Richard L. McAnaw obituary

contact: Jeanne Baron
| WMU News
Photo of Richard L. McAnaw.

Richard L. McAnaw

Dr. Richard L. McAnaw, professor emeritus of political science at Western Michigan University and founder of what would become the School of Public Affairs and Administration, died Oct. 21. He was 85.

McAnaw joined the faculty in 1964 and retired in 1999 after 35 years of service to the University. From 1974 to 1978, he served as founding director of the Center for Public Administration, the forerunner of WMU's School of Public Affairs and Administration.

McAnaw's academic specialty was presidential elections, and he was frequently interviewed both in print and on television, providing commentary on a variety of races and presidential debates. He regularly attended political conventions from the 1950s to the 1990s as well as once made a bid to represent Michigan's 3rd District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Prior to joining WMU's faculty, McAnaw was an assistant professor at Arkansas State College. He earned a bachelor's degree from Northeast Missouri State University in 1955, a master's degree from the University of Missouri in 1957 and a doctoral degree from the University of Iowa in 1964.

Services and remembrances

Services will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 9, in St. Augustine Cathedral, 542 W. Michigan Ave. in Kalamazoo.

The family obituary and message book are available at

Memorial gifts may be made to a college scholarship fund of choice to help a deserving student or by simply doing something to help someone in need. For information about giving opportunities in the WMU Department of Political Science, visit