Department History – Reminiscences & Recollections
Department History Section
We are in the process of supplementing this separate section of the Department’s website devoted to its history. Earlier overviews already exist and are included in this section. One, written by Dick Simpson and Guy Johnson, takes us to the mid-’70. A second was prepared by Everett Wilson for the Department’s 75th anniversary in 1996. It relied heavily on a paper prepared the year before by Glen Elder. (This also appears below.)
The period since 1996 does not yet have a written overview for this History site, but the invitation is hereby extended for a contribution. It would be nice to have this included well before the Department’s 100th anniversary in 2020.
For now, the remainder of the History website supplement is reserved for (a) reminiscences by former chairs, former and present faculty, and former graduate and undergraduate students; (b) obituaries; and (c) a statistical summary of the Department over time. Contributions to the reminiscences and obituary sections should be submitted to Richard Cramer, c/o Department of Sociology, CB#3210, Chapel Hill, NC 27599.
Table of Contents
Reminiscences and Recollections
Graduate Degree Recipients (submissions entered by year of degree)
- B. Adams ’65
- K. Alexander ’72
- R. Althauser ’67
- R. Ames ‘70
- J. Begun ‘77
- B. Buchner ’92
- P. Buescher ‘77
- R. Carpenter ’68 (starting in 1949; degree in Library Science in the interim)
- L. G. Carr ‘73
- B. Corsaro ‘74
- M. Damanakis ’79
- J. Ellis ‘93
- S. Eve ‘71
- M. Emerson ‘91
- C. Flynn ‘74
- P. Frisbie ’72
- J. Gold Haralick ‘64
- J. Gruber ’76 (with T.Weiner)
- K. Guzzo ‘03
- S. Hofferth ‘76
- S. Ito ‘69
- C. Jacobson ‘71
- M. Kennedy ‘85
- L. Kier ‘95
- D. King ‘74
- B. Konrad ‘75
- J. Kramer ’80
- R. Kurz ‘76
- M. Lamanna ‘64
- P. Lindsey ‘78
- D. Maume, ‘83
- J. Michaels ’72
- L. Molm ‘76
- D. Monti ‘75
- C. Nam ‘59
- S. Newcomer ‘83
- D. R. Norsworthy ‘61
- B. Pelissier ‘80
- E. Presler-Marshall ‘98
- J. Reynolds, ’01
- W.C. Roof ‘71
- M. Rousseau ‘71
- H. Sacks ‘76
- B. Reina ‘57
- A. Schaffer ‘57
- T.P. Schwartz-Barcott ‘75
- H. Steadman ‘71
- M. Thomas ’69
- T. Van Valey ‘71
- P. Wehr ‘60
- T. Weiner ‘76(with J. Gruber)
- K. West ‘79
Undergraduates with Honors in Sociology
K. Namboodiri, former Dept. chair
R. Rosenfeld, former Dept. chair
H.M. Blalock, former faculty
A. Hawley, former faculty
H. Landsberger, former faculty
D. Price, former faculty
G. Simpson, former faculty
M. Binderman, Ph.D. ’70
C. Bonjean, Ph.D. ‘63
R. Carpenter ’68, died April 2016
J. Freeman, Ph.D. ’72
A. Higgins, Ph.D. ‘64
A. Imershein, Ph.D. ’75
Charles Lachenmeyer, Ph.D. ’69
C. Longino, Ph.D. ’68
J. Stephenson Ph.D. ‘67
R. Tayar, Ph.D. ’80
M. Thelin, Ph.D. ’62
J. Wardwell, Ph.D. ’73
C. Wingrove, Ph.D. ’64
Department History – Reminiscences & Recollections
We are in the process of supplementing this separate section of the Department’s website devoted to its history. Earlier overviews already exist and are included in this section. One, written by Dick Simpson and Guy Johnson, takes us to the mid-’70. A second was prepared by Everett Wilson for the Department’s 75th anniversary in 1996. It relied heavily on a paper prepared the year before by Glen Elder. (This also appears below.)
The period since 1996 does not yet have a written overview for this History site, but the invitation is hereby extended for a contribution. It would be nice to have this included well before the Department’s 100th anniversary in 2020.
For now, the remainder of the History website supplement is reserved for (a) reminiscences by former chairs, former and present faculty, and former graduate and undergraduate students; (b) obituaries; and (c) a statistical summary of the Department over time. Contributions to the reminiscences and obituary sections should be submitted to Richard Cramer, c/o Department of Sociology, CB#3210, Chapel Hill, NC 27599.
SOCIOLOGY AT UNC-CHAPEL HILL
The Department of Sociology at Chapel Hill was founded by Howard W. Odum in 1920. Its history fits roughly into three periods. From 1920 until about the time of World War II was the heyday of regionalism and of what would now be called “policy-relevant” research focusing on problems of the South. The years from World War II until the early 1960’s were a transitional period of departmental growth and diversification of faculty interests. Since the early 1960’s we have had further growth and an almost total turnover of staff, leading to relative stabilization of senior faculty composition and areas of specialization.
Prior to 1920 the nearest thing to sociology at Chapel Hill was the Department of Rural Social Economics, founded in 1916 by Odum’s good friend, E.C. Branson. It was Branson and President Harry Woodburn Chase, another friend of Odum’s, who were responsible for bringing Odum to Chapel Hill as Kenan Professor of Sociology. Among Odum’s legacies to social science are the Department of Sociology (1920), Social Forces (1922), the Institute for Research in Social Science (1924), and a staggering record of research, writing, and public service. Odum was also instrumental in the creation of the Department of City and Regional Planning (1946).
During the fall quarter of 1920 Odum was the only member of the new department, but early in 1921 he brought in Jesse F. Steiner, a specialist in community organization, and later in the year Harold D. Meyer, who was to gain distinction in the field of recreation administration. In 1923 Wiley B. Sanders, a criminologist joined the staff. In 1924 the Institute for Research in Social Science, with its handsome stipend of $1,500 for research assistants, began to attract young scholars to the social sciences at Chapel Hill. Katharine Jocher and Guy B. Johnson arrived in 1924, Harriet L. Herring in 1925, Rupert B. Vance and Lee M. Brooks in 1926. In 1927 Ernest R. Groves, a distinguished scholar in family relations, and T. J. Woofter, a statistician, accepted professorships. After Branson’s death, Rural Social Economics merged with Sociology, and S.H. Hobbs, Jr., who had been Branson’s understudy, joined the staff. Excluding Steiner and Woofter, who left after a few years, and one or two “transients” such as L.L. Bernard (1928-30), the persons mentioned above joined the staff early and remained until their retirement. Ten of them accumulated nearly 400 years of service, or an average of 40 years each—an astounding record of stability for an academic department! The last of the old guard (Johnson and Vance) retired in 1969. Two members (Jocher and Johnson) still live in Chapel Hill.
In 1933 the American Council on Education published an evaluation of graduate academic departments in American Universities. At Chapel Hill eleven departments were listed as “adequate,” but only one of these, Sociology, was rated as “distinguished.” Not bad for a department which was only thirteen years old! The tradition of excellence has been continued, and subsequent evaluations have rated this department among the best in the nation.
Anthropology at Chapel Hill began in 1930 under the wing of Sociology when Johnson started a course in Social Anthropology. Gradually other courses were added, and in 1941 the name of the department was changed to Sociology and Anthropology. Following the arrival of John P. Gillin in 1946, anthropological work was greatly expanded, and in 1965 Anthropology became a separate department. Today it has a faculty of 14 and offers 75 courses.
Prior to Work War IIthe sociology staff was relatively small. The main teaching and research emphases were in folk culture, race relations, regionalism, demography, and social theory. During and after the war the faculty grew. Its areas of interests were considerably broadened to include sociology of the community, industrial and organizational sociology, medical sociology, social psychology, and expanded emphasis on statistical methods. Among the faculty members who served for a time and then moved on were Gordon W. Blackwell, E. William Noland, George L. Simpson, Jr., N.J. Demerath, Reuben Hill, Charles E. Bowerman, Daniel O. Price, and Ernest Q. Campbell. The only oldtimers remaining from the 1950’s are Harvey L. Smith (1952) and Richard L. Simpson (1958).
Beginning in 1963 the faculty grew very rapidly, and much of its growth came through raiding full professors from other institutions which included Yale, Michigan, QQueens, Cornell, Antioch, and Chicago. These senior faculty members snatched from elsewhere were Gerhard Lenski (1963), Robert N. Wilson (1963), H.M. Blalock (1965), Amos H. Hawley (1966), Henry A. Landsberger (1968), Everett K. Wilson (1968), David R. Heise (1971), and Duncan MacRae, Jr. (1971). All of them except Blalock remain on the staff. Other current staff members are recent Ph.D’s or senior faculty who were recruited as assistant or associate professors and were promoted to tenured ranks. These include the present chairman, Krishnan Namboodiri. Faculty size has been stable since the early 1970’s with about 25 members.
Our research and graduate training cover a broad spectrum of fields. Major concentrations include historical and cross-national comparative sociology, population and ecology, organizations and occupations, the family, social psychology, medical sociology, and methodology. Graduate students take a common core of theory and methods courses, then can specialize in a variety of fields including those mentioned above and others besides. Everett K. Wilson’s seminar in the teaching of sociology has been nationally recognized and much emulated. The number of graduate students reached nearly a hundred in the late 1960’s. We deliberately cut it back to about fifty students, with rigorously selected entering cohorts of fifteen, in order to assure close student-faculty contact and good job placements for our Ph.D.’s in a shrinking job market.
Most of our undergraduate teaching is in “service” courses for non-majors. Total enrollment in all undergraduate and graduate courses in 1967-77 was 5345. Our 150 majors take required courses in theory and methods, and can then choose from a large variety of specialized courses. M. Richard Cramer, our chief undergraduate adviser, has developed a vigorous Sociology Interest Group for majors, a strong orientation program, and an annual Career Night for sociology majors and other undergraduates interested in social science careers.
We can point with pride to many honors and accomplishments. (If there is anything we should view with alarm, this is not the place.) Odum, Vance, Bernard, Leonard S. Cottrell, Jr., Hawley, and Blalock have served or been elected to serve as presidents of ASA. Several of our faculty members and numerous alumni have presided over the Southern Sociological Society. This year, our building houses simultaneously the presidents of ASA (Hawley) and SSS (Lenski). Still others have been presidents or chairpersons of the Population Association of America, the Latin American Studies Association, the Society for Social Biology, the Policy Studies Association, NCSA, and several ASA sections. Many of our faculty and alumni have held other high offices in these and other academic societies. We take special pride in our alumni. The department has awarded 391 M.A. and 288 Ph.D. degrees. Their recipients have had productive academic and government careers in North Carolina, across the nation, and around the world. Social Forces is the best of the journals associated with regional, sociological societies, and, with subscribers in more than 70 countries, the only one that seriously challenges ASR and AJS in its international distinction; polls have consistently rated it one of the “big three.”
The department boasts a long record of being ahead of its time and unafraid of controversy. Johnson spoke out, and acted, on behalf of racial desegregation during the 1930’s, undeterred by a barrage of insults and threatening letters from all over the State. (Be it noted that Simpson wrote this sentence and insisted that it be kept.) Jocher and Herring were full professors long before anyone had heard of affirmative action.
We are proud of our past, but perhaps we should not dwell on it so much. One of Satchel Paige’s maxims for assuring longevity is, “Never look back. Something may be gaining on you.” The department at Chapel Hill is not resting on its laurels, but staying busy with an eye to a productive future.
BY: Guy B. Johnson and Richard L. Simpson[To be entered]
Sociological Lives, Social Change, and Institution Building:
A perspective on Sociology and Social Science
At the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Each new cohort of graduate students this University, the Department of Sociology, and Faculty at a moment in time. You see the faculty as they are now, and the department in its present state.
I would like to add a temporal dimension to your experience by taking you back in time to the beginnings of Sociology at UNC. The story features “sociological lives, the rapid pace of social change, and institution building.”
This, of course, is my view of sociological local history. Another person might well tell a different story.
There are three parts to this story:
First — the important intellectual eras of departmental growth in stature;
Second – sociological lives that extend across the eras; and
Third – a brief comparative view of the eras.
- INTELLECTUAL ERAS AND MARKERS
I detect three periods of Carolina sociology that stand out on a number of perspectives: I name them in terms of their original chairperson – Odum, Bowerman, and Kasarda. Each of these chairpersons is known as a “builder.” From the very beginning, the department has been a leading force in the discipline – among the top 5 in 1935, 7th in 1970, 5th and 6th in 1982 and 1993.
THE HOWARD ODUM ERA – After leaving Emory in Atlanta, Howard Odum established this Department of Sociology in 1920 and he died in 1954, after retiring at the age of 70. This is the Odum era, an incredibly exciting, risk-filled, and challenging time in the building of this department, of sociology in the South, and of sociology in this country. The department was in the forefront of establishing sociological analysis as an empirical science, countering the growth of European theoretical study at the University of Wisconsin, etc.
In 1920, only the University of Chicago and Columbia University were home to other key departments – Michigan to a lesser extent. Odum earned one of his two PhDs at Columbia under Franklin Giddings, a strong empiricist; the other under G. Stanley Hall, a psychologist at Clark University (who had a close relationship with Sigmund Freud).
Odum founded the Department of Sociology, the School of Public Welfare, the Institute for Research in Social Science (1924), and the journal Social Forces (1922). In 1950 he missed by a hair in setting up a new School of Public Administration.
Central themes of the Odum Faculty:
- Studying the problems and processes of a changing society – heavy emphasis upon problems in the state and region. Often very descriptive work.
- Reliance on diverse methods – field observations, record data, surveys, etc. A multi-measurement approach
- Training of students – very important, but do it in the field. Training by doing.
- Social action, advocacy – as in Social Forces journal.
- Preoccupation with freedom to inquire, teach.
After 13 years of operations, the department of nine members was judged “distinguished” – the only department so classified on the campus. A “top five” department in the country. Key figures include:
Rupert Vance, a renaissance scholar who, much later, actually followed Odum into national prominence and the role of President of the American Sociological Association. Vance arrived as a graduate student in 1926, had his dissertation published (Human Factors in Cotton Culture), completed a major work on population distribution and social structure in “Human Geography of the South” in early 30’s, and became a sociological pioneer by relating two streams of thinking that were typically divorced – population and culture-social structure. Today, Peter Blau and a good many members of the department are doing this line of sociological work.
Guy Johnson, a social and cultural anthropologist in practice. You have read a chapter out of the Johnson and Johnson book so you know something about Johnson.
Katharine Jocher and Harriet Herring – two pathbreaking women who played important roles in developing the Institute for Research in Social Science.
THE BOWERMAN ERA – Coming from the University of Washington in Seattle, Charles Bowerman became chairman of the department in 1957 and he resigned at the end of the 1960s (still living and Oregon). This period of 12 years in Alumni Building placed the department in a broader realm of national and international prominence. The Bowerman era broke exclusive ties to the South and enhanced national stature; fostered the development of sociological specialties (industrial and family sociology, as well as integration of theory and research).
Bowerman pulled this off with some remarkable hires – Hubert Blalock, Gerhard Lenski, Everett Wilson, Amos Hawley. Two of the four became presidents of ASA. All were pathbreakers in the true sense of the word.
Gerhard Lenski, recruited from the University of Michigan, had longstanding interest in the study of social stratification. At Chapel Hill, he produced a broader theoretical framework in which to think about social stratification and inequality – a theory of evolutionary change – sociocultural and biological.
Everett Wilson was a sociological pioneer in the teaching of sociology, and co-authored the first book on the topic with Charles Goldsmid in the early 1970s, called Passing on Sociology. The graduate course on teaching got its start at this time.
Amos Hawley, also recruited from Michigan, was well-known for his theory of human ecology and population processes. This theme was part of the department’s intellectual history and it is expressed today in the work of Judith Blau and Howard Aldrich.
Hubert Blalock, the earliest proponent of causal modeling in sociology and a strong advocate of improved measurement. Tad Blalock was also a “social glue” in the department – fostered ties among faculty and students, often around a ping pong table or lunch crowd.
This era moved the department culture and faculty out of a regional focus, both in research problems and faculty recruitment, toward a national and international scope.
At the end of the Bowerman era, the department was drawing outstanding students from across the nation and globe. Between 1968 and 1974, the following luminaries were enrolled – -John Kasarda (UNC Business), Michael Hannan (Stanford), John Freeman (Univ. of California-Berkeley), Karl Alexander (Johns Hopkins), William Corsaro (Indiana), Clark Roof (University of California-Santa Barbara), Pamela Oliver (Wisconsin), Sandra Hofferth (Michigan), Linda Molm (Arizona). Note the absence of women – tells how much the field had changed over the past 25 years.
THE KASARDA ERA – By the mid 1970’s, the department’s advance had stalled. And there was something of a malaise in the social sciences and nation generally. The times were economically stressful – the end of prosperity as we had known it since World War II.
Tad Blalock left UNC after a fight over civil rights with the administration. The faculty moved into its new building in Hamilton (1972), leaving behind many memories of Alumni Building and the department’s beginnings. The department had lost some momentum by the second half of the decade, but its national stature remained high and unchanged.
Kasarda’s leadership in the chair role brought the faculty through a very difficult time. A distinguished PhD of this department (circa 1971), Jack had been on the University of Chicago faculty, and returned to UNC in late 1970s after time at Florida Atlantic University. Jack became chair in 1980.
By the early 1980s, Tad Blalock had left, and Lenski and Hawley were contemplating retirement. Kasarda, with national ratings on his mind, proceeded to hire leading figures for the next sociological era – Judith and Peter Blau, Howard Aldrich, Rachel Rosenfeld, Francois Nielsen, Arne Kalleberg, Craig Calhoun, Barbara Entwisle and Ken Bollen, Anthony Oberschall, and yours truly. Not a bad recruiting season.
The themes of this sociological era have much in common with the central themes of the Odum era:
- A preoccupation with social and cultural change in all of its facets – for example, change in the economy and higher culture, the effects of social change on primary groups and relationships, on people.
- The relation between population and social structure, culture. Both across levels and within levels, macro and micro.
- Increasing attention to historical inquiry – historical social science.
- Multi-method, diverse sources of data.
Arne Kalleberg became chair when Kasarda retired in the late 1980s in order to accept the directorship of the Kenan Institute of Free Enterprise on the UNC campus. One of the most distinctive features of this era is the extent to which the faculty have once again become key actors on the UNC Campus – Carolina Sociology is at the heart of faculty life and research, unlike other universities where it is peripheral – i.e., the Ivy League universities.
Ronald Rindfuss, directs the Carolina Population Center – considered the leading center for population study in the country and world.
Craig Calhoun, directs the Institute for Research in Social Science – Reed also plays a key role in the Center for the Study of the South.
John Kasarda, directs the Kenan Institute of Free Enterprise.
Glen H. Elder, Jr. co-directs the Center for Developmental Science and Carolina Consortium on Human Development.
- SOCIOLOGICAL LIVES ACROSS ERAS
Two sociological lives connect eras in the department. Richard Simpson is the only member of our current faculty whose sociological history extends across all three eras – Odum, Bowerman, and Kasarda. I came along as a graduate student at the beginning of the Bowerman era.
Dick Simpson was a graduate student in the Odum era, along with his wife Ida (now a sociology professor at Duke). He completed his degree in the mid-1950’s, moved from UNC to Penn State, then to Northwestern, and finally back to UNC in the fall of 1958. He has remained at UNC since then.
He has chaired the department and served as president of the Southern Sociological Society.
I arrived as a grad student in the fall of 1958 with a role as research assistant to the new chair, Charles Bowerman. We were housed in Alumni, the gray stone building near the Planetarium.
Prominent figures of the Odum era were still central in the department – Guy Johnson, Rupert Vance, Katharine Jocher, Harriett Herring, and George Simpson, among others.
Some snapshots of the times:
Rupert Vance, the renaissance scholar – handicapped by polio – his course on social stratification was extremely popular. Students from history, sociology, and political science took the course and packed the room.
Also popular – Simpson’s course on European Social Theory – Dick also packed them in. A very appealing course.
Methods on the run – the Norfolk survey “When the Schools Close.” During my first term, the methods class was mobilized to field a survey of Norfolk, just after the city fathers were deciding to close the schools rather than desegregate them. The schools were never closed.
Needless to say, the people of Norfolk were not overjoyed to see us on their doorsteps. That was my first insight into how partial interviewers can be when angry interviewees are standing there “just waiting for an affirmation of their sentiments.”
Luncheons on the top floor of Alumni, with speaker – sponsored by IRSS, but attended by most sociologists in the department.
Alumni – a social science “beehive” – the Institute for Research in Social Science, city and regional planning, recreation, anthropology, sociology, social work, and psychology had space in the building. So you can imagine how small we were – Richard Simpson, Ernest Campbell, Charles Bowerman, Daniel Price, George Simpson, and Rupert Vance were the key people I remember. We had to be cross-disciplinary, to move out of sociology – and we did.
III. THEMES AND LEGACY; A COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVE
The legacies of Howard Odum, Charles Bowerman, and John Kasarda in their respective leadership roles center on institution building. And each of their sociological careers coincide with similar phases in building a discipline of sociological study, both here and abroad.
In wrapping up my presentation, I would like to leave you with some thoughts about central themes and legacy.
- The Early Years – The Chapel Hill and Chicago Schools of Sociology
As a product of the early Chicago school, through graduate training under Chicago PhDs, I am much impressed by the resemblances between the extraordinary burst of social science energy and ideas at Chapel Hill in the 1920s and 30s, and the happening at Chicago during this same time frame.
The Chicago department was founded at the end of the 19th century by W.I. Thomas, but it only began to get moving a decade or so later. Thomas and Odum both came from very poor circumstances. Thomas was born in 1863 in the western mountains of Virginia and completed a PhD at Chicago – he describes his life in terms of “having lived in three centuries.”
Odum was born in 1884 on a small Georgia dairy farm – both of his grandfathers had served in the Civil War and returned embittered and broken men. Thomas studied the classics in undergraduate work and so did Odum – appropriately, Odum specialized in classical Greek tragedy.
In discovering social science, both Thomas and Odum thought that the methods of this discipline could provide guidance in shaping public policy.
The Odum school focused on problems of the Southern region, a rural society, while the Chicago school focused on problems of the city –crime, poverty, marital instability, social life, black communities. Both programs were geared toward empirical study and the necessity to get into the field in order to understand the problems. Odum organized all efforts through the Institute for Research in Social Science, while Thomas, Burgess, park, and others encouraged students to develop their observational skills.
W.I. Thomas managed to transcend the limitations of his empirical studies through the realm of sociological theory; Odum never succeeded in this realm – virtually all of his work is descriptive. By contrast, one of Odom’s star students, Rupert Vance, did succeed in developing a broader sociological understanding.
In addition, Odom’s legacy includes a physical presence at the University of North Carolina – he played an important role in building the university. W.I. Thomas, ever more cosmopolitan and polished in the social graces of this world, never invested much of his time and energy in building institutions.
- The Bowerman Era: Continuity or Change
Nowadays we think of the “baby boom” era as an anomaly, different from what went before and from what that which followed. In like fashion, I would argue that the Bowerman era had less in common with the Odum era than the Kasarda term.
Bowerman brought the department into a national and international framework, and this niche has been elaborated ever since. However, I find many large differences that mark off this historical time from the adjacent eras.
Consider the following:
- The research tradition that was so prominent in the Odum era tended to fade across the 1960s, in part because the IRSS had faded and other institutes had not yet arrived, such as the Carolina Population Center, the Center for International Studies, etc.
- The population and social structure theme was underdeveloped.
- Field observations and quantitative data – no training in qualitative data collection during the 1960s.
- The recruitment of women to the faculty and to graduate studies. This was less evident during the Bowerman era than in the other two eras.
- Sociological Study in the 21st Century
Sociological analysis plays an very important role in within the social and behavioral sciences – in problem choice, theory, and method.
In my view, the demand for sociological expertise is increasing:
- In history – sociological methods and theory.
- In psychology – for providing and understanding of sociocultural environments and contexts
- In the field of business – modern studies of organizations work. Sociology is the source of key theories of organizations.
- In health studies – despite the great challenge in Washington politics, the evidence to date underscores the essential contribution of sociological research to knowledge of health outcomes. For example: Durkheim made a very strong case on the effects of low and high social integration. The reason why integration has such effects is becoming clear through research on the immune system and T cells.
- In engineering – many areas of engineering are recruiting sociologists
As a small discipline of approximately 13,000 association members, it is important that we cultivate such applications and connections. Our health depends on the success we have in making our work valuable on the campus and in society. The present faculty is heavily involved in this good work.
Prepared for the celebration of the Department’s 75th anniversary, March 29, 1996)
The Department has changed remarkably since 1824. As you will surely recall, the 1824 catalogue provided the entire roster of the faculty (5 professors, three tutor), the entire curriculum for every student for four years; and every text for every course—all on one side of a single sheet of paper. Languages—English, Greek, Latin, and mathematics—dominated with slight attention to philosophy and science. Alas, there was no sociology. Sociology was a sudden happening almost exactly a century later.
At long last, as St. John puts it, came the word; and the word was with Howard Washington Odum. As founder of the Department, he marks the first of three stages that Glen Elder (see above) sees as framing our Department’s history. This Georgia farm boy (Chicago’s Osburn was also a Georgian) did an undergraduate major at Emory in classics. He went north for two doctorates, one in psychology at Clark (1909) and the other one year later in Sociology from Columbia. The following two years he worked at the Philadelphia Bureau of Municipal Research. Then (1913) back to Georgia, first to the Universaity at Athens as Associate Professor in Educational Sociology (surely the best kind) and Rural Education. But after six years he was induced to return to Emory as Dean of the School of Liberal Arts.
Emory’s Chancellor was Methodist Bishop Warren Candler. He and Odum were, each to the other, as burr under the saddle. Candler’s position was that the university must be above all an evangelical agent. But Odum saw the university as a source of reliable knowledge in the service of secular reforms to realize the South’s potential for wisdom and virtue. He had a trunkful of projects and programs to be instituted instanter. In the early stages of building a university Candler was wary of costly—and, as he might see it, hare-brained—enterprises. He commented ruefully that Odum seemed to want to build a university before breakfast—and build it in his own way. Clearly, it was not a tenable relationship; so he must have been happy to accept the invitation to join the faculty at Chapel Hill in 1920. He had the mission and the drive to organize the Department (1920-21): and beyond that, to set up a number of other programs. One of these was Social Forces (1922). Within two years its circulation exceeded 1,700. (We’re now around 4,500 and go to most states and to 90 foreign countries.)
Beyond his quite remarkable energy we remember Odum for his clear emphasis on empirical studies of conditions that jeopardize the well-being of folks in North Carolina and the Southern region. A like concern has been echoed through the years by sociologists in this Department. His pattern of though and work summed to a crystal-clear purpose. For the sociologist it was rigorous, date-based analysis of social failures; and for the person, the cultivation of ideas and action that make for responsible conduct in the universal role of citizen. Hence the early emphasis on civic problems: equity for Negroes, as blacks were then called; the assimilation of immigrants; the problems of mill towns; poverty; public welfare; and crime. The locus of study was of course the region, including Chapel Hill and Raleigh. The methods were surveys and descriptive statistics. Jesse Steiner’s title is a clue to the Department’s purpose. He was “Professor of Social Technology.”
Despite so many irons in so many fires, Odum apparently was an effective administrator, not beguiled by power or prominence except as they derived from learning, its dissemination and application to problems confronting fellow citizens. But he was not alone. He had the effective support of Rupert Vance (like Odum, a President of the American Sociological Association), Guy Johnson, Gordon Blackwell, Harriet Herring, Katherine Jocher, and a little later, Elizabeth Fink. These women were impressive contributors to sociology in the South. Furthermore, in Social Forces Odum had a collective product that helped to reinforce a sense of common purpose. That was the case, too, with the AJS at Chicago in 1895 and with Durkheim’s Année Sociologique in 1898. In his Harvard dissertation on Odum, Wayne Brazil reports H. L. Mencken’s great admiration of Odum and his journal. Others were not so taken with the Chairman. The Department had its detractors.
Indeed, one mark of a distinguished department is the fire it draws. Back in the ‘20s a Rev. McCorkle of Burlington, along with a few fellow clerics, attacked the University for sponsoring a journal (Social Forces) that condoned masturbation. Apparently a book discussing auto-eroticism was favorably reviewed. Guy Johnson whose help was acknowledged by Gunnar Myrdal in his preface to An American Dilemma was excoriated for advocating personal respect and social equity for blacks. Among some colleagues Ernest Groves’ work in marriage and the family earned him the facetious title of “The Pelvic Oracle.” And one staff member carefully avoided identifying her department lest she be tarred with the libidinous libel conferred by Groves’ work on receptive minds.
So our forerunners had enemies. But one must suppose that such attacks served to strengthen the Department. In their defense our eponymous ancestors had to define good purpose and seek the best means for achieving it.
In thinking about Odum’s successors, one might call Weber’s discussion of the routinization of charisma. Odum left much to routinize. That was the task of Charlie Bowerman, following a short interim stint by Bill Noland. Routinization has unhappy connotations: the repetitious, banal, and boring. It should not be so construed. For it must enlist the imagination to create a social template for collaborating in the service of department goals. The Chair and the faculty follow the scholar’s required translation of concept into precept, the abstract purpose into concrete procedures. Concurrently, means and ends are helped or hindered by changes in resources: in reputation, funding, administrative support and the like. One must admire a department chair with the wit to contrive the social arrangements that actualize aspirations.
Bowerman himself attributes the Department’s success to its reputation developed under Odum (as a base for garnering financial support), effective University administration and recruiting of promising students and faculty. Most important, he writes, was the “departmentally-oriented unity of the . . . faculty. Too often a group of talented individuals focus on promoting their own interests and reputations, and see the department as merely a vehicle for achieving their own ends. Basically, we had the reverse of that.”
Elder’s last two stages in the Department’s history align with two post-Odum blips on the recruiting screen. These he identifies with stimulating new departures. One runs roughly from 1957 to 1969, the Bowerman era. The second spans most of Kasarda’s tenure from 1980 to 1990. During Bowerman’s 12 years the Department welcomed such newcomers as Blalock, Lenski, Elder, two Wilsons, Udry, Eckland, Cottrell, Hawley, Namboodiri et al. In this period there were both continuities and innovations. Extension of the old included a stronger and more effective sequence on the study of methods, an in increased demand for sophisticated tools of inquiry and some concern for application (as in work in the sociology of medical organization; and the requirement of novice instructors that they confront problems of sociology instruction). But there was a discernible shift on several fronts. Perhaps one might use Merton’s term, a change in the relative weight according the local and the cosmopolitan, regional interests losing a near monopoly and research sites increasingly stretched to include nation (nation-wide data sets) and occasional work with foreign data, as in Landsberger’s research. In addition both faculty and students were drawn quite selectively from much larger pools.
Student cohorts included some very strong professionals such as Karl Alexander, Bill Corsaro, John Freeman, Michael Hannan, Jack Kasarda, Clark Roof, Linda Molm, Pam Oliver, et al. This listing prompts Elder to note the under-representation of women, and the extent to which the field has changed over the past 25 years. We can extend his observation: among our graduate students, the sex ratio (M/F) averaged 1.54. But since 1980, the ratio has dropped to .86.
Jack Kasarda served two five-year terms. About this period Elder sees the Chairman as a competitive recruiter with the Department’s national standing in mind. A roster of people who joined the Department during this period indicates how successful he was. Consider, for example: Aldrich, Judith and Peter Blau, Calhoun, Entwisle, Nielsen, and Rosenfeld. Were Odum, Steiner, Jocher, and Herring to step in for a look at curricula and publications, they would find much to please them—the concern with social and cultural change, the linking of demographic features and social structure, the lively interest in historical inquiry and the exploiting of a wider range of methods and data.
Two developments, long under way, emerged more clearly in these years. Both relate to the distinction of the faculty both at home and abroad. Both produce ambiguous outcomes. The first is the extent to which faculty are coopted for administrative tasks and work in other departments. The second outcome also stems from recruiting the most eminent, assuring them of the support needed to advance their special research. Thus the very qualities for which they were recruited and supported serve to make them visible and valuable to others outside the University. And so they are coopted for service far beyond Chapel Hill—for consulting and as resources for regional and national professional organizations. The danger is one of increasing centrifugal forces in the Department as internal gives way to external needs. The wonder is that the Department has been able to make do despite extended service beyond its boundaries.
