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Contact: Justin Harmon (609) 258-5732
Date: January 27, 1997

Professor of Politics and Public Affairs Donald E. Stokes Dies; Led Woodrow Wilson School for 18 Years

PRINCETON, N.J., January 27 -- Donald E. Stokes, a distinguished political scientist who served for 18 years as dean of Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, died of acute leukemia yesterday at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia. He was 69 and a resident of Princeton Township.

A specialist in public opinion research who was known for his studies of American and British voting behavior, Stokes was the Class of 1943 University Professor of Politics and Public Affairs at Princeton since 1979. He came to Princeton as the third dean of the Woodrow Wilson School in 1974, after 17 years on the faculty of the University of Michigan, where he also served as dean of the graduate school.

"Don Stokes was a pioneer in the development of modern political science and a distinguished builder of academic programs, both here at Princeton and previously at the University of Michigan," said Princeton President Harold T. Shapiro, a former faculty member at Michigan who served as that university's president from 1980 to 1988. "We first worked together there, and he has remained a constant intellectual and personal presence in the lives of all those who knew him. We shall miss him greatly and extend our deep sympathy to members of his family."

At Princeton, Stokes built a strong graduate and professional program in public affairs in close collaboration with the departments of arts and sciences. The faculty of the Woodrow Wilson School, which almost doubled in size during Stokes's tenure, combines a focus on traditional academic disciplines with a particular concern for public policy problems. Under Stokes's leadership, the graduate program developed an interdisciplinary core curriculum and expanded public affairs programming.

The School expanded its undergraduate program, increasing the number of majors, creating interdisciplinary courses, and offering opportunities to study public policy issues raised by advances in the sciences, engineering and the humanities.

During Stokes's tenure, the School's research program was strengthened through the revitalization of the Center of International Studies and the establishment of the Center of Domestic and Comparative Policy Studies.

Stokes stepped down as dean in 1992 but continued as an active member of the faculty.

Stokes co-authored three books on American and British voting behavior: The American Voter (1960), Elections and the Political Order (1966), and Political Change in Britain (1969). The last won the Woodrow Wilson Prize of the American Political Science Association. In recent years, Stokes studied the science policies of the federal government and the relationship between basic and applied science; he was principal author of The Federal Investment in Knowledge of Social Problems (1978) and was at work on a book titled "Pasteur's Quadrant: Basic Science and Technological Innovation."

In 1981 and 1991, Stokes served the state of New Jersey as the tie-breaking "public" member of the Legislative Apportionment Commission, which rearranges the boundaries of voting districts to reflect shifts in population detected in the decennial census. More recently, Stokes co-chaired the Consolidation Study Commission that published a report last October favoring the merging of Princeton Borough and Princeton Township into a single municipality. He also served as clerk of the school committee of the Princeton Friends School.

Stokes was a member of the Advisory Committee on Research of the National Science Foundation and chaired a committee of the National Research Council that reviewed the support and use of research on social problems in all federal agencies. He was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Public Administration, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 1996, he received the Elmer B. Staats Award for a distinguished career in public service from the National Association of Schools of Public Administration.

Born April 1, 1927, in Philadelphia, Stokes studied at Princeton University, receiving his bachelor's degree in 1951. He earned his doctorate in political science at Yale and taught at the University of Michigan from 1958 to 1974. He served Michigan as chairman of the political science department in 1970-71 and as dean of the graduate school from 1971 to 1974. He also taught as an associate member at Nuffield College, Oxford, and as a visiting professor at the University of the West Indies and the Australian National University.

Stokes is survived by his wife, the former Sybil Langbaum; two daughters, Elizabeth Stokes of Princeton and Susan Stokes of Chicago; a sister, Eleanor Stokes Szanton of Washington, D.C.; two grandsons, Evren Cakir of Princeton and Sam Deustua of Chicago, and a granddaughter, Mara Cakir of Princeton.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, February 2, at 3 p.m. in Richardson Auditorium of Alexander Hall on the Princeton University campus.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Princeton Friends School, 470 Quaker Road, Princeton, NJ 08540. The Kimble Funeral Home in Princeton is in charge of arrangements.

NOTE: A portrait of Donald Stokes is available on the World Wide Web at the following URL: