McWilliams, Wilson Carey 1933–2005

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MCWILLIAMS, Wilson Carey 1933–2005

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born September 2, 1933, in Santa Monica, CA; died of a heart attack March 29, 2005, in Flemington, NJ. Political scientist, educator, and author. McWilliams was cofounder of the Institute for the Study of Civic Values at Rutgers University, where he was also a professor of political science. After earning his B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1955, he served in the U.S. Army as a lieutenant for two years. Returning to civilian and student life at Berkeley, he finished his M.A. in 1960 and Ph.D. in 1966. McWilliams's academic career began at Oberlin College, where he was an instructor in the 1960s while studying for his graduate degrees. A three-year period at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York was followed in 1970 by his joining the faculty at Rutgers. Here he taught political science from 1970 until his death. As a scholar, his main concern was the study of morality in politics, which led to the founding of the Institute for the Study of Civic Values in 1973; he was still serving as the institute's president when he died. McWilliams fervently believed in the democratic process and the value of America's system of elections, often offering his analysis of presidential elections in books cowritten with Gerald M. Pomper, such as The Election of 1980: Reports and Interpretations (1981). In addition to this work and his teaching, McWilliams wrote and edited several other books, including The Idea of Fraternity in America (1973), which won a National Historical Society prize, The Politics of Disappointment: American Elections, 1976–1994 (1995), and Beyond the Politics of Disappointment? American Elections, 1980–1998 (2000).



New York Times, April 11, 2005, p. A21; April 15, 2005, p. A2.


Commonweal Online, (April 22, 2005).

Daily Targum Online, (March 31, 2005).