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Michael D. Reagan

Professor Emeritus of Political Science





Michael Daniel Reagan was born in New York City in 1927. He received his undergraduate degree (cum laude) from the College of the Holy Cross (1948) and an M.A. (1956) and Ph.D. (1959) from Princeton University. Prior to coming to UCR in 1964, Professor Reagan taught at Princeton, Williams College, and Syracuse University. He served in the United States Marine Corps and was stationed in Asia in the middle 1940s. He retired from UCR in 1991.


During his years at UCR, he served in a variety of administrative posts: chairman of Political Science (1970-73); director of the Center for Social and Behavioral Sciences (1973-75); dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (1975-78); and as vice chancellor (1978-81). As a dean, he presided over the unification of the humanities, arts, the social and behavioral sciences, and the Division of Undergraduate Studies into the current College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. The unification became an intellectual marriage of scholars and teachers across a wide spectrum of disciplines.


Three characteristics best captured Michael Reagan as scholar and teacher—enthusiasm, energy, and a rigorous self-discipline. Mike was always moving to new frontiers in teaching and research. As one of the founding scholars of the field of public policy, Mike managed to do what few other political scientists were either willing or able to do; namely, he returned the study of politics to the study of political economy.


This was evident in his testimony in 1964 before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Banking and Currency, in an article in the American Political Science Review, “The Politics of the Federal Reserve System” and, of course, in his 1963 seminal volume, The Managed Economy. In exploring the relationships between public policy and politics, Mike demonstrated a strong commitment to rigorous research and critical analysis. Beyond monetary policy Reagan examined science policy (Science and the Federal Patron, 1969); federalism (The New Federalism, 1969); government regulation (Regulation: The Politics of Policy, 1987); and health care (Curing the Crisis: Options for America’s Health Care, 1992; The Accidental System: Health Care Policy in the United States, 1999).


As a dedicated, serious and innovative teacher, Mike was superbly organized. Toward the end of his career, he developed a new lower division public policy course, taught an honors seminar, and graduate courses in his own department and in the School of Management. He had a strong commitment to assisting and encouraging a student’s intellectual development and professional growth. In short, he was both mentor and friend to students.


His energy, enthusiasm, and self-discipline continued unabated in retirement. While he learned to take twenty-minute “power naps,” Mike also discovered new releases for his energy. He was president of the UCR Emeriti Association, became a member of the Greater Riverside Chamber of Commerce, joined the Mayor’s Task Force on Hospitals and the Mayor’s Health City Task Force. In 1999, he received the Distinguished Emeritus Professor Award. Most importantly, Mike discovered the Riverside Public Library. He became a board member in 1995, president of the Trustees beginning in 1996, and a member of the Inland Library System Advisory Board in 1998. He was also a member of the American Library Association, California Library, and a member of the Board of the California Association of Library Trustees and Commissioners. Through his efforts, the Eastside Cybrary Connection opened in 1998. The Cybrary has offered hundreds of children and adults an opportunity to use computers.


As if the above were not enough, Mike also managed in retirement to write a dozen editorial page articles for the Riverside Press Enterprise. This was a continuation of his love of writing for the public press—The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, The Nation, and even The New England Journal of Medicine and the Harvard Business Review.


Michael Daniel Reagan’s life made a difference in teaching, research, and community service. He cared deeply about public policies, about the University, and about the community in which he lived. He helped to make UCR an outstanding campus, public health policy more comprehensible, and Riverside a better place to live. It is an enviable legacy.


Francis M. Carney

Rudolfo Ruibal

Arthur C. Turner

David H. Warren

H. Frank Way