In Memory: Fred Exoo

Dear Laurentian community,

I write today with the sad news that Professor Emeritus Dr. Calvin “Fred” Exoo P’04 has died. For 40 years at St. Lawrence, he built a legacy of inquiry and scholarly insight.

Fred joined the government department in the fall of 1978. He earned his baccalaureate degree from Calvin College and his masters and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, all in political science. Fred was the author/editor of three books and numerous academic articles on American politics. He was the first director of what is now the University’s Community-Based Learning Program and served in many other capacities: two terms as department chair, an instructor in the First-Year Program, director of the London program, Munsil Professor, and multiple terms on Faculty Council, where he introduced the resolution to establish a service-learning program at St. Lawrence. He also published numerous articles in newspapers and magazines, online and in print, and was recognized in 2010 for his most recent book, The Pen and the Sword: Press, War and Terror in the 21st Century, by the American Library Association.

Fred inspired generations of St. Lawrence students to think critically about the role of the media in American Politics. While his publications reveal how political and economic elites use the media to perpetuate their power at the expense of the American people, Fred refused to let his students become hopeless about the political process. Rather, he empowered students in their capacity as citizens by championing service learning and community-based learning at St. Lawrence. These efforts earned him the Owen D. Young Outstanding Faculty Member award in 2009, an award that meant the most to him because it was from his beloved students.

Fred was also a mentor and friend to many of his colleagues at St. Lawrence, helping usher a new generation of faculty into the government department and strengthening its capacity to serve its students and the wider University community.

Fred’s wife, Diane P’04—who also taught in the St. Lawrence First-Year Program—died in 2020. He is survived by his sons, Christian ’04, the Owen D. Young Library building supervisor, and Josh, also an assistant professor in the First-Year Program.

As we mourn the loss of our friend and devoted Laurentian, we remember Fred’s inspiring ability to bring us together as a family of learners. With profound gratitude for his service to the University and its people, we are honored to remember him as an architect of the modern St. Lawrence community to which we all belong.

Please join us in celebrating Fred’s life by sharing your memories of him on the St. Lawrence University website. You can read the remembrances of others here.

A memorial service for Fred will be held on campus this fall. More details will be shared when they are available.


Kate Morris