Retired professor remembered as champion of experimental programs

Clarence Mondale, who pushed the Columbian College to diversify programming during his three decades at GW, died in his home on May 2. He was 87.

Mondale, who many called Pete, taught American civilization classes at GW from 1965 until his retirement in 1992, the Washington Post reported. During that time, he spent eight years directing GW’s former division of experimental programs and focused on spearheading projects to combat poverty and support the less fortunate.

He led a Peace Corps training program in his early years at GW, as well as a march to address issues concerning poverty. The group, called “Poor People’s University,” was part of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s “Poor People’s Campaign” and supported issues concerning the nation’s poverty, according to the Washington Post.

Mondale also co-authored a book published in 1988 with American studies scholar Michael Steiner, which was titled “Region and Regionalism in the United States: A Source Book for the Humanities and Social Sciences.”

Mondale was born in St. James, Minn. in 1927. He received a bachelor’s degree from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. Before receiving his master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Minnesota, he served in the Navy during World War II.

Philip Wirtz, vice dean of programs and education at the School of Business, said Mondale will be remembered for his ability to take risks and advocate for new experimental initiatives and administrative models.

“Although there are only a few of us at GW who are sufficiently ‘long in the tooth’ to remember the specifics of Pete Mondale’s contribution, his GW legacy will last for many, many years to come,” Wirtz said.

Mondale is survived by his wife of 63 years, Virginia Aceto Mondale, his seven children and his younger brother Walter, who served as Jimmy Carter’s vice president and lost to Ronald Reagan in the 1984 presidential election.

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