There is another problem marked by three successful waves of recruiting. This is the matter of succession. To look at the majestic oaks that adorn the campus, many of about the same age, is to see what we are up against. Owing to demographic bursts, war, changes in the labor force and the link between national interest and higher education, population cohorts and our pattern of recruiting have moved in spurts;
while tenure works against a faculty that is au courant for long periods of time. Smooth successions consonant with new developments in sociology and cognate fields are not easy to manage. So geht’s: ohne tsoris haben sie nicht.
The sequence of Chairs include several serving shorter terms: Cramer (acting), Lenski, Simpson, and Namboodiri (1, 3, 3,, and 5 years). They did yeoman service for the Department in times that were often trying. Bowerman’s legacy included a marked growth both in numbers and range of intellectual interests. Then the short-tenured Chairs and Namboodiri’s five years, followed by the two ten-year tenures of Kasarda and Kalleberg which will carry the Department across the bridge into the twenty-first century. But it would be misleading to tell the tale of the Department simply in terms of discrete nominal scale points when in fact there were variables at work that continuously informed the Development of Sociology and Carolina. Change continued in at least two dimensions. One is sheer numbers—of faculty, students, administrators, staff et al. The second variable is diversity, much of it owing to national, sometimes international, recruiting. Many faculty were academic carpetbaggers. The disproportionate advent of such aliens led our colleague, historian Bill Powell, to express alarm at an imbalance threatening preference for the cosmopolitan over the local.
Since Odum’s time the Department—and, indeed the whole University—has been a cynosure drawing its faculty from distant sources. In 1995, over 90% of the Department faculty in non-TarHeel. Among University faculty (1987), highest degrees (usually the Ph.D.) were awarded by 246 universities, 105 of them from nine foreign universities. It’s fair to assume that diversity of place can be taken as likely surrogate for the variation in belief, knowledge, tastes, and skills that mark urban-rural, regional, and organizational differences, even back to childhood socialization. This is true of the town, too. Over four decades 1950-1990, of substantial population increase, the part of growth contributed by net migration has gone from 16% to 51% to 76%. The growth in number of Department faculty has gone from an average of 3.6 in 1921-25 to 26.5 in 1995-96.
This last figure inflates the resources the Department can tap, however; paradoxically, as the Department has gained in strength and stature, its faculty are increasingly coopted to serve the University in sectors other than the Department.
Other data show the growth in number of Ph.D.s awarded over 75 years. About half of these were conferred in the last third of that period. As a matter of interest, growth in University enrollment and town population show comparable slopes. But more to the point is the growth in number of faculty publications and students’ research represented in theses and dissertations. In 1920-25, the five-year mean of faculty publications was 2.4; and these were 16 master’s thesis and zero dissertations. In 1971-80, the figures were 4.1, 82, and 114, respectively.
The growth of our Department is hardly accidental. It is a necessity born of our search for learning. We are a one-company town dominated by a single enterprise. But, unlike mill or mining towns with aggressively defended boundaries, our company must seek outside resources—material, of course, but above all intellectual, especially new fields, new theories, new data, new hypotheses. Without the simulation of differing but complementary ideas, of critical but reciprocally supportive colleagues, no department can create the yeasty setting needed for discovery.
So when we ruminate on change in our Department, we look beyond sheer growth to metastasizing diversity. We shall never again see the commensal simplicity of the 1824 curriculum, the likeness in commitment and learning induced by intellectual experiences identical for every student. Symbiosis rather than commensalism is the more exact term for the source of integration and the outcome of learning which is some highly refined specialty.
There is a bit of diversity in space. Our 501 Ph.D.s come to us from far and wide. The other side of the coin is that our graduates are spread out over the land and beyond. Five hundred and one Carolina Ph.D.s in Sociology have addresses in 41 states, plus D.C., and 32 are in foreign countries. Among those in the states, 27% are still in North Carolina. With five additional states—California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania—we have another 24% for over half of all our Ph.D.s
The chief source of influence differentiating our graduates’ positions in place, status, and vocation is what happens to them in their graduate training. And in that setting, in both University and Department, the range of choice and degree of specialty is ever greater.
A bumper sticker once read, derisively: “If y’all from Carolina (i.e., UNC-CH) honk; from State? Then Moo.” Around the country, ever since the Morrill Act of 1862, “State” schools have been treated as inferior vocational colleges. If they ever were, it is certainly not so now. With a dozen professional schools, more than 60 graduate departments, and a plethora of Programs, Institutes, Curricula, Centers, and Consortiums, we are heavily vocational. It helps to know what we’re about even though we inherit a term traditionally deprecatory—perhaps because we’ve forgotten the etymology of the word vocational.
Graduate work emphasizes special learning that we do not share with others. This is in contrast to undergraduate work fixing on what students have in common, matters linked with knowledge needed by all citizens. The Department is a bridge between the civic universals and the special needs of the workplace. Graduate work is the road to earning a living, more oriented to the marketplace than the civic forum. So we would expect to find the Department reflecting, in some of sociology’s 40-plus subfields, the exquisite specialization that increasingly marks the labor force. Indeed this shows up in the Department’s course offerings. In the first year, 192-21, there were 14 courses; twenty years late, 42; and today, 105 (not all concurrently taught). Among those taught, graduate offerings have come to outnumber the undergraduate courses. Over the years the ratio of UG/Grad fluctuated slightly, in the ‘40s and ‘50s approaching 1: the number of undergraduate courses just slightly larger. Through the ‘60s the ratio dropped and in the last decade reversed 50 years of undergraduate dominance in numbers—about 3 to 1. Comparing enrollments in the undergraduate college with those in graduate plus professional school confirms the priority of graduate work in numbers, and doubtless resources as well.
Intellectual interests multiply. Maybe it’s true that the larger the island of knowledge, the greater its perimeter exposed to the sea of ignorance. The greater the exposure, the more likely that curiosity-provoking differences will be revealed. At the same time the crescive nature of culture increases the likelihood of complementary conceptions which, when identified and articulated, advance our knowledge.
Odum’s department emphasized sociology’s central aim as seeking reliable knowledge—the research function. That goal will be unimaginably realized at the intersection of global exchange among researchers drawing on an exponentially growing backlog of culture.
The tendency toward intellectual provincialism encouraged by specialized vocational training has been offset in this Department by the cosmopolitan interests of faculty who are active in this country and abroad. At home, seven and nine of our faculty, respectively, have presided over the affairs of the ASA and SSS. Lenski should be regarded as a past president, too; since as VP he had to play that role in ASA affairs while the elected president, Reinhard Bendix, disported himself in Europe. Hawley, Lenski, and Elder were elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Some have presided over other professional associations, as Landsberger did with the Latin American Studies Association and Hawley did with the PAA.
A recent letter from Krishnan Namboodiri asserted with some satisfaction that ”the Department has a lot of things to crow about.” He was referring to the National Research Council’s rating of graduate sociology departments. A first reaction was that crowing is unseemly conduct. A second, that crowing is altogether justified. And a third that, if we’ve accomplished a good deal, it’s because in Newton’s aphorism (and as Merton informs us, from many earlier sources) “If we see farther, it’s because we stand on the shoulders of giants.” (See RKM’s “vicennial edition” of “A Shandean Postscript.”)
But this delicate compromise between modesty and gloating soon gave way to indignation (righteous, of course). It is true that the NRC study of the quality and effectiveness of graduate work in more than 100 schools rated our Department above Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, and 90 others. Nut inexplicable errors in calculation placed five others above us, separating us from Jack’s #1 (Chicago) by .46 in quality of graduate faculty and .26 in effectiveness of program. We expect this appalling error to be rectified in the next round.
Actually, there is a familiar ring in the kudos bestowed on the Department. It was far back when the Department of nine members was only 13 years old that it was judged to be “distinguished,” the only department so classified on the campus. About 50 years late, the National Academy of Sciences, through its Conference Board of Associated Research Councils appraised graduate programs in the U>S> The comparison of our Department with 92 other graduate programs produced the highest score on quality of faculty and effectiveness of program—highest scores, that is, among 29 departments at UNC-CH.
Some might wish to dwell on what may be a better measure of worth. That is the extent to which our work is exploited by our peers. After tallying citations across 24 issues of ASR and AJS—the years were 1984 and 1989—Ronald Burt found that ten of our faculty were among the leaders in frequency with which their research was cited. This was confirmed in a 1993 study of full professors in which the work of four was cited more than 100 times; and that of eight of our faculty was cited more than 30 times.
Such a clamor about a very good Department! Still it is not a matter of protesting overmuch; much less a way “to lend verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing tale,” as the Lord High Executioner puts it. It is a quite consistent tale from past to present with good reason to forecast a future of exemplary research, teaching, and service, in order that
The continuity of scholarship . . . may remain unbroken, to clarify our ever changing present and to inform the future with wisdom. (from the inscription on the Robert Woods Bliss Medieval Museum and Collection of pre-Columbia Art, run as apart of on-going research under Harvard’s auspices, Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C.)
Reminiscences by Former Chairs*
(This is a reminiscence written in 1996 after his retirement from Washington State University and was living on the West Coast. It was in a letter to Glen Elder.)
It was a very thoughtful of you to send me a copy of your notes on the departmental history. It is an excellent summary and hits the high points, as I know and recall them. It is shocking for one to find that he is remembered in terms of “an era”, but it is probably traditional to put a label of some sort on a distinctive period.
I have often thought, with a fond nostalgia, of those fine days of the ‘60s. Things did happen. It was one of those combinations of conditions that is all too rare in academic life. As with many universities, financial resources were unusually plentiful, and money was put into those parts of the university that the administration thought could best use it. We were fortunate to have a strong reputation as one of the leading departments, and this gave us a strong base not only to get financial support, but to attract new faculty and promising students. We were lucky in the quality and type of new faculty we were able to attract. In the process, we were able to re-define and re-structure the focus of the department. A very important factor was the quality of the administration at that time: Aycock and Sitterson as Deans then Chancellors, and Bill Friday as president. I doubt if anyone else in the department knew how intelligent, helpful, and supportive they were in many ways. In all my contacts with administrations of other schools, they and the administration and faculty of other schools and departments stick out way above all others. Finally, I think the most important factor was the departmentally oriented unity of the members of our faculty. Too often, a group of talented individuals focus on promoting their own interests and reputations, and see the department as merely a vehicle for achieving their own ends. Basically, we had the reverse of that. Although there were often wide differences of opinion about academic and departmental matters, issues were thoroughly discussed until some agreement was reached on what was for the best of the department and its future. Everyone worked together congenially and, with families, everyone socialized together. And, as we developed a mature group of graduate students, they became, in an important way, a part of the departmental enterprise. It is very gratifying to me, and I am sure it is to others from that period, that the developments of the ‘60s era formed the basis for the successful continuation of departmental excellence.
Mady and I are fortunate to remain in useable physical condition and are enjoying a fairly active life. We have been able to considerable traveling, which we both enjoy very much. We got back a month ago form a brief trip to Ital, but it was truncated by five days when Mady fell and broke an elbow while in Venice, and we flew home for the operation. The cast is now off and she is back to piano and painting, and we are doing a lot of walking to keep in shape for another trip, hopefully, next spring. France again??
In the summer of 1968, I was thrust into the role of Acting Chair of the Department when Charlie Bowerman surprised us all by leaving to accept the Chair position at Washington State. Charlie had been instrumental in bringing me to Chapel Hill as a research associate and assistant professor just seven years before. And I had served him as the Department’s first Assistant Chair for just one year. Gerry Lenski agreed to take over the Chair position in 1969, but I was given the responsibility for filling in for one year while Gerry was on leave.
Four faculty members joined the Department during that year: Cora Bagley, Al Jacobson, Henry Landsberger, and Robert Wilson. Cora was our first Africa-American faculty member. Unfortunately, she stayed for just the one year. She became engaged to Louie Marrett, a poultry scientist working for Upjohn in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I tried very hard to find a position for him at North Carolina State, but that never worked out, and Cora left after that year to get married and to join the faculty at Western Michigan. She later returned to her Ph.D. school, Wisconsin, and has subsequently worked for many years at the National Science Foundation, where she became its Acting Director before retiring in 2015.
Jacobson stayed until the mid-‘70s, when he went back to graduate school for a degree in Public Administration at Stanford. He then settled in the Boston area where his career took him into finance and applied organizational behavior.
Landsberger and Wilson remained on our faculty until retirement.
What made my year most memorable was the campus turmoil over opposition to the Vietnam War. This turmoil spilled over to the classroom where at least one of our graduate classes was disrupted by invading protesters. Some of our junior faculty were particularly supportive of the broad-based student movement and were inclined to heed the occasional call to cancel classes at the times of anti-war rallies. I was put into the uncomfortable position of being asked by the University Administration to make sure that all scheduled classes were held while my own inclinations were strongly anti-war. When the Provost put out a directive requiring chairs to report any missed classes, I finessed my response in this way: I asked faculty to report any classes that were not held, but I did not personally try to check on particular classes taught by particular faculty members. While I suspect that some classes did not meet, no faculty members volunteered this information to me, so I had nothing to report to the Provost.
After leaving the Chair position, I served Lenski as his Assistant Chair and solidified my niche as advocate for the Department’s mission for undergraduate instruction. I served as director of undergraduate studies in the Department for most of the time before I stopped teaching shortly after the turn of the century. I headed our undergraduate Honors program for most of that time and was pleased to see a number of our graduates go on to successful careers in Sociology, as well as in other fields. (I invite readers to see the reports from some of our Honors students towards the end of this Reminiscenes website.)
Until 2014, I worked part-time as an academic advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences, where I was an Associate Dean in the 1980s. A restructuring of that office took that appointment from me. But after some health problems, I am back into some professional activity—in particular, working on this addendum to the Department’s website history section.
My family includes wife Jane Gabin, who has returned to Chapel Hill after working in New York City as a college counselor for the past ten years; daughter Philissa (editor of Chalkbeat, a blog covering the public schools in a number of cities) who is moving to Newburyport, MA with husband, Ben Resnick, a newly ordained rabbi and their son (first grandchild) Jonah; and son William, who runs Ever Laughter Farm north of Hillsborough NC.
Updated July 2016
It was a special pleasure to return to Chapel Hill’s Sociology Department in 1976 as a faculty member after having been a PhD student during 1968-71. When I became chair in 1980, succeeding Krishnan Namboodiri, the faculty remained one of the most distinguished in the nation but had declined in size since the late 1960s. My priority was to grow the faculty by convincing South Building leadership that the department was an underappreciated gem, and that with additional junior and senior faculty appointments it could rise to be ranked among the top three.
Sam Williamson, who was Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, gave me a sympathetic ear. A strategy for expansion was put in place broadly emphasizing the empirical tradition established by Howard Odum and others in the department’s formative decades and later in the 1960s and early 1970s by renowned social statistician Hubert Blalock. While empirically-based social organization was given some priority, faculty recruitment also targeted demographics, cultural sociology, workplace , life-course, and social psychology, among others.
Working with Krishnan, one of the first recruits was Peter Marsden who I had known as an outstanding first year graduate student at the University of Chicago when I was assistant professor there. Peter flourished in the department becoming associate profess and associate chair in 1984 -85 and a valuable sounding board for me. Unfortunately for us, Harvard attracted him as a full professor in 1987 where he later chaired its sociology department for many years.
Between 1980 and 1989, 18 new faculty members joined the department. According to
department records, which I have been informed may be off a year or even two in some cases, they were as follows:
1980-81: Sheryl Kleinman and Peter Marsden
1981-82: Anthony Oberschall
1982-83: Rachel Rosenfeld and Barbara Stenross
1983-84: Howard Aldrich, Francois Nielsen, and Michael Powell
1984-85: Eric Leifer
1985-86: Glen Elder
1986-87: Arnei Kalleberg, Ken Bollen and Barbara Entwisle
1987-88: Peter Bearman
1988-89 : Peter Blau and Judith Blau
1989-90: Melanie Archer and Phil O’Connell
During this period, the department also went after a number of big names who visited, but we came up short in consummating the appointments. These included, among others, Chicago’s Morris Janowitz, Harvard’s Harrison White, Stanford’s Michael Hannon, and Yale’s Albert Reiss. Some years, offers were made to distinguished senior faculty beyond that initially authorized by the Dean. In so doing, we made the argument that all were unlikely to accept but if they did, it would be a coup for the department and the university. Dean Williamson reluctantly agreed.
Total numbers of undergraduates taught was still an important consideration in the size of department faculty that South Building supported. Yet the number of our majors and undergraduate sociology course total enrollments were stagnating in the first part of the 1980s. We decided that the total could be substantially boosted by bringing the popular ( but independent) Curriculum in Industrial Relations under the administration of our department. The recruitment of Howard Aldrich from Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations plus nearly a half dozen of our faculty already teaching and researching in areas linked to industrial relations provided a foundation for this. Howard went on to chair the Curriculum for a substantial period and we also leveraged the large numbers enrolled in this Curriculum to further justify senior appointments that allowed us to recruit Glen Elder from Cornell (as Odum Distinguished Professor) and Arne Kalleberg from Indiana University.
During the 1980s, the department markedly expanded its university-wide influence with Dick Udry heading the Carolina Population Center (followed by Ron
Ron Rindfuss and then Barbara Entwisle over the ensuing two decades) while John Reed (followed by Ken Bollen) assumed leadership of the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (now the Odum Institute). Rising star Craig Calhoun became director of the Center for International Studies. Dick Cramer and Peter Marsden took on visible administrative positions in South Building . Likewise, in 1984, while serving as the Chair of the assembly of Arts and Science Department Chairman, I was asked to head up the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) five-year accreditation study of UNC-Chapel Hill. SACS provided us with license to select a theme for in-depth study. The theme we selected was “The Research University”. Quite a few sociology department faculty played significant roles in the self-study, but none more critical than that of Everett Wilson (then editor of Social Forces) who provided immense assistance in the writing and production of the two voluminous reports and a substantial executive summary, all published in 1985. If one goes back and reviews these volumes, the long-established scholarly values of Chapel Hill’s Department of Sociology can be observed throughout them.
My orientation as department chair was to give the preponderance of weight in annual salary increases to faculty publication of books and articles in the discipline’s top journals. In retrospect, I now regret that I did not provide more weight for good undergraduate teaching and excellent department and university service. One other personal orientation was to keep department faculty bureaucratic needs to a minimum. For example, I typically tried to limit our faulty meetings to no more than 60 minutes. This was not just to provide more time for academic work but also to save a number of our colleagues who tended to get impatient after more than 60 minutes of discussions from saying things that they later regretted.
In 1990, I accepted the position as director of UNC’s Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, which involved shifting my primary faculty appointment to the business school. Arne Kalleberg succeeded me as chair (serving a ten-year term) to be followed by another ten-year term as department chair by Howard Aldrich, both becoming distinguished chaired professors and leaders in the discipline. Having three successive ten -year chairs, I feel, provided greater stability in stewardship that enabled UNC’s Sociology Department to continue to progress and remain one of the nation’s top ranked.
I served as director of the Kenan Institute for 22 years. Combining my training in sociology ( primarily influenced by Amos Hawley but also by Gerhard Lenski, Dick Simpson, and Hubert Blalock) , with later research on business strategy and city competitiveness, I have focused on developing the concept of aerotropolis (airport –driven urban economic development). This concept is the centerpiece of my 2011 book with Greg Lindsay) Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next. A key chapter explicates the role UNC’s sociology faculty played in the evolution of the aerotropolis concept which is now being implemented around the world (see www.aerotropolis.com) .
I remain married to Mary Ann, who received her BA in sociology at UNC in 1971. We have two grown children (Jason in the San Francisco Bay Area and Kimberly in New York City.) Kimberly has provided us with a lovely grandson, William. I’m currently doing a lot of work in Asia where I am advising a number of airports on commercial facilities and serving as the Chief Adviser to the Zhengzhou (China) Aerotropolis under development. I hope to complete another book on airport cities and the aerotropolis by the fall ( 2016) that is to be published in Chinese and English.
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Submitted March 2016
(Gerry prepared this reminiscence just months before his death in December 2015.)
Turbulent Times, Mid ‘60s to early ‘70s
My association with the Carolina Sociology Department began in 1963 when I moved from the University of Michigan. This was at a time when America’s involvement in the
Vietnam War was heating up and the Civil Rights movement was gaining momentum. The famous Greensboro sitin had only recently occurred and Jesse Helms was just launching his career as defender of the old order.
When some of my students at Michigan learned that I was leaving to go to a southern University, one asked me in great puzzlement why I was doing such a thing. I tried to explain that North Carolina was not your typical Southern state (e.g., Gov. Sanford had boldly seconded the nomination of Jack Kennedy at the Democratic National Convention in1960) and that the Carolina sociology department, with faculty like Rupert Vance, Guy Johnson, Dan Price, and Ernie Campbell was not your average sociology department. Furthermore, the changes that were occurring fascinated me both as a sociologist and as a citizen. I doubt, however, that I persuaded him.
By the time I became acting chair for a period in 1966 and regular chair in 1969, developments had heated up considerably, both nationally and locally. Martin Luther King’s famous march on Washington occurred on August 27, 1963, and his assassination in April, 1968 at a time when the Vietnam War was taking a turn for the worse. The infamous Kent State massacre on May 4, 1970, touched off protests on campuses all across the country, including Chapel Hill. Students and many faculty demanded action. A proposal that was becoming highly popular with students at UNC called for the boycotting of final exams and shutting the University down. To deal with a situation that threatened to get out of hand, the faculty senate called a highly unusual meeting to which all faculty members in all parts of the campus (Arts and Sciences, Med School, Law School, Ed School, etc.) were invited.
Some of us who were active in the local chapter of AAUP worried about the precedent that could be set proposed an alternative. Students would be offered the option of postponing final exams until the week prior to the start of the fall semester if they felt morally compelled, as they claimed, to take some meaningful action “in solidarity with the Kent State students.” Happily, this proposal was adopted by the faculty and, to the best of my recollection, the boycott and shutdown never occurred.
Immediately following this highly dramatic meeting, the graduate students in our sociology department held a meeting of their own. This was in response to a recent action by the students in the Department of City and Regional Planning. They had hung a banner from the wall of their building that read “Impeach Nixon,” whom they regarded as a prime cause of the on-going war in Vietnam.
A number of our more politically conscious and militant grad students could not allow the students in City and Regional Planning to be at the forefront of the local anti-war movement. They proposed hanging a more dramatic and challenging banner from the walls of Alumni Building. It would read “[obscenity deleted] Nixon.”
As chair of the department, I was concerned about the ramifications such an act might have for the University and for the Department in particular. Therefore, I asked the organizers of the group if I could offer my opinion at a meeting of all the Department’s grad students on condition that I would leave after I presented my views and they could have their discussion in private.
I learned soon thereafter that they had collectively decided not to take this inflammatory action, in no small measure because of the actions of several more mature students, such as our own Lois MacGillivray and a grad student from Political Science, a recently returned radicalized veteran of infantry action in the jungles of Vietnam and student leader of the antiwar movement They had both spoken against the proposed action, and he had apparently carried the day by referring to remarks of one of our more verbose and pompous students as “infantile radicalism.”*
Not all developments in those years had such happy outcomes. For example, there was an arson attempt by persons unknown on the top floor of Alumni Building one dark night that left many of us feeling uneasy. There was also a protest march one day through Alumni Building with the protesters disrupting a class taught by Professor Simpson whose chief offense seems to have been having his class at the wrong place at the wrong time. Within the Department there was an effort by several of the more radical junior faculty to take greater control of departmental governance. This was averted at a meeting I had one evening with the untenured faculty when, in the spirit of participatory democracy, I asked to hear the views of a number of those present, such as John Reed, Peter Uhlenberg, and Dick Rockwell, who had been conspicuously silent while the advocates of change expressed their view. Once they made their views known, it quickly became clear that the advocates for radical change in departmental governance lacked a broad base of support even among the untenured members of the Department.
On a larger stage there was the highly disruptive foodworkers’ strike brought on by years of unfair labor practices by the University and, later by the franchise that was hired to run the dining facilities. A number of departmental faculty (e.g., Henry Landsberger and Tad Blalock) actively supported the workers. Tad went so far as to use the equity of his own house to provide bail for several sociology grad students who had been arrested on one occasion (an action for which he received no thanks from the students involved). Anti-war students and faculty were active on various fronts in those years, with one of the more striking examples being a trip of several busloads of AAUP and supportive students (including a goodly representation from the Sociology Department) who had arranged a formal meeting with the entire assembled North Carolina Congressional delegation (all of whom were present except Sen. Sam Ervin) to express our views on the War. At the last minute, Dan Okun, then president of the UNC chapter of the AAUP, asked yours truly to make a basic presentation on the delegation’s behalf.
While all these events and activities were going on, the normal business of the Department continued–teaching classes, conducting research, and service to the community and state. One of the more urgent administrative tasks of the era was faculty recruitment. This was especially important at this time because the University was undergoing rapid expansion. When I arrived in 1963 the student body numbered less than ten thousand, if memory serves me; it more than doubled by the time my time as chair ended. New faculty were badly needed, and this was both a golden opportunity and a risk Good appointments would benefit the Department for years to come, but weak ones would be costly well into the future. Fortunately, I believe we did a good job, recruiting a number of people who brought added strength and prominence to the Department: Tad Blalock (later President of the American Sociological Association), Amos Hawley (another future ASA President), Glen Elder (future ASA Vice President), Leonard Cottrell (Past President of ASA), Everett K. Wilson (later Vice President of the ASA), John Reed, Henry Landsberger, and Krishnan Namboodiri, among others.
These appointments laid a foundation for further successful recruitment in the years that followed. These included, among others, Peter Blau and Arne Kalleberg (two more ASA Presidents). Criag Calhoun (now director of the London School of Economics), Peter Marsden (now on the Harvard faculty), Jack Kasarda, Howard Aldrich, and Tony Oberschall. There was, however, one serious loss when Tad Blalock resigned in 1971 in protest against what he regarded as the unjustified firing of an untenured faculty member by the Chancellor.
Another significant development in the late 1960s was the appointment in successive years of two African-American sociologists as visiting professors to the faculty and also the active recruitment to the graduate program of black graduate students (an effort led by Blalock, Cramer, Jim Wiggins, and Lenski). These efforts led to the appointment of Cora Bagwell Marrett as the department’s first AfricanAmerican in a tenure track position** and to the temporary appointment of Joe Himes, our distinguished neighbor at North Carolina Central University as a Visiting Professor.*** I believe it safe to say that during these years the Sociology Department was at the forefront of the struggle to make UNC a more inclusive and racially integrated institution.
While the political controversies made headlines, they were not the whole story. Much more was going on. In all of this, it was my good fortune as Chair to have Dick Cramer as Assistant Chair and Babe Andrew as Office Manager. Neither title begins to describe their contributions to the Department. Both were invaluable repositories of information about the University and the Department, the people involved, and the ways to get things done while avoiding unnecessary problems. Babe’s network of friends scattered all over the campus was especially invaluable and used to the department’s benefit on numerous occasions.
If the activities described above were not enough to keep us busy, the announcement by the University Administration of the decision to move the Department from Alumni Building to a new Hamilton Hall added a time consuming but important new element. We could have left the design of the new facilities to the University’s planners and saved ourselves a lot of time. We believed, however, that we (i.e., the Department faculty) understood the needs better than others, so we invested considerable time in and attention to the planning process. For example, my time as chair while in Alumni Building taught me one small lesson: the chairperson needs a back door entrance as an exit to his or her office for a variety of reasons ranging from the biological to the political.
Another development in these years was the introduction of an executive committee to work with the chair in oversight of the department. Prior to the rapid expansion of the Department in the 1960s, the faculty was small enough that it could manage its affairs sitting around a small table in a kind of “participatory democracy.” As numbers increased, however, this arrangement became more unwieldy and time-consuming, so I proposed the creation of an elected Executive Committee, with all ranks of the full-time faculty. Though this proposal met with some resistance from several of the more verbose faculty, who appeared to love protracted meetings and felt deprived by the change, the majority saw the tradeoff as beneficial.
One final set of developments in these years that merits comment is the relation of the Department to various special interest groups. During the 1960s, two such groups separated from the Department to form new departments of their own: Anthropology and Recreation Administration. Guy Johnson was an exception to the usual pattern and chose to serve in both Sociology and Anthropology.
Meanwhile, the department continued its close and fruitful relationship with the Howard Odum Institute for Research in Social Science, with the appointment of John Reed as director of the Institute and Lib Fink and Angel Beza continuing as major staff members. Harvey Smith continued as head of the medical sociology unit, but it became a focus of controversy when Cecil Sheps, Vice Chancelor for Health Affairs and Prof. Smith pressured the department to devote more of its resources (i.e., faculty positions) to medical sociology and the department resisted (in no small measure because of familiarity with the bad experience of Yale’s Sociology Department which had gone that route). Relations with the Population Center, and especially with its head, Moye Fryman, were another source of problems and tension in those years. In contrast, we were probably a source of annoyance to the Law School as we tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade them to join with us in recruiting a distinguished specialist in the sociology of law who had indicated an interest in coming to Chapel Hill. Finally, again on a more positive note, the Department collaborated with the School of Social Work to create a new joint degree program, and we developed much closer and very positive relations with the Department of Political Science with whom we came to share the newly constructed Hamilton Hall and a small library and librarian.
By way of summing up, I believe the mid-to—late 1960s and early 1970 were, on the whole, good years for the Department, even if they were turbulent and stressful. The Department was seldom in the good graces of the local powers-that-be (i.e., South Building, the Law School, and the History and Chemistry departments),**** but our rising reputation on the national stage, as reflected in national rankings (I believe we went from 10th to 8th in those years, no small achievement at that level in the rankings; only the Classics Department had a higher ranking in its field at UNC) made it difficult for the powers-that-be to be as punitive as they might often have wished.***** Perhaps they had also grown a bit more adjusted to the strange customs of our tribe which they first encountered many years earlier in the sometimes outrageous behavior of Howard Odum (founder of the department). Way back in the “good old days” when almost everyone else knew his place in society, Odum’s protégé, Guy Johnson, had had the effrontery to invite an African-American scholar to be a visiting lecturer in the Department and, worse yet, to invite him to his home to share a meal.
But what can you expect from sociologists and people like that?
After three years as chairman of the department, I was happy to step down in 1972, especially since my parents now needed much greated assistance. ****** I continued teaching, writing, and working with grad students until my increasing deafness and my then wife, Jean’s serious illness forced me to give up teaching in 1986. I finally retired entirely in 1992, and Jean died in 1994.
Subsequently, I married Tad Blalock’s widow, Ann, 1996. (He had died in 1991.) After two years of trying to maintain residences simultaneously in Chapel Hill and Seattle, I sold my home in Chapel Hill and Ann and I settled in the Seattle area where three of Ann’s three children still live. (My four children were and are scattered from Michigan to South Carolina.) In recent years, Ann has written two novels, one titled “The Letters,” the other a children’s novel titled “Lost in the Alps.” I have, with Patrick Nolan, continued to revise and update “Human Societies now in its 12th edition (2015) and published “EcologicalEvolutionary Theory: Principles and Applications” (2005). The high point of my professional life in the postretirement years has been the receipt in 2002 of the American Sociological Association’s Career of Distinguished Scholarship Award.
*Quoting the famous German socialist, Karl Kautsky.
** Unfortunately, Cora left Carolina after a short time to take a tenured position in the Sociology Department at Western Michigan and from there to her alma mater, the Univedrsity of Wisconsin She left largely because North Carolina State’s poultry science department was unable or unwilling to find a position for her husband, a professional in that field.
*** I was told by the state university system that one branch of the university was forbidden from competing with another.
**** We did, however, remain on friendly terms with Bill Friday, President of the University system.
***** Though it is noteworthy that they took advantage of every opportunity that came their way, as illustrated by the series of events that led to Blalock’s resignation. ****** My father, age 80, had been robbed and beaten badly in broad daylight on the streets of Washington, D.C., losing sight in one eye and suffering damage to the other. With my parents requiring greatlt increased help, I brought them to Chapel Hill and gasve up my Department chairmanship.
******* I may be contacted by regular mail at 1661174th Place West, Edmonds, WA 98026 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Submitted October 17, 2015
It was a special pleasure to return to Chapel Hill’s Sociology Department in 1976 as a faculty member after having been a PhD student during 1968-71. When I became chair in 1980, succeeding Krishnan Namboodiri, the faculty remained one of the most distinguished in the nation but had declined in size since the late 1960s. My priority was to grow the faculty by convincing South Building leadership that the department was an underappreciated gem, and that with additional junior and senior faculty appointments it could rise to be ranked among the top three.
