Obituary: Albert McLean / Dean who helped Point Park transition during the 1960s

July 2, 1928 - Jan. 15, 2014

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In the 1960s, Point Park University was making a difficult transition from a two-year business college to a four-year liberal arts university.

Fortunately, Albert McLean was serving as academic dean. His scholastic integrity was important in legitimizing the school's metamorphosis, colleagues and family members say.

Mr. McLean died Jan. 15 in Naples, Fla., where he had retired in 1991. He was 85.

Born in Boston, he was a graduate of Williams College and had a master's and Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. Before joining the faculty of Point Park, he taught at Tufts University and Transylvania College.

Mr. McLean served as academic dean at Point Park from 1967 to 1974, except for a short interlude. He taught as an English professor there from 1969 to 1989, lecturing courses on American literature and film history.

At Point Park, Mr. McLean was marked by his professorial air, colleagues say. He often wore a tweed jacket and smoked a pipe, and his vast literary knowledge showed in conversations.

He also was known for his accessibility to students, said dean of faculty Karen McIntyre, who worked with him for about a decade.

"If he met students in the hallway or in class he would invite them into his office and have a regular conversation," she said, helping them with their studies and guiding them in their academic careers.

Mr. McLean was a quiet man, his son Stuart McLean said, but he showed extraordinary passion for some topics, including film, poetry, Point Park and the Civil Rights movement.

"The things he was into he would dive into conscientiously and very intensely," Stuart McLean said.

While living in Lexington, Ky., in the 1960s, Mr. McLean helped found the All Souls Presbyterian Church, which was created for the purpose of being the city's first integrated church. He wrote books about American vaudeville and the poet William Cullen Bryant. He also created Pemaquid Seminar, a camp in Maine where intellectuals would gather to exchange ideas. The camp operated from 1957 to 1969.

He is survived by his wife, Rev. Jean Mairs McLean, whom he married in 1952; his children Stuart of Cincinnati, Cameron McLean of Boston and Janet Mickens of Elizabeth; seven grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

A graveside ceremony in Boston is being planned for this summer.


Richard Webner: rwebner@post-gazette.com or 412-263-4903.


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