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Austin D. Swanson, 88, expert on school financing and management

June 11, 1930 – Oct. 25, 2018

Austin D. Swanson, of Clarence, a retired University at Buffalo professor renowned as an expert on school financing and management, died Thursday in Hospice Buffalo, Cheektowaga. He was 88.

Born in Jamestown, he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1952 from Allegheny College and served for two years in the Army.

He earned a master’s degree and doctorate from Columbia University Teachers College. While working on his doctorate, he was a high school science and math teacher in Suffern and then was a research associate at the college.

After receiving his doctorate, he served for three years as executive secretary of the Central School Study Council, an affiliate of Teachers College’s Institute of Administrative Research.

Dr. Swanson began a 39-year career at UB in 1963 as an assistant professor in educational administration, specializing in the academics and politics of education.

He became an associate professor in 1965 and a full professor in 1970. He served as executive secretary for the Western New York Educational Service Council, part of UB’s School of Education, and directed its school finance and legislation program.

He also was coordinator for the educational administration program and served as chairman of the Department of Educational Organization, Administration and Policy.

With the Educational Service Counsel, he served as a consultant for urban schools in Buffalo and Niagara Falls, suburban districts in Willamsville, Amherst and Depew, and rural districts in Angelica, Frewsburg and Mayville. His work included a study of the relation between spending and academic performance in districts across Western New York.

Widely recognized for his expertise, he was twice a visiting scholar at Institute of Education at the University of London, England, and a Fulbright senior scholar in the first of his two visits at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

He also was twice a professor at the Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education in Nigeria and a lecturer at Beijing Teachers College in China. He was a visiting professor at the University of Arizona and a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University.

He was author or co-author of 10 books and monographs. His textbook, “School Finance: Achieving High Standards with Equity and Efficiency,” written with Richard King and Scott Sweetland, is considered a landmark in the field. He also produced numerous other articles and book chapters.

He received a visiting scholar award from the Szold Institute in Jerusalem and the Phi Delta Kappa Service Award. Included in “Who’s Who in America,” earlier this year, he was recipient of the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, one of the highest honors presented through Marquis Who’s Who.

He traveled extensively, visiting five continents. In the past three years, he visited Cuba twice.

His wife of 53 years, the former Marilyn J. Peterson, an executive secretary for Spencer Kellogg, died in 2009.

Survivors include a son, Paul D.; a daughter, Karin L. Daun; a companion of recent years, Anne Bonn; six grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, in St. John Lutheran Church, 6540 Main St., Williamsville.

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