As a new professor at St. Ambrose in January 1979, and as a Southerner used to warm climates, Freeman Pollard was worried about the harshness of Iowa winters. But when it snowed a foot on the first day of classes, he showed up, having left his house at 4 a.m.
Perhaps that determined trip through the snow was the result of his training as a soldier. A veteran of both World War II and the Korean War, Dr. Pollard knew first-hand about adverse physical and emotional conditions. Or perhaps it was the result of his long career as a mail carrier or his persevering pursuit of higher education.
Or perhaps showing up to teach his first class at St. Ambrose was simply the right thing to do.
A professor of political science from 1979-1988 who came late to academics, Dr. Pollard, according to professor of philosophy Jim Cook, "brought all of his wealth of experience into the classroom-his service in the Marines in two wars, his participation in the civil rights movement in the South, his years as a mail carrier." "Freeman related so well to students," remarks John Norton, professor emeritus of political science and Dr. Pollard's close colleague. "He had ‘been there and done that.' Students respected him for his real life experience."
Education was actually Dr. Pollard's second career: he was 51 years old when he received his bachelor's degree from the University of South Alabama in 1973. He then joined the faculty of Indiana University, where he remained until 1979 when he completed work on a doctorate in political science. Before beginning his pursuit of higher education he was employed with the U.S. Postal Service for more than 20 years, during which time he was actively engaged in the Civil Rights movement and community action programs such as voter registration, and work with juvenile delinquents and unwed mothers.
During his career at St. Ambrose, Dr. Pollard served as chair of the political science department and was the first director of the public administration program. His areas of academic specialization included American government and politics, public policy, law and administration, and environmental policy.
While at St. Ambrose, Dr. Pollard was also active in community affairs, serving for a time as a commissioner and chair of the Davenport Civil Rights Commission. He received numerous honors and awards for his academic and community work.
In 1988, St. Ambrose named a newly established minority scholarship program in Dr. Pollard's honor.