote six books, among them The Minnesota Photographs 1949-1969, The Face of Minneapolis, and The People, Yes, co-authored with Burns.
Armand Renaud, professor emeritus of French, died February 16, at his home in Minneapolis. He was 93. Renaud earned his Ph.D. at Yale, joined the CLA faculty in 1957, and was named chair of the Department of Romance Languages in 1963. There he added a Portuguese major and expanded the Italian program, introduced courses on Existentialism, the Theatre of the Absurd, Francophone African writers, and deconstructionism. For decades he and his wife Madeleine, who taught French at Northrop Collegiate School (which later merged with Blake), were influential in the Twin Cities French community. They also had a strong commitment to the university. Armand established a memorial to Madeleine after she died; it now bears the name of both of them: the Madeleine and Armand Renaud Fellowship.
Janet Spector, associate professor of gender studies and American archaeology, died of breast cancer September 13 at her home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was 66. Her 1993 book, What This Awl Means: Feminist Archaeology at a Wahpeton Dakota Village, emerged from her frustration with traditional archaeological methods, and represented both a new feminist scholarship
and sensitivity to Native American culture. Spector earned her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, worked in the feminist and antiwar movements in the 1970s, and in 1973 came to CLA, where she helped found and later chaired what became the Department of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies, and was a founder of the Center for Advanced Feminist Studies. In 1992 she was named assistant provost; in that role she chaired the U's Commission on Women. She retired in 1998.
Alice Grant, Swahili instructor, died December 3 in Minneapolis, at 88. A teacher of creative writing and English literature at Howard University, Washington, D.C., from 1952 too 1962, she encouraged Claude Brown, author of Manchild in the Promised Land, and officed with Toni Morrison. Morrison named the title character of her book, Sula, for Grant—"Alice" sounded backward. Grant, Morrison, and their colleague Lettie Austin co-authored the first ESL textbook. Grant was a member of the first cohort of Peace Corps instructors, and when she went to Lincoln University, Oxford, Pa., to teach English and creative writing, she directed its center for African refugees and mentored future leaders of several African countries. She came to the U in 1969 to teach Swahili and help establish a teacher-training program, and later moved to Jacksonville, Fla., where she taught at Florida State College, learned Haitian Creole and did relief work in Haiti. She returned to Minnesota when she retired in 1990.
Marilyn Chelstrom, B.A. '50, political science, died January 26. She worked for 16 years for the Taft Institute for Government, an organization founded to expand and improve political participation in the United States, and was its executive president from 1978 to 1988. A tribute to her leadership of a Taft Institute program to improve teacher education in government and politics was entered into the Congressional Record. She was the author of A Tribute to Outstanding Minnesota Women, and Political Parties, Two-Party Government and Democracy in the United States. A long-time University of Minnesota volunteer, she served on the board of the Alumni Association's New York Area Chapter, and as the Northeast USA representative to the UMAA National Board of Directors. She was a member of the U's President's Club of donors, and a recipient of the University of Minnesota Alumni Service Award and CLA's Alumni of Notable Achievement Award.
Joseph Plumbo, B.A. '57, history and political science, died January 28 in St. Paul, at 81. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa, went on to serve in the Naval Reserves, and worked at Unisys. He was a lifelong member of the Italian-American Marconi Club. He was a supporter of CLA; according to his wife, Shirley, "he sure loved that school."
Helen Rice, B.A. '45, sociology, died April 2, in Minneapolis, from complications from surgery. She was 89. As a new CLA grad she headed to Broadway to make it as a singer—and succeeded. She sang in Wonderful Town starring Rosalind Russell, and was in the chorus and an understudy in Kiss Me Kate. Returning to Minnesota, she tutored voice students, and sang in operas and operettas and as a soloist with the Minnesota Orchestra, St. Paul Civic Orchestra, and other organizations. She was the chief soloist at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church.