Alfred Daniel Frederick was an Opelika native who went on to see the world.

The JW Darden graduate and valedictorian wanted to pursue cross-cultural communication after his highschool career.

“I was interested in going to school that [had diversity],” Frederick said. 

He attended Northern Illinois University for four years in general science. 

Following college, Frederick was hired at Novak Elementary School as a sixth, seventh and eighth grade science teacher. 

But Frederick was called upon to join the military. He was sent to military police school and then Paris, France.

“I felt that that was a gift from God,” he said. 

While there, he decided to pursue learning French. Frederick said he came back with two certificates — one from the University of Paris and the other from the Alliance France.

He returned to Novak in 1965 but actually wanted to return to Europe, he said. 

Frederick had been pursuing a master’s degree before he left for Europe, so when he returned, he finished that process.

“While I was there, I went to the career office and they needed a science teacher at the International School of Brussels,” he said. 

Frederick was hired and spent the next 13 years in Brussels.

His next stop? Nigeria.

Frederick, after all his time in Nigeria, decided to put together his dissertation.

“Finally, I defended it in French,” he said. “… And I got my doctorate with distinctions from the University of Brussels.”

All that time overseas was not spent alone, Frederick actually brought his son with him. 

Frederick, after recovering his doctorate, sent his information to Federal University of Santa Maria in Brazil.

Here he brought his son, too, and they both started learning Portuguese.

“I came back [to the U.S.] after a time, on a sabbatical leave, to do a post-doctorate study at Harvard,” he said. 

He was asked, while there, to present on his time in Nigeria. 

“And out of that experience came my first book,” he said.  

It was titled in Portuguese: “Curriculum and the Social Cultural Content.” 

While Frederick needed to return to Brazil to finish his time, afterward he realized he wanted to come home.

So, he took a job at the State University of New York. 

“I have been at the State University of New York since 1985,” he said. “And I’ve enjoyed it very much because I’ve had the freedom to teach in other countries because of the Fulbright awards I’ve received throughout that time.”

He traveled to numerous countries during that time. The son who he’d taken to Brussels and Brazil had grown up and gotten married.

So this time, as Frederick traveled, took two of his middle-school-aged granddaughters.

“I wanted them to study, I wanted them to learn French and it was wonderful, I spoiled them while I was there,” he said.

His youngest granddaughter was only seven, so he promised to one day take her to Brazil.

So when she was old enough, he took her to Brazil and enrolled her in school for a semester.

The two then spent a season together traveling and allowing her to learn Portuguese.

There was a younger grandson, too. And Frederick took him to Africa about 10 years later for three months.

In his career, Frederick was awarded the Distinguished Service Professor of the State University of New York at Oswego. He was actually the first distinguished professor, he said. 

Frederick said that while he grew up in a poor family in Opelika he “never felt poor.”

He took opportunities to speak around the country, including in his childhood home city of Opelika.

He used to host multi-cultural gatherings, he said, allowing people of different cultures and religions to get together and talk.

“At the beginning, we ask people to go around and shake hands,” he said.

Unfortunately, Frederick passed away on July 29, 2023.

A funeral service was held in Syracuse, New York, on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023.

A second service will be held in Opelika on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023, at Christ Temple Holiness Church located at 610 Clanton St. in Opelika. 

Visitation will start at 10 a.m. with the funeral service starting at 11 a.m. followed by the burial. 

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the American Lung Cancer Association and/or Cancer Research Institute (New York City) in Dr. Alfred D. Frederick’s name.