Richard F. Neville, 72, UMBC dean, professor

March 05, 2004|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Richard Francis Neville, former dean of arts and sciences at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, died of heart failure Monday at Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park. He was 72 and lived in Colesville.

Dr. Neville was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and raised in Queens. He earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education from what is now Central Connecticut State University in 1955, and a master's in educational administration from Columbia University in 1957. Six years later, he earned a doctorate in educational curriculum and supervision from the University of Connecticut at Storrs.

He began his teaching career in Connecticut and in 1964 joined the faculty of the University of Maryland, College Park. He was a founding faculty member of UMBC when he was named professor and chairman of the university's department of education in 1969.

During his 27-year career there, Dr. Neville served as dean of education and dean of arts and sciences, and was a senior adviser to the university's president and provost. From 1991 to 1994, he was acting provost at the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute in College Park. He retired in 1995.

"We have lost one of UMBC's pillars. As one of the campus' founding members, Dick played a crucial role in the UMBC story," Freeman A. Hrabowski III, the university president, wrote in a message to faculty and students.

"Dick showed us by example how to make a difference in the world. He inspired us through his passion for education and his strong values. In fact, he helped shape the character of this university through his emphasis on excellence and his compassion for others," the message said.

Larry Lasher, associate director of UMBC's Honor College, who described him as a "superb man," recalled Dr. Neville's laugh.

"The laughter was an expression of the joy he took in people and the pleasure he derived from making his modest piece of the world a better place for all those he came in contact with," he said.

Dr. Neville enjoyed playing golf and tennis. He was also an avid reader of history and current events.

In 1956, he married Roselyn Bryson, whom he met while visiting Yellowstone Park. She died in 1990. He was married in the 1990s to Florence Toro, who had been a classmate at Central Connecticut.

Dr. Neville was a communicant for 40 years of St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, 12319 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring, where a Mass of Christian burial was to be offered at 10 a.m. today.

In addition to his wife, Dr. Neville is survived by two sons, Richard Neville of Vienna, Va., and John Neville of Salt Lake City; five daughters, Shannon N. Fritz of Ellicott City, Elizabeth N. Regan of Gaithersburg, Mary N. Hanlon of Trinity, Fla., Heather N. DeVia of Westminster and Barbara N. Cicmanec of Jefferson in Frederick County; a brother, Charles Neville of Plant City, Fla.; a sister, Patricia Kemp of Long Island, N.Y.; and 21 grandchildren.

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