Sam Williamson, who was Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, lent me a sympathetic ear. A strategy for expansion was put in place broadly emphasizing the empirical tradition established by Howard Odum and others in the department’s formative decades and later in the 1960s and early 1970s by renowned social statistician Hubert Blalock. While empirically-based social organization was given some priority, faculty recruitment also targeted demographics, cultural sociology, workplace, life-course, and social psychology, among others.
Working with Krishnan, one of the first recruits was Peter Marsden who I had known as an outstanding first year graduate student at the University of Chicago when I was assistant professor there. Peter flourished in the department becoming associate professor and associate chair in 1984 -85 and a valuable sounding board for me. Unfortunately for us, Harvard attracted him as a full professor in 1987 where he later chaired its sociology department for many years.
Between 1980 and 1989, 18 new faculty members joined the department. According to department records, which I have been informed may be off a year or even two in some cases, they were as follows:
1980-81: Sheryl Kleinman and Peter Marsden
1981-82: Anthony Oberschall
1982-83: Rachel Rosenfeld and Barbara Stenross
1983-84: Howard Aldrich, Francois Nielsen, and Michael Powell
1984-85: Eric Leifer
1985-86: Glen Elder
1986-87: Arnei Kalleberg, Ken Bollen and Barbara Entwisle
1987-88: Peter Bearman
1988-89 : Peter Blau and Judith Blau
1989-90: Melanie Archer and Phil O’Connell
During this period, the department also went after a number of big names who visited, but we came up short in consummating the appointments. These included, among others, Chicago’s Morris Janowitz, Harvard’s Harrison White, Stanford’s Michael Hannon, and Yale’s Albert Reiss. Some years, offers were made to distinguished senior faculty beyond that initially authorized by the Dean. In so doing, we made the argument that all were unlikely to accept but if they did, it would be a coup for the department and the university. Dean Williamson reluctantly agreed.
Total numbers of undergraduates taught were still an important consideration in the size of department faculty that South Building supported. Yet the number of our majors and undergraduate sociology course total enrollments were stagnating in the first part of the 1980s. We decided that the total could be substantially boosted by bringing the popular (but independent) Curriculum in Industrial Relations under the administration of our department. The recruitment of Howard Aldrich from Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations plus nearly a half dozen of our faculty already teaching and researching in areas linked to industrial relations provided a foundation for this. Howard went on to chair the Curriculum for a substantial period and we also leveraged the large numbers enrolled in this Curriculum to further justify senior appointments that allowed us to recruit Glen Elder from Cornell (as Odum Distinguished Professor) and Arne Kalleberg from Indiana University.
During the 1980s, the department markedly expanded its university-wide influence with Dick Udry heading the Carolina Population Center (followed by Ron
Ron Rindfuss and then Barbara Entwisle over the ensuing two decades) while John Reed (followed by Ken Bollen) assumed leadership of the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (now the Odum Institute). Rising star Craig Calhoun became director of the Center for International Studies. Dick Cramer and Peter Marsden took on visible administrative positions in South Building. Likewise, in 1984, while serving as the Chair of the assembly of Arts and Science Department Chairman, I was asked to head up the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) five-year accreditation study of UNC-Chapel Hill. SACS provided us with license to select a theme for in-depth study. The theme we selected was “The Research University.” Quite a few sociology department faculty played significant roles in the self-study, but none more critical than that of Everett Wilson (then editor of Social Forces) who provided immense assistance in the writing and production of the two voluminous reports and a substantial executive summary, all published in 1985. If one goes back and reviews these volumes, the long-established scholarly values of Chapel Hill’s Department of Sociology can be observed throughout them.
My orientation as department chair was to give the preponderance of weight in annual salary increases to faculty publication of books and articles in the discipline’s top journals. In retrospect, I now regret that I did not provide more weight for good undergraduate teaching and excellent department and university service. One other personal orientation was to keep department faculty bureaucratic needs to a minimum. For example, I typically tried to limit our faulty meetings to no more than 60 minutes. This was not just to provide more time for academic work but also to save a number of our colleagues who tended to get impatient after more than 60 minutes of discussions from saying things that they later regretted.
In 1990, I accepted the position as director of UNC’s Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, which involved shifting my primary faculty appointment to the business school. Arne Kalleberg succeeded me as chair (serving a ten-year term). After his successor, Rachel Rosenfeld, sadly passed away after just two years, Howard Aldrich served another ten-year term as department chair. All three-Kalleberg, Rosenfeld, and Aldrich-were both distinguished chaired professors and leaders in the discipline. Having three ten -year chairs in a period of 32 years, I feel, provided greater stability in stewardship that enabled UNC’s Sociology Department to continue to progress and remain one of the nation’s top ranked.
I served as director of the Kenan Institute for 22 years. Combining my training in sociology (primarily influenced by Amos Hawley but also by Gerhard Lenski, Dick Simpson, and Hubert Blalock) , with later research on business strategy and city competitiveness, I have focused on developing the concept of aerotropolis (airport –driven urban economic development). This concept is the centerpiece of my 2011 book with Greg Lindsay) Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next. A key chapter explicates the role UNC’s sociology faculty played in the evolution of the aerotropolis concept which is now being implemented around the world (see www.aerotropolis.com).
I remain married to Mary Ann, who received her BA in sociology at UNC in 1971. We have two grown children (Jason in the San Francisco Bay Area and Kimberly in New York City.) Kimberly has provided us with a lovely grandson, William. I’m currently doing a lot of work in Asia where I am advising a number of airports on commercial facilities and serving as the Chief Adviser to the Zhengzhou (China) Aerotropolis under development. I hope to complete another book on airport cities and the aerotropolis by the fall (2016) that is to be published in Chinese and English.
Submitted March 2016
I became Chair of the Sociology Department in 1990 and served for two 5-year terms (1990-2000). My predecessor was Jack Kasarda, who also served two five-year terms as Chair, from 1980-1990. Jack’s tenure as Chair was marked by a period of great expansion: he was a very competitive recruiter who was responsible for hiring many stellar faculty members during the 1980s. The 1990s ushered in a period of greater austerity and budget cuts, and so maintaining our excellence rather than expanding the size of the Department became the main challenge. Nevertheless, we continued to hire and retain many first-rate faculty members and continued to build on the traditions established by Howard W. Odum in 1920. This brief summary notes a few major highlights from my decade as Sociology Department Chair.
The Department’s stature was reaffirmed by the 1993 National Research Council study and by the 1994 U.S. News and World Report rankings, which ranked our program fifth in the nation. The external review team that visited the Department in 1994 concurred with this ranking and gave high marks to our faculty members and to our graduate and undergraduate programs.
Throughout the decade, our faculty members continued to produce a steady stream of widely cited books and articles, along with grant proposals and well-trained graduate students. Sociology faculty members were recognized for their achievements in numerous ways, from endowed chairs within the University to awards and elected offices in professional associations (primarily presidents of the Population Association of America and the Southern Sociological Society, but also offices within the American Sociological Association). Sociology faculty members were especially influential and visible leaders in several key areas of the discipline, notably: linking explanations of social phenomena at macroscopic and microscopic levels of analyses; incorporating demographic perspectives into the mainstream of sociology; developing historical and structural models of society and cultural production; and understanding better the organizational and other institutional bases of social stratification.
As the Department gained in stature and strength during the 1990-2000 period, however, its faculty were increasingly coopted to serve the University in ways other than the Sociology Department: Howard Aldrich (Chair, Curriculum in Industrial Relations), Craig Calhoun (Acting Dean of the Graduate School; Director, University Center for International Studies), Glen Elder (Co-Director, Carolina Consortium for Human Development), Jack Kasarda (Director, Kenan Institute for Private Enterprise), John Reed (Director, Institute for Research in Social Science), and Ron Rindfuss (Director, Carolina Population Center). Their leadership of these institutes and centers on the UNC-CH campus reflected the multidisciplinary orientation of many sociology faculty members.
The Department’s reputation was also firmly enhanced by the high quality of our graduate students. Our graduate program continued to turn out well-trained Ph.D.’s ready for careers in both academic and non-academic sectors. Our graduate alumni held highly desirable positions in both academic and nonacademic settings. We did not rest on our laurels during this period, however. The 1994 external review of the Department suggested ways we could improve our already strong graduate and undergraduate programs. The external review committee’s report provided us with the opportunity to consider ways to adapt our curricula to changes in the discipline of sociology and society more generally. As a result, we streamlined our graduate program and enhanced our undergraduate program by creating a more coherent set of prerequisites for upper-level courses.
A major event during this decade was the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Sociology Department, held on March 29, 1996. Well over a hundred current and former faculty and graduate students, as well as other friends of the Department, gathered at the George Watts Hill Alumni Center to hear reminiscences from former faculty members Daniel Price, Gerhard Lenski, Peter Marsden, Amos Hawley, George Simpson and Everett Wilson as well as the after-dinner reflections of John Reed and Jack Kasarda. [Pictures from the event to be added.]
Two other notable events during this period were the first and second Howard W. Odum Graduate Symposiums. The first, held on March 18, 1995, was devoted to the theme of “Time Matters: History in the Sociology of Work” and featured distinguished speakers from various universities. The second, held on March 21, 1998, honored the work of Gerhard Lenski and brought to campus many of his former advisees.
There also important changes taking place in the discipline of Sociology, the University and our society during this period, and the Department sought to anticipate and adapt to them. For example, the growing internationalization in social research and ideas was reflected in the increasing emphasis on cross-national and global projects conducted by faculty members and graduate students. The expanding multidisciplinary nature of the social sciences was noted above, as Sociology faculty members played major roles in advancing the integration among disciplines.
There were also numerous opportunities for research and teaching created by advances in computers and electronics. In response to these challenges, we upgraded the Sociology Department’s Odum Graduate Computer Center (located on the second floor of Hamilton Hall), which had long been a center of graduate student activity in the Department. The addition of over a dozen powerful computers (along with new furniture, carpeting, etc.) made the Odum Lab a state-of-the-art facility permitting students to do research, as well as to improve our use of computer instruction in undergraduate methods classes.
Throughout the decade, the Department also continued to support the journal Social Forces, which remained a top-ranked general social science journal and was superbly edited during this period by Richard Simpson.
The Sociology Department thus ended the 20th century where it began in the early years of the century, when it was judged “distinguished” in the 1930s in an American Council of Education evaluation.
Life After Chair
After stepping down as Sociology Department Chair on June 30, 2000, my wife Judith and I spent the 2000-1 academic year as a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation. A respite from the demands of departmental life and the real world enabled me to focus on my research. I was able to concentrate intensively on his various projects, particularly on writing a book and several articles related to employers’ motivations for using flexible staffing arrangements (part-time, temporary and contract work) and the consequences for individuals of working in these nonstandard employment relations. We returned to Chapel Hill in early July 2001, bringing with us memories of what life is like in “The City.”
During the next decade, I was involved in a series of University administrative positions: Senior Associate Dean of the Graduate School (2001-2004), Senior Associate Dean for Social Sciences and International Programs in the College of Arts and Sciences (2004-2007), and Director of International Programs in the College of Arts and Sciences (2007-2008).
Concurrently with these University and College administrative appointments, I remained very involved with Sociology, serving as Secretary of the American Sociological Association (2001-2004) and as its President in 2007-2008. I also served as Acting Chair of the Sociology Department in 2003, during Rachel Rosenfeld’s illness, before handing over the reins of the Department to Howard Aldrich. In July 2010, I took over the editorship of Social Forces. An overview of my scholarly activities can be seen in my CV (www.unc.edu/~arnekal).
On a personal note, Judith and I continue to love living in Chapel Hill. Among other benefits, we are close to our three children (who live in Raleigh, Charlotte and Nashville) and our three grandchildren (who live in Raleigh and Nashville).
Submitted September 2015
I assumed the chairmanship in the spring of 2003, taking over from Arne Kalleberg, who in turn had stepped in as interim chair (2002 – 2003) when Rachel Rosenfeld became too ill to carry on as chair. We were indeed fortunate to have Arne available to step in, as I know he had not planned to return to the job after stepping down in 2000! I certainly was not ready to immediately step in in midyear, and so he performed an incredibly valuable service to the department by serving as interim chair in the transition from Rachel to me. Over the spring of 2003, as I gradually learned the job, Arne turned over more and more of the reins to me.
Social Forces: reorganizing and stabilizing the production and finances
In 1922, Howard Odum established our department’s Journal, Social Forces, in cooperation with the University of North Carolina Press. For decades, that arrangement worked very well, and the Odum Institute housed the managing editor of Social Forces and played an intermediary role between the Journal and the press. The Journal also had a cooperative relationship with the Southern Sociological Society, although it was never the “official” Journal of the society. Instead, the cooperation with the society was informal, operating through an understanding that the society could have some influence over the trajectory of the journal. The Department made reports to the publications committee of SSS at its annual meeting. When I became chair in 2003, I began to look into all aspects of the journal’s production and cooperative relationships.
We eventually parted ways with the Southern Sociological Society, which went on to establish its own journal.
I discovered that over the years, the Journal had actually been earning a surplus and the money was being held for the Journal in the accounts of the UNC press. When I became chair and after taking advice from Arne Kalleberg, I told the Institute that we wanted to cleanly separate the Journal from the Odum Institute and take over the production within the department. The Institute was reluctant to accept the proposed new arrangement, especially because the managing editor of the Journal was also a full-time employee of the Institute and earned about half of his salary for duties on Social Forces.
I looked into the historical records of the Journal and discovered that there was never an agreement that gave the Odum Institute official control over the Journal or even spelled out what the relationship should actually be. A series of meetings ensued, involving UNC’s lawyers, who looked up the records, before we finally resolved the issue. We eventually agreed to a new arrangement, with the current managing editor of the journal staying with the Odum Institute as a full-time employee, necessitating that the Journal hire a new person. UNC Press agreed with our interpretation of the documents, and as a goodwill gesture, we made a payment to the Institute for its role in ensuring that the Journal had been well-managed and had accumulated a surplus.
After the Department began directly managing the journal, we continued to use UNC Press to publish the Journal and engage in some marketing activities on our behalf. Mostly, however, they just managed the subscription process and the printing of the journal. They also were charging us a yearly fee to hold the Social Forces surplus in one of their accounts. Upon the advice of the journal’s internal advisory board, I began to explore the advantages of discontinuing our relationship with the UNC Press and moving to a self-publishing model. Our new managing editor, Jane Shealy, was experienced in the publishing industry and helped us set up a procedure for publishing the Journal ourselves. As with the Odum Institute’s relationship to the journal, many issues had to be resolved before we could cleanly separate ourselves from the Press, and again UNC’s lawyers were involved. We eventually created a new endowed fund in the department where we placed the surplus we had earned from the journal, and begin depositing our subsequent earnings.
We contracted out the printing of the journal to an outside press. We also began to do our own marketing but continued to use the press for subscription fulfillment.
Word got out that we were a profitable journal and that we were also a self-publishing journal. Commercial and university presses began soliciting us as a potential customer to either be acquired or to enter into a contract relationship with them. I received several unsolicited proposals and they piqued my curiosity with respect to how well we might do with a larger operation handling our publication and marketing. After resisting for a number of years, conversations with the managing editor and the internal advisory board convinced me that we should seriously explore contracting out the publication of Social Forces. Accordingly, the managing editor (Jane Shealy) helped prepare an incredibly comprehensive request for proposals which we sent out to the publishing world.
We received six serious proposals, including one from UNC Press. After reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of the proposals, we narrowed the field down to two: Duke University Press and Oxford University Press. Despite the intense rivalry between Duke and Carolina, we took very seriously the Duke University proposal but ultimately decided to go with Oxford University Press. Three factors were decisive: they promised a signing bonus; they convinced us that their global marketing apparatus would increase the visibility of the journal; and they had extensive experience with professionalizing journal production. By this point, Arne Kalleberg was the journal’s editor and he had a strong plan for globalizing Social Forces’ editorial board, as well as the content of the journal.
Between the surplus already accumulated by the Journal in the years we were managing it ourselves and then the signing bonus, we were able to create a large endowed fund. That fund generated a substantial amount of interest each year, benefitting the department in a variety of ways. Since signing with OUP, the Journal has gone global, with affiliates in many countries and an international editorial board. Through OUP, we also gained professional marketing operations, access to their considerable journal expertise (including analytics), and other benefits. I’m very proud of that accomplishment.
Endowed Funds: a new direction for the department
When I became chair, we had only two endowed funds– – the Odum fund, established back in the 1950s by an alumnus in honor of her professor, Howard W. Odum, and the Doris Selo Fund, in honor of a student who had been in the graduate program. I knew from talking to other department chairs that more could be done. The first new fund was created by the Rosenfeld family in 2004, in honor of Rachel Rosenfeld, and the fund quickly grew to the point where it was able to support many teaching activities in the department, including purchasing teaching magazines and journals and supporting students in the senior honors’ thesis program. Another early fund we created was the Jack W Daum Fund, created by Penny Daum Aldrich in honor of her late father, with the funds used to support departmental workshops. Almost since its inception, that fund has been used to pay for the annual budget of the culture and politics workshop. Other funds followed.
Eventually, the development office suggested to us that we be more proactive about raising external funds and I set up a committee of eminent faculty and alums to explore the possibility: Glen Elder, Amos Hawley, and Ray Mack. They suggested creating a fund to be called the Fund for Faculty Excellence, and we set about soliciting donations. They set an ambitious goal – – $100,000 – – which the fund has yet to reach. However, we discovered that many alumni were very willing to donate to such a fund, and a few large donations have pushed the fund closer to its target.
We now have nine named funds in the department. Most are structured so that the funds can be spent at the discretion of the chair, except for the Odum Fund, which supports the Odum Professorship, and the Gary Grosball fund, which must be spent on Management & Society activities.
Reorganizing the Departmental Administrative Structure
In 2003, the department was in the administrative “dark ages,” in terms of information technology. Everything was archived as paper records, communications within the department were all on paper, and the department’s website was rudimentary. Given that the College was also in the “dark ages,” everything they sent to us was on paper, as well. In addition to an administrative manager, student services manager, a part-time accountant and a receptionist, there were also three secretaries for a faculty of about 20 people. Over the next few years, all of that changed.
In the middle of my first year on the job, our department manager decided to retire and she was replaced with someone who had been a staff member but not a department manager in another department. In the first few months on the job, she made major changes in the department, beginning with a staff shakeup. It looked like there was simply not enough secretarial work to justify keeping three secretaries busy, and so we made a deal with the College to downsize the department secretarial staff in exchange for being able to offer more hours to our accounting technician. Needless to say, this change was not well received by some and it took a while for the dust to settle.
For a year or two, I tried to keep up with filing paper copies of memos and documents in the metal file cabinet that I inherited, but I eventually realized it was hopeless and gave up. We gradually moved the department away from paper copies of documents into digitizing documents and saving them on the College server. Over the next decade, we upgraded the department’s webpage several times, eventually creating a departmental intranet on which we put all official documents, including all official procedures, reports, and rules and regulations. It also became the repository of the minutes of faculty meetings. Prior to 2003, it was really impossible to discern what happened in faculty meetings by way of governance decisions, but eventually, with meeting notes being archived and committee reports being archived as well, a digital trail was established.
I also created an extensive directory structure on the hard drive of the chair’s computer and archived all communications. This made it possible for the next chair to look up correspondence regarding recruiting, appointments, and college matters, without having to track me down and asked me orally what it happened! Max Weber was right: good bureaucracies keep good files, although not on paper anymore.
Procedures for making decisions on awards were standardized and written down and then digitized and archived. For example, we set up procedures for choosing the Odum award winner and the Wilson award winner, and then made sure that they were followed from one year to the next. Job descriptions for various positions were formalized, such as the assistant to the director of undergraduate studies.
The department benefited from a change in College policy regarding a department’s ability to carry forward unused funds from its instructional budget to the next year. Historically, the college “took back” unused instructional budget funds, but by the time I became chair, that had changed and departments were able to hold onto funds they hadn’t spent on instructional budget. The instructional budget could only be used for graduate teaching assistants and adjunct and temporary instructors. In allowing the department to carry forward the funds, we were able to smooth out somewhat the year-to-year fluctuations in the size of the instructional budget due to people getting buyouts from grants and administrative assignments. However, as our faculty succeeded in winning ever larger research awards, the size of our surplus grew each year and the college came to us with a proposal: we could “sell back” some of the surplus to the college, in return for a bump up in the permanent allocation they gave us in our instructional budget. That turned out to be a very good deal for us, and over the course of my tenure as chair, we essentially doubled the size of the permanent instructional budget through these deals. The College no longer allows buy-backs of surplus funds, unfortunately.
We made big changes in the physical plant of the department. The chair’s office was eventually broken into a smaller office for the chair and an office of nearly equal size for the Odum professor, with a new entrance for just the Odum professor. The mailroom area was reorganized and redone several times, and the kitchen was completely rehabilitated, under the watchful eye of a subsequent department manager (Sandy Wilcox). Sandy was very good at designing livable spaces; for example, she also created a new graduate lounge as part of the Odum lab on the second floor.
Other departments have expressed envy when they’ve seen that look of our department, with its sleek kitchen, streamlined mail area, coffee machines, and graduate lounge.
Growing the Faculty
Prior to 2003, the size of the department had fluctuated somewhat over the past few decades. It had dropped to around 20 full-time equivalent faculty when I assumed the position of chair. I received assurances from the Dean that we could begin replacing some of the people who’d retired or left, and began to do that in part by finding opportunities to collaborate with other programs on campus. For example, we made joint hires with the Carolina Asia Center and with the Lineberger Cancer Center. These two hires facilitated the department’s global orientation in its teaching and research, as well as expanding our reach into health and social welfare issues.
At our highest point, we were back up to nearly 26 full-time equivalent faculty members. Unfortunately, other universities have taken advantage of our excellent recruiting and have hired away several of our faculty.
However, we were able to eventually replace our retired Odum professor, Glen Elder, with a stellar hire: Robert Hummer, whom we hired from the University of Texas. As Bob reminded me recently, we pursued him for almost seven years before he finally said “yes” to us. He wanted to finish out his obligations at Texas, a great sign that we hired a scholar of strong personal integrity for the job. Strictly speaking, Glen is not really considered “retired,” because he maintains a research professor position at the University and in 2016 he was still active in research and working with students.
Life After Chair
In the fall semester, 2014, Penny and I visited Denmark and Sweden. I was a visiting professor at the Copenhagen Business school and then spent several weeks in Sweden, first at the Stockholm School of Economics and then at the University of Lund. The visit gave me a chance to renew old friendships and finish several papers that I’ve been working on with my former student, Tiantian Yang, who is now at Duke. My friends know that over the past 25 years or so, I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Scandinavia, initially mostly in Norway, but over the last decade, mostly in Denmark and Sweden. I have to admit that great restaurants are one of the attractions of the region, but their governments also collect massive amounts of longitudinal data on the citizenry, creating datasets which are incomparable in terms of coverage.
I continue to offer my sociology teaching seminar which all of our graduate students must take before they can teach their own course. Graduate students also come to me with their teaching problems, and I’ve been using what I learned through my teaching of this course to write occasional blog posts, as well as contribute a column to The National Teaching and Learning Forum. I’ve taken on the post of Director of Undergraduate Studies, which enables me to supervise the year-long sociology honors thesis course. Working with students who are undertaking major research projects for the first time has given me new insights into the issues of concern to our sociology majors.
Penny and I have two sons, Steven and Daniel, both of whom were Morehead scholars at Carolina. Steven majored in physics, spent several years working in investment banking, and then after earning an MBA at Stanford, spent the past 25 years with various startups in Silicon Valley. Having a serial entrepreneur as a son has been great for my research program, as almost all of my publications over the past few decades have been about entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial teams, and the startup process. Steven and his wife Allison live in the San Francisco Bay area with their son, Jackson, a ferocious soccer player, just like his father. Our other son, Daniel, majored in political science and Asian studies at Carolina, earned a Master’s degree in Asian studies at UC Berkeley, and finished his education with a PhD in government at Harvard. He’s currently a Professor of Political Science and Public policy at Northeastern University, in Boston, and runs a Center for the Study of Resilience. He and his wife Yael have four children, and with Boston being a one half hour direct flight from RDU, we see them fairly often. When I eventually retire, one of my projects is to make sure that as many of my grandchildren as possible become proficient as fly fishermen.
Submitted November 2016
*At the time of this preparation in 2015, the following were deceased chairs: Odum (1920-54); Noland (1949-57); Bowerman (1957-68); Namboodiri (1975-80); and Rosenfeld (2000-2003)
Faculty, Past and Present
My association with the North Carolina Sociology Department did not last very long. I came in the fall of 1971 before finishing my PhD from Columbia (those were the days when that was common) and I finished it in early 1973, when I became an Assistant Professor instead of just Acting. By then I had met a star undergraduate sociology student, Cindy Kenyon. Her professors were urging her to go on as a graduate student, but one day, after getting to know me well, she said that I seemed to be spending my whole life writing term papers. I agreed, but said I was good at it, liked it, and since someone was paying me for this, why not continue? She, however, decided this was not for her, and wanted to have a business career instead. She also felt that she didn’t want to stay in Chapel Hill but preferred to live in a big city. So when I got an offer to move to the University of Washington in Seattle, I took it. We got married and went there in late 1974. Cindy went to business school for an MBA, and went on to have a very successful banking career. Now she still does consulting, though for non-profits that can use her management skills.
I suppose our relationship back then would today be considered against the rules, but now that we have been very happily married 42 years and have two grown, also happily married daughters, I hope we can be forgiven.
Being in the Department in Chapel Hill was a pleasant experience, and I got a lot of work done as well as learning to pilot a small plane. I had some very good friends and a few excellent students with whom I stayed in touch afterward. I wrote my first real sociology article with Charles Ragin, who was then a student. I saw John and Dale Reed often, and on many afternoons went to John’s office to play chess. I’m afraid, however, that he gave me a somewhat overly nice sense of what the South was like, something that it took me years to overcome. It really isn’t that nice, and that has become very obvious in recent years. But I still admire John’s work and sense of humor. The famous older professors in the Department were very kind and supportive – Gerhard Lenski, Dick Simpson, Henry Landsberger, and Ev Wilson in particular. They did a lot to show me how good sociology could be, and how to be a serious professional. I think of them often, especially as I am now older than they were then.
In Seattle I did well, and have loved the fact that over time it became an exceptionally dynamic, cosmopolitan city. At the same time, it is very near some real mountain wilderness and the Pacific. We hiked a lot, learned to sail, and raised our children here.
But with time, I lost interest in sociology. My colleagues here were very good, and even now that Department has a lot of able young people. Eventually, however, I realized that the students, especially the undergraduates, did not share my interests, so I moved to the University’s School of International Studies. There I was able to continue as an area specialist working on Eastern Europe, and later also a bit in Indonesia, and more recently in Africa. In fact, I’m writing this from Senegal where I am doing some consulting work. I got to travel a whole lot and work with many American and other institutions. I was also able to write and edit the kinds of books I’d always wanted to write on historical change throughout the world, on the politics of tyranny, on genocide, and most recently, with a co-author, on the importance of ideas in shaping our world. That one came out in 2015 and got a great New York Times review as well as being listed as one of the most notable books of 2015, which made me feel good because I think its audience has gone a bit beyond the usual academic one.
I’m not yet retired and I’d like to write one more book, I have it all outlined in my head. Unfortunately, that’s the easy part, as we all know, so I’ll have to stay healthy enough to do it.
I’d like to think that if I hadn’t met Cindy I might still be in Chapel Hill, and that I would have had a similar career, but who knows? Today I’m not worried about my own future at all, but looking at the parts of the world I know well, the Middle East, Africa, parts of Asia, and even, sadly, Europe and the United States I do worry a lot more about the future than ever before. Our oldest daughter is pregnant with her first child, and I hope that his (we know it will be a boy) future will take place in a world with as many opportunities as the ones I’ve had. I’m not so sure it will be so. It isn’t just politics. On my way to Africa I flew from Seattle to Paris over Greenland, and for a good part of that it was daylight and clear. I’ve done this a lot, but hadn’t had a good look at Greenland for at least a decade because it is so often cloudy or if it isn’t the height of summer, dark. I was shocked by how much bare space I saw in areas that used to be all white. If I were religious, I would say God help future generations. Those my age who have lived in the United State, despite its many problems, have experienced a kind of golden age that might not be repeated.
Submitted August 2016
In the early spring of 1967, I flew from a cold, gray Chicago to a beautiful, sunny, and wonderfully green North Carolina, and was met at the Raleigh-Durham airport by Charlie Bowerman, the then chair of the UNC Department of Sociology. Having finished my course work at the University of Chicago and perhaps half way through writing my dissertation, I had been invited to interview for an assistant professor position in the department, with an emphasis on the sociology of religion. From the airport, we drove to Charlie’s house, where we were joined, appropriately enough, by Gerry Lenski, whose book on The Religious Factor, which I had read as an undergraduate several years earlier, was partially responsible for my interest in this field. I still recall the next hour or so as thoroughly pleasant: good conversation coupled with Charlie’s excellent scotch and, of course, the remarkable weather.
The next couple days are now pretty much a blur, although I recall a set of individual meetings with department faculty and then a challenging session with the entire department faculty, While I have a vague recollection of thinking that I didn’t acquit myself particularly well at the latter, I knew as I flew home that this was a position I really wanted, and I was delighted when I subsequently received the offer.
So, in late summer of ’67, my wife Trudy and I moved to Chapel Hill and settled into a small rental house on Davie Circle. And for a brief period at the University, I shared an office with Tad Blalock in Alumni Hall, while overflow offices were being prepared in Pettigrew for several expanding departments. This was no doubt an imposition on Tad, although he never gave any indication of that; to the contrary, he was more than generous with his time and his interest in my still incomplete dissertation, and he remained one of the senior professors I most respected. But otherwise, that fall term was one I’d rather forget! For two reasons: One, of course, was the need to keep working on the dissertation, even while teaching. But the second had to do with the teaching itself. My only teaching experience had been serving as an adjunct for a year at the University of Illinois in Chicago, teaching multiple sections of the introductory sociology course. Now, suddenly, I was teaching, among other courses, a primarily graduate level course in the sociology of religion, with a number of students who were not only older than I but some of whom were priests, nuns, or ordained Protestant ministers. And it quickly dawned on me that at least some in the class had come to UNC to study the sociology of religion with Lenski! So there I was, no doubt knowing less about religion than many in the class and with some of the latter also feeling cheated! The upshot was my felt need to devote more and more time to preparations for each class session, and naturally this was time that didn’t go into the dissertation. It was not a surprise then, but neither was it pleasant, for Bowerman to call me into his office shortly after that term ended to say that unless my dissertation was completed and defended prior to the end of the academic year, I would not be kept on in the department. No scotch was served on this occasion!
The remainder of that first year did improve. I managed to complete and defend the dissertation, receiving my doctorate in the spring of 1968, and I grew more confident in my teaching. Moreover, while I believe I was still the only newcomer in the department, Trudy and I were invited to dinner by several of the senior members (I especially recall dinners with the Lenskis, the Wilsons, and the Simpsons), and we were of course included in the occasional department faculty parties. And the on-going warmth and care of Dick Cramer was especially palpable and greatly appreciated.
But it was in the second year, l968-69, that life in the department and in Chapel Hill more generally really began to engage me. Most important was the arrival of several new junior faculty. Of these, I was especially pleased with the arrival of two of my peers and friends from the University of Chicago: Chic and Paula Goldsmid, Chic joining the sociology and Paula the social work faculties. Both were devoted teachers and deeply engaged in the political movements of the time, and they brought their passions as well as, to Trudy and me, an on-going and ever deepening friendship. This was enhanced by their moving into a house directly across the street from us, as well as occupying offices in Pettigrew. I believe it was in that same year that Dick Roman also was hired into a sociology position and filled another Pettigrew office. Dick was a long-term democratic socialist, as were a couple historians also located in Pettigrew. Informally and then in a more structured manner, a kind of Marxian study group emerged, and I experienced something almost equivalent to a second graduate education, reading widely in the Marxian literature (virtually none of which had been assigned in theory classes at Chicago when I was there) and devoting substantial time to discussions of Marxian ideas and their relevance to contemporary political and social issues. Moreover, I was by then teaching the undergraduate sociological theory course, and was increasingly able to incorporate the Marxian tradition into this course. My point here is not that I had found “the truth”–in retrospect, I see the many limitations of Marxian ideas and consider myself much more of a Durkheimian. But I was reminded of and energized by the joys of serious and politically relevant intellectual talk. Put differently, and speaking of Durkheim, I began to experience the “collective effervescence” that provides a special joy in one’s life.
