Patricia Cavanaugh

26 May 2022
Patricia Cavanaugh

Patricia Cavanaugh, age 65, died on May 17th at her home in St. Paul from pancreatic cancer. Pat taught at Carleton in Political Science in 2009–2010 and again from 2012–2014.

Pat was a dedicated teacher who particularly enjoyed organizing field trips that introduced her students to leaders of non-profit community organizations. She conveyed to her students the joy and fulfillment that comes from public service through working in government and in academe. She continued to hear from former students who valued her guidance and insight about public sector employment in Minnesota.

A more complete obituary is in the StarTribune.

Posted In


  • 2022-05-26 10:34:16

    I had many collegial conversations with Pat during her stints at Carleton. I fondly remember one winter break that she and I spent pretty much alone up in 4th Willis during a time that she was working on a project and I was working on an ill-fated NSF proposal that was still quite rewarding for me. We provided each other company in the quiet of Willis Hall during December. Pat and I laughed about higher ed stuff and she provided me with an education on American politics that I did not previously know. Pat was always congenial and kind. Her students really loved her. She did her job right with the humanitarian care and liberal arts sensibility that we all aspire to achieve every day.

  • 2022-05-27 10:05:49
    Richard Keiser

    Pat and I developed a genuine friendship. We talked often about teaching techniques and guiding students seeking to situate fieldwork experiences within scholarly literature. We worked together on her efforts, as a non-Tenure Track faculty member, to seek professional development support from the College. After she left Carleton, we fell into a routine of twice-a-year long lunches during which we had stimulating conversations about American politics, Minnesota politics, Political Science scholarship, the fascinating part-time jobs in governmental and public sector service she was engaged with, and our families. She became one of my very favorite colleagues and I will miss her very much.

Add a comment