Special Place Honors Jim McLeod’s ‘Special Way’

The university builds ‘McLeod’s Way,’ a newly landscaped gathering place, just south of the Forsyth Underpass in memory of the late Dean James E. McLeod, an inspirational leader.

McLeod’s Way, a newly landscaped gathering place to honor the late James E. “Jim” McLeod, was dedicated Sept. 15, 2012. McLeod’s Way is situated just south of the Forsyth Underpass. (Jerry Naunheim Jr.)

Washington University dedicated ‘McLeod’s Way’ Saturday, Sept. 15, to honor the legacy of James E. “Jim” McLeod, the late vice chancellor for students and dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, who died Sept. 6, 2011, after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 67.

During his many years of service, Jim McLeod’s goal was for the university to know every student “by name and by story.”

“Dean McLeod, as he was affectionately known, was the chief architect for Washington University’s undergraduate experience — arguably the best in the country today. He inspired countless students, so it is only fitting that we honor his memory with this special place where generations of future students will gather,” says Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton. “Jim’s words — words that defined his philosophy for how people should learn and treat one another — adorn McLeod’s Way, and will remind us of Jim’s enduring legacy in our community.”

McLeod, as dean of the College of Arts & Sciences — WUSTL’s largest undergraduate school with 4,000 students — and as vice chancellor for students, helped build a warm, supportive and challenging student culture that is unique in the nation. Recognized as one of the university’s most effective leaders, McLeod spearheaded many successful undergraduate efforts, including developing a residential college approach to dormitory living, strengthening the undergraduate advising system, establishing and building the John B. Ervin Scholars Program, and helping initiate and shape the expanded study-abroad program.

He joined the WUSTL faculty in 1974 as an assistant professor of German in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures in Arts & Sciences.

He held a number of administrative positions, including assistant dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences from 1974–77; assistant to then Chancellor William H. Danforth from 1977–87; and director of the African and Afro-American Studies Program (now known as African and African-American Studies) in Arts & Sciences from 1987–92, when he was appointed dean.

The university established a scholarship fund in 2010 to honor McLeod for 35 years of invaluable contributions, inspiration, devotion and guidance to the university community.

Compiled from an article by Susan Killenberg McGinn, executive director of University News Servicedated Aug. 20, 2012.

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