Whether in that second year or a bit thereafter, I also became part of the undergraduate studies committee, chaired by Ev Wilson, and I recall the stimulation I felt not simply from our committee meetings but from the many informal discussions I had with Ev. Here was this remarkably erudite and distinguished scholar who genuinely cared about teaching, a combination exemplified by the fact that he was the translator of Durkheim’s writings on moral education as well as the author of perhaps the most erudite introductory sociology text ever published. And yet he treated us neophytes as equals, often sharing our frustrations about the seeming inattention to the undergraduate curriculum and seeking our ideas about ways in which this role of the department could achieve the attention and status it deserved. To this end, by the way, Ev, along with Chic Goldsmid, subsequently developed a course on teaching for the sociology graduate students and somewhat later co-wrote and published Passing On Sociology: The Teaching of a Discipline.
What I wasn’t doing during these years, however, was publishing—or at least not very much. As with most of the sociology faculty, I periodically reviewed books for Social Forces, and I also wrote a couple reviews for other journals. And I did publish two articles in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. But that was it. I did apply for and received support from an NSF research grant to the university to study religion—or whatever substituted for it—in Sweden, spent several months over two summers in Sweden conducting this research and acquiring some basic reading knowledge of Swedish, and delivered a talk to department colleagues based on this research. Yet, while I was able to draw repeatedly on this experience in my teaching, as well as for a paper I delivered at the 1972 Southern Sociological Society meetings, I simply didn’t have sufficient evidence to write systematically about my impressions. (This experience did have one very positive consequence, however. Lars Bjorn, obviously a Swede!, began his doctoral work in sociology while I was engaged with this Swedish research, and this led both to help from, and a close friendship with, him, as I was doing this research and subsequently, facilitated by our both becoming Michigan residents.)
Because of this meager publication record, I approached the tenure decision year (1973) realistically. In short, I was pretty sure I would not receive tenure and I didn’t. It did hurt, of course, but it was hardly a surprise. And looking back, I ‘m glad that was the outcome. Thanks again to another UNC sociology graduate student, Paul Wienir, whom I had known particularly well as a neighbor in Chapel Hill and who had subsequently taken a position at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, I learned, not long after the tenure decision at Carolina, about an opening at Kalamazoo College, an innovative and beautiful liberal arts college. Within a week or so, I was invited to interview at the college and did so. Shortly thereafter, I received an offer and was to remain on the “K” faculty for the next 35 years.
So what do I take away from this? First, I’m glad I had the chance to experience life as a faculty member in a very good and I think a particularly collegial department at a major university. Not only was this an opportunity to make numerous friends but one in which to learn a great deal from some extremely bright and decent colleagues and to experience the dramas of the late ’60s and early ’70s on such a large academic stage. This experience also, however, helped me learn more about myself. I love the intellectual life, but I don’t have the temperament (nor probably the talent) to specialize at the level required by a major graduate department. I was much more suited to the life of a liberal arts college, with its usually small classes, the need to teach a fairly large range of courses, and the typical faculty experience of cross-disciplinary collegiality.
What I think about today, however, are the threats to both types of institutions. As more and more adjuncts assume the undergraduate teaching loads at large universities, what will be the impact on the quality of undergraduate education, not because adjuncts are necessarily less competent teachers but because they have so little time to invest in any particular class, let alone any particular student? And with regard to the small liberal arts colleges, will they be able to sustain their curricular coherence as general education requirements often become fewer or sometimes even dropped altogether and as courses frequently become ever more politicized? Or even more worrisome, will these usually small and private institutions, aside from the most famous, even be able to survive economically?
Maybe I should stop reading the Chronicle! But in any event, thanks to the sociologists of UNC and especially to Dick Cramer for this chance to reflect a lot—and to vent at least a bit.
In my retirement, I read a lot–“better” thrillers, some popular history, politics, the NYTs, the Atlantic, the New York Review of Books, and certainly not least, the New Yorker and the Chronicle. Very little sociology, per se, unless it appears in the “better” magazines. I play my trumpet in a 100-person community concert band and have done so most of my time in Kalamazoo. I’m also active in our neighborhood organization, and I belong to the local Torch Club, to which I’ve presented a couple papers (one on civil religion and another on higher education). Trudy, my wife, worked at Western Michigan University for a number of years, primarily heading the faculty senate office.
Our “children”–both born in Durham–have followed academic paths. Devin (and his wife, Dana) are both on the faculty at UT Austin, both teaching political philosophy. Devin is a genuine scholar and writer, with several books published and one on Hobbes near ready to submit for publication. Both are Straussians, albeit not fitting the stereotype of Straussians as inherently conservative. Nonetheless, they are good critics of knee jerk liberalism. I love to discuss politics with them. They have two children, 8 and 6, and thus we have two grandchildren Our daughter Tema is an accomplished art photographer and writer about same, leading to some significant recognition. Currently, she is a visiting professor at Concordia University in Montreal. (Check her Website: temastauffer.com.) Her wife is named Tawny. (Thus, we have D and D along with T and T!)
One of the best aspects of my life is a weekly lunch with several very good friends, two of whom are also retired K faculty. We borrowed our name, Romeos, from a similar group in NYC: Romeos–retired old men eating out. We’ve been at this for more than 20 years, and I look forward to it every week.
Submitted August 2016
My path to the Chapel Hill started with an undergraduate degree in England (Leicester University), an MA from McMaster University in Canada and a Ph.D from in Washington University, St. Louis in1967. Bob (doc) Hamblin was my supervisor and Irving Louis Horowitz was a member of my committee. It may seem strange to have these two serving on the same committee but they worked well together and were very supportive. I also learned a lot from a great faculty that included Gouldner, Horowitz, Pittman and Jules Henry during the two years I spent as graduate student at “Wash U”. Jimmy Wiggins, also a student of Doc Hamblin graduated from Wash U about two years before I did and Doc suggested that I apply for a faculty position at UNC Chapel Hill. I also applied to Wisconsin and the University of Washington at Seattle. The Chapel Hill UNC Sociology Department was the first to invite me to visit. I presented my dissertation (a social psychological lab experiment) to a stellar group of faculty whose outstanding academic reputations I was well aware of. Tad Blalock was one of the faculty members present who asked questions and I clearly recall the generous way in which he framed them.
Currently, I am a professor Emeritus (sociology) and based in a research centre I created in 1983 (La Marsh Centre for Research on Violence and Conflict Resolution). Since 1993, I have been teaching, researching and publishing on violence associated with separation and divorce. I teach a research course on conflict resolution (adjudication) in family courts located in and around Toronto. Other than that, I play squash and watch Happy Days. Turned off Scott Baio however since the Republican convention. I became a US citizen shortly after my arrival in Chapel Hill and look forward to voting in the upcoming election. Married to Donna and we spend many happy days with our grandchildren.
Recollections: The Bowerman/Babe Andrew/Alumni days
When I arrived in Chapel Hill in 1967 I brought with me a hybrid specialization as a “sociological social psychologist”. The sociological specialization was evident in a macro study of violence in North Carolina penitentiaries and youth institutions for N.C Corrections. You cannot be more sociological than to have an article from this study published in the AJS. My co-author was Harold Grasmick, an excellent graduate student.
Demonstrating a credible social psychological specialization was a bit more complicated. For one thing, there were two social psychological specializations when I arrived. One specialization was represented by Glen Elder – my office on the fourth floor of the Alumni Building was adjacent to his- the other was represented by Jimmy Wiggins. I learned a great deal from both “experimental” Jimmy and “Life Course” Glen but I leaned more toward Jim. The result was trouble of two kinds.
First, I designed an experiment to test the “trigger pulls the finger” hypothesis formulated by aggression theorist-researcher Leonard Berkowitz. To this end obtained a bunch of weapons, including a handgun-a prohibited weapon. The weapons were placed on a table in plain sight of students randomly assigned to the treatment group. To this day I do not know the name of the person, group or collectivity that informed the local ablished Chapel Hill constabulary who approached me with interrogation in mind. I explained. The experiment continued. My credibility as a social psychologist was est(sort of) by a publication- Does the Trigger pull the Finger- with graduate student co-authors Louis Miller and Paul Wienir) in Sociometry.
The second source of trouble was serralmus natteri –red bellied piranha fish. Following ethologists Tinbergen and Lorenz I set about testing the natural selection hypothesis that inhibitions against attacking and killing conspecifics would vary with the lethality of the weapons (fangs, talons, claws, teeth) they possessed. Ergo, two piranha would be less likely to attack each other during a four week period than two goldfish sharing the same fish tank during the following four weeks. The experiment ended when I returned from a visit to a penitentiary near Norfolk to find that one of piranha had jumped (or was pushed) out of the tank. Note that this experiment was conducted in a Sociology Department- albeit one in which the ecology of the fish tank was in play.
Faculty who were present during the Bowerman/Babe Andrew years will recall, as I do, tumultuous times in which a few of our graduates left to join SDS; table tennis on Tuesday evenings with a group that included Tad (lots of spin) Blalock and Jimmy Wiggins; assembling for lunch at the Rathskeller in a group that often included Dick Udry; walking a picket line in support of striking cafeteria workers; participating in attempts to desegregate places of work and entertainment; beating Duke and outstanding graduate students.
During my tenure in the Department my wife was working as a social worker in the local hospital. After our daughter Megan was born we left Chapel Hill in order to live and work closer to my wife’s parents who lived in a suburb of Toronto. During the past 40 years I occasionally visit Chapel Hill in April on my return to Toronto from Florida (Englewood). The motor car I drive has a faded license plate that says UNC Tarheels.
Submitted July 2016
Reminiscences From Former Students:
I received my Ph.D. at the time when Anthropology separated from Sociology, but we were still in the same department. So my degree was in Cultural Anthropology with a minor in Sociology. It was in 1957. Indeed, a long time ago.
Professors John Gillen and John Honigmann were my important mentors.
Then I took a position at the University of Pennsylvania in the Anthropology Department, under Loren Eiseley. In addition, I was a curator of the Latin American section of the museum. I stayed with this institution from 1957 to 1990 with some additional years to complete an important exhibit and publications. I served as chairman of the department for five years.
I was honored with an invitation from John Honigman to consider a position at UNC, but unfortunately it was not possible for me to leave Pennsylvania due to my academic commitments.
Anyway, I have never received information from the Department of Anthropology at UNC. They should know that I was their first Ph.D., and I’m still alive at the age of 91. My dissertation was published by the Middle American Research Institute at Tulane University (Part I) and the rest under the title “The Law of the Saints” by a commercial publisher.
I knew well the sociologists and I witnessed the first stages of the splitting of the department. But it was Professor Odum who found for me my first teaching job in the Sociology Department at the Women’s College in Greensboro. I worked there for one year before leaving for a year of field work in Guatemala among the Mayan people.
The final oral examination was overwhelming with all the sociologists present, an experience I will never forget. It taught me the role of professors at examination time. The two fields were at an important development in the social sciences, particularly in anthropology, and it was an enormous task for me.
Again, here are some facts in my history at UNC. I went there because I wanted to become a Latin American specialist, and Professor Gillin gave me the opportunity to be his research assistant in a project he had underway. My time at North Carolina was pleasant, and I do remember well all the faculty. I had some good tennis games with Professor Demerath. By the way, his grandson became a student in our department at Penn.
Dunwoody Retirement Village, 3500 West Chester Pike, CH 13 Newton Square, PA. 19073
Apart from the department’s academic excellence in the early fifties, I greatly appreciated the informal culture that valued and encouraged all grad students, both masters and doctoral, as I had earned the master’s degree at a university that, in my opinion, treated grad students poorly.
I have written about my experiences, which include the relatively short time I worked for Dr. Odum compiling data for his revision of “Southern Regions” shortly before he retired. And I also had great admiration for Dr.Vance, who provided a critical assessment of my dissertation. And I met and married Ruth Connor who,for her dissertation, worked with Floyd Hunter on a study in Salem, Mass. which UNC Press later published.
In the statements I have read so far I don’t think mention has been made of Floyd Hunter, whose path breaking study, “Community Power Structure,” which was based on his dissertation, that Dr.Vance supervised. As you know, that book spawned an “industry” of studies and controversies concerning the organization of power on the local level.
George Simpson should be recognized for he was the first head of what later became The Research Triangle Park, which represented, I believe, the culmination of the plan Drs.Odum and Vance had for moving the economy of the South away from dependence on a few cash crops and toward a “modern” economy. My admiration for these two men, and for Katherine Jocher and Gordon Blackwell, has grown over the years for they were among the earliest sociologists who bridged the gap between academic and applied sociology.
Ruthie and I were mainly teachers at Alabama and TAMU, and I at Eastern Michigan. While we published one community study and a social problems text, and a handful of articles, none were of major significance. For one reason or another, we were better teachers than researchers. We were at Alabama during the height of the civil rights conflict, but I have no desire to recall those terrible days. We also participated in and benefitted from TAMU’s conversion from an all male to a coed institution and subsequent expansion, especially in Liberal Arts and Sociology. My wife and I, and a handful of our neighbors fought for four long years to prevent TAMU officials from building a large swine center in our biracial neighborhood. We lost all the legal battles but won the war, as officials did not build the swine center.
I’ve stayed busy since retirement as a hospice volunteer, an officer in my reformed Jewish congregation and, since moving to San Francisco, writing a memoir and taking classes at institutes for senior citizens. Learning is still a passion.
Submitted Summer 2015
What led me to Chapel Hill in the fall of 1953 was an unanticipated sequence of events. After serving in the military during World War II, I used the GI Bill to attend New York University where I got a BA degree in Applied Statistics. I was then hired by the Census Bureau to work on processing and analyzing the 1950 Census. When the census period ended, in a couple of years, I found myself out of a job and lucked out when I managed to get hired as a junior demographer (civilian) employee of the Air Force at Maxwell Field, Montgomery, Alabama. Rupert Vance was spending a month as a consultant to the group I worked for and I got to know him and participate with him in discussions of research issues in which the group was interested. When Vance was ready to return to Chapel Hill, he asked me if I had thought about graduate school. I really hadn’t, but I took the GRE exam and applied to UNC after he said I could be his graduate assistant.
The department was then a combined Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Whether you were specializing in sociology or anthropology, you were required to take an exemption exam in the other area. I had background in neither area but planned to major in sociology (with an emphasis on demography) and minor in statistics. With suggestions from more senior students, I read a couple of anthropology textbooks and managed to pass the exemption exam.
Many of the graduate students in the Alumni Building, where the department was located, had desks in a large room (called the “bullpen”). A few were assigned to an adjacent statistical lab. Both rooms were two flights up in Alumni. The department office was one flight up. (Social Work was located in the basement.) Some students occupied space in smaller rooms on still another flight up where the library also existed. The Institute for Social Research, headed by Gordon Blackwell, was on the second flight, as were most of the faculty offices.
Just before I arrived in Chapel Hill, Howard Odum became ill and passed away so I never had a chance to meet him. Marjorie Tallant, who had been Odum’s last graduate assistant, and I became close and we were married in 1956 while still graduate students.
Katharine Jocher taught the course on research methods and Nicholas Demerath the one on social theory. We had Vance for population, Dan Price for statistics, and Reuben Hill for family sociology. Bill Noland chaired the Department and taught sociology of work and industry. Graduate classes were held in small seminar rooms on the second flight.
I finished the requirements for the master’s degree within a year and a half and continued courses for the doctorate. In addition to serving as a research assistant for Vance, I was a teaching assistant for Guy Johnson in race relations and for Gordon Blackwell in introductory sociology. I spent summers away from campus and that slowed my progress toward a Ph.D. Furthermore, after my dissertation proposal was approved I took a position back at the Census Bureau and worked nights and weekends for a year in our Washington residence to complete the dissertation. I was hooded in Kenan Stadium in 1959.
In 1964, after being a Section Chief and then a Branch Chief in the Census Bureau’s Population Division for seven years, I elected to explore opportunities in academia. I chose Florida State University, which was then interested in building a graduate population program. The time was ripe for acquiring Federal funds for both training and research and that helped immeasurably in recruiting faculty and graduate students. A Center for the Study of Demography was established in 1967 and by 1972 we had a good enough reputation to be responsible for the journal Demography, which we edited for three years. The Center went through several transitions over the years but remained successful and is now called the Center for Demography and Population Health.
My own career has been satisfying. My research was focused on the demography of mortality and measurement of occupational status. I have been author or coauthor of thirteen books (four textbooks in population and several research monographs) and a number of articles. I became President of the Population Association of America in 1979 and President of the Southern Sociological Society in 1981-82. I have been active in several other professional associations.
Marjorie, who taught anthropology and history in a community college, passed away in 2001. Our son, David, is a senior attorney with the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration. Our daughter, Rebecca Giblin, is CFO for a national photography company based in Charlotte. Her son, Thomas, graduated from UNC and is now a research analyst for Accenture.
I retired from FSU in late 1995 but continue my affiliation with the Center, carrying on with one research project and occasional guest lectures. As I approach age 88, I rest my weary bones at a retirement village in Tallahassee where I teach residents there how to do genealogical research.
Submitted Feb, 2015
I came to the Department at Chapel Hill for its reputation as the top race relations grad program in the nation. An excellent course with Nicholas Demerath, at UConn, no doubt pointed me there. I was also energized by the civil rights movement in the South and Carolina was the place to study it. Six decades later, my recall isn’t quite what it was for Bowerman’s statistics courses but with a bit of archival digging, memory triumphs!
1) When I arrived in September 1958, at the Chapel Hill bus station, its White and Colored water fountains were still solidly in place. A real eye-opener for this New England Yankee.
2) That year, the University was admitting its first African-American undergraduates. They found the community not so welcoming. A year earlier, the National Student Association had found racial segregation alive and well in Chapel Hill. Black students had no access to theaters and could eat in a restaurant or two only in a “designated” seating area. No University administrator interviewed was interested in changing the situation.
The YM/YWCA’s Human Relations Committee, guided by Anne Queen, set about opening the town for our students of color. I joined up. Business owners told us that their white patrons would object to “race mixing.” We felt that their mostly student patronage would be more tolerant than that, but had no evidence. We sought it in two ways: 1) letters supporting “equal access for all students” from 15 campus organizations, and 2) a Spring ‘59 opinion survey of 1200 students living in independent, Greek and graduate units. Alumni Building’s survey methods machine would come in handy as we moved along. How would respondents feel if Carolina’s Negro students were served in town? 69% favored, 17% wouldn’t care either way, 10% mildly opposed and 3.7% would withdraw business. 67% of those interviewed signed an “equal privileges” petition.
By Fall of 1959, with our evidence of student support for change Danzigers, The Rathskeller and Harry’s were already serving all colors. Other businesses would not do so without an agreement to cooperate signed by all of them and a resolution passed by the student legislature. On February 4, 1960, the legislators with a 2-1 majority went “on record as favoring the proposal that the theaters and restaurants of Chapel Hill serve all students in the University, without discrimination.” There followed months of desultory negotiations with the merchants, punctuated with a lunch-counter sit-in by local black high school students. Uncertainty and the threat of coercion stiffened the resistance of some. The Varsity Theater came around but the Carolina needed an extra nudge. Our picket line stood there for several evenings until all were being admitted if not welcomed. I remember an apoplectic old man cursing and spitting on us. One of life’s unforgettable experiences. The desegregation of downtown Chapel Hill was slow, hard work but by the summer of 1960, it was a social fact.
4) I remember working my tail off at Alumni Building. As a teaching assistant for Doug Sessoms, I learned how to use humor to open minds. I took sterling courses with Vance, Johnson, Gulick, Campbell, Honigman et al. Decades later, as computing replaced calculating, punching, sorting, my students could scarcely believe my tales of data drudgery back then.
In February 1960, fellow student Al Williams and I were discussing thesis topics when we learned of the first lunch-counter sit-ins. I sped off to Greensboro that afternoon to interview the four student initiators at A and T College. I knew, driving back to Chapel Hill, that I had found my project. As the sit-in movement swept across the South, Daniel Price’s IRSS funded “A Study of Student Opinions”, a questionnaire survey of 2600 sit-in participants. It was directed by Ruth Searles, with Al Williams and I (and others perhaps) doing the field research. I used an early portion of the data gathered for my thesis, analyzing the demographics, attitudes and motivations of 800+ movement participants around the state. Al probably earned his PhD with the larger project. I was already committed to a September departure for two years of refugee relief work in North Africa. Time was urging me on. Dick Simpson was my thesis advisor as I hammered out “The Sit-Down Protests.” Some of it appeared later in Wehr, Sociological Inquiry (38:1, 1968).
5) My time in Sociology at Chapel Hill was for me one of rich learning. I was working in a momentous historical context, with competent, congenial guidance. The Department was, I believed, advancing knowledge supportive of societal improvement. I would go on to use that training and experience to study protest movements on four continents over four decades. That professional life can be found at spot.colorado.edu/~wehr. Some of my retirement fun is at www.wehranimations.com.
Submitted September 2015
After graduation form LSU in 1954, I served two years as a Lieutenant in the Chemical Corps, stationed at Rocky Mountain Arsenal in Denver. Then, having decided to become a sociologist, I enrolled at UNC Chapel Hill- after one semester entering the graduate program. During 1957-1959 I was a Graduate Student Assistant to Professor Rupert Vance- a role which was immensely beneficial to me. Under Professor Vance’s tutelage, I wrote a Master’s Thesis on internal Migration for my M.A. in 1959 (Later I name a son Vance after this professor I admired so much).
A word about a fellow graduate student in sociology who was my office mate during those years: He was Josef Perry, a Texan and scintillating office companion and intellectual influence.
Influenced by another admired professor (Richard Simpson), I decided in 1959 to continue graduate work in sociology, joining his research project- a sample survey of occupational mobility among workers in two nearby communities. Under Simpson’s direction, I complete my PhD in 1961. My dissertation I titled “Mobility Effects of Industrial Growth”.
Some months before I completed my doctorate (Spring 1961), I had been offered (and accepted) a position in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tulane University in New Orleans. My family and I took up residence in New Orleans in early June 1961.
Above I have identified several people who strongly influenced me while I was a graduate student in Chapel Hill. There were several others, but here I shall mention one more professor- Daniel O. Price, who taught statistics and also influenced me to minor in statistics and mathematics at UNC.
I was employed at Tulane for three years. During this period I coauthored two articles, one with Richard Simpson on Occupational Mobility, the other with Munro Edmonson (Anthropologist at Tulane) on Industry and Race in the Southern United States.
I left Tulane for a position at the University of Michigan in 1964. There soon followed two additional moves- first, after one year at Michigan I spent three years teaching at Colorado Woman’s College in Denver, after which I moved again, this time to Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. I suppose one might say that I found a home at this Northwest liberal arts college, for I stayed until my retirement twenty-five years later.
About my research interest- during these years while I’ve lived in the Northwest, I continued to be interested in things Southern, but with a new accent (!!!). Specifically, I cooperated with sociologists and other scholars in the study of what was happening during the last decades of the twentieth century within the Southern Baptist denomination. The culmination of this work was my chapter in a book titled Southern Baptists Observed: Multiple Perspectives on a Changing Denomination, edited by Nancy Ammerman. University of Tennessee Press, 1993. The title of my chapter is “Rationalization and Reaction Among Southern Baptists”. As the title indicates, I apply a Weberian perspective to the problem of understanding conflict between bureaucrats and evangelistic preachers.
I married Claire Cameron, a native Wyoming, in the summer of 1957, one semester into my graduate studies in sociology at UNC- Chapel Hill.
Claire and I had four children, of whom three- Scott, Ruth, and Vance, survive. Ruth has two children and three grandchildren. Vance has two children.
Sadly, I must report that my dear Claire died suddenly in April 2012. During the decades of my teaching career, not only was she a beloved wife and mother, but also for the most of the period was a much-appreciated employee in a variety of administrative and secretarial positions wherever the two of us happened to be located at the time.
I can be contacted at:
1049 Francis Ave
Walla Walla, WA 99362
Submitted: October 2015
I initially went to graduate school, because there were no available jobs for people with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. When I talked with the personnel office at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland, the personnel representative told me that if I wanted to be a sociologist, I would have to start as a secretary and work my way up. That did not seem very plausible to me. I was also offered a job as “Miss Midnight” disc jockey, on a then rural Maryland country music station. The hours were midnight to 8:00 a.m. The CIA also had a position as a trainee. The representative said that they could use my skills and my background. The hours were also midnight to 8:00 a.m. in an office some house. They would not tell me what the job entailed, until I had passed clearance. except that initially I would be reading and analyzing.
Anyway, I decided that it would be a good thing to go to graduate school to become a “real sociologist”. I entered the Master’s program at George Washington University and loved it. One of my professors had National Institute of Mental Health contacts and recommended me for an assistantship, so I actually got to work with sociological researchers, Morris Rosenberg and Leonard Pearlin. I was helping them finish some research on the development of self-image and also helping with research on social and familial differences between college students who developed schizophrenic breaks and those who adjusted well. At that time, it was believed by many that parents, particularly mothers, sometimes induced mental illness in their children. I got experience interviewing, Guttman scaling, file searching, and some analysis and loved working there. They and my professors encouraged me to work on my doctorate. The question then became where I should study. I narrowed it down to Cornell, Columbia, and North Carolina, and once I visited Chapel Hill, there was no question in my mind about which school to choose.
Chapel Hill was a wonderful place to be a student, in the early 1960’s. It had a top reputation in Sociology and was a beautiful friendly campus, in a beautiful town. I had been granted a research assistantship, with Harvey Smith, in the Sociology of Mental Health. In spite of Dr. Smith’s excellent reputation, I realized that I was not ready to narrow my focus to the mental health field. Instead, I was given a one year research assistantship with F. Stuart Chapin at the Urban Studies Center, where I worked during my first year at Chapel Hill. After that, I was a research assistant with Dick Simpson, on the Role of the Teacher study and found my niche. We had a banquet of classes from which to choose. I particularly loved my regional sociology courses, and enjoyed getting to know Rupert Vance and George Simpson. Dr. Vance, during a conversation, gave me an original edition of one of his books, which I still have. George Simpson encouraged my research on the comparison of the social conditions fostering the Southern, Russian, and Jewish literary renaissance periods. I also particularly enjoyed my classes in Social Psychology with John Thibaut. My courses were well taught and thought provoking, and I got a very well rounded background. I loved Social Theory, in all of its variations, from philosophical and historical orientations to axiomatic theories.
Most of my work was conducted in Alumni Building. Those of us with assistantships often worked in the “stat lab” and used the key punch and the counter-sorter to get the data ready to be processed by the new UNIVAC machine, which took up a whole climate controlled room. Our professors said that we “kids” really knew a whole lot more about technology than they did. I remember being in the stat lab, having to finish a project, when the lightning, from an electrical storm, was bouncing from wall to wall. I also spent time up on the top floor of Alumni Building, working and talking to fellow grad students. Angel Beza and Max Miller were up there a lot, as was Ray Norsworthy. Sometimes in the evenings Max Miller, John Stephenson, my roommate Elvina Bolieck an English major, and I would play and sing secular and gospel blue grass. We actually went to a country music convention in Virginia and performed. I noticed how much the personal interactions (not the performances) were similar to sociology conventions. I should have written it up into an ethnographic report. It was a lot of fun. The leader of one of the well known blue grass groups came up to us and told us we were “the real thing.” That compliment made us feel very good.
Some of the other students who were there at the same time as I were Ray Wingrove, John Earle, Glen Elder, Emory Kimbrough, Alden Dykstra Miller, Mark Thelin, Chuck Bonjean, Al Williams, Mary Ann Mahoney LaManna, Dick LaManna, Nancy Gates Kutner, Satoshi Ito, Elaine Themo, Jan Jorgensen, Mike Wolfe, Norm Alexander, Paul Wehr, Dick Ames.and Harriet Presser. Regina Solzbacher, Jeannine Adcock, and Martha Hamilton were also there, working on their Master’s degrees. We all got along well. I still have the recipe for Karen Elder’s wedding punch, and I have a beautiful hand-made antique kitchen hutch that I bought from Max Miller, when he came back from one of his antique collecting jaunts into the Carolina mountains.
This period of time was a time of change for our country. The Civil Rights struggle was picking up momentum, and the Freedom Buses had started moving into the South. Discussion was often about whether gradualism or immediate legislation to desegregate would better serve the South and the Nation. Another change came with the election of President John Kennedy. According to George Simpson, if I recall correctly, the Kennedy people had promised to help North Carolina start the Research Triangle, if Kennedy won the election. I watched the election results on a television set at the Newman Club, with friends, some of whom were fellow Sociology students. Kennedy won, and we got the Research Triangle, thus giving impetus to the coming of the New South to North Carolina. One day when I was working in my carrel in the library, Ray Wingrove came over and asked me if I had heard the news that the Russians had a nuclear weapon in Cuba, and it was pointed at the Southern United States, and it could possibly hit Chapel Hill. We kind of panicked together and may have done some praying. Fortunately that crisis was averted. And while I was still in Chapel Hill and walking down the stairs in Alumni Building, someone called up to me and said “Did you hear the news? President Kennedy has been shot.” It was one of those moments, when everything seemed to stand still. We watched the horrifying events unfold on television.
Dick Simpson was my advisor and somewhat like an older brother. He was our “young professor.” His courses were interesting. He was easy to talk to. He came to a lot of our get-togethers. After I completed the course work for my doctorate, I continued writing my dissertation about the effects of administrative atmosphere on the work satisfaction of elementary school teachers. While doing this, I worked at Duke as a research associate, working with Ida Simpson and Kurt Back on the study of professional socialization of student nurses. I also taught one course and loved teaching the Duke students. I moved from Kenan Dormitory to a one-story rental row house at Glen Lennox. I enjoyed cooking for friends and hosting get togethers. We also continued enjoying going to the Carolina Inn for Sunday dinner, swimming in the pool by Connor dorm, going to the beach, eating at the Rathskeller and having wine and cheese parties. While I was at Chapel Hill, the Lenoir Hall cafeteria had wonderful food for the amazing price of seventy-nine cents for a whole dinner, with several choices of meats and vegetables.
Another young professor, who joined our department at UNC, was Dick Cramer, who had been a childhood friend, when I was 9 and 10 years old. I had not seen him since we moved away, and it was good to make his acquaintance again after all those years.
Dan Price explained statistics clearly, and I enjoyed his classes. I also admired his kindness and his allowing us to watch him work, with great integrity, on ethical issues in the handling of research data. I have not yet mentioned Ernest Campbell, Charles Bowerman, or William Noland. I enjoyed classes taught by each one of them. Later, while living in Kansas, I became friends with Melissa Bowerman.
I moved to The University of Kansas, after completing my doctorate. I made the move from Duke, because I really enjoyed teaching and wanted to teach more, along with doing research. When I moved to Kansas, I was immediately given 5 course preparations—including one course I had never even taken, so it was as new to me as to the students. The course was social problems, and it was, I think, held at 8:00 or 8:30 in the morning in a drafty old auditorium. There were 200 students. No one else wanted to teach it, and I was the youngest and newest and the only tenure track female in the department. I was afraid that I would tell the students everything I knew about social problems, in the first 15 minutes of class, and then we would stare at each other for the rest of the semester. So I frantically rushed to stay ahead of them, typing 30 pages of single spaced notes for each class. Those students took notes, non-stop! And I had 4 other class preparations. The students said that they learned more in that class than they had ever done before. But their hands were cramping at the end of each class. As for me, I had no time to go to the laundromat to do the laundry. Fortunately, there was a Sears catalogue store up the road, so when I ran out of clean clothes, I just ordered more. After that semester, the course load got somewhat more calm, and I was more able to both teach and do research.
During the time I was in Kansas, I met and married Bob Haralick, and we had a daughter. I left my teaching position, in order to be home with our child, especially while she was an infant and toddler and was not in school. I did continue writing research papers, wrote and taught a distance education course (which now would be conducted on-line) and also wrote an educational video, which was produced and distributed by a national company. I did community board work. I was on the mental health board. I also started a program through the local PTA, to make and distribute educational games that children would enjoy and would help them meet classroom goals, as determined by a needs assessment of the teachers. I gave campaign speeches to various groups on behalf of my husband, who was running for a city office.
