Lieberman a mentor to many

Many colleagues of former CMU professor Leonard Lieberman looked up to him.

"He had an impact on his colleagues - he was a mentor to the anthropologists in our department," said Gary Shapiro, interim executive vice president and dean of the College of Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Lieberman, a former head of the department of anthropology, sociology and social work and professor for more than 40 years, died from bypass surgery recovery complications Tuesday morning.

He was 81 years old.

"He was very involved in his career and contributed a good name to the university with his research," said Rodney Kirk, a professor of sociology, anthropology and social work and close friend and colleague to Lieberman for 37 years.

"He was very compassionate, concerned and involved with students," Kirk said.

Lieberman's research was primarily focused on race in America, the debate over creationism and evolution, intelligent design and extinction.

Shapiro said Lieberman became more productive in his work as the years went by.

"Some people, when they get older, they get tired," Shapiro said. "Leonard didn't get tired and got more engrossed in his work."

He taught anthropology classes until his retirement two years ago.

Even after his retirement, he continued teaching correspondence courses until the end of 2006.

"He loved teaching," Shapiro said. He continued to grow the older he got."

Leonard Lieberman was born Sept. 20, 1925.

He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, and received his doctorate from Michigan State University.

"The most prominent memory of him is him surrounded by books in office when I was a child," said Dana Lieberman, Leonard Lieberman's daughter. "He was a bookish, wonderful and loving dad."

Leonard Lieberman's wife of 39 years, Leslie, a specialist in family studies and a faculty member at CMU from 1965 to 1992, died in 1992.

Dana Lieberman said she believes her mother's encouragement was part of her father's decision to become a professor.

The Leslie and Leonard Lieberman Scholarship was founded to honor the Liebermans.

Mary Senter, sociology, anthropology and social work chairwoman, said memorial contributions will go to the scholarship.

Leonard Lieberman is survived by his three children: Dana, 42; Ron, 51; and Bruce, 50.

There will be a memorial open house at Dana Lieberman's home in Los Gatos, Calif., on March 4.