In Memoriam: Cleo H. Cherryholmes

April 25, 2013

Cleo Cherryholmes

Cleo H. Cherryholmes, professor emeritus of teacher education and political science, died on April 18, in the company of his devoted daughter. He was 74.

Cherryholmes came to Michigan State University as an assistant professor in 1966, was promoted to associate professor in 1969, and to professor in 1982. He joined the College of Education in 1995, where he focused primarily on social studies. Cherryholmes retired from the college in July 2003.

Known by those within the college to be an avid and wide-ranging scholar, Cherryholmes is co-author of Representatives and Roll Calls: A Computer Simulation of Voting in the Eighty-eighth Congress (1969), and author of Power and Criticism: Poststructural Investigations in Education (1988), Reading Pragmatism (1999), and Social Studies-the Next Generation: Re-searching in the Postmodern (2006). The two books he authored in 1988 and 1999 are considered by scholars to be classics on pragmatism.

According to Suzanne Wilson, University Distinguished Professor and chair of Teacher Education, Cherryholmes, along with Lynn Fendler, met regularly with students in the Critical Studies Reading Group, where he endorsed pragmatism with tremendous enthusiasm. She added that he “loved working in our Graduate Studies Education Overseas program, where he interacted with MA students from around the world, both in classrooms and over good wine, bread and brie.”

“A serious thinker, popular teacher, and a gracious and loyal friend, Cleo’s jovial demeanor — characteristic perhaps of his rural Kansas background — masked a penetrating intelligence. He is a loss to us all,” Wilson added.