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February 16, 2017

Obituary: John L. Yeager

obit.JohnYeagerFormer administrator and School of Education faculty member John L. Yeager died Jan. 24, 2017. He was 79.

He was a public school teacher in Bethel Park and Cleveland, then became a state research bureau field consultant for the Department of Public Instruction before launching a University career that spanned five decades.

He joined the Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC) in 1964, initially as assistant director of field studies. He held several positions there, ultimately rising to associate director of the center.

Former dean of the School of Education Alan Lesgold, who met Yeager soon after arriving at Pitt in 1971, commended Yeager’s administrative abilities. “He handled the business side of LRDC mostly, and did a great job,” Lesgold told the University Times.

Yeager joined the University’s central administration as director of University planning in 1973 under Chancellor Wesley Posvar. He worked in central planning and budgeting capacities for nearly 20 years, ultimately becoming the University’s vice president for administration in 1989, a position he held until 1992.

“He certainly increased the ability of the University to understand its current state and the implications of its plans, especially in financial terms,” said Lesgold.

Yeager left the University administration, returning to the School of Education to chair the Department of Administrative and Policy Studies 1993-96. In the department, he was named director of the Institute for Higher Education Management in 1999, and program coordinator for the department’s higher education program, 2004-08.

Beyond the University, his consulting and planning work included activities in Mongolia, Germany, China, Egypt, Jamaica, Cameroon, Chad, the Central African Republic, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Thailand.

He contributed to the School of Education’s role in helping Thailand train administrators capable of running the nation’s expanding institutions of higher education, and was involved in a number of other international comparative education efforts.

Lesgold said Yeager was among the faculty members sought out by visitors from overseas, adding that international visitors were eager to sit in on his classes on higher education management. “John’s area of specialization as a professor was strategic planning, and both Pitt and a number of Asian universities benefited from his wisdom,” Lesgold said.

Yeager earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics at Clarion State College in 1960, and completed his graduate studies at Pitt, earning a master’s of education degree in secondary education in 1963 and a doctorate in educational research in 1966.

Initially an assistant professor of education, he was appointed associate professor in 1970, and received a joint appointment in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs in 1988.

Yeager was named emeritus associate professor of administrative and policy studies in 2013.

He is survived by his wife, Jean Hammerle Yeager; daughters Lauri Boerio and her husband Mark, and Kimberly Bryson and her husband Sean; sister Phyllis Boland; and nieces, nephews and grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to

—Kimberly K. Barlow

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