LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas community is saddened to announce the death of Professor Emeritus Ron Francisco at the age of 70 after a long illness. He was with his family in Oklahoma.
Francisco was a noted scholar of protest, repression and social movements in political science. His lasting contribution includes several books on collective action issues, most recently "Collective Action Theory and Empirical Evidence" in 2010, and a series of articles. Perhaps most notably Francisco spent countless hours gathering data for public use on protest activity and government repression around the world. His research in public documents was wide-ranging, and he often shared tidbits with colleagues based on their research interests, sometimes inspiring collaborations and new research projects.
Students at KU praised Francisco’s courses and his teaching style and methods. He was always viewed as fair, but rigorous, demanding that his students engage the world around them. Francisco was also known for his dry humor in the classroom, leaving long-term impressions on his students. His excellence in teaching was recognized through a number of universitywide educator awards over the course of his more than 40 years of teaching, including a W.T. Kemper Teaching Fellowship Award in 1999.
“Professor Francisco’s courses were popular among many political science students who appreciated his engaging wit and command of the subject matter," said Chancellor Douglas A. Girod. "I am saddened to learn of his death, and, on behalf of the entire university, I express my heartfelt condolences to his friends, family and all who knew him during his long KU career.”
Francisco also had interests and skills beyond professional ones. He was an avid reader, reading well outside of his adopted discipline. He became a student of finance, even writing a book on personal finances specifically for academics. He was always happy to give investing advice to fellow faculty members and his students. Fransisco also became an accomplished runner, keeping an intensive regimen until late in life.
Francisco completed his doctorate in political science from the University of Illinois and joined the faculty in the Department of Political Science at KU in 1974. At KU he also held an affiliate appointment with Russian & East European studies. He served as chair of the Department of Political Science from 1994 to 1998. He retired from KU in 2014 and was granted emeritus professor status.
Francisco is survived by his wife, Deborah, and son, Chris. A memorial service will be announced at a later date.