Prof. Cletus Daniel, labor history and director of Off-Campus Credit Programs in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, died suddenly in his home on Sunday, according to an e-mail sent to the ILR community by Laura Lewis, director of ILR's Office of Student Services. Daniel was 66 years old.
Daniel joined ILR in 1973 as an assistant professor of American labor history and remained with the school as a labor history professor for the past 37 years. In 1989, he also became the director of the ILR School Off-Campus Credit Program.
Regarded highly by faculty and students alike, his colleagues described him as passionate and committed to his teaching.
ILR Dean Harry Katz knew Daniel for his entire academic career at ILR.
“As dean, I’ve gotten the incredible notes that have been pouring in from former students of his who go on to talk about how [Daniel] changed their lives and how he stayed in touch with them after graduation. He was that sort of person. He loved to engage with the students,” Katz said.
In 1979 and 1982, Daniel received the ILR Excellence in Teaching Award, and he received the University Paramount Professor for Teaching Excellence in 1992.
“He was very committed to his students and always focused on teaching,” said Prof. Alex Colvin, collective bargaining and conflict resolution.
Mark Radoulovitch ’08 described Daniel as “the best lecturer I've ever known.”
He stated in an e-mail, “Daniel exuded power and confidence and made you believe that everyone deserved to be treated as equals. I truly admired and respected him.”
“Out of all the professors I’ve had at ILR, [Daniel] was the most human,” John Veraja ’12 said. “He was an extremely funny guy and extremely intelligent,” he said.
Daniel’s colleagues also remembered him for his dedication to the Off-Campus Credit Program. According to Katz, Daniel interacted with approximately 60 students per year through this program.
“[Daniel] really helped strengthen that program and it connected to his core interest — finding ways to engage with his students,” Katz said.
Colvin remembered Daniel’s good humor and recalled a conversation in the copy room where Daniel chuckled about his reputation as “D-minus Daniel.”
“But the reality was, he cared about his students a lot. He certainly wasn’t D-minus Daniel,” Colvin said.
“He was one of the real characters of the ILR school,” Colvin added.
Both Katz and Colvin cited Daniel’s passion for labor history.
“He was one of those people you met and remembered him … He had a forceful personality and a lot of passion in what he did,” Katz said. “He was proud of what he believed in and [he] made that clear.”
Jason Jendrewski ’05 said he was “simply captivated” by Daniel’s lectures and appreciated the passion that Daniel brought to the classroom.
“I am grateful for having had a number of truly remarkable professors at the ILR School, but I must admit that, as a freshman, it was Daniel who first exposed me to the fascinating world of labor relations, and I believe that it was his early influence that helped inspire me to pursue a career in the field,” Jendrewski stated in an email. “[Daniel] will be remembered as a scholar, labor historian, colleague and teacher — and will be remembered by the many students whose lives he touched,” Colvin said.
According to an e-mail from Lewis, there will be a community support meeting Tuesday in Ives 217 from 4 to 5 p.m. There is not yet any information about funeral arrangements, Lewis stated.