A man who designed an admissions process at Harvard University that led to more minority students being admitted has died.

Walter Leonard was 86 years old. His wife, Betty Leonard, says he died earlier this month in Kensington, Maryland, of complications from Alzheimer's disease.

In 1971, Leonard was named as a special assistant to Harvard president Derek Bok. Leonard had already worked as an assistant dean at Harvard Law School, where he was credited with increasing the number of black, Latino and female students.

The admissions formula he created for the entire university included race or ethnicity as a plus, among other factors. The policy has survived four decades of constitutional scrutiny. Similar affirmative-action policies at the University of Texas are currently under review by the Supreme Court.