Dr. David Cleland, 1926-2018



Globally recognized project management author, educator and researcher, most respected mentor to generations of PMI leaders

3 August 2018 – Pittsburgh, PA and Dallas, TX, USA – PM World has learned that Dr. David Cleland has passed away at the age of 92. According to his obituary, Dr. David Ira Cleland, age 92, of Harmony, Pennsylvania passed away peacefully on Wednesday, August 1, 2018 while under the care of Passavant Retirement Community in Zelienople. David was born on March 21, 1926, in Harmony, PA, the son of the late Ira Lamont Cleland and Florence Martha Stickel Cleland, and the youngest of nine children.

Dr. Cleland was one of the most published authors of project management books in the world, one of the most respected members of the Project Management Institute (PMI®), and a legendary figure in the academic world of project management researchers and teachers. He was widely respected, even adored by many generations of PMI leaders. He received PMI’s Lifetime Achievement Award in Project Management in 2010.

According to PMI, Dr. Cleland contributed to PMI in countless ways, including moderating the PMI Body of Knowledge Workshop in 1985, finalizing the development of the PMI Student Paper Award Program, and attending and presenting at many PMI Seminars & Symposia and Congresses since 1972. A charter member and advisor to the PMI Pittsburgh Chapter, Dr. Cleland received the PMI Distinguished Contribution Award from PMI three times. He was an author and editor of 44 books and of many articles published in technological, management and educational periodicals. He was considered to be the most published author of project management textbooks in the world.

He received the PMI Fellow Award in 1987. In 1999, PMI honored Dr. Cleland by establishing the annual David I. Cleland Project Management Literature Award to recognize authors of published books that significantly advance project management knowledge, concepts and practice.

After working from 1954 as a project manager in the U.S. Air Force, retiring eventually as a lieutenant colonel, Dr. Cleland began his academic career in 1967, teaching project management for 35 years at the Swanson School of Engineering, University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Cleland served as global consultant to many organizations. He was also co-founder of the University of Pittsburgh’s Manufacturing Assistance Center, which provides manufacturing systems technology assistance to small and mid-sized manufacturers in Western Pennsylvania.

According to Wikipedia, Dr. Cleland received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1954, his MBA from the University of Pittsburgh School of Business in 1958, and his Ph.D. from Ohio State University. He started working at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio as a project manager in the development of weapon systems. He was also very active in Project Management at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT). He eventually retired as Lieutenant Colonel. In 1967 he started his academic career, teaching Project Management for 35 years at the Swanson School of Engineering, University of Pittsburgh.

PMI is expected to publish a memorial to Dr. Cleland in the October issue of PM Today, their internal newsletter for PMI members.

To read his full obituary or to pay tribute, click here.

Photo courtesy of Boylan Funeral Home