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Richard Cole came to the University of Texas at Arlington in 1980 when he was hired as Dean of the Institute of Urban Studies. When the Institute became the School of Urban and Public Affairs (SUPA) in 1990, Richard continued as its inaugural Dean. He served in this latter position for eighteen years, stepping down in 2008 and continuing as full Professor until he retired from UTA in 2016. Under his guidance, the Institute and School grew from offering a single master’s degree to three master’s and two PhD degrees. While Dean of SUPA he also served as Acting Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and the Interim Dean of Social Work.


His academic accomplishments included articles and books that spanned his forty-seven year career as an internationally recognized scholar of Federalism and local governmental relations. Even in failing health he continued to write. A paper he co-authored with John Kinkaid has been accepted for publication in 2017. Among his many professional contributions, he served as: Book Review Editor for Publius: The Journal of Federalism; Chair of the Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations Section of the American Political Science Association; Governing Board Member of the Urban Affairs Association; Executive Council member of Southwest Political Association; and member of numerous committees for the Southwest Social Science Association and the North Texas Chapter of the American Society of Public Administration. In addition at various times during his career, he served on the editorial boards of Publius, Journal of Urban Affairs, Public Administration Review, American Politics Quarterly, Journal of Community, and Research on Urban Policy.


Richard received the Fulbright Scholarship for Teaching and Research at Queens University in Belfast in 2004 and served as a Senior Research Associate at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs in 2008-2009. He was inducted into the Urban Affairs Association Service Honor Roll in 2013. In 2015 he received but had to decline for health reasons the Fulbright Scholarship at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. He was recognized as Outstanding Graduate of Purdue University and of University of North Texas in 1993 and 1986 respectively.


Over the years, he inspired hundreds of students by assigning as required reading, The Federalist Papers. His patience and skill in the classroom made him the ideal professor for research methods courses that ranged from introductory to advanced.


He will be profoundly missed by colleagues, staff, and students.


A wake is scheduled for Friday, January 13, 2017, from 5 pm to 8 pm with services on Saturday, January 14, at 10 am. A reception will follow from 11 am to 1 pm. All events will be at Grove Hill Funeral Home, 3929 Samuell Blvd., Dallas, Texas 75228.