When our daughter entered grade school, I received a post-doctoral grant from the National Institute for Child Health and Development to work with the Institute for Child Research and the Special Education Department at the University of Kansas. I was studying the social conditions which were conducive to productive social interactions between handicapped children and their non-handicapped peers, in special on-campus preschool and early primary classes. At the time, we were using behavior modification techniques, which were extremely effective. We also had a very highly trained and effective interdisciplinary team, which constantly observed the children and their teachers, constantly evaluated and reevaluated the needs of the children and adjusted their programs accordingly. It was a very satisfying experience, and it felt as if we were saving lives. I was not only a researcher and observer, but a trainee. Unfortunately, the public schools, while mandated to carry out educational programs for all children, in the least restrictive environment, were not funded so that they could do so correctly. But within our program, things went well. During this time, our marriage ended, and after my grant was over, our eight year old daughter and I went from Kansas to Alabama.
The University of Alabama in Huntsville had a special program in child development, which included sociologists, psychologists, and people from the education department. It was a natural extension of what I had been doing in Kansas, and so we moved to Huntsville. I was in Huntsville for 21 years, teaching, writing, serving on the faculty senate, serving on community boards, doing church work. Our daughter grew up there and went to college, got married and moved away. My first grandchild came along in 1997 and when he was 2, I was talking to him on the phone and he said, “Bammy, can you come play with me NOW?” I had to explain to him that Seattle was too far from Alabama for me to get there that day. But I did decide to take early retirement and move to the Northwest and play with my grandchildren. So I bought a house in a suburb of Seattle, near the children and played with them and helped homeschool them. We moved from Seattle back to Knoxville, Tennessee, which almost immediately felt like home. Now I am in Maine, where my oldest grandson is attending college and living with me. His parents are back in the South.
Someone asked me what was the most meaningful part of my work. I love teaching, and that was important to me. My research was in areas which could be helpful to people. But I think that the most satisfying of the professionally related activities, were more “hands on.” I had the privilege of being on the mental health board in Huntsville and then serving on a committee which was dealing with the horrific child sexual abuse crimes which kept appearing before the courts. The then District Attorney, Bud Cramer, developed the idea of having a Children’s Advocacy Center, centered in one cozy house, where all of the professionals–police, social workers, physicians, psychologists, attorneys could work as an integrated team–and develop programs which would be child friendly and less traumatic than the procedures that were currently in practice. I wrote the body of the first two proposals for the Children’s Advocacy Center and then the National Children’s Advocacy Center. The proposals were funded, and the centers now exist in many communities. I also did some of the first evaluation research on the program.
Another project with which I am pleased, was the result of a grant proposal I wrote for Federal funding of a Special Services for Disadvantaged Students program at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Our target population was students who were intellectually able to do college level work, but had an inadequate background. I found outstanding teachers from the Huntsville area, who loved their subject matter and loved students. We had strict rules for admission and retention. We used some of the individualized educational program techniques, which I had used in Kansas, building on strengths, making sure there was successful retention of learned material and adding new material gradually, while testing, re-testing and charting daily. Our students could visibly see their progress. We had 80% retention rate of high-risk, freshmen students. The school as a whole had a general 50% retention rate of freshmen, at the time. We had a higher proportion of students who made the honor role. Our students were happy. Our teachers were happy. The professors were happy.
I taught units on suicide prevention, in every class where it was relevant. Each year, at least half of my class members and sometimes all of them, knew someone who committed suicide, threatened to do it, or was thinking about it. I wrote about it for the city paper. I appeared on television. I talked at some high schools. Almost every time, a student or students would come to me privately and tell me that he or she was suicidal. We were able to get help for all of them, and as far as I know, they are all still alive. I received a letter from one of my Kansas students thanking me, and saying that for the first time in his life he was happy. One of my colleagues there, whom I asked if he knew a sympathetic dean, who could get the boy withdrawn passing, had criticized me for taking so much time on a boy, “who obviously should not be in college.” It actually only took a few hours, and he lived and thrived.
While living in Knoxville, I was asked by my church to train as a Stephen Ministry Leader and to re-start and coordinate that program. Stephen Ministry is an international, confidential, therapeutic listening program for people in crises who do not need professional mental health services and who are not addicted to drugs or alcohol. The Stephen ministers are trained as listeners, and they also get intensive background on various social problems. After training, they are assigned to someone who asked for a Stephen Minister. While they are serving, they have regular peer supervision and continuing education. We served a lot of people within both the congregation and the community. The program is still on-going.
I am not sorry that I took time off from my career to be home with my child. In my opinion, if one enjoys being a parent, it is a particular blessing both to parent and child to be a major part of that child’s life and help them grow into the best person that God designed them to be–with their own unique interests, abilities and talents.
In 2008, I had a medical emergency, which resulted in a near death experience, and was saved only by the skill of my physicians, lots of prayer from lots of people, some miracles and most of all, the grace of God. So I have had quite a bit of time to consider whether I am being a good steward of the life that has been given me. I want to contribute to the healing of the world and the well being of those around me. To the extent I am able, I want to reflect God’s love, grace and mercy to those around me–to show to others that which has been shown so abundantly to me. If I have any heritage to leave, I hope it is one of building up and not tearing down, and although I sometimes fail or fall short, I will keep trying. Life is a beautiful gift and this earth, even with all of its problems is also very beautiful.
Submitted February 2016
I arrived in Chapel Hill in the fall of 1959 after a year in France on a Fulbright. In my prior undergraduate years– at Washington University-St Louis– I was first an archaeology major, then a foreign languages major, and finally a political science major. Along the way I discovered that some of the scholars we were reading in political science were sociologists: Weber, Parsons, Merton, Lazarsfeld, but it was too late to change majors. In France my focus had been European Studies, in particular European Union. Was I prepared for graduate work in sociology? “Who is this Durkheim they keep talking about”, I asked one of my fellow students?
Despite the need to do some serious catching up, it seemed to go well. The graduate student cohort was a real community, supportive rather than competitive. In that era sociology was not usually taught in secondary schools, and many sociology grad students, like me, had not developed an interest in sociology until late in undergraduate studies or even later, coming to sociology from such fields as agricultural economics or a ministerial career.
I had an atypical student career so far as coursework and especially research experience was concerned, My area of interest was social psychology, and so my graduate experience was on the cusp of sociology and psychology. I developed a minor in psychology and was a member of John Thibaut’s research group. In sociology I was one of Ernie Campbell’s research assistants as he undertook quantitative social psychological research. I probably learned and retained more sociology from those experiences than from my courses.
I did particularly enjoy Rupert Vance’s theory course and Charles Bowerman’s family course. In fact, family became a second area of interest due to Bowerman’s interesting and prescient take on the future of the family. I admired Bowerman as a department chair for his efforts to encourage the admission and degree completion of women students, as well as to assist in their job searches. This was well before affirmative action policies emerged. I also remember Bowerman’s rather loud eruptions in the stat lab when frustrated by the counter-sorter, a rather primitive method of tallying IBM card data we all used back in the day.
Speaking of family, I became engaged and then married to a fellow graduate student, Dick Lamanna. I had intended to use my sociology in an overseas career with the U.N., U.S. Foreign Service, or USIA. That was now not practical. I was less interested in a purely academic career, which would have focused on social psychology.
I have to say that my experience in Thibaut’s research group had left me skeptical about the validity of experimental social psychology. As a theorist, Thibaut is marvelous, but I didn’t find the research paradigm convincing. I didn’t continue in the Ph.d. program, but worked for the Social Science Research Center until Dick finished his Ph.d. and we moved on to Notre Dame.
Oh yes, Larry Lamanna was born in May 1964, three weeks after my due date. That was lucky, as my thesis defense had taken place only a week or so earlier. I was relaxed, but the committee was terrified! Interestingly, the ob-gyn who delivered Larry was later a co-author on an ASR article, with Richard Udry of the UNC College of Public Health.
Those years were interesting ones to be in Chapel Hill. Dick and I participated in the Chapel Hill civil rights movement—street demonstrations three times weekly in an attempt to desegregate restaurants and shops along Franklin Street and in outlying areas. Desegregation was only accomplished by the federal Public Accommodations law passed in 1964, after we had left. The photos Dick took of the C.H. movement and of the March on Washington which he attended with other Chapel Hillians have been placed with the Southern History collection of the UNC library. John Ehle’s The Free Men tells the story of the local movement.
The Chapel Hill experience has been a lasting one, not only educationally, but in terms of professional and personal friendships. The nice thing about academic meetings is that one can encounter old friends and colleagues regularly. And some fellow students have turned up in my path—Al Williams and Harry Crockett (faculty), came to University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Bert Adams edited a series that included my book Emile Durkheim on the Family (I did manage to learn who Durkheim was). Glen Elder came to Omaha for several years at the Boys Town Research Center, and now his nephew Griff Elder is my colleague at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Presently at UNO I share a retiree office with Marc Rousseau, with whom I overlapped at Carolina; we began and are concluding our sociology careers together.
Now on with my post-Chapel Hill life and career. Dick and I left Chapel Hill in 1964 for South Bend. Notre Dame remained his career post until retirement. I had a small baby, Larry, but did teach part-time at St. Mary’s College across the road from Notre Dame. I also did some community work, managing one of the centers for a tutoring program that drew on Notre Dame students. The Neighborhood Study Help program continues to this day.– A friend and I also organized an after school and summer recreation program for children at a school in our neighborhood which had a mixed race lower and working class student body. When my second child, Valerie, turned four, I entered the Notre Dame Ph.d. program, obtaining my degree in 1977. Dick and I had divorced, but remain friends, not to mention co-parents.
I took a position at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, teaching in both my areas of interest: family and social psychology. UNO had the right balance for me between being research- as well as teaching- oriented, while not being so demanding for tenure that it would be difficult to be a good parent. It was and is an institution that is very transparent and fair in its promotion and tenure procedures as well as welcoming to women and GLBT faculty and staff. The Sociology and Anthropology department has been outstanding in the diversity of its faculty, inclusive of racial/ethnic minorities. Consequently, it has been an interesting department to work in. To be honest, I had not initially intended to stay at UNO, but quickly found that Omaha is a great place to live and that I had support at UNO for my research, both financially and in terms of being free to choose my own direction.
It was an era of academic interest in feminism and in racial/ethnic equality. I and my co-author Agnes Riedmann contracted with Wadsworth Publishing (now Cengage) to do a marriage and family textbook. It was one of the first family textbooks to incorporate research on the racial/ethnic diversity of families and to present a feminist perspective. We were able to move with the times as both families and family studies changed over the ensuing years. Our 12th edition was published in January 2014.
When I was teaching at Notre Dame as a doctoral student, I was asked to undertake a course in “Changing Sex Roles”. Both the department and some higher level administrators thought that such a course should be part of the curriculum. I continued teaching what would become women’s studies at UNO, and eventually led the development of a Women’s Studies program. I also served as chair of both the Midwest Sociological Society and ASA committees on the status of women.
Several topics that became research interests occurred as more or less by chance, as a result of opportunities that came my way, rather than being a planned research trajectory. Soon after the Roe v. Wade decision, the Notre Dame University leadership decided to explore the abortion issue by means of a conference including multiple disciplines and perspectives. I was hired to prepare a survey of the social science literature and that led to a series of papers and publications on a wide variety of reproductive issues. Involvement in an “Ethics of Transplantation” program at the University Nebraska Medical Center led to further publication on bioethical themes. An invitation to assist a group of criminal law professors with their data on the teaching of gender-related issues in criminal law courses led to several law journal publications. A chance conversation at a conference led to a joint project on “The Belton Women’s Commonwealth,” a women’s commune in nineteenth century Texas. And finally, a Notre Dame professor, knowing that I had a background in French, pointed me to Durkheim’s untranslated work on the family. Many years later that became Emile Durkheim on the Family (Sage 2002).
I retired in 2001, but have continued to present papers and write articles; an article on Durkheim is scheduled to appear in Durkheimian Studies in 2014. My efforts in the sociology of literature—“Novels of Terrorism” and “Proust as Sociologist” have resulted in conference presentations (including the International Sociological Association) but have not yet met with publication acceptance. Fun for me though, which in retirement is part of the point! I continue to work with graduate students, in the History, Criminal Justice, and Psychology departments as well as Sociology.
Having been part of “the lost generation” of sociologists in terms of the timing of my degree, I feel very fortunate to have been able to have a career I have found interesting and rewarding. And to have had wonderful colleagues. Chapel Hill is a very significant
Submitted June 2015
During my senior year at California State College-Long Beach, I dreamt of leaving what I perceived as a cloistered ethnic enclave, Gardena, California. The yearning to breathe freely was then strong for this little brown man, Number One son of immigrant parents wishing to escape the parochialism of my situation. I intentionally applied to three leading graduate universities—all outside of California. The letter from Charles Bowerman, Chair, Department of Sociology, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill became my first significant ticket to freedom, with a Teaching Assistantship with tuition remission accompanying my admission to the program.
I have since been blessed several times over during my now 55 years in North Carolina and Virginia. Who knew the sixties would become the Sixties. I believe the entire student population at the university in 1960 was 9,000, a different place than the one my son would attend in the 1990s into the 21st century (three degrees). I slept in Connor dorm for four years and roamed the halls of Alumni Hall for five.
From 1961-1965 I was supported as a research assistant to Charles Bowerman, Ernest Campbell (not all five years), and my operational supervisor and friend, Dick Cramer on a federally funded project to study aspirations of black and white students attending the then still segregated public schools in Virginia and North Carolina representing the Upper South and Alabama and Mississippi representing the Lower South, stratified by type of community (rural-urban), region of each state, and school size. During 1963, Dick and I drove to the various communities and split up visiting black and white high schools. Several incidents during these school visits stand out. A rural Alabama school I visited starkly demonstrated facility inequality between this black school with the white one in the same community. The surface of a classroom blackboard was buckled rendering it practically useless. At a black school in an urban Mississippi setting, the principal invited me to spend time during which the students took the survey distributed by teachers in his closed office. He shared with me how careful he needed to be in conversations with his cleaning staff because the principal remarks could be shared with white school administrators. While walking on the wooden sidewalk in a Mississippi community, a black man who walked toward me crossed the street to avoid encountering me, I thought presumably because I was not black.
Recruiting college faculty was often still quite informal in the mid-1960s. Two members of the Sociology and Anthropology Department at the College of William and Mary happened to include the Chairman, R. Wayne Kernodle, who is still active at 95, Edwin Rhyne who just passed in July this year, and Nancy Gates Kutner. Nancy arrived at William and Mary a year ahead of me. Wayne asked her about anyone she knew at Chapel Hill who she would recommend from among five names he had received from the department. She recommended me because a high priority was for someone to teach social statistics, a course required of all sociology concentrators. Sociology was then the third most popular concentration at the college. I told Wayne that if asked to join the department, it would need to be soon as I had already received an offer to teach at another institution.
Happily for me during a five-year span several members of the department took positions elsewhere. I could expand my teaching areas beyond introduction to sociology, statistics– both introductory and advanced (resulting from the establishment of the M.A. program in sociology, then in 1968 becoming separated from Anthropology), and population studies. Eventually, I would also teach Blacks in American Society, Sociology of Education, an Interdisciplinary course entitled The Sixties, a new course I created, Becoming Americans, which concentrated on newer immigrants arriving in the U.S. from both the Eastern and Western hemispheres as a result of the 1965 Immigration Law. Among my favorite courses to teach was Advanced Sociological Theory, a course that substantively built on Richard Simpson’s European Sociological Theory course. Since I was the longest serving director of the M.A. program in sociology, I got to teach the course I most wanted to offer. Knowing that many young talented sociologists were seeking jobs (I served several terms as chair of the Personnel Committee), I decided to retire in 2002 at age 65.
One of the Sixties legacies at Chapel Hill, was to remain an activist in the community. Dick, Tad Blalock, other faculty and several sociology grad students spent time participating in practically daily civil rights marches especially during summer of 1963 and going to listen to colorful notables in the civil rights movement. It was a tremendous privilege for me to see Pete Seeger filling Memorial Hall, to hear Malcolm X address an overflowing audience shortly before his death, seeing black students seated in the front roll sit up and leave with the first insulting remarks spoken by Governor Ross Barnett.
In a tiny way, I lived some of the other great historical moments that affected me personally. A biggie was the U.S. Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia (1967). My fiancée, Jeanne Abbott, heard the outcome on the car radio when she suddenly cried out: “That means we can marry in the state.” We were married in 1968. Anxious to pursue the PhD in sociology, she was admitted to the graduate program at Chapel Hill and we lived apart a couple years during which time she completed most of her course work. She received excellent statistical training under Tad Blalock, which was critical in her becoming employed by the National Center for State Courts, where she worked until she died of cancer in 1985. I married again in 1987 to Carolyn True, a cradle Episcopalian, who also wanted to travel. We became a blended family with her two daughters and my daughter and son. In 2007, I was confirmed and baptized as an Episcopalian. The next year we joined fellow church parishioners on a pilgrimage to Israel. At the Diocesan (Diocese of Southern Virginia), I’ve been chair of the Anti-Racism Commission and now serve on a follow-up group named Repairers of the Breach. I am currently a vestry member simultaneously serving as Junior Warden. It’s the second highest lay position at the parish level.
Finally, to close, my daring to pursue life outside the confines of Southern California has taken me into wider American society and the activism that began at Chapel Hill has opened up a sense of citizen participation using sociological insights and skills, hopefully to further continue dreaming of being a part of a better nation and world.
Two years ago, Carolyn and I decided to downsize so we now live in a 55 and over single-floor condominium development. If you wish to contact me, my U.S. Mail address is: 3108 Pristine View, Williamsburg, VA 23188. Email address is: email@example.com. Land line phone: 757-208-0440. Cell: 757-707-0624.
Submitted August 2015
Although I was a native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, I graduated from Baylor University in 1958 with a major in Philosophy. During my senior year I was a pastor of a small rural Baptist church near Gatesville, Texas.
I attended Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC for a year. The next two years I attended Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass, and graduated in 1961. No Southern Baptist church would give me a position and so I returned to Southeastern to study, to have the needed credentials to get a position in a Southern Baptist church. A year later (1962) I was accepted by a church in Virginia.
But I was fired 9 months later for being active in the civil rights movement. This helped me decide that some other career was more appropriate for me. Since I did not know what to do other than go to school, I decided to go back to school. Although I’d never had a sociology course, I persuaded the Sociology Department at the University of Alabama to admit me into their Master’s program. Two of my professors were Al and Ruth Schaefer. Luckily for me, Al directed my MA thesis and taught me research methods. I received my master’s in 1966.
I decided to pursue my Ph.D. in sociology, and Al recommended me to UNC. Jerry Carr was a fellow student and we began UNC at the same time. I was anxious about my ability to do PhD level work since I had taken only 6 courses in sociology, all at the master’s level. I was bolstered by knowing that I had been accepted into the program. I My wife and I moved into an apartment in Odom Village and I walked to and from Alumni Hall each day. I took Statistics under Bowerman, Theory under Vance and Anthropology under John Honigman. I graded papers for Harry Crockett’s social psychology course and helped Dick Udry in Maternal and child care complete his text on Marriage and Family.
In September 1965 I began teaching two undergraduate sections of Social Problems while taking 3 PhD level courses including Blalock’s statistics course. I had a cubicle in Alumni Hall. The following year I took Blalock’s causal inferences course, while continuing to teach undergraduate courses. I shared an office with Charles Longino and Russell Curtis.
Several ex-clergy were there at this time: Bert Adams, Donald Ploch, Clark Roof and John Seidler.
In 1967 I began teaching at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va. I taught Introduction to Sociology, Social Problems, Anthropology, and Sociology of Religion. The following summer I returned to UNC to write my dissertation directed by Gerhard Lenski. The title was “Southern Protestants and Social Change” I successfully defended it in 1969 and, with my Ph.D. in hand, joined the Department of Sociology at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland.
While at the University of Maryland I discovered Evaluation Research and contracted with The Interfaith Metropolitan Theological Education to help them devise an evaluation system that would be acceptable to the AATS. It was an experimental theological seminary that was intentionally interfaith: Protestant, Catholic and Jewish. It was based on a mentorship program in which each seminarian was under the mentorship of local pastors, priests and rabbis. They had received a $100,000 grant from the Lilly foundation and the American Association of Theological schools, the accrediting agency for theological education which had advised them to devise an alternative to exam-based grades for students. Although the students took classes and tests together, they were not graded by their mentors. This was my beginning experience as a part-time consultant
My article “American Civil Religion” in the journal Social Forces with Charles Flippen of the University of Maryland was published in 1972. It was a test of Robert Bellah’s Civil Religion theory and consisted of the content analysis of the editorials of a national sample of US newspapers. I was pleased to see it quoted for the next 10 years.
In 1972 I accepted the position of chair of the Department of Economics and Sociology at Salem College in Winston-Salem, NC. During this time, in addition to teaching classes, advising students, directing at the department, and developing a program in organizational behavior at Salem and teaching sociology and organizational management.. During this period I began being trained as an organizational development consultant at the NTL (National Training Labs) at Bethel, Maine.
I was at Salem until the fall of 1977 when I accepted the position of Associate Director of the NC Governor’s Program for Executive and Organizational Development in North Carolina state government. While there I graduated from the Program for Executives in State and Local Government at the Kennedy School at Harvard. During this time I also became an Adjunct Professor at NCSU, teaching courses in organizational behavior in the Department of Public Administration and Industrial Engineering.
In 1979 I accepted the position of the first Assistant Secretary for Human Resource Management in the Department of Transportation. I left that position to become Associate Professor in the School of Business at Western Carolina University. Later I became a management consultant to private sector organizations, consulting in 14 states and also in Canada, Great Britain and South Africa.
In 1990 I wrote and self-published a book Getting Commitment at Work: A Guide for Managers and Employees. It was reprinted several times and translated into Spanish.
When I became tried of traveling I starting consulting in the Triangle area, focusing on helping individuals with life and career planning and coaching in job searches. I retired from working in 2013.
Family: My wife Pat (married 22 years) was Human Resources Director for the Town of Chapel Hill when I met her and served in that role for 21 years. She commuted to that job from our homes in Raleigh, then Cary. After her retirement from Chapel Hill she did HR consulting with local governments all over NC. She’s recently retired from THAT role, and we live in a wonderful retirement community inside the Beltline in Raleigh.
My older son Scott lives in Asheville and takes advantage of all the outdoor opportunities there; he’s hiked the Appalachian Trail (2100 miles), the Pacific Crest Trail (2600 miles), and 2200 of the 3100 miles of the Continental Divide Trail.
My younger son Paul lives in Jamestown NC and owns a very successful Domino’s franchise there. His wife Cathy runs the day shift, while he runs the night one. That allows them to share child care for our wonderful 7 ½ year old second grader granddaughter Natalie. Paul coaches her soccer team.
Submitted November 2015
I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and went to college at Hanover College (located outside Madison, Indiana, on the Ohio river). I graduated in 1964 and went to the University of Washington (Seattle) for my Masters.
My wife (Jan) and I were married in June of 1965, and we moved to Chapel Hill in the fall of 1966, before I finished my thesis. One thing I distinctly remember about being a graduate student at UNC – taking classes from people who were well-known – even famous – sociologists. I had Tad Blalock for statistics, Amos Hawley for population, and Gary Lenski was chair and gave me my first teaching opportunity. And they were not the only ones, just the ones I worked with the most. In part because of the faculty, and in part because of the other graduate students,
UNC presented lots of challenges and opportunities, both in and out of class. I remember clearly going to the library, and seeing armed state troopers standing on either side of the door. Jan had to drive through a National Guard checkpoint to get to Northern High School in Durham County where she was the music teacher. I also remember when a mob tried to set fire to the computer room on the second floor of Alumni.
Still, a number of us studied together and did research, together and with faculty. Tad included a piece I had written for him in his Causal Models in the Social Sciences. Clark Roof and I wrote up a piece of research we did on residential segregation, and the department supported our going to the meetings of the Population Association to present it. It was later published in Social Forces. Today, that kind of support is common. Back then, it was quite unusual. I distinctly remember preparing for and taking the PhD qualifying exams. At the time, we had to take three, each a day-long, take-home examinations with a day or two off in between. It made for a long week or so. One was required (titled Social Organization, as I recall), and the other two were areas of specialization. I chose Population and Development.
As it tuned out, Jan was pregnant and due to give birth at about the same time as the exams were scheduled. So, in addition to my preparation for the exams, we set up contingency plans with friends and neighbors (mostly other graduate students on Davie Circle where we lived) in case she went into labor. Fortunately, she did not go into labor then, but I do remember the day that our results were handed out. Jan was with me in the hallway outside Lenski’s office, and when Babe came out to give someone their letter, she saw Jan, fully nine months pregnant. She turned around, and in a loud voice said to Gary, “Better do Tom’s letter next.”
Given the heavy class and research load at UNC, it had taken me quite a while to finish my MA thesis, so I was determined to finish my dissertation before I left Chapel Hill. I originally proposed a population project to Krishnan Namboodiri, but he shot it so full of holes that it looked like he used a shotgun. I scrapped it. So, I put together a new project, a test of a theoretical model of the migrations of academics, and asked Lew Carter to look it over. He liked the idea and became the chair of the committee. I managed to get it finished and defended, and we turned in the typed copies to the Graduate School, the very day we left Chapel Hill for Colorado. (Several years later, with Lew as coauthor, I published an article based on it).
After I finished at UNC in 1971, I went to Colorado State. It was there that I received my first grant (from NICHHD) and participated in a number of applied research projects. I served there for several years, then left for a brief visit at Wisconsin to work on my first NSF-funded research project, on residential segregation (co-directed with Clark Roof), then on to UMass (where Clark was located). I was there almost two years, then to Virginia for two more. In 1977, I went from Charlottesville to Western Michigan University, largely because I had shared an office at UVA with Dick Means who was there on sabbatical from Kalamazoo College. He spent most of the time talking about Kalamazoo and how good a place it was to live.
The position at WMU opened up after he left, so I called him and asked him if he was serious about Kalamazoo and WMU. He was, and encouraged me to apply. I first went to WMU in June of 1977, before my family actually moved here (in August). I directed an applied research project their Center for Social Research had received. Over the next three decades, I and three colleagues handled most of the applied research projects that came to the department. While these were mostly surveys and needs assessments – thus lots of reports – some did include opportunities for publication.
From 1981 to 1985, because I had some familiarity with computers, and because I had experience teaching large classes at Virginia, I was released from teaching in Sociology to Computer Science where I taught large Introduction to Computers course. In 1985, I became the Director of the Center for Social Research. With one interruption, I was Director until 1994. At that point, I stepped out of the Center to run a survey of alcohol and other drugs that covered the state of Michigan.
I became Chair in 1999. I served as chair for six years and retired in 2007 (at age 65). So, I was a faculty member a total of 37 years. That’s a lot of time (although I must admit it doesn’t really feel like it) and a lot of memories, most of them good ones. I have had the distinct pleasure to work on research projects and publications with many colleagues, and with a fair number of graduate students.
I moved away from research and publishing in population studies after going to WMU, but applied research has always been a focus for me. Also, I always enjoyed teaching Introductory Sociology, our Teaching Practicum, and our Proseminar (which was required of all new graduate students), and have been active in the teaching movement within the ASA. All of those experiences were great fun, and, I must also admit, so was being Chair (most of the time). I really do think that being an academic is a wonderful way to live. It is never boring, you continue to learn, and it is a comfortable living. Plus, there is plenty of time to pursue your interests (family, golf, handbells, science fiction, and travel in my case – not necessarily in that order).
Before I officially retired, I had already applied for Social Security benefits and I had my Medicare card. However, unlike most of the emeriti I know, I did not cut my connections with the department. I continued doing research, both unfunded and funded, and I had several writing projects to complete. A couple of those papers are still under review. Also, in the last year or so, I have been doing some consulting with the university regarding research ethics training, and I remain active in the ASA.
Besides, my wife (Jan) did not retire when I did. She continued to serve as a church music director for another year or so and still is a sales agent for a handbell manufacturer, and artistic director of the community handbell ensemble she founded (of which I am a member). Since 2007, we have faced some difficult family situations –the loss of one daughter, Jan was treated for breast cancer, and Christine, our remaining daughter, was treated for Hodgkins lymphoma. Both of them are okay now, and we are looking forward again. We have, of course, also been doing some of the things we like to do and visiting new and old places … and golf courses. It has been a grand journey, and I like to think I have taken the time along the way to appreciate at least some of the sights.
Why did I come to Chapel Hill all the way from Utah? Maybe it was because my father-in-law lived in Utah (ok, not true). More importantly, I knew two names in the department: Hubert (Tad) Blalock and Gerhard Lenski. Importantly, the department was highly ranked in sociology. But Chapel Hill just sounded romantic.
Little did I realize, however, how much turmoil was going to occur in the four years (1966-1970) I spent in Chapel Hill: assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, the so-called “race riots” and the Vietnam War on the national scene, and the school desegregation, interracial student fights in the local schools, and labor protests and war protests on campus (which I joined). Having the national guard on campus was eerie and weird. I also remember going to Durham to a pizza place one night only to get out of the car in front of a fully-armed member of the National Guard. I also attended a speech by Stokely Carmichael at Duke University. Trying to make sense of it all even from a sociological lens took some time. Some grad students, including me and a friend working on his Ph.D. in Math had to attend a Klan rally not too far outside of Carrboro to observe what we thought was an archaic relic of the South. We student huddled close together at the entrance, relying on a quick get-a-way if needed. Even today, reflecting on the rally I can only think how stupid the rally was, a bunch of clowns dressed up in robes. Unfortunately, the participants thought more of it than we did. A lot of snickers on our part and we soon left. A social phenomena unfortunately too common in the South at the time!
Unlike most grad students, I had married before my senior year in college. We had our first child during the second year of grad school. Before our daughter was born I got a change of my draft classification from II-S (student deferment) to 1-A (immediately available for the draft). I had carefully monitored when they were drafted from my local board in Salt Lake City and had taken the student deferment only the last year of my undergraduate years. I figured that I had three years before being drafted. I immediately called the draft board and asked about the change. They informed me that, “no I wasn’t going to be drafted, but that I was going to be ordered to take a physical.” When I got the order to report for a physical (in Raleigh) I immediately got a letter from the doctor stating that my wife was pregnant. I sent it to the draft and waited. No response. Another phone call: “Yes, we got the letter, but since you were ordered to report for the physical you must do that first. Then we will consider the letter.” Fortunately a III-C (fatherhood) classification came along soon and I was able to finish my degrees at Chapel Hill.
Our second child was to be born just as I was trying to finish my comprehensive exams—in early December. My wife had flown to Utah to have the baby and have some help from her mother. (It was also cheaper in Utah.) She had the baby just after I finished my exams, and I flew to Utah. Dick Cramer called me to report that I had passed and asked about the baby. I said that he was fine and that we had name him Justin Tye Jacobson. After the phone call, Dick told me later, he thought I had played a pun: Just in time for another tax deduction.
During my time in at UNC the sociology department was alive, however, both academically and socially with lots of diverse and interesting faculty members and graduate students. Dick Simpson was editor of Social Forces and showed his skills and perspectives on my MS and Ph.D. committees even though he was not the chair (Dick Cramer and Desmond Ellis chaired my committees). My natural interests were in social psychology (where Jim Wiggins and Glen Elder offered dramatically different perspectives), but my interests also turned to race and ethnicity as a result of the national and local events. Growing up in Utah, I had few contacts with anyone but whites. Even today only a little over one percent of the population in Utah is black. More Native Americans live in Utah than African Americans and almost as many Pacific Islanders live in Utah as Black Americans. Latinas/Latinos/Hispanics are the largest group (a little over 13 percent in 2015).
Who from that day can forget Dick Simpson smoking like a stove pipe and typing lickety-split on that old manual typewriter with two fingers, or Lenski teaching about religion and Power and Privilege, or the stats bible from Blalock and his stats classes? Other luminaries abounded, of courses, Wilson, Landsberger, Hawley, and junior folks such as Cora Marrett, John Reed among others. Other prominent sociologist later joined the department, but I did not have the opportunity to meet them before I left in 1970. I was hell-bent on getting out of town “ahead of the sheriff” as Simpson used to say (actually I just wanted a job and took one as an ABD).
Back in the day (coming out of graduate school), I had an offer from Brigham Young University where I now teach and where I had done three years of my undergraduate education. But I turned it down and went to UW-Milwaukee, an urban campus. I wanted to continue doing research on race and ethnicity, and I knew I couldn’t do that in Utah at the time. In addition I didn’t think the current president of the university (Wilkinson) and I would get along very well. And did I mention my father-in-law? I subsequently taught at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan which was not mountainous, nor entirely pleasant. But I did have Bernie Meltzer as my chair and friend along with others.
I finally returned to BYU in the fall of 1981 and have taught sociology (primarily social problems, social psychology and race and ethnic courses) for the past 34 years, the last three as chair of the department. I expect to retire early next year after teaching more than 45 years at the three schools.
