Page 2 of 2   <      

Harlan Cleveland; Dean, Author, Statesman and Lifelong Learner

"His intellectual curiosity was amazing," Dr. Patrick Mendis, a colleague, said of Harlan Cleveland. (Courtesy Of Patrick Mendis)
  Enlarge Photo    

"I hope so," the secretary of state replied.

After Kennedy's assassination, Mr. Cleveland served as President Lyndon B. Johnson's ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

From 1969 to 1974, he was president of the University of Hawaii. During that time, the university added a medical school, a law school and an international astronomy project.

He served as director of international affairs at the Aspen Institute from 1974 to 1980 before becoming the first dean of the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

In 1983, Mr. Cleveland walked into an IBM store in Minneapolis, where a young clerk took note of the 65-year-old customer's gray hair and asked, "You're not buying this for you, are you, sir?"

Not only was he slightly miffed, but he also realized he needed to get up to speed on a phenomenon he had been ignoring. "He proceeded to buy everything in the store," recalled his daughter, Melantha Cleveland, "and became a philosopher of what it meant to have all this information flowing around the world."

In his book "The Knowledge Executive: Leadership in an Information Age" (1985), he posited -- years before the Internet -- that the information revolution would make it impossible for leaders and so-called experts to hoard information. Leadership, he predicted, would increasingly bubble up from new sources rather than trickle down from established leaders.

Mr. Cleveland retired from the Humphrey Institute in 1987 but continued to write books, articles and newspaper columns until shortly before his death. His final writing project was to contribute two chapters to "Adlai Stevenson's Lasting Legacy" (2008).

In addition to his daughter, of Palmyra, Va., survivors include his wife of 66 years, Lois Cleveland of Sterling; two other children, Zoe Cleveland and Alan Cleveland, also of Palmyra; and a grandson.

<       2

© 2008 The Washington Post Company