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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended May 21, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 18May00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

LDS Sociologist Leon Hinckley Mayhew Dies
Sacramento CA Bee 17May00 P2
By Walt Wiley: Bee Staff Writer

DAVIS, CALIFORNIA -- LDS Sociologist Leon Hinckley Mayhew died Sunday at age 65 after 12 years of battling pulmonary fibrosis, which forced him to retire as Dean at the University of California, Davis in 1989. Hinckley was a highly-regarded Sociologist and author and an active member of the LDS Church.

Colleagues at the University of California, Davis remembered Hinckley as a hard-working academic and administrator who always had time for others, "Mayhew would stand in the hall swapping funny stories like he didn't have another thing in the world to do," recalled professor emeritus John Finley Scott. "Then he would sneak into his office and work like mad. And he produced. He was amazingly productive all his life,"

UC Davis Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef called him a 'treasure' in a prepared statement, "He had a startlingly deep understanding of the great breadth of disciplines in our College of Letters and Science, and up through his last days he remained a remarkable scholar. However, what will be in my heart forever is the knowledge that so many of us, certainly I, never had a wiser counselor and adviser. He was, in this way, one of the best friends I ever had."

And music professor D. Kern Holoman noted that Mayhew had a strategic mind that knew how finances worked at a university, "He had the vision to put together our $60 million center for the arts project. Actually, I can't think of a major project the campus undertook in recent years without his participation."

Mayhew was born May 15, 1935 to Vera Hinckley and Wayne Mayhew in Ogden, Utah. But the family moved to Berkeley, California where Leon Mayhew grew up, attending Berkeley High School. After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor's degree in Sociology in 1956, Mayhew joined the Navy, serving for two years in Hawaii before moving to Harvard University to pursue a doctorate in Sociology, which was awarded in 1964.

He then taught at the University of Michigan and at UC Berkeley before he was hired at UC Davis as chairman of the sociology department. There he excelled, and was named vice chancellor of academic affairs, serving there until 1982. Then in 1985, he was named Dean of the College of Letters and Science, where he served until retiring early due to pulmonary fibrosis, developed from a severe case of viral pneumonia.

But even in retirement, Dr. Mayhew didn't stop, publishing a book on mass communication, "The New Public: Professional Communication and the Means of Social Influence" in 1997. The book became an important text among political campaign operatives. He published frequently as a professor, his vitae including more than two pages of publications, including 4 books and many scholarly articles.

About the time he entered the Navy, Mayhew married Janet Ellsworth, with whom he had three children. He was also a music lover and an avid reader with interests in modern Chinese and Japanese poetry.


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See Also:

The New Public More about Leon Hinckley Mayhew's "The New Public: Professional Communication and the Means of Social Influence" at

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information