I knew that I would be a teacher first and a scholar second. For the first half of my career I taught a 3-3-2 load, the second half a 2-2-1. Nevertheless, I succeeded in publishing several edited and co-authored books on race and ethnicity and social psychology (Prentice-Hall and Pearson imprint of Allyn and Bacon), and a goodly number of articles and chapters on the same topics. I also dabbled in the sociology of religion, especially after coming to BYU (books on Modern Polygamy and Revisiting O’Dea’s The Mormons –Oxford and U. of Utah presses).
For a sociologist, Chapel Hill was academically and socially stimulating. Living there, in Milwaukee and in Michigan enriched me both as a sociologist and as a person. Chapel Hill gave me a good basis for a career teaching and doing sociology. I have never looked back and wished I had a different career.
Submitted summer 2015
I was at UNC from 1966 to 1970, and received the Ph.D. in 1971. Gerry Lenski chaired my dissertation. It was a great time to be there with distinguished scholars other than Gerry with whom I took courses like Blalock and Hawley, and also to be there when two stalwarts from the past, Guy Johnson and Rupert Vance were retiring. Of course it was a hectic time in the country with protests against the Vietnam War, racial struggles, and a burgeoning women’s movement. But for me having grown up in conservative South Carolina, then having earned a MA degree at Yale Divinity School and exposed to its liberal influence, my time in Chapel Hill offered a time for studying religion and race relations and shaping a sociologically informed perspective on American society. The country’s continuing unresolved issues have in many ways influenced my research agenda. Today’s Donald Trump phenomenon, Black Lives Matter, Islamaphobia, and the proliferation of guns and violence all remind us of how so many of our major national issues remain unresolved.
A short anecdote: When I applied to the department I had no idea that I would have to take four courses in statistics and methods, for which I was ill-prepared. After applying I visited the department, met Babe in the office, and she told me to go down and meet Tad Blalock to find out more about the program. He mentioned those courses but didn’t say they were required and I stupidly said “Well I doubt I’ll be taking those courses!” I’ve often wondered how I got accepted.
In 1970, I took an Assistant Professor position at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1970 where I remained for 19 years. There I taught sociology courses on religion, race relations, and American society. Amherst was a great place to live and to raise our two daughters. There, as well, I benefited from meeting scholars in the Five-College Consortium who shared my interests in religion and where my sociological interests became more focused on the changing religious and cultural landscape in the post-1960s. My research agenda ever since has focused largely on this broad topic, with specific attention to generational change, post-Protestant America culture, shifts in religion and politics, global politics, and the polarization of religion and politics in our country today, my latest book project.
In 1989, my wife and I moved to Santa Barbara where I had an appointment in the Department of Religious Studies at UCSB. That was a big move – geographically, culturally, and in teaching context. It was a good time for a career change: my daughters were in college, and to be honest I had grown somewhat discouraged by the ethos within many sociology departments that regarded religion as fairly inconsequential as a subject of study – a dependent variable, as we say. Today, this has changed somewhat in sociology departments following 9/11 in this country and the obvious role of religion today in politics within the Middle East and elsewhere in the world. Also, the greater interdisciplinary focus in education has pushed universities toward more attention to religion. Indeed, this is the most exciting time to teach and conduct research on, religion, politics, and culture in my 46 years of teaching.
At UCSB, I have been lucky to have graduate students in a seminar from Religious Studies, Sociology, Anthropology, and other departments. This makes for lively discussion across the Social Sciences and Humanities, one which has benefitted me in my thinking and research on religion. Having supervised 19 dissertations here over the years focusing mostly on American topics, it appears the intellectual climate has been a productive one. Here I have also been able to create a center — the Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion, and Public Life — sponsoring a variety of programs bringing diverse faculty and public officials together for conversation on important issues.
Recently, I have retired but my wife and I continue to live in Santa Barbara. We have six grandchildren, all on the East Coast. I remain greatly indebted to UNC Sociology for its influence upon me.
Submitted March 2016
I’m impressed with the department history project Dick Cramer has organized, and urged by him and several colleagues I decided I must submit a brief bio myself.
I earned my BA and MA in sociology at Indiana University. I had long known I wanted no part of the corporate world and so I decided a PhD in sociology and an academic career would suit me perfectly. Compared to today, funding to support graduate work seems to have been more readily available then. I was accepted at four good schools, all with financial support. I had an interest in the etiology of mental health and illness and decided the medical sociology program at UNC under Harvey Smith would be a good fit. As a child I had travelled in the South with my parents and understood it was rather different from life in the North. A major reason for choosing Carolina over three other major universities was my interest in exploring Southern life and culture a little further. Fortunately, my wife agreed to move to North Carolina from our home in Indiana.
In the fall of 1963 I came to Chapel Hill. We lived in married apartment housing on Mason Farm Road, which I believe has been torn down for medical school expansion. At that time the Social Research Section (medical sociology and mental health) was housed in Miller Hall, across campus from sociology in Alumni Hall. Shortly after moving to Chapel Hill my son Mark Jr. was born in University Hospital. As a result of being married and with an infant son and being located in Miller Hall I was somewhat cut off from the culture of the department in Alumni Hall. I will never forget that shortly into my first semester the senior graduate students in the department put on a little colloquium on the history of the department. It was at that time that I discovered that Carolina sociology had been a top 10 department since the 1920s. I gulped and wondered what I was doing here but said to myself I’m going to have to really buckle down and succeed. Had I known the prestige of the department I might have been too intimidated to enroll. (Remember this was before the computer era and easy access to information.)
My years in sociology proceeded apace. As Glen Elder points out in his department history these were the years of concentrated training in quantitative sociology. I had a minor in social psychology and so had several courses in the psychology department. I am indebted to John Schopler of psychology for helping me get my very first publication, a group project growing out of a seminar he taught. These were also very politically active years in Chapel Hill. As a Northerner I was largely ignorant of the extent of racial segregation in the South; I participated in the integration of various public facilities in Chapel Hill. This was also the era of the Viet Nam War to which I was firmly opposed, seeing it as another US imperialistic venture. I gladly participated in a weekly peace vigil on Franklin Street.
Finally in the fall of 1966 I moved into Alumni Hall with a teaching assistantship. I needed dissertation data and Dick Cramer was looking for a grad student to help analyze a massive set of survey data on the social correlates of academic achievement. I’ll be forever grateful to Dick for taking me in and serving as chair of my dissertation committee. I had quite a formidable dissertation committee. In addition to Dick, my committee members were Gerry Lenski, Tad Blalock, and Dick Simpson, with John Schopler as an outside member. Fortunately by this time I had successfully passed my two required foreign language exams and my oral and written exams in sociology and was ready to look for an academic job. I left Chapel Hill ABD in 1968, a common practice at the time and something I do not recommend today.
The University of Nebraska– Omaha had four positions open in sociology, and desiring to return to the mid-west I interviewed and was hired. I had talked to Hugh Whitt, a fellow grad student who had taken a position at University of Nebraska—Lincoln the year before. Hugh advised, “…yes, come on out. It is a good place to get started, get some publications out and move on.” However shortly after getting comfortably settled at UNO the job marked totally dried up. I received tenure at UNO and remained there for my career, as did Hugh in Lincoln. While I never expected to live in Omaha, I must say it has been a very good fit. I have been able to pursue a nice blend of teaching and research, receiving considerable funding to support my overseas research interests.
As an undergraduate I had a minor in French and have loved the language ever since. After working in the sociology of education for some years I got interested in French politics and society. Thanks to a National Endowment for the Humanities summer fellowship I was able to work with Larry Wiley at Harvard. He helped me determine how I could integrate my sociological and French interests. As a result I spent time in France in the 1980s studying political decentralization. While presenting a meeting paper I met a political scientist from Lincoln with similar interests in Italy. We collaborated and produced a book Regionalism and Regional Devolution in Comparative Perspective, Praeger 1987. After working on the book for some five years, I determined I must either return to France and collect more data, or take on another project.
At that time I learned of the Quebec Summer Seminar, run out of SUNY Plattsburgh. I knew little about Canada or Quebec, except that it was that unique province where French was spoken. I applied to the seminar and spent several summers in Quebec. I quickly became interested in separatism and the national question and its relation to class and ethnicity. I received research support to carry out my work in Quebec, resulting in a number of publications. I must say that is some of the most enjoyable research work I’ve ever done. Currently, with a colleague in political science, I have a chapter coming out in a new Oxford University Press book on Francophonie in Quebec.
During this time I maintained my regular load of classes. I also served as department chair for 12 ½ years, stepping down in 2010. Since then I have taught several classes for the department. During the 2013-14 academic year I was persuaded to teach a full load as an adjunct professor in sociology at Creighton University (a Jesuit university in Omaha). I always enjoy a new experience and also needed the health insurance for my wife. Since that time I have done no further teaching nor expect to. Enough is enough!
I am enjoying a healthy and successful retirement and manage to keep busy. Among other things for the past several years I’ve been taking Advanced Conversational French through the Alliance Française of Omaha and find it very enjoyable. This winter term we just finished reading Voltaire’s Candide. With thanks to Andrew Carnegie, I manage to keep on top of expenses with TIAA-CREF.
I am very grateful for my PhD from UNC and the sociology faculty who taught and aided me. I will always be in their debt. The academic life has been very good for me. I often wonder what I would do today were I just beginning graduate work. In spite of the poor job market I must assume I’d do exactly what I did. To me, that is good testimony that I’ve been very fortunate.
Submitted March 2016
In reading the former student and faculty reflections from my era that have been submitted thus far, I realized that my Chapel Hill experience was a bit different in both process and outcome. I arrived in Chapel Hill from Boston in August, 1967 with a wife of six weeks, Carolyn, a U-Haul trailer attached to our car with all our earthly possessions, and no housing. A number of things quickly became apparent. Housing was hard to secure. My Boston accent meant that I was a carpetbagger Yankee to anyone off campus. This was not going to be another Boston College experience.
In fact, things could not have worked out better. On the first day, we obtained an apartment in Glen Lennox across the street from the University Motel where our U Haul was parked. The department led by Babe Andrews welcomed my accent as an endearing quirk. Then began a somewhat distinctive journey for me that linked me as much to the local community as it did to the Sociology Department.
I went to Carmichael Hall, the basketball arena at the time (pre-Dean Dome), to the Sports Information Office. At BC I had worked in the SID for two years and checked to see if they needed a student assistant. As fate would have it, one student assistant had recently resigned to take a UNC stringer job with the Charlotte Observer. Despite the Boston accent, they gave me a part time job in the office. While my sociology world was developing, I worked over the next two years answering fan and newspaper inquiries, writing press releases, and keeping stats at the basketball and football games (long before laptops). The job resulted in the summer of 1969 in my becoming the Sports Director of WCHL radio station in Chapel Hill. This meant doing Saturday pre-game football shows, going to every home and away football and basketball game, doing a Dean Smith post-game interview after every basketball game before the Tar Heel Network did them, doing play by play on the home baseball games and doing four weekday 5-minute sport summary shows–two live and two taped. And, yes, my Boston accent remained and when I would go into gas stations and other spots, after I spoke a couple of sentences, people would ask, “Are you Hank Steadman”?
The second major feature of my Chapel Hill years was the cadre of exceptional graduate student colleagues. For the three years in Chapel Hill, folks like Joe Morrissey, John Freeman, Mike Flynn, Mike Hannan, and Bud Mathews, among many others, intellectually and socially nurtured this Yankee who came with an M.A. from Boston College, but had to strive to be close to their league. They were a brilliant group along with the others who comprised this era. Bridge in what passed for a Student Lounge in Alumni Hall at lunch time, beer and pickled eggs at The Shack, and weekend poker games, complimented the intellectual pursuits.
Meantime with my Fellowship in Medical Sociology headed by Harvey Smith in the outbuilding on the other side of campus from Alumni Hall, I tried to carve out a program that fit the department’s strengths, which were legion, and my unstructured, but somewhat fringe interests. Despite walking out of one of Lew Carter’s Methods classes and totally pissing off Amos Hawley in class so badly that he spent the entire next class responding to my pique resulting in the “L” in Human Ecology, Dick Simpson took me on for my dissertation and expertly guided my research at a UNC outpatient pediatric clinic. I left after three years with a dissertation underway and came back the following May to defend it. Also, quite importantly, I also left with a 9 month old baby girl, Sharon, along with Carolyn.
I mentioned earlier that my outcome from UNC was also different. In 1970, I left to take a non-academic position. The only Ph.D of that era that did so. It was in the Mental Health Research Unit of the New York State Department of Mental Health in Albany, NY. My assignment there changed the course of my professional life. They had an NIMH grant that they gave me to lead studying the results of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions that resulted in 967 maximum security inmates from NYC prison hospitals for mentally ill inmates being sent in the summer of 1966 to 26 civil state hospitals. My job was to do a retrospective follow-up of how violent they were in those hospitals and in the community and the factors associated with their violence. My research world became the interfaces of the criminal justice and mental health systems. At that time, there were few other social science researchers in this area and the journals were crying for empirical studies. The conceptual and technical skills that I acquired in Chapel Hill equipped me tremendously well.
I never did any more sports writing or radio work. I stayed with NYS OMH until 1987, when I went into the private sector establishing Policy Research Associates in Delmar, NY. We had one NIMH grant for two and a half years with a staff of four people. It has been a successful venture. We are still in business with 52 employees. We are funded by the federal government, private foundations and individual contracts with various state agencies. Much of our current work is the application of empirical work to program development in behavioral health issues in criminal justice, juvenile justice, homelessness and service members, veterans and their families. I have reflected the academic motifs of Chapel Hill with six books, around 150 articles in peer reviewed journals and a bunch of chapters. Nonetheless, my primary rewards are working with communities and organizations to develop more effective opportunities for the terribly disadvantage people with behavioral health disorders who get unnecessarily caught up in the criminal justice system.. Believe it or not, the Sociology Department in the late 1960s generated all this. And at 71 years of age I am still plugging along.
Henry J. Steadman, Ph.D.
Policy Research Associates, Inc.
345 Delaware Ave.
Delmar, NY 12054
Fax: (518) 439-7612
Submitted August 2015
I entered as a graduate student in spring 1969 as a cohort of one! I thought this might mean this might mean that I would be lonely, but, as it turned out, the cohorts on either side of me both kind of “adopted” me. I soon got to know and like all of the other graduate students who were ahead of me and many of those who came after I entered grad school. (I didn’t get to know all of those who followed.)
I remember well that I came in as the Viet Nam War was heating up, and the graceful way Gerry Lenski handled the chairmanship. I also remember that I was in the cafeteria when the Black Students came in, and people started running to one end of the cafeteria or the other. I finally grabbed a student as he went by, and asked him “Why are people running?” to which he replied, “Good guys to one end and bad guys to the other.” Wanting to be with the good guys, the person I was with (I can’t remember who it was) and I followed in his wake, We assumed he was heading for the “good guy” end, and we wanted to be among the good guys. Later on, things got out of hand–one person got hit over the head with a sugar shaker, and somewhere about that time, the troops showed up.
Another thing I recall was the epic story of Reese Trimmer and his motorcycle. Anyway, Reese bought a cycle and when he got home to park it, it fell over and broke his arm. As far as I know, the cycle then went up for sale. He later took a job with the Durham police. It was an interesting time to be at UNC: troops on campus, one of the vice-presidents out filming the demonstrations, and the number of high school students who turned out in support of the demonstrations (or because it was an excuse to cut classes). But the best thing about being at UNC was the extremely high calibre of the Sociology faculty: Charlie Bowerman, who was chair brought in from Michigan Blalock, Hawley, and Lenski. Either that or the group decided at the same time to
to move to a warmer climate. Dick Cramer, Glen Elder, Al Jacobson, Peter Uhlenberg, and Ev Wilson were already at UNC. By the way, Ev Wilson showed me what it meant to be a college professor. He would assign a one-page paper, and give about two pages of comments back.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention as least some of the good friends I made. Jack Kasarda got me into Dr. Hawley’s population course, and I will be forever grateful for that advice. Ginny Hiday (I know she might spell it “Ginnie’ but my spell check won’t accept that spelling), who has remained a close friend over all the years, Karl Alexander, and so many more that I remember fondly. I cannot proceed without mentioning Tim Schwartz and the basketball we played together.
I don’t know how many people know this, but I was able to finish up (after coming to UNC with only a BA) in 3 and a half years. This was essentially because of one person, Gerry Lenski–and my Dissertation Committee. Dr. Lenski invited me into his office one day, and asked me what I was going to do about
my MA Thesis. I began to outline what I intended to do regarding Mexican Americans. He said something like: “Parker, why don’t you spend some more time on a paper you turned in for my Stratification course and use that as your MA Thesis–save the Mexican American work for your dissertation.” I took him up on that immediately. I then turned to Dick Cramer, who had taught the course in Race/Ethnic Relations and asked him to chair my dissertation–and he kindly agreed. I drew shamelessly on Al Jacobson for his technical expertise. And that, boys and girls, is how you get a Ph.D in 3 and a half years.
At the time I took the faculty position at UT, I retained my interest in the ranch. In fact, while in grad school, I returned to Texas every summer to work on the ranch. And I continued to work on the ranch ever since. Yes, I’ve slowed down a bit as I’ve grown older, but I still keep a few cows. In fact, I just bought 11 pairs (cows with a calf at side) last month. I had a great horse that I could reign with my knees.
Cattle prices have “gone through the roof” this year (as I predicted) for those who kept cows through
the drought–I don’t if we’re out of it yet, but we had a wet spring. All this time I managed to accomplish enough academic work to become a Full Professor. I don’t mean to minimize academia in any way. It just didn’t seem I should stay in Austin over the holidays to hear the news first. There was nothing I could do at that point that would change the Committee’s minds.
I recall that we were building fence when Dudley Poston called to tell me I had made Associate Professor. He couldn’t believe I had left town without knowing. My father came driving up to tell me. He didn’t know how academia works and he said “Ol’ Poston called and said you were now an Associate Professor.” He drove on, and I returned to digging post holes. It’s worth mentioning that he always asked me how Ol’ Poston was doing–never asked how I was doing.
Anyway, I got into the area of infant outcomes and NICHD; the Department, and UT were very good
to me. They seemed to have appreciated my work on infant mortality, low birth weight, and length of gestation. At the same time, I published ecological research with “Ol’ Poston.”
Submitted November 2015
I realized early on just how special my years in the sociology PhD program were. I think it was because of the stimulating people (both faculty and graduate students) and the departmental culture that connected us. It was almost like the faculty and my fellow students were intentionally collected to be in the same place at the same time just for my benefit. When the time came, I was somewhat sad to leave because I was pretty sure that I’d never again be among such a stimulating group of people.
Below is a selected sample of memories:
After collecting damages from being hit by a car while crossing the street, Tom Robbins opened a Mexican restaurant called Tijuana Fats. I still remember the big poster promoting the restaurant that showed Fats (Tom) sitting in an overstuffed chair with pretty girls sitting on each chair arm. Tom was wearing a white suit with a string tie, and holding a cigar. He never looked better.
For one of his aggression studies, Des Ellis had a large fish tank with a mix of fishes, including some piranha. At selected times during the day he’d record piranha attacks. One day he was rolling the tank down the third floor hallway for a cleaning when it tipped over, dumping its contents down the stairwell. In another Ellis aggression study, a real pistol was used as a stimulus in a human gaming experiment; at least until the campus cops got wind of it. In his class we sought the answer to the Hobbesian problem of social order.
We heard the group of war protesters enter the building and march down the hallway. They stopped just outside our classroom so a student could step in and lambast Professor Simpson about something; maybe for having class while an unjust war was going on. In an I-wish-I’d-said-that moment, a student in the class stood up and defended Professor Simpson and our class most eloquently. Unfortunately, I don’t remember his name, but I won’t forget what he did.
We sat on the wall eating our lunches and watching the painter paint the sign over the soon-to-open Hector’s restaurant across the street. He painted “Famous since 1969.” The year was 1969.
Riding a motorcycle right up to the building was the best solution to the parking problem. Bud Matthews had the baddest/fastest bike around; a Kawasaki 900 Triple. Fred Reed had several BMWs. I had a puny Yamaha Enduro.
Karl Alexander came to the departmental picnic with his shoulder heavily bandaged. He had fallen from the back of an Army truck during a training exercise. I don’t mean to make light of this, because Karl coped with that injury for a long time, but some people just don’t mix well with Army trucks.
John Shelton Reed regularly played poker with the grad students. I considered this a generous income redistribution strategy on his part.
My first job after completing the program was a one-year visiting appointment for 1972-73 at the University of New Mexico. They were only hiring on visiting appointments because they had an old guard/young turks problem defined by the times. In contrast to the unfortunate academic environment, New Mexico as the Land of Enchantment was accurate.
We next landed in Baltimore, the city of hidden charms. I had a research position with the Center for Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins for two years. My research colleague and I were trying to find ways to facilitate learning and academic performance in small group contexts. Karl Alexander was in the Sociology Department at JHU, and Bud Matthews was at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, so JoAnn and I were reunited socially with Karl and Sparky, and Bud and Gina. Karl stayed at JHU until his recent retirement, while Bud and Gina retired early to New Mexico.
Our final landing place was at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg in 1975. JoAnn’s job was in Learning Resources there. This place was the keeper. JoAnn’s interests in horse and dog training and showing developed into our “Hoof & Hound” limited partnership (we even had business cards). My own interests in autocrossing and tracking Porsches also developed fully. Disregarding the financial part, we both may have done better in our hobbies than in our jobs.
There is a sad note to add. JoAnn has Alzheimer’s and resides in Warm Hearth Village in Blacksburg.
submitted October 2015
As Jim Gruber will note in his entry, the class of 1970 was rumored to have broken the typical mold of UNC graduate students. We were clearly a diverse lot in term of ethnicity, gender, and social class. We also stuck close together and even challenged a number of departmental procedures and rules. These actions even led to a group of older graduate students gathering us up for a meeting in attempt to get us in line and have more respect for the faculty. We always respected the faculty and listened to the advice of the older students, but still felt the department needed a bit of shaking up. Therefore, we persisted in our actions to challenge the normal order of things and incorporate our own interests in new theories of social reproduction and social psychology in working groups beyond our normal classes. Jim Gruber mentioned the Marxist theory group and there was another that pursued new developments in social psychology like ethnomethodology and sociolinguistics. I met many great friends during my four years at Chapel Hill, most especially Jim Gruber (my roommate on arrival and best friend today) along with Dwight Billings and Lars Bjorn who I still see often. The list includes many more but in particular Charles Ragin, Howard Sacks, Terry Weiner, Will Rice, George Stiles, Ray and Susan Eve, Pam Oliver and Linda Molm.
As far as my own personal journey at UNC I must begin with my experiences while an undergraduate at Indiana University where I was introduced to Symbolic Interactionist theory in the writings of G. H. Mead and other pragmatic philosophers, the Chicago school of social psychology, and the work of Erving Goffman. One mentor Allen Grimshaw was among the first sociologists to do research in sociolinguistics and introduced me to the growing scholarship in that field especially that of Goffman, John Gumperz, Aaron Cicourel and others working in the areas of discourse analysis, ethnomethodology and conversational analysis. When I arrived at UNC I knew that the department was highly quantitative and there was less interest in social psychology, but I was surprised to discover several of those working in social psychology were behaviorists in line with B. F. Skinner.
In many ways my struggle with behaviorism and my developing interests in sociolinguistics lead me to take special interest in research on language acquisition in the early 1970s. This work involving the direct observation and recording of the early speech of young children caused great problems for behaviorist views of learning and the emergence of Chomsky’s dominance in linguistics and his more nativist views of language acquisition. The research in language acquisition also led to my interest in children and a re-examination of socialization theory in sociology. I found the work on socialization influenced mainly by functionalists like Talcott Parsons stifling in its “forward looking” perspective on how children must be trained to internalize and fit into society. Stimulated by the work in language acquisition I turned to constructivist theorists like Piaget and Vygotsky who offered views of young children as active agents in their development and socialization. I decided on a dissertation project in which I would expand the work on language acquisition by directly examining adult-child and peer interaction from a broader view of the development of communicative competence. To do this I was convinced that I needed to collect video recordings of everyday interaction of young children.
Here is where one of my most important mentors at UNC, Leonard Cottrell, played a crucial role. Leonard (Slats) Cottrell was an active member of the Chicago School of sociology and actual student of G. H. Mead. I was fortunate to have him for a teacher in a social psychology course in my first year as a graduate student. The next year he retired but in his words “we continued to teach each other” as I would meet him informally in his home to discuss my interests in children and the related work in ethnomethodology, discourse and conversational analysis. Slats would often begin these meetings (which at times included fellow graduate students Jim Gruber, Dwight Billings, and Lars Bjorn) by saying “What would Mr. Mead have to say about this?” I will always treasure these meetings with Slats and his wonderful wife Anita. When I told him about my plan to collect video data of young children’s interaction he was intrigued. At this time as far as I know there was not any or very little research involving video recording in the social sciences. The available technology, large studio cameras and reel-to-reel video recorders were expensive and certainly beyond my means to purchase. Cottrell, who had served at the Russell Sage Foundation for many years before coming to North Carolina had brought with him a rather ample research grant. He kindly offered me needed funds for video equipment to carry out my dissertation which was the key launching point of my career.
I must say at first I did not know what I was doing. I persuaded two of my fellow graduate students (Lars Bjorn and George Stiles) to let me video record their children (George’s son Buddy and Lars’ son Krister who were two and a half years old and Lars’ daughter Mia who was around five years old) in interaction in their homes with the parents and a play room I set up with a few toys in a room in the department. I recorded naturally occurring routines in the home and the spontaneous peer play of the children in which I participated when they asked me to join. When I repeatedly viewed and then began to transcribe these data, I was struck by the richness, density, and complexity of what had seemed routine interaction when I was recording it. With this new technology I was convinced that contemporary social psychological theories of interaction fell far short of capturing this complexity.
I was also supported strongly by all members of my dissertation committee which included Cottrell, Glen Elder, and Dave Heise. Glen has given me unswerving support throughout my career and the honor to introduce him when he won the Cooley-Mead award from the ASA section on Social Psychology. Dave later became my colleague at Indiana University where I spent 39 years and also my co-author on an innovative methodological paper. I should note here that as far as I know I was the first to do a qualitative ethnographic dissertation at UNC and the support of Slats, Glen, and Dave was essential.
In the dissertation itself and early publications I focused on patterns of how adults talked to children. Communication involves the negotiation of meaning in specific interactive contexts. When interacting with young children, I found that adults soon learn that this negotiation process differs from what takes place, and is routinely taken for granted, in adult interaction. Young children do not always fill in the details nor carry on conversation with an explicit notion of topic or definite rules for turn-taking and sequencing. As a result, adults structure interactive events with young children by the way they talk to them. Although the adult is using language in a controlling manner in such instances, the conscious intention is not one of social control but rather is centered on the negotiation of shared meaning. Adults use language to continually expose children to the normative order, often taking the interactive event initiated and of special interest to the child and connecting it to more general notions of what is correct or possible in the adult world. Here I saw socialization as a process of negotiation, appropriation, and reproduction.
Well struck by the complexity of the adult-child interactive routines, I was overwhelmed by the peer interaction I recorded. Here were young kids who Piaget and nearly all developmental psychologists at the time were saying were egocentric and not capable of sustained social interaction with peers. I saw in my data that this was clearly not the case. The peer role and fantasy play I recorded was highly complex, innovative and creative. I was convinced children played a major role in their own socialization from a very early age. I needed to expand on these early data by carrying out a much more extensive micro-ethnographic study of children in a peer setting like a preschool which took me to the University of California, Berkeley, where I received a post-doctoral fellowship made possible by the support of Leonard Cottrell and Glen Elder before beginning my successful research and teaching career at Indiana University from 1975 until 2013. Over those years I was key in developing what has become known as the sociology of childhood and in bringing young children and their peer cultures into sociology including the founding of the ASA section on Children and Youth.
In looking back at my time at UNC I want to mention other of the faculty who I learned a great deal from and who were very supportive including Richard Simpson, Jim Wiggins, Ev Wilson (who kindly let me take his course on teaching even though I did not teach while at UNC), and most especially Dick Cramer. In odd turn of events when I arrived at Indiana University I was in a new cohort of assistant professors which included Charles Ragin who attained his Ph.D. on a very fast track from UNC the year after me and this guy Arne Kalleberg who arrived from the University of Wisconsin. We became fast friends. However, Arne gave me a hard time about UNC telling me they did not make him a good offer to come there for graduate school and rejected several of his papers at Social Forces. Of course, I did not see how I should be accountable for any of these things and defended the department. I told him I was always treated well and supported there even if I did not fit in perfectly. Of course as we all know Arne decided to leave IU after getting tenure to join the faculty at UNC where he served as chair for many years!
I am now living full time in Mesa where I moved to be close to one of my brother’s. I still have three Ph.D. students (reading one dissertation now with one to come in July and the final one in 2017) whose committees I am working on. I still do a bit of writing and consulting and published the 4th edition of my text The Sociology of Childhood in January 2014. They want another edition to be delivered about this time next year. The text does very well with quite a few class adoptions. After this next edition I may look for a co-author to keep it going and have some younger scholars in mind.
I am no longer married but am eager to report on my daughter, Veronica, 28, who has a law degree from IU and is now in the Peace Corps in Northeast Mongolia. Near Siberia. Her term of service will be for two years until August, 2017. She is now going through her first winter there and it is very cold. She lives in a tent (ger) without running water but has electricity and she chops wood for heating. She has adapted well and has a host family for help and there are other volunteers in the city. It is a challenge but she likes it and is very good at chopping wood but does not like hauling water. We hope when she completes her term she will be in better position to find a job on the east coast using her legal skills. She will have special opportunities for government jobs and now good experience to work in an NGO. Hopefully she will find something that fits her shortly after she returns.
I came to UNC in 1968 as one of only a few women in my class and, I think, one of only three to graduate with a PhD. I had come because of my interest in Human Ecology, and to study with Amos Hawley. At the time, there were five current or former ASA presidents at UNC. I was told that UNC had been able to recruit such a stellar faculty because of the great retirement program provided by the state. Besides Hawley’s book, I remember being entranced by Wilson’s Intro book, which I thought did an amazing job of describing what Sociology really is, and Lenski’s book on Evolution. And I would never have become the quantitative scientist I am without the kind guidance of Tad Blalock. What a treat to be surrounded by such luminaries! Jack Kasarda was a classmate and also an office mate for a year or so. We had long talks about religion, which proved useful to me in a later time.
On a personal note, it was my first experience of the Deep South, and coming from Seattle, Hillsboro was another planet. If “the war” didn’t mean the Civil War, it meant the Revolutionary (not WWII), and a trip to Mt. Morris (10 miles) was cause for a major planning effort and then reporting on “the trip” to the neighbors. I had also never encountered Southern racism, having come from Seattle where everyone is a migrant and what racism there definitely is was still minor by comparison.
My husband had his first teaching job at Bennett College, so he was commuting 50 miles to work in Greensboro, where the National Guard shot two students across the street at A&T.
Tad Blalock was among those who demonstrated every single week against the war in Viet Nam. After Kent State, when the National Guard was on the UNC campus, I felt a lot of pressure to boycott classes, but as the first in my family—and my entire neighborhood—to even attend college, never mind graduate school (“what’s that?” asked my grandmother), I didn’t want to skip classes.
It was also a difficult time because my husband and I had four grade-school aged children. Chapel Hill schools had been integrated less than 5 years and things were not going well. My kids had a very hard time with the public schools, even after we moved to Chapel Hill, but we were too poor to consider any alternative.
Speaking of poor, I did have an NIH fellowship through the Population Institute that paid $3000/year. My male colleagues who had the same fellowship received an additional $500/child, but I did not because I was a woman and therefore not eligible. The ACLU fixed that!!! Even with my job with the Art School that paid a whopping $4/hr, I still had to sew my kids’ clothes and my husband’s sport jacket, and get “furniture” from Goodwill, but at least we ate. The ACLU also had a word with the school board about daily prayers in school when both the teacher and the principal refused to discontinue them and offered to have my first grader stand in the hall while the rest of the class prayed. For me, there were many challenges during those years in addition to being a student, challenges that many of my classmates did not have.
My first teaching job was at SUNY Geneseo, teaching undergrads Statistics, Marriage and the Family, and World Population Problems. Teacher Evaluations were the new thing, and I got a teacher of the year award while there and got promoted to Assoc. Professor. Then I was recruited to Kansas, where I got tenure and had a split appointment with the Institute for Social and Economic Research, the first woman ever to be employed as a Principal Investigator.
My career as an academic sociologist ended after I was at KS for four years, when I took leave to do the research about the social and economic effects of the accident at Three Mile Island for the Kemeny Commission, and never returned. I continued to do environmental sociology research for the next 10 years as President of Social Impact Research, Inc., which I founded.
My career has taken many twists and turns since then, but my foundation as a sociologist has informed my thinking about norms, values, culture and social systems wherever I’ve been. Briefly, after Reagan was elected, all contract Environmental Sociology work dried up, and I was recruited to be an Executive Recruiter, using my knowledge of demography and epidemiology to recruit insurance professionals. Eventually, I went to work for one of my clients, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, as an inside researcher, management consultant, and staff support for consumer advisory groups (write the VP’s Strategic Plan; estimate whether we have enough beds to make it through the winter flu season; why does it take so long to get a vasectomy at one clinic and not others?).
Eventually, I returned to school to get a second Master’s in Nursing at Yale, and became a Nurse-Midwife at age 50, attending births at homes, hospitals and birth centers. I built a practice and a birth center in Kennewick, WA, which I ran for 10 years, and also was the Executive Director of birth centers in Washington DC (where Secretary Sebelius and Justice Sotomayor visited) and Bryn Mawr, PA. I became President of the American Association of Birth Centers and had the opportunity to participate in national health care policy conversations. I returned to academia as an Associate Professor of Nursing at Seattle University. I worked on a business plan to start hundreds of birth centers, with the objective of significantly improving our atrocious (and worsening) maternity outcomes, by reducing medical interventions that harm mothers and babies and providing the kind of care that helps. Essentially, I am trying to find a way to change an entrenched social system that provides too many poor outcomes for the majority of women who are healthy.
Although I am retired from clinical practice now, I continue to serve on both national and local health policy committees, with a focus on maternity care. Last year I married Stan Woody, who is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Domestic Violence Perpetrator Treatment Provider. I give a “Daddy Boot Camp” to his two women’s and three men’s treatment groups about twice a year, in which I teach participants how to bond with their children before they are even born, and how to manage the stresses of pregnancy and the immediate postpartum periods, which are high-risk times for DV. I now lecture nationally on assessment and treatment of DV by BOTH genders, for the sake of the children. Stan and I have also just used our combined backgrounds to develop a 4-hour training on Hate and Prejudice for DV workers, therapists, social workers, and marriage and family counselors, which has turned out to be timely given the recent election.
We live in Kennewick, in the desert part of Washington State, in an area with 200 wineries within an hour of the house (come visit!). My kids and step-kids from a brief second marriage do not live in this town, but most of Stan’s family (including great-grandkids) do, so there are plenty of family activities, and we get to Seattle about monthly to see my family.
I think it’s fair to say that I have spent my life as both a learner and teacher. If I learned nothing else at UNC, it was that there is such a thing as a social force, and that it is nearly as difficult to resist as gravity. Social change is not easy. But I’m trying!
Since I have retired, I have become much more interested in sociology and have “returned” to focus more on some of the basic issues and classic concerns of the discipline after having worked as an “applied” social scientist for most of my career. I came to the UNC Sociology Department from the University of Santa Clara, with the intention of studying sociology of religion with Gerhard Lenski, but soon found out that he had moved on to other interests. I then shifted my focus to criminology and was invited to work with Lee Bounds at the NC prison system. Unfortunately in the middle of that project I lost my only deck of prison survey IBM cards in the basement of the computer center during a 4 AM involuntary nap. I ultimately settled on medical sociology working with Cecil Sheps.–a decision that turned out very positive for me and one which I never regretted. My dissertation, under the direction of Dick Simpson, focused on the careers of physicians working in atypical health care settings, an interest I continued to pursue at the Sheps Center and the Institute on Aging as I continued to work here in Chapel Hill for the rest of my academic career.
I enjoyed multi-disciplinary work and was proud of being an “applied” sociologist, but always felt that the sociology department’s ethos was one that never quite recognized the value of this kind of work. Nonetheless sociology has had a powerful grip on my identity as an academic, and in that I was not alone. In fact, I belonged to an informal group of faculty with PhD’s in sociology working across campus (mostly in the health sciences schools) who identified ourselves as “sociologists in exile.” We met occasionally to exchange ideas and commiserate about how our clinical colleagues underappreciated the value of sociological perspectives and often misapplied the contributions that we as social scientists could (and actually did) make to the education and scholarship in our home departments and schools.
The fact that the UNC sociology department discouraged joint appointments always seemed to me short sighted and constituted a missed opportunity–especially on a campus with as much academic diversity as Chapel Hill. Over the last two decades, however, the focus on social determinants in health and health care by health care academics and policy makers has become more prominent. Clearly the “embedding” of sociologists in our health professions schools has fostered a better understanding of population health and more effective and comprehensive health care delivery.
Looking back now, it seems to me that our student cohort (the more than a dozen of us who entered in the Fall of 1966) had a strong sense of solidarity and were generally mutually supportive. We thought of ourselves as having a special identity, and at least some of us believed (correctly or incorrectly) that it was due in some part to the purportedly disproportionate say of Tad Blalock in selecting us for admission. At one point in my overly extended career as a graduate student, I had the rare opportunity of working for Blalock as a research/teaching assistant and part of my job was to work out answers to the statistics problems at the end of each chapter, a task which was very time consuming in those days, but also quite exhilarating, as I felt I was on the front end of what later became structural equation modeling. His forthrightness, integrity and competence remain a source of inspiration to me to this day.
For me, as for many in our cohort, the formative sociological experiences I had in Chapel Hill did not come in the classroom, but from the experience of the cafeteria workers’ strikes in 1969 and 1970, the anti-war movement, and other community struggles, which seemed at the time distractions from academic work if not disruptions in and of the sociology department. It was on the picket line, not in the classroom, that I met another sociology graduate student, who challenged me to talk less and do more and continues to do so today after all these years–my spouse, Susan Russell. When a young sociology professor, Dick Roman, had to move to take a job in Canada and he and Brenda couldn’t take their teenaged Native American foster child across the border, Sue and I agreed to become her foster parents. Our evident willingness to take on a child of a “different race” precipitated the local DSS to seek us out as an emergency placement for a one week old African-American girl whose foster mother had just died. She is now our eldest of three daughters.
It was not in the classroom, but in the cafeteria that we met Mary Smith and Elizabeth Brooks whose lives and work, persistence and clarity of purpose helped us to understand the meaning of structure, and solidarity and support and the subtleties and complexities of class, race, and gender. When the sociology students asked the workers what they needed and learned that they couldn’t arrange stable child care, the Community School for People Under Six was born which endures to this day, after its modest beginnings in borrowed space and precarious time. It was not in the classroom but in the basement of the First Baptist Church and in the abandoned campus building that became the “Liberation Cafeteria” that we learned about organizational innovation.
The lessons we learned from these experiences were enduring– they helped Sue initiate, grow, and sustain a workforce development program that has provided education and wage increases for about 130,000 early childhood educators throughout the US. These experiences helped me understand how to assist frontline long term care workers begin an ascent up a career ladder that aims to recognize and reward their intrinsic worth and social contribution. Over a decade, this program was implemented touching a thousand workers in one-quarter of NC’s nursing homes. Although I arrived in Chapel Hill too late to benefit from Harvey Smith’s medical sociology courses, I did have the opportunity to learn from Larry Little of the Winston-Salem Black Panther Party, about the importance of sickle cell screening, which was helpful to me when I later helped establish the Policy and Ethics Division of the Duke-UNC Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center in the 1990s.
From my current vantage point, I believe some of us who came to Chapel Hill in the late 1960s have become part of a proud (if not completely intentional) sociology department tradition that Howard Odum initiated and was remembered for. Graduate students who went out in the community and engaged in a way that transcended, perhaps even disrupted, formalistic academic expectations. Some returned to get their doctorates, others did not, but most made a difference and put their sociology to work. Looking back over nearly half a century, it was worth it.
submitted October 2016
I had no doubt that the department I’d be entering after graduating from Oberlin was a good one. The program would provide me with a sound foundation in quantitative methods, research techniques about which I knew net to nothing and needed to learn, if only to be able to carry on a conversation with the young woman in the biostatistics department whom I’d followed from Oberlin and would soon marry. Though Carolina’s program was well regarded, I was not a good Carolina student. I did well enough in my classes and especially enjoyed the ones I took in the History Department. I was able to take them only after petitioning our senior faculty to accept history as the equivalent of a foreign language just as they’d long accepted students taking advanced statistics or biostatistics to satisfy the university’s foreign language requirement. I’m sure they did so grudgingly. But their tolerance of my interests allowed me to write a dissertation that I really enjoyed.
I may have been one of the last persons to enter and complete his dissertation in four years, inspired both by my wife who was an even bigger grind than I was and my wish to get on with my life and, not coincidentally, out of Chapel Hill. We ended up in St. Louis only because she didn’t like the man who would have been her boss at the pharmaceutical company in Philly that had wanted to hire her. I turned down what was then and would remain my dream job: the interdisciplinary urban studies program at Penn. It would take me 34 years to join another at a university which would close it down two years after I had returned to St. Louis and joined the faculty at Saint Louis University. The intervening time was spent at the public university in St. Louis, which took me 16 years to write my way out of, and 18 years at Boston University whose faculty I joined in 1991 on the strength of work I’d done on tenant managed public housing for Peter and Brigitte Berger while I was still in St. Louis. I loved Boston and was able to reconnect with Pat Rieker, who I was able to bring to the Sociology Department before I blew out of town. But back in 1991 I’d really wanted to take the job as Chairman at Howard University, a decision my then wife vetoed. By the time I left Boston in 2009 – with two grown children more or less on their own and wifeless – the plan was to return to the city where my career had begun in the hope that something I’d learned along the way might be put to better use than it had been in Boston. I think it’s going to turn out okay.
My purpose in telling a personal story that might easily be found in a really bad Christmas letter is not to solicit sympathy for missed opportunities and a failed marriage. It is a preamble to a confession and acknowledgement.
I’ve now completed 40 years as an academic. I didn’t end up at Harvard, which disappointed the late Derrick Bell who took a generous interest in me after my first book was published. Nor did I get either of the named professorships for which I’d been nominated. But, like I said, I’m doing okay. In fact, I’ve done pretty well.
I have had the privilege of doing work, good work, on matters I considered to be important and taught with some fine people in addition to the requisite number of pretentious jackasses one inevitably bumps into along the way. My writing was made better by teaching. My tolerance for academic windbags has gotten appreciably better, not so much because I became more accommodating but just numbed. And, now closer to the end of my career than the beginning, I have five book-worthy projects queued up that will help show: we’re not nearly as unequal as we’ve been taught to think, that the U.S. Supreme Court recently got it wrong when it conflated differential impact with differential treatment (i.e., discrimination), that urban neighborhoods can be redeveloped with the help of corporations and large institutions so that they are both sustainable and racially and economically mixed, politics can actually help make civic life civil, and the racial violence that took place in Ferguson, MO was far more conservative in character and consequence than people are prepared to recognize or acknowledge. This last project is especially special because it’s a topic that first caught my attention as an undergraduate, became the foundation of my dissertation, and I have returned to over the course of my career.
Like I said, I have lived a privileged intellectual life.
What I experienced during my four years in the Sociology Department at Chapel Hill didn’t annoy me enough to walk away. And it provided only glimpses of the clues that I’d spend the better part of my life trying to unpack and reassemble into a good picture of who we are as a people. Nothing that the faculty did or might have imagined wanting to do to me hurt me nearly as much as having to wake up weekdays to five-minute editorials by Jesse Helms or the inimitable Cousin Chub Sewell who would stand in for Jesse on those occasions when the future Senator of the United States was out of town beating back to life somebody else’s already dead black-and-white horse.
The department did me more good than its faculty believed while I was there. (This was a confession I made to a genuinely surprised Peter Uhlenberg years later. Peter thought I’d disliked the faculty.) My professors were actually more generous than any of us, and especially me, probably deserved. (This revelation was occasioned by another conversation with Peter Uhlenberg who confessed to me on a bus ride to the San Antonio airport that the faculty could never make up its mind as to whether one of my fellow students was brilliant or delusional.) But, just in case they think I’ve mellowed to the point of unrecognizability, unlike them I never doubted my ability to tell the difference.
submitted Sept. 2015
GOOD SENSE, SMARTS, AND STABILITY
DESPITE THE SOCIAL TURMOIL OF THE TIMES, 1968-1973
I resided in Chapel Hill 1968-1973 while I was a graduate student in the UNC Sociology Department, from which I received an M.A. (1970) and a Ph.D. (1975) under the superb guidance of a wonderful fellow and eminent scholar, Distinguished Emeritus Professor Gerhard Lenski.
My sense is that the Sociology Department had enough faculty, staff, and graduate students who had enough good sense and “smarts” to keep the Department stable, balanced, and productive despite the social turmoil of the times on so many college campuses, in U.S. society, and so many other places in the world during those years. A short list of some of the national and international events of 1968 that impacted campus affairs includes:
The U.S. war in Vietnam, particularly the NVA’s devastating Tet Offensive, the siege of the Khe Sanh combat base by NVA forces (echoes of the siege and capture of the French Army fortress at Dien Bien Phu in 1954), and rumors of a massacre of Vietnamese peasants at My Lai by U.S. Army Forces,
President Johnson’s stunning announcement that he would not stand for re-election that year,
Controversies and conflicts about Black Pride, Black Power, Women’s Liberation, and Anti-War social movements,
The assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. by a white racist in Memphis,
Widespread urban race riots, looting, and arson in Harlem, Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore, Washington, DC and other U.S. cities,
Student protests and “takeovers” of university administrative offices on campuses in the U.S. and Europe,
The assassination of presidential candidate Senator Robert F. Kennedy,
The invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Army,
Bloody protests in the streets of Chicago around the Democratic National Convention
The election of Richard M. Nixon as President and Spiro Agnew as V-P on a platform of “law and order,”
The Apollo 8 Astronauts orbiting the moon.
Chapel Hill and the UNC campus were trying to adjust to other changes as well. Black students were just starting to be admitted and integrated into university life. If I recall correctly, the first Black basketball player on scholarship, Charlie Scott, was just starting his junior year on campus and there were reports of racist taunts against him. Student subculture was flush with “alternative life styles,” clashing political interest groups, and easy access to “The Pill” and a variety of “recreational drugs” including the supposedly “liberating” LSD.
Despite these controversies and challenges on and beyond the UNC campus, my sense is that the Department’s stability and good sense was because of the maturity and wisdom of Professors Lenski, Blalock, Hawley, Simpson, Everett Wilson, Bob Wilson, Glen Elder, and Babe Andrew, who was the Department Office Administrator during those years. These people had enough wisdom derived from the greater turmoil of WWII and the Cold War to sense that the perplexing changes and social revolutions of the 1960s and early 1970s could be endured and perhaps even be beneficial for U.S. society in the long run. (By the way, all but one of the twenty Sociology faculty members were White males. Most of them had conservative Eurocentric, Protestant origins. The four office staffers were gracious, able, White ladies of the South, to my way of thinking.)
At any rate, these people also allowed me plenty of time to find my way in sociology, so to speak. I certainly needed a lot of time as well as tolerance on their part. I had just completed four years as an infantry officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, including sixteen months in infantry and recon units in Vietnam and a year teaching tactics at the Marine Corps Officer Candidate School. I had only taken two introductory level sociology courses when I was an undergraduate. I thought that graduate courses in sociology could help me to understand some of the perplexing differences and problems I had witnessed in small rural communities and massive metro areas in the Philippines, Thailand, Japan, and Vietnam as well as the social and political changes that were occurring in the U.S., Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Sociology courses were very popular on many college campuses in 1968. Graduate education in sociology was funded generously by various agencies of the federal government. The Sociology Department at UNC was able to hire four new junior faculty, several mid-level and senior faculty, and provide considerable financial support to most of the members in my cohort of about thirty-five or forty incoming graduate students. My cohort included ordained priests and nuns, attorneys, Masters level sociology instructors from small colleges, missionaries, MBAs, and a smattering of activists, objectors, mischief-makers, and outliers, let us say. All of them were White. About 70% of them were male. Perhaps 30% were native Southerners. Most of the members of my cohort had undergraduate or Masters Degrees in sociology. Many of them had just completed their undergraduate degrees. Eventually, many of them dropped out of the Department and out of touch. Perhaps only nine or ten of us stayed long enough to receive a Ph.D. degree in sociology.
Fortunately, and rather surprisingly, I did not experience much if any overt hostility or ostracism because of my military background–not that I advertised it. In fact, I had developed deep reservations about U.S. military operations in Vietnam, in part because I had witnessed far too many unnecessary and misguided bombings by U.S. forces, including napalm bombings of small, remote rice-paddy villages in broad daylight and with little evidence of enemy forces. In the name of “liberation” from the threat of Communism the U.S. was wreaking havoc on innocent, poor, peaceful, rice- paddy peasants.
It took me at least three semesters to find my way and get the hang of sociology and grad school. I’m grateful that the Department and most of instructors allowed me the time to do so. I also had the good fortune of getting an unconditional acceptance, without revisions, (by The Sociological Quarterly) of the first paper I submitted for publication after only four semesters at UNC. It was based on my M.A. thesis. That acceptance led me to think that I could be a productive researcher in sociology if I continued to work towards a doctorate in sociology at UNC. This was fortunate because, in retrospect, my M.A. education was relatively weak and the courses were not very compelling or expansive. Fortunately the Ph.D. courses were much more valuable, especially the courses in sociological theory and the societal evolution and stratification courses of Gerhard Lenski. The first edition of his extraordinary sociology textbook, Human Societies, had just been published (currently in its 12th edition). It remains as the most valuable sociology book I have ever read.
Perhaps you can tolerate a few admittedly “hard-nosed” and somewhat old-fashioned suggestions based on my five years at UNC and more than forty years teaching and doing research at more than five additional universities. In general, I suggest a movement “back” to the more rigorous requirements for the M.A. and Ph.D. that were eliminated during the time I was at UNC.
(1) Try to select junior faculty and graduate students who are older, more mature, more broadly educated, and more willing to tolerate a wide range of theoretical perspectives and methodical approaches to teaching and research, rather than “profess” only or primarily within one or two perspectives and research methods. While I was at UNC there was far too much of a shift from broadly educated and life experienced faculty and grad students to those who were narrowly specialized in their interests and abilities. The required first courses in theory and in methods were almost worthless because the newly hired junior instructors did not know how to teach and they espoused only behaviorism and experimental design — and not very well, at that. Probably these were the worst courses I have ever had at any level. Senior faculty should not have allowed this to happen. Also, senior faculty should not have allowed one of the junior faculty members to approve M.A. thesis research by two of the young, mischievous male graduate students, under the guise of studying “sexual arousal.” These two fellows convinced some very vulnerable first semester females in introductory sociology courses to recite explicitly pornographic passages from men’s sex magazines. At least one of these “test subjects” then became involved in a much more interactive “experiment,” so to speak, with one of the “experimenters.”
(2) Require a minor concentration in some discipline other than sociology for both the M.A. and Ph.D.
(3) Try to select graduate students who have conversational ability in a least one language (preferably two languages including Spanish) besides “everyday” conversational English, and in addition to academic reading ability in at least one language besides English.
(4) Comprehensive written exams should be far more rigorous. They should be administered and closely monitored on campus. No one but the examinee should have any access to, or influence on, the exams from start to finish.
(5) Require grad students to take a rigorous course on how to teach undergraduates, including how to manage courses, choose grading formats, and write highly valid and reliable exams. Do not assume anyone knows how to do this in an informed and honest manner, including grad students who have been teachers and college instructors.
(6) Also require grad students to participate in a seminar on how to get along, after UNC, with a wide range of colleagues and critics throughout their lives.
(7) Strongly encourage or require Ph.D. candidates to teach or co-teach at least one undergraduate sociology course under close supervisor of a senior faculty member.
(8) Strongly encourage or require Ph.D. candidates to collaborate with a tenured faculty member in preparing a research article for publication in a major academic journal.
I don’t know that I ever intended to have a conventional career in sociology, in academia, or anything else, for that matter. Since leaving UNC I’ve had faculty appointments (non-tenure track) at the University of Delaware, Brown University, Providence College, the University of Connecticut, the University of Rhode Island, and a few other universities and colleges. I’ve also worked as a researcher at social science consulting firms in Boston and Cambridge, MA, and I’ve been Executive Director of the Center for Energy Policy in Boston and the Anti-Arson Task Force in Providence R.I. I’ve published a handful of research articles in sociology as well as four books, two of which I consider to be decidedly sociological and one of which I believe to be very useful for understanding how the people and the community of Buffalo Creek, West Virginia have tried to recover from the infamous coal-mining flood disaster of 1972.
Currently I’m working on two manuscripts: “Violence in the Holy Books of the World Religions” and “Poverty and the Poor in the Holy Books of the World Religions.” These are sequels, of sorts, to my book War, Terror & Peace in the Qur’an and in Islam: Insights for Military and Government Leaders (2004) (Special discounts for UNC sociologists on orders of 100 or more!).
I’ll close by conveying once again that I have always felt indebted to the UNC Sociology Department for the education I received there, 1968-1973, but also for the support that I have received since then, from time to time, from the department and from some of its former members, especially Gerhard Lenski and John Shelton Reed, but also Henry Landsberger, Jack Kasarda, Glen Elder, Dick Cramer, and the late Amos Hawley, Everett Wilson, and Robert Wilson.
Let me also encourage current and future leaders and members of the Sociology Department to do their best to “keep in touch” with former members of the department and to continue the rich, balanced, stable, and very smart heritage of the department. I am glad, and lucky, to have been part of it.
Thanks again. Timothy Philip Schwartz-Barcott, firstname.lastname@example.org, 157 Weaver Hill Road, West Greenwich, RI 02817
Submitted September 2016
In the fall of 1970 it is rumored that a group of graduate students showed up who had been selected partly with the input of a faculty member who was leaving and wanted to leave a “legacy”. Whether true or not that is what happened. The students who were admitted in that year and shortly thereafter included an unusual number of students not in the typical mold for UNC. Fewer were interested in demography, medical sociology or new statistical methods. Often they were turned on by theory, particularly critical theory, and were interested in posing questions tinged with a Marxist point of view. The list included students like Lars Bjorn, Dwight Billings, James Gruber, William Corsaro, Ray and Susan Eve, Daniel Monti, Rick Kurz, Willie Rice and Terry Weiner.
Many continuing students found them a breath of fresh air and joined in some of their ventures (Alan Immersheim, for example). One of these ventures was a critical theory study group, led by William Corsaro and Dwight Billings, that met several times a term to go over theorists and works not being discussed in our regular courses. This group actually reached out to some disgruntled students at Duke and some joined in the study group. An interesting moment was when the book by Gouldner on the Coming Crisis of Western Sociology was published and the bookstore on Franklin Street could not keep up with the demand!
Another characteristic of the group in the early 70’s was that many were strongly attracted to faculty like Ev Wilson, Dick Cramer, Chic Goldsmid, Patricia Rieker, Robert Stauffer and others in the department known to care about teaching. Several of the students in this class and those that followed went on to teach at prestigious liberal arts colleges like Weiner to Union, Sheila Bennett to Bryn Mawr, Kurz to Lawrence College, and Sacks to Kenyon. Some of these faculty, like Goldsmid and Stauffer, would eventually leave UNC to teach at prestigious colleges like Kalamazoo and Oberlin.
Of course this class and the other classes in the early 70’s also enjoyed and benefited from working closely with the faculty and relations were positive in a time of turmoil in the rest of our society. Several worked closely with James Wiggins, Gerhard Lenski, Richard Simpson, Amos Hawley and Glen Elder for instance. Another major influence was from Leonard Cottrell who had retired to UNC and found himself gathering students under his wing and encouraging their work in unexpected ways. In a Ph.D program that heavily steeped in quantitative methods, Pat Rieker offered to our cohort what was perhaps the first course ever in qualitative methods.
It is interesting to note that many of these students (1970- 71 classes) would later hold prestigious positions in academic administration (Terry Weiner- Provost, Russell Sage College, Howard Sacks, Provost Kenyon College, Sheila Bennett, Provost Hobart and William Smith) and most went on to hold endowed professorships at their respective institutions.
My (Terry’s) career after UNC was as a professor at Union College for 35 years and serving as Associate Dean of Faculty for 8 years there. I then left to become Provost of Russell Sage College now known as The Sage Colleges. I mainly study health care in comparative perspective and lead student groups to Canada and Europe to see alternative systems up close. My favorite personal quote from my experience at UNC was from an evaluation of my teaching by Ev Wilson- ” Terry you are either going to be a great teacher or a great Rabbi- not sure which!” It was never really an issue; I chose teaching.
I, Gruber, taught at UWisconsin-Parkside 1975-79 and then at UMichigan-Dearborn 1979-2016. I was awarded a named professorship in 2012 (Frances R. Cousens). Most of my research over the last three decades has been on sexual harassment, particularly in workplaces. I’ve also done consulting as an expert witness in sexual harassment cases since the mid-1980’s. I am currently finishing work on a case for the EEOC.
What stands out most in my memory about the Department of Sociology at UNC is that when I began in 1967 there were no women on the faculty. I did not think of myself as a pioneer, but I was. Research methods was the domain in which I excelled; I enjoyed my classes with Hubert Blalock and Krishnan Namboodiri. I also very much benefitted from Jim Wiggins’ course on social learning theory.
After returning to UNC from a two-year stint in the Peace Corps in Chile, I found more female students and, eventually, a woman faculty member. I began working on Dick Udry’s family planning research at the Carolina Population Center and eventually completed my dissertation with him in 1976.
In 1977 I found my first post-PhD research position in Washington DC, where, during the following decade and a half, I enjoyed collaborating with Isabelle Sawhill, Kris Moore, Wendy Baldwin, and other outstanding women at the Urban Institute and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development before moving to the University of Michigan and into academia.
I just retired from the University of Maryland, College Park, and, as emerita faculty, retain my connection with research activities there through the Maryland Population Research Center.
Recollections on My Doctoral Studies
I had two stints with the Department. I was admitted for the fall of 1967 and attended for a year. I mostly remember learning statistics from Dr. Blalock on Saturday mornings; one class a week was not enough. He was a great person. However, there was a little war going on at that time and midway through the year (actually three days before my master’s exams), I got a letter from my Draft Board offering a Southeast Asian fellowship which included a gun. I passed and with the help of Dr. Blalock, I found a position with Grinnell College in Iowa which provided a deferment for two years. I spent another year at St. Olaf College before return to UNC. I had four great years when I returned. I worked largely with Jim Wiggins, a great mentor. I was a real behaviorist. This also carried over to an interest in human ecology with Dr. Hawley who was also very helpful. I always remember the kindnesses toward me of these truly outstanding figures in the field and others and have tried to be as supportive of my students. Bruce Eckland and Gordon Defriese were also very supportive of me, providing jobs that I needed as I had a wife and child when I returned. This was in addition to a very helpful fellowship in social psychology.
Chapel Hill was wonderful. I am sure it is still a great place to live. I met my wife in the last part of college but we both enrolled at UNC by chance and things developed from there. We lived in Glen Lennox which I hope still exists as it was a marvelous place to live as a grad student.
After graduation, I went to a small college in Wisconsin, Lawrence University, as I thought that I wanted to teach at a small college after my earlier experiences and college at Washington and Lee University. I was wrong. After three years, I knew that I needed a bigger place, had developed a real interest in public health, and most significantly had a second child whom we discovered was profoundly deaf. We found the best oral school in the world in St. Louis, Missouri (Central Institute for the Deaf) and moved. At Lawrence, there was a small sociology department and as it happened, I was acting chair for a year because of substantial turnover. I really liked doing that and was fortunate enough to be asked to start a public health program at Saint Louis University. Ultimately, I became Dean and helped to found a School of Public Health there. I was there for 30 years. In 2001, I went back into the faculty and as circumstances would have it, I became chair of the Department of Health Management and Policy for a second time. However, I got bored and decided to look for another dean’s job and move to the University of North Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health. I have been here for eight years and am retiring on August 31st. I will continue with some professional activities but am looking forward to more time with my wife, children, and especially my grandchildren.
8164 Stratford Drive
Clayton, Missouri 63105
Submitted August 2015
I entered the graduate program at Chapel Hill in the fall of 1970, a very turbulent time in the country and an exciting time to be studying sociology. I was thrilled to be attending the 4th ranked graduate program in the country and was in awe of the people who were my professors in my very first semester—Gerhard Lenski, Amos Hawley, Hubert Blalock, and others. I was supported my first year on an NSF Methodology Traineeship, under Blalock, and was one of his last students before he left the University at the end of the year for the University of Washington. I completed my M.A. in one year, with Glen Elder directing my thesis, and took a leave from the program for two years to live and work in Washington, D.C., as a research associate at the American Council on Education.
Two years later, I returned to Chapel Hill and the sociology department. This time, I was supported on an NSF Traineeship in Social Psychology, the field in which I would specialize for the rest of my career. James Wiggins introduced me to social exchange theory, particularly the newly emerging work of Richard Emerson, which served as the foundation for my own theory development for the next 40 years. I learned to conduct laboratory experiments, using the technology of the time: electromechanical relay circuitry on huge racks that ran lights and counters and recorded button presses on human test consoles through which subjects interacted with one another. I was very proud of my ability to wire the relay circuitry, even though computers would soon make these skills obsolete.
The department I returned to was different in many ways—a new building, new faculty members (including the first women on the faculty during my tenure there), and new cohorts of students. I was never sure which cohort I belonged to after coming back, but I had the benefit of taking classes with students from several cohorts and of becoming acquainted with students who would later become leaders in the discipline. James Wiggins became my mentor in my studies of social exchange theory, but I also learned affect control theory from David Heise, at the very time that he was formulating it, and life course analysis from Glen Elder, at the time when he was completing his classic work, Children of the Great Depression. I also took many methods and statistics courses, including experimental design from Krishnan Namboodiri and causal analysis from David Heise, in both cases learning the material from drafts of their forthcoming books. Because I was fully supported on NSF Traineeships, I never taught, and completed my Ph.D. just three years after returning.
I began my professional academic career as an assistant professor at Emory University, where I remained for 12 years. I built two different laboratories there (in two different buildings), initially borrowing electromechanical relay equipment from a psychology colleague, and gradually making the transition to a fully computerized lab, which became the standard for social exchange research. I chaired the department during my last three years there as an associate professor, and then accepted a position as full professor at the University of Arizona in 1988. I remained at Arizona for the rest of my career and served as department head twice. During that time, I was delighted to welcome as colleagues two former graduate student friends from Chapel Hill. Lynn Smith-Lovin joined our department in 1991, and Charles Ragin in 2001. Lynn and I (along with David Snow and Henry Walker) developed a graduate program in social psychology at Arizona that was ranked in the top five nationally for some years, and we became the first co-editors of an ASA journal, co-editing the Social Psychology Quarterly from 1996-2000. Other highlights of my career included receiving the 1998 Theory Prize from the ASA Theory Section for my 1997 Cambridge University Press book, Coercive Power in Social Exchange, and receiving the 2009 Cooley-Mead Award from the ASA Social Psychology Section for distinguished career contributions to sociological social psychology—and, in 2008, being invited to return to Chapel Hill as a professor of sociology. I was greatly honored, but decided to remain at Arizona, where I retired as professor emerita in 2013 after a long and satisfying career
Submitted August 2015
As I enter my fortieth and final year of teaching at Kenyon, this is a good time to take a moment and look back to my professional origins.
In general, my career has been that of a public intellectual. I’ve never been satisfied with the traditional role of the research scholar, which always struck me as too confining. Although I’ve made my share of scholarly contributions, I’ve always tried to speak in a manner that informed a broader public; those two goals have never seemed contradictory to me.
My strongest memories of graduate school are of the camaraderie I experienced with several fellow graduate students, with whom I remain in contact. Our many discussions enriched my critical understanding of sociology and provided the support we all needed to make it through those challenging years. My fondest faculty memory is of Slats Cottrell, who served as my intellectual mentor and provided an outstanding model of how to live a good and humane life. The lessons I learned from E.K. Wilson about the value of good teaching have been essential to my Kenyon career.
At Kenyon College, besides teaching, I have served as Senior Advisor to the President and Provost. As Director of the Rural Life Center, I have coordinated educational, scholarly, and public projects to ensure the vitality of local rural life. In addition to two books, my publications have appeared in a wide variety of scholarly journals, as well as numerous magazines and newspapers.
I’ve also served on panels of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as the Governor’s Ohio Food Policy Advisory Council, and I have regularly consulted with organizations and communities nationwide on rural development and culture. Since 2012, I have participated in an international collaboration with Chinese folklorists to protect indigenous cultural heritage. I have received over forty grants and fellowships for scholarly research and public programs, for which I have received state and national awards.
Life here is good. Judy and I are healthy and happy on our sheep farm in Gambier. Judy continues to work as a freelance editor, specializing in major catalogs for art museums; in the past decade, her primary client has been the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. We continue to play music together, as we did in our Carolina days; and we have been deeply involved in the world of traditional arts nationwide. Last fall, we were part of a two-week tour across China presenting American musical traditions. Our daughter, Hannah, is grown and married. She and her husband live and work in Washington, DC., and we see them often.
My emailaddress is email@example.com
For more information on the Rural Life Center, visit http://rurallife.kenyon.edu/
Submitted June 2015
My fondest memory of Chapel Hill is taking the Sociology Honors Seminar on aggression with Dr. Richard Cramer in spring 1968 during the height of the Vietnam War. We read about Konrad Lorenz’s aggressive poster-colored fish and it changed my thinking about the nature of human beings forever. Hobbes was right after all! I took social stratification with Dr. Rupert Vance and wrote an honors thesis in sociology with Dr. Edgar Butler on the topic of social mobility in Sweden.
Armed with my new knowledge about the dynamics of social class, I set off to change the world. Along the way, I worked for a year as a caseworker in the Department of Social Services in Durham where I interviewed desperately ill people with no insurance and little money to determine if they qualified for healthcare from the new Medicaid program. I learned much more about the many inequalities created by social class from the 300+ people in my caseload that year. When I entered the graduate program at UNC in fall 1970, I was fortuitously offered an NIMH fellowship in medical sociology and my career path was set. As a graduate student, I was greatly influenced by Dr. Robert Wilson, director of the medical sociology division, and indirectly by Dr. Bert Kaplan in the UNC School of Public Health who introduced me to the work of Drs. Alexander and Dorothea Leighton on community based social psychiatry.
The two strongest threads in my career came from my experiences in the Department of Sociology at UNC: (1) applied research in healthcare; and (2) commitment to undergraduate research. My interest in applied research in healthcare was reinforced by my most influential career mentor, Dr. Hiram Friedsam. Dr. Friedsam was a WWII veteran who got his Ph.D. in sociology on the G.I Bill at the University of Texas. He joined the faculty at the University of North Texas in 1947 and became one of the university’s most innovative leaders. He developed the graduate program in sociology at UNT and was a pioneer in gerontology, developing an innovative long-term care training program with one of the first grants from the Administration on Aging. To do the kind of applied work he wanted to do, he had to create a new school of applied social science, now known as the College of Public Affairs and Community Service (PACS).
Friedsam was fond of saying that you are better off being lucky than smart and, I was certainly lucky when our paths crossed. I spent two years in a post-doctoral position in the Center for Studies in Aging in PACS where I learned to write grants and to work with communities before moving into a joint faculty appointment in sociology and gerontology. Over the years, my most satisfying work involved community service projects to develop healthcare clinics for low-income populations in Fort Worth, TX. Working with community leaders was a lesson in practical sociology. My most inspirational community partner was Mrs. Walter Beatrice Barbour, a high school counselor, justice of the peace, and the first African American elected to the City Council in Fort Worth. For my work with her in securing a community oriented primary care clinic in the Stop Six neighborhood, I receive the Hiram J. Friedsam Award for Community Service from UNT – a major highlight of my life.
I never forgot the strong mentoring I was fortunate to receive at UNC. My favorite undergraduate courses to teach were research methods and statistics. I always included opportunities for the students to develop their own research projects which I think I enjoyed as much as they did. I was again lucky to be able to spend the last decade working with another pioneer at UNT, Dr. Gloria Cox, a graduate of the political science department at the University of South Carolina and the Founding Dean of the Honors College at UNT. Together, we developed an undergraduate research track for Honors students across the university. We developed Honors courses to mentor students in the research process throughout their undergraduate careers. We developed an undergraduate research day where more than 200 students annually presented their research with their faculty mentors. For me, the jewel in the crown was the development of an online undergraduate research journal, The Eagle Feather, so the young scholars could publish their work. I was never happier than when I was working with the students and their faculty mentors to edit their research for publication. I continue to work with the Council on Undergraduate Research and the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (which coincidentally was founded at UNC Asheville – the nation’s first and finest public liberal arts college) and I hope to do so for many years to come.
Submitted March 2016
I arrived at UNC in the Fall of 1973, during the intermediate time between the Bowerman Era and the Kasarda Era Of course, I did not know this at that time, but I learned it from reading Glen Elder’s history of the department. I was in the process of changing careers, after thirteen years in the campus ministry. It meant a change of status for me. I had been used to addressing senior faculty by their first names. I enjoyed working with the members of my mostly younger, fifteen person, entering cohort, as well as the advanced students. We were in Hamilton Hall. A new innovative research methods sequence had just been established. We began our professional socialization with that sequence and with Everett Wilson’s Social Theory — Soc. 201. At the department party that year, most of our cohort wore T-shirts with the words “Sociology 201 – Incomplete.”
I knew that I wanted to specialize in something related to public policy, but I did not have a specialty in mind. It took me about a year to decide. From my experience working in the midst of the turmoil of the politics of higher education during the 1960’s, as well as my experience as a parent of children in public schools, I had many ideas and questions about education. So eventually I chose to work with Bruce Eckland in the sociology of education and Duncan MacRae in public policy. Dick Simpson and Jack Kasarda also served on my dissertation committee. I found the faculty, both senior and junior, including those not in my area of specialization, to be stimulating, accessible, and supportive, as we students gradually learned to be sociologists. One day in Duncan MacRae’s office, I was talking with Peter Rossi, an expert in evaluating social policies and programs. Rossi was elected President of the ASA one or two years later. When I told him I wanted to study education policy, he said, with a smile, “Well, that should give you a lifetime of frustration. ” I took that to be a cautionary comment about the intellectual challenges of the field, as well as the political obstacles to implementing policies recommended by research.
After finishing my doctorate, I accepted a position in the Sociology Department at UNC-Greensboro, and I had my whole career there. It was a lively thirteen member department with a diverse faculty and a small masters program. The department valued both quality research and quality teaching.
My research ranged from analysis of the job satisfaction of preschool teachers and child care workers, with Caroline Lindsay); to the effects of high school size on student participation and satisfaction; to the consequences of higher education for students. In 1987-88, I returned to UNC as a visiting scholar at the Institute of Research in Social Science, studying effects of higher education. Bill Knox, Mary Kolb and I published Does College Make a Difference? Long-term Changes in Activities and Attitudes as well as a number of articles. My later research focused on conflict resolution in public schools, K-12. I interviewed teachers and administrators and evaluated programs of peer mediation, conflict resolution, and teacher training in these areas. In the process of doing this research, I took community mediation training and did some volunteer work as a mediator.
Since I had taken Everett Wilson’s course on teaching sociology, the department at UNCG asked me to create a course on teaching sociology for graduate students. I also taught sociology of education for undergraduates and graduates (primarily doctoral students in education), and introductory data analysis for graduate students. After teaching introductory sociology with several textbooks, I developed the course using a collection of paperback books. I always began with Kai Erikson’s Everything in its Path: Destruction of Community in the Buffalo Creek Flood to introduce students to the concepts of social structure and culture. I benefited from the efforts of the Teaching Sociology section of the ASA and served for several years on an ASA task force on teaching sociology in high schools. I served a term as President of the North Carolina Sociological Association.
Now I am enjoying retirement — traveling, tennis, grandchildren, and working in political campaigns. For several years I chaired the board of a small mental health foundation. I am currently doing volunteer work with a county-wide community organization affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundation.
Submitted September 2015
On May 31, 2015 I retired from the U.S. Census Bureau. I worked in the Estimates and Projections area of the Population Division. Reflecting on my career, I note that I managed to become gainfully employed not only in the subject matter area of my choice, but holding the specific job I trained for and aspired to as a graduate student at Chapel Hill. Jay Siegel, co-author of Methods and Materials of Demography, and many other demographers hail from this federal office.
My projects have including estimating the undercount in the decennial census. The Census Bureau uses two methods to evaluate census coverage. One measure is based on dual system estimation derived from a post-enumeration survey. The other measure uses administrative records on births, deaths, immigration and emigration and demographic analysis techniques. I have used both methods to document and attempt to understand the causes of undercount of children, an area of concern in censuses since 1940.
In between the census years, I worked on national, state and county level estimates of the population. The Census Bureau produces these data by sex, age, race and Hispanic origin. It is indeed an interesting challenge to produce high quality estimates with this much detail on a regular schedule.
Twice in my career, I spent time at the National Academy of Sciences working on best ways to estimate poverty at various levels of geography and abuse in the Social Security Administration’s Representative Payee Program. These assignments allowed me to use not only my demographic skills, but also my training in sociology and research methods.
Needless to say, work was never boring. I got a chance to practice what I had learned and to continuously pick up new skills. I have recently been selected as the next Editor-in-Chief for the statistical journal of the International Association of Official Statistics, so the challenges keep coming. My new commitment allows me to travel and stay in touch with national statistical agencies and statisticians throughout the world. I especially appreciate being able to keep up with the work in Scandinavia. These countries rely on population registers to produce their demographic data.
I know that my degree from UNC-Chapel Hill opened doors because prospective employers knew I had been well trained. I came to Chapel Hill on a Noyes fellowship and worked with Krishnan Namboodiri. I was interested in pursuing research on sequential fertility behavior. He had published an article in Demography on this topic and he agreed to take me on as his research assistant. I eventually wrote my dissertation on this topic with Krishnan as my advisor. I think, I was only the second student to do so. I have the outmost respect for his intellect and the strong work ethic he displayed. His day started many hours before that of most graduate students.
As a fringe benefit, I also got to work with Chirayath Suchindran in the Department of Biostatistics. I could not have asked for a better teacher. I spent much time walking between Hamilton Hall and his office on Franklin Street. He was never too busy to talk to me, and he could make the most complicated assignment seem simple and straightforward.
The Carolina Population Center (CPC) was my second home. Here, I got to work with Richard Udry. I spent an entire summer in the library helping him update an article on divorce for the Encyclopedia Britannica. If I am not mistaken that was also the summer I started grading papers for a correspondence course on Marriage and the Family. Most of the students were incarcerated and produced lengthy papers on anything but the assigned topic–too bad I didn’t get paid by the number of pages graded. But the job helped pay the rent in our luxury one-bedroom accommodation in the Yum Yum Apartments in Carrboro.
At CPC, I also worked with Jack Kasarda. We co-authored “Status Enhancement and Fertility: Reproductive Responses to Social Mobility and Educational Opportunity,” with John Billy. The gift of co-authorship from an establish scholar is invaluable when starting out on one’s career.
At some point, Ron Rindfuss entered the picture. He was an inspiration and a role model for all of us. His enthusiasm for ‘anything demography’ was catching. I still look forward to checking in with him at professional meetings, to keep up with his impressive career and his many contributions to the field of demography. I am proud to announce that I was one of his first students and that the experience did not turn him away from teaching!
Likewise, I can say that my cohort took the last seminar on human ecology taught by Amos Hawley. The course gave me a theoretical framework that I have returned to often. In the otherwise atheoretical field of official statistics, there is often a need for predicting outcomes. Demographic plausibility is straightforward, but it does not exist in a vacuum. It helps to understand the recursive relationships between population, organization, environment, and technology. Where would I have been without the POET variables as a fall back when I needed to explain a result.
Other members of the faculty and in the department were part of our daily lives. Especially, Jerry and I treasure the friendships we made with our fellow graduate students during our years in Chapel Hill. We still keep in touch with many and get together to reminisce and tell our now grown children about the good old days. They have heard most of the stories and we are happy that we have entered the grandparent-stage so that we have a chance to tell them all over
Submitted July 2015; firstname.lastname@example.org
I am gratified by the education that I received in Sociology, since receiving the Ph.D. at UNC, I have had a rewarding career in academia. At first I was on the faculty as an Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health, Department of Health Education, at UNC. Then I became Director of American Indian Projects in the School of Social Development at the University of Minnesota Duluth. (My heritage on my mother’s side is Omaha and Pawnee; my mother grew up on the Omaha Reservation and attended Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding schools until she met my father while she was working for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.)
I finally retired in 2003 as a full professor. During the interim, I published extensively in two principal areas: (1) American Indian well-being (including health, education, and economic conditions) and (2) sustainable development. With regards to the latter, I have lectured within scholarly exchange programs at universities in China (five trips) and Pakistan. I have also presented papers in Finland, Scotland, Russia, South Africa, Cameroon, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Australia, and Canada (where I had a year’s position as a visiting scholar). I have made multiple trips back to East Africa (where I had taught prior to obtaining the Ph.D. and where I conducted my dissertation research). Most significantly, I mentored University of Minnesota students doing practical internships in Kenya.
While I am personally feeling some of the infirmaries of old age, but my quality of life remains good.
Submitted August 2015
The leitmotif of my UNC memories revolves around a remarkable community of mutual and broad support in a time between technological and political epochs.
During my time at Davidson College, I developed an interest in studying Hinduism and religion. I was admitted into the department in 1979 with that declared intent. John Shelton Reed was assigned to be my advisor. But in the three weeks preceding the term, while sitting in Wilson Library, I found a special issue of Social Forces dedicated to inequality in socialist societies riveting. Gerhard Lenski and T. Anthony Jones were prominent in that issue, and they were in the department. It was fate. I switched course. I decided to study Russian with Victor Friedman in the Slavic Department so that I might begin to prepare for research in the Soviet Union. I worked closely with Professors Lenski and Jones as a consequence.
We had three courses to start – Craig Calhoun’s theory course, Peter Marsden’s statistics course, and then a third course which would have been an option. Many in my cohort took Bob Wilson’s course on structural functionalism. I wound up taking many courses with Craig – I recall at least Marxism and Political Sociology. I was also his teaching assistant in one spring term. I served as a TA for Dick Udry and his course on marriage and the family in my first term. I had no expertise and little interest in the subject, relatively speaking, but it was a great learning experience. It was a busy start.
I developed many friends among our cohort and those neighboring. My first conversations were with Mohamed Mohieddin in the graduate student space in Hamilton Hall, that windowless room at the center of one wing. I can still hear his described interest, “oil labor migration”, in my head. Shelley Pendleton and I seemed to talk a lot, and I think I learned how nice it was to be nice from her. Allen Parnell was in our cohort, and like many of the others, he focused on demography; he was the one, however, who introduced me to National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. I have not stopped that listening addiction, but it was UNC’s student radio that shaped my abiding New Wave musical tastes – X-Teens, XTC, 4 out of 5 Doctors, and Human Sexual Response led the list. Of course there were others in our cohort, some who finished their PhDs — Tom Hastings, Jeffrey Staples Robertson – and others who moved on to different lives before that UNC degree. We all became friends in that first year.
Dave Smith, David Maume, and Roger Nemeth were in the older cohort, and seemed to be a regular trio with whom I often spoke about Marxism. Rick and Kandi Stinson, Fred Hall, Steve Lerner, Trudy Mills, Bob Agnew, Ed Kain, and Susan Newcomer reached out in different ways to me and our cohort. I met Donna Parmelee years later at the University of Michigan, where we extended our common interest in communist-led societies. From a later cohort, Val Haines and I talked about theory much, but she stood out for her interest in Herbert Spencer. Amy Craddock, Kofi Batse, Bill Nolting, Anne Hastings, Karen Campbell, Jeannie Hurlbert, Cathy Zimmer, Jeff Kallen, Steve Wilcox, Michael Irwin, and Jo Jones were in later cohorts, but we all connected.
I decided in that first year to take the general prelim in the spring, rather than wait until the summer was over as the department expected of us. We had a universe of 31 questions from which we would be given eight, of which we had to answer four. I prepared answers for about half of those questions, but was relatively confident that the last question would be asked. I think it always was. It was some variant on “which is your favorite theory and why?”. I answered with ecological evolutionary theory, the perspective associated with Gerhard Lenski.
In order to prepare for that we could take “mini-theory” courses. In addition to Calhoun’s Marxism, I took ecological evolutionary theory with Gerhard Lenski, and Human Ecology with John Kasarda. Amos Hawley was still around so that we could learn HE from one of its founders. Many of us were interested in Marxism and associated approaches – Wallerstein’s world systems theory was becoming new and powerful, and we used that to challenge most of our teachers. Jack would say, I recall, that “Marxism was human ecology with an ideological axe to grind”, but Amos was more engaged. He published an essay in 1982 in the American Journal of Sociology comparing Marxism and Human Ecology. We were proud that he took our interests so seriously.
I found the faculty to be generally quite supportive. In fact, though I had little competence to offer, John Reed and Peter Marsden got a grant to analyze leisure patterns in the South, and asked me and Kandi Stinson to be the research assistants for it in the summer of 1980. That was, again, critical learning and I got my first journal publication in Social Forces with that project.
With the department’s strong urban sociological presence, I wrote my MA thesis on urban fiscal strain, using a political economic approach to history and space. Jack was my chair and encouraged me to go into urban sociology. I decided I would rather follow my prior interest in communist-ruled societies, and wound up working closely with Gerry Lenski, Tony Jones, and Craig Calhoun, given my interest in how Marxist theory was informed by changes in socialist societies, and how, in turn, it could inform their own transformation. Once I decided to work on professions, Dick Simpson graciously agreed to join my dissertation committee. A political science specialist on Poland from UNC Greensboro named Maurice Simon was the final member.
I switched my study to Poland rather than the USSR in the spring of 1980 thanks to Lenski. He told me that Poland had a superior sociological tradition from which I could learn, and its research environment was much more open than the Soviet Union’s. When the Solidarity movement formed later that year, it was fate: now I could not only study inequality under communist rule, but also the struggle against it. I then studied Polish with Piotr Drozdowski, a Slavic department graduate student who himself was a student of that department’s professor, Madeline Levine.
Until Craig convinced me that I would need to do fieldwork in at least one communist-led society to win academic legitimacy, I nearly did a Skocpol-type library dissertation on revolutions in Soviet-type society. In fact, I gave a paper on that subject at the Toronto meetings of the American Sociological Association in 1981. Dave Smith, Shelley Pendleton and I drove up there, stopping en route at my family home in Bethlehem, visiting as well Dave’s family near Buffalo and Shelley’s near Cleveland. We students were like family back then, even bringing one another into our first families too.
Each year, two graduate students were fortunate to work on Social Forces, one term helping the editor with MS review, and in the second, helping the book review editor. I loved the latter (my library got a big jump as I wrote so many “take note” paragraphs on books that were not reviewed), and learned much from the former. EK Wilson had just handed off the reins to Dick Simpson when I came on board. If I recall correctly, my partner Karen Campbell worked with EK Wilson in the last term of his editorship.
Before students could teach their own course, they were required to take a course on how to teach sociology. Dick Cramer was most generous in this teaching, and we also got to use the book, Passing on Sociology, of which EK Wilson was a coauthor. I found that course one of the most valuable for my subsequent career. I regret I never moved such a course in any of the departments in which I subsequently taught.
I hadn’t appreciated, until reading some of the other UNC faculty and graduate student recollections, how much our cohort was in between eras.
Some of the faculty from an earlier epoch were still prominent in the department during our time. In his courses, Henry Landsberger offered his own version, as he would call it, of “disciplined electicism”. Although I took the first year seminar in demography from Ron Rindfuss, I didn’t get to know many demographers. Peter Uehlenberg was a gentle and kind personality in the department, but in the land of demography, distant from my own graduate focus. Dick Cramer was working on the sociology of the Bicentennial. I might have learned more from Jim Wiggins, Duncan MacRae, Darnell Hawkins, and Bob Wilson too had I known then some of the things I seek to learn now. Krishnan Namboodiri taught our cohort categorical data analysis, and David Heise taught us Causal Analysis. Many of the new faculty defining the next era were still not there. I met Tony Oberschall, Francois Nielsen, Rachel Rosenfeld and Howard Aldrich only after I returned from my 1983-84 fieldwork in Poland. But even they were gracious and supportive to a student who was getting ready to go on the job market.
While the department was gracious, it was not diverse. Sheryl Kleinman and Barbara Stenross had just joined the faculty at about the same time we arrived, increasing by 100% the number of women among our potential teachers. Apart from Krishnan Namboodiri and Darnell Hawkins (Walter Allen left for Michigan in the year I arrived in Chapel Hill), all the faculty were white. We were all white in my graduate student cohort, apart from Mohammed from Egypt. Most of us, however, were women.
We were an in-between cohort technologically. When I arrived in 1979, I did all my writing on a typewriter with cartridges I could pop in and out to print and then, after my frequent typos, to white-out. The graduate students were often gathered in the Institute where we all sat around punching out IBM cards for our data analysis. By the time of my return to Chapel Hill in 1984 from that Polish fieldwork I had purchased my own computer on which I could write my dissertation. Those yellow letters on a dark screen captivated.
We were an in-between department, too, when it came to staff. Babe was in charge for only one year of my time, I believe, and Carol took over from her. When the grad students came downstairs to the coffee pot to buy our 10 cent cup we would often connect with these women who were so concerned to take care of us. Judy Marks also took care of us in the library. That was a time when we really needed, and benefitted from, having a sociology library so dedicated so that we could quickly and readily access the discipline’s journals. Articles did not yet electronically fly to us.
We were also an in-between cohort when it came to politics on campus and beyond. Some of us were involved in local politics – supporters of people like Lightning Brown and Joe Herzenberg, whom Jesse Helms identified as “dangerous.” We could hear Jesse oppose a zoo for North Carolina, recommending instead that the state put a fence around Chapel Hill. But there were also no risks of campus disruptions. It was, in comparison to the preceding decade, a politically quiet time.
Some of us were also involved in Central American solidarity work. I was alone among students with my interest in east Europe, but Poland’s Włodzimierz Wesołowski came to visit us during the spring of 1981 and Slovenia’s Zdravko Mlynar in the summer of 1984. We were, sort of, international in the department, but we had not thought to mark our department that way.
I feel fortunate to have been in Chapel Hill during those years, to have come to know the people I did. As Dave Smith in the year preceding, and others following, I went to University of South Carolina as a visiting assistant professor before I joined the University of Michigan on a tenure stream position. I was the only UNC PhD in that Ann Arbor department over all those 23 years that I was there.
In addition to my departmental affiliations, I came to be quite involved in a number of other interdisciplinary ventures, and directed a number of them — in the comparative study of social transformations, of European, European Union, and Russian and East European studies, of emerging democracies, and the International Institute itself. I also served as vice provost for international affairs at Michigan before moving to Brown University in 2009 to direct their Watson Institute for International Studies, a task I concluded in 2011.
My three monographs – Professionals, Power and Solidarity in Poland (1991) http://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/sociology/organisational-sociology/professionals-power-and-solidarity-poland-critical-sociology-soviet-type-society, Cultural Formations of Postcommunism (2002) https://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/cultural-formations-of-postcommunism, and Globalizing Knowledge (2015) http://www.sup.org/books/title/?id=24607, each reflect one of the last three decades of my learning. I assemble the discussions about the last volume on my academia.edu page https://www.academia.edu/10282109/Extensions_of_Globalizing_Knowledge where I also identify the students I have had the pleasure to mentor for their PhDs, MAs, and undergraduate honor’s theses https://www.academia.edu/3532139/_2015_Knowledge_Networks_and_Former_Students.
My association with Brown’s sociology department, the oldest in the nation, abides. For the last three years, I have been director of undergraduate studies, a real delight. Brown is a Tarheel friendly place, with two others – Leah Van Wey and Susan Short – also wearing Carolina Blue at graduation ceremonies.
It’s good to remember UNC, and how it used to be. And with this reflection, I am reminded by how much of my life was shaped by that accidental discovery in Wilson Library of a special issue of Social Forces defined by some of the best of UNC Sociology.
Submitted August 2015
I arrived in 1978 and left in 1983. This was the Krishnan Naboodiri era which is completely missing from this chronology. I remember having an interview with him while deciding to accept the appointment on the T32 at the Pop Center, and asking him if he thought I could get by without knowing calculus. After much consideration he said “probably.” I came, anyhow, and was in awe of him my whole time there.
I spent almost no time in the sociology department except in the first two years to take the courses required to get the degree. I took one course each with Lenski, Kasarda, Wilson, and Craig Calhoun, and one on qualitative research with a woman who didn’t stay long. However, my memories of graduate school are centered on the Population Center faculty, staff and students and JR Udry, who was my main man and mentor, and on the challenges of being a single mother of two school-age daughters. So I can’t contribute much to the history of the sociology department.
In terms of my post-graduate life, it has been the demographic training that has been most useful, that, and the sociological understanding that social structure has powerful influences on human behavior and human health, equal to or greater than biology or psychological dynamics. Working at the NIH, it’s an uphill struggle to convince the biomedical types about social structural issues…
Submitted July 2015
Along with 16 other Ph.D. students, I entered the Carolina Sociology Grad Program in the fall of 1988. It was a good time for the department, but also a time of transition. Jack Kasarda, who had done much to build the department in the 1980s soon transitioned to the Keenan-Flagler Business School. I was one of his last sociology students. I recall that Gerhard Lenski had retired, but he came to our theory class to speak. That was amazing. So too did Peter Blau, who was still on the full-time faculty at that time. Craig Calhoun left during my time there as I recall. Several people were in the absolute prime of their careers, and there was much research and teaching dynamism. I cherished my time there. I learned a great deal from the professors with whom I had classes and worked: Jack Kasarda, Ken Bollen, Barbara Entwisle, Peter Uhlenberg, Kathy Harris (a new hire at the time), Francois Nielsen, and several others.
As a Population Fellow, I spent a good deal of time at the Carolina Population Center. It was in a very good spot at that time, at least from a graduate student point of view. Lots of space, lots of professors, a great deal of research being done, incredible speakers coming in each week for the Friday brown bags, and excellent leadership. We even put on a play during my time there, as I recall because the Pop Center was 20 years old.
Many of the classmates I began with did not finish their Ph.D., but for those who did, we had a tight group of people, with lots of support from more senior grad students, and new friends to make with each new incoming class. A few of those folks have remained among my closest colleagues and friends.
My time at Carolina was also painful because during this era (1988-1991) Duke was better at basketball than Carolina. All was not right with the world. We have won a couple of national championships since then, and those were sweet times.
People will be less interested in my career since Carolina, but I will briefly mention it to illustrate the impact that a Carolina Ph.D. and my Carolina connections have had through the past 25 years. I went to a teaching school in Minnesota at first, missing deeply the resources of Carolina, but moving there to have our children in our home state. During my time there, due to my connections to other Carolina grad students, I was introduced to Christian Smith, a fairly new professor on the Carolina faculty in the early 1990s. We began a research project on a topic I had never before studied (religion) and I focused on race (one of my research specialties). Those connections and that project led to my first book (co-written with Christian Smith) called Divided by Faith, a book that went on to win multiple national awards, sold a lot of copies (for a sociology book) and helped me get a position at Rice University, where I spent 15 years as a professor. While there, research partnerships with past and present Carolina folks continued, and as a result many millions of dollars of research monies were received, 14 more books were published, and about 50 research articles. My quantitative training at Carolina was stellar, and served me well continually over time. When it was time to retool, I have returned to Carolina to learn the latest methods.
I am now Provost of North Park University in Chicago, trying to impart the spirit of cooperation and excellence that I learned while part of the Carolina Sociology program.
Submitted August 2015
Reminiscing about my Sojourn at UNC and times in Sociology’s Hamilton Hall
In my mind I’m going to Carolina. How often had I not gone to Carolina in my mind over the last 32 years; and how has Carolina gone to my mind over all those years! This is a small account of those encounters, but one that speaks of deep appreciation.
In 1983, after being awarded a Fulbright Scholarship through the mediation of the US Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, I took leave of absence from the Department of Sociology of the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in Cape Town, to study abroad in the USA. I had been on the faculty there since 1973, having started as a technical assistant in 1968. I arrived in Durham, NC, on a sweltering Summer’s day on August, 20, when the thermometer read 104 degrees, to start my graduate studies in the Sociology Department at UNC Chapel Hill. After the mild Cape Town late Winter of temperatures around 80, I was rather overwhelmed by this place that from the air, before landing, looked than nothing more than a densely wooded forest. To exacerbate things, on my first visit to Chapel Hill while waiting with me for the Trailways bus, an elderly African American man asked me: “Hey man, whe…(n) this buaha…(s) leavin, for Chappa Hee?”, causing extreme embarrassment when I had to tell him “I am not from this country” and did not know what he said. He had to repeat three times before I caught on.
Over time my accent and ability to comprehend the Southern accents from black and white faculty, staff, fellow students and friends, had improved to such an extent that Everett K. Wilson referred to me as: “Our British/South African fellow”. Later, after a few years at Carolina, a (new?) student on a bike, reacting to my response to his asking for directions, in amazement called out: “Hey, man where the hell are you from”? In time I had mastered some of this more and more, as the students I had taught in Introduction to Sociology and Social Problems courses had also come to understand me better as well. This of course did not prevent some very irate student, who did very badly on an essay test, to challenge my “right to grade his work” because I was “not an English speaker”! My outrage was only tempered by reminding myself of disciplinary repercussions had I reacted more violently other than to dismiss him.
Starting my graduate studies was prefaced by UNC’s demand that I take an English examination, which with the arrogance of a chip on the shoulder I refused on the basis that, although apartheid South Africa denied me many basic rights, it at least had English as one official language enshrined in the Constitution. In the end I had to concede and, by mutual agreement, wrote an essay on a South African story of my choice. My declared bias against apartheid had me troubled later when I was asked by Cathy Zimmer to be a stand-in for a graduate student seminar, and Eric Leitner after the presentation accused me of not recognizing my audience as intellectual – and “after all, what do blacks in South Africa want now”, he demanded. I replied that he did not want to understand and did not care to explain either.
I joined the Department with people such as Sally Boyd, Kristin Park, Krista Kaufmann, Dick Garnett, Meekum Kim, Randy Chase and others, whose names had faded from memory for the time being. My first academic encounters in classes of Francois Nielsen, Mike Powell, Rachel Rosenfeldt, and Henry Landsberger were rather interesting although not that challenging, as it covered territory I had already been very familiar with. Francois on handing back a first assignment, made quite a thing about my A3 size paper I used for typing, and went ahead to explain why and how the Germans invented it. The Social Development Theory class of Henry Landsberger, attended with Kristin Park and Krista Kaufmann and others, was initially rather frustrating because by that time I had already taught a senior level course on Development Studies back home, and did not appreciate being asked where India was on a blank map of the world. It reminded too much of the questions asked about whether I had bought the clothes I wore then, in the US, and how far I had to go before I saw lions back home. Oh how that chip on my shoulder became even heavier; weighing me down! And then the International Office still wanted to know if I wanted a host family, as if I did not know how a light switch or a cheque book works.
Peter Uhlenberg served as my faculty advisor, but I troubled him less with trivialities other than “stuff” (a word that Henry Landsberger detested, Kristin often reminded me) that had to do with my status in the Department and the US more generally. His quiet counsel had always impressed me and had been of considerable encouragement to me at the time. The help of Babe Andrew, Carol Wilson and other staff members were also of immense assistance to me to initially find my feet and to sort out tricky issues. The help of Judy Marks in the Department library is also fondly remembered and it was a pleasure to meet her and her husband here in Cape Town in March 2012. Thus my first semester was rather a breeze and time was also spent getting acquainted with progressive causes in the area, particularly in Durham, as I started to experience that people were suffering at the hands of others elsewhere than only in South Africa – and to discover what American football was all about. That was until Tarheel basketball got underway!
Weekdays at home were rather lonesome affairs until my family joined me on Christmas Eve 1983. Arriving in Carrboro with the windchill factor 7° below my children did not understand that the sunshine outside was not to be enjoyed after they spent time in warm airports and a friends recreation vehicle bringing them home. The two boys were already adept at English but my little daughters had to learn to speak English in America. This experience led to my 5 year old daughter, taking offence at a boy on the school bus making fun of her accent, slapping him and then being put of the school bus for a week. My second son William was also very annoyed with being asked if we lived in houses back home. In time all of them more than matched children in their respective cohorts and my two sons were both scoring way above the class and national averages on the CATs. James, the eldest, apart from his natural aptitude for figures, also was a natural ball handler and ended up playing football on the High School team after 4 years. He befriended Bernardo Harris who later played football for Carolina and the Green Bay Packers. My