He was hired at the Crookston campus in 1958, teaching and heading up the dairy and livestock department.
In 1964 he became superintendent of the Southern School of Agriculture and Southern Experiment Station in Waseca, a community he wouldn’t leave.
In 1969 he was chosen to lead a new two-year agriculture college, the University of Minnesota, Waseca campus. It was a position he held until 1990, when the university closed the campus in a controversial move that devastated the community and still rankles Frederick today.
For the next 20 years, Frederick served as a senior fellow at the university until retiring at the end of 2012.
As a senior fellow, he led a study on the university’s role in rural development, worked on several community rural development projects, advised the university on its ag programs, among other things.
“It was the best of all worlds to be working on projects I was interested in and that the university was interested in. I could have retired anytime along the way, but I was doing what I wanted.”
Much of that work took place in his office where he could peer out the window at the razor wire of the low-security federal prison, where about 1,100 women are confined — a number just shy of the number of students who attended the campus when it was an ag college.
He knew everyone
Gyles Randall, a retired professor and soil scientist, came to the Southern Experiment Station in 1970 as Frederick was starting UMW.
“His leadership in education is really showing today. A lot of the leaders in ag in the past 10 or 15 years are UMW graduates.”
Randall said Frederick is a likable man who possesses a rare political quality, coupled with impeccable work ethic.
“He’s one of those guys who remembered everyone’s name and face. He was like Hubert Humphrey that way,” he said. “He can be humorous and get people’s attention, but he’s very meticulous and bright and knew how to work.”