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One of UCR’s Founders Dies

Services Set Sunday for Arthur Campbell Turner, 86, First Head of Division of Social Sciences

A Proud Scot, Dr. Turner Was One of the Founders of UC Riverside

(February 24, 2005)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -- A funeral mass for UC Riverside Professor Emeritus Arthur Campbell Turner, one of the six academic figures who most shaped UCR in its early days, will be 2 p.m. Sunday at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church at 12th and Lime Streets in Riverside. He died early Feb. 19 at Loma Linda University Medical Center. He was 86.

Dr. Turner was recruited in 1953 from the University of Toronto by founding Provost Gordon Watkins to head up the Division of Social Sciences, one of four academic divisions at UCR. The first class of undergraduates arrived at UCR in the Spring of 1954.

Just 35 at the time, Dr. Turner hired many of UCR’s founding faculty members and helped write the course catalog for each of the disciplines in the social sciences and education. “That makes him a very significant early figure,” said Professor Emeritus Francis Carney, one of the campuses original faculty members in political science.

A scholar of modern diplomatic history, especially about Iran and Iraq, Dr. Turner was also known for his expertise on Scottish nationalism and the British Commonwealth.

He served as Associate Dean of the Southern Section of the UC’s Graduate Division, and was instrumental in the formation of a graduate division at UCR in 1961. He served as chairman of the political science department later in his career, and frequently wrote articles in the popular press on the politics of the world, and even campus unrest. During the Summer of 1968, a comment about how students were supposed to be learning, not protesting, was widely quoted in newspaper opinion pieces as a more sensible attitude than those who defended the campus unrest.

He retired in June of 1988, but remained active as an emeritus faculty member in political science up until the time of his death. A prolific writer, he published many books, papers and essays over the years. Among his many books are, “The Implications of the North Atlantic Treaty” (1953) "The Unique Partnership: Britain and the United States" (1973); “Ideology and Power in the Middle East” (1988).

His crisp Scottish accent and formal ways were legendary on campus, and in fact, many of the Scottish names and traditions of the “Highlanders” may have been inspired, in part, by Turner. “He would wear the kilt on formal occasions and he would get up and talk about the Campbell clan,” said Francis Carney, “It didn’t come completely from him, but he encouraged it whenever he could.”

Dr. Turner received his bachelor's degree in history from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, his native city. He received a master's degree from Oxford University and a doctorate from UC Berkeley, both in history.

He met his wife, Netty, when they were both studying political science at UC Berkeley. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in January. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his daughter, Nadine O'Sullivan, and two grandchildren.

The UC Riverside Oral History project includes a videotaped interview with Dr. Turner. The video clip is at
Arrangements were handled by Preston & Simons Mortuary in Riverside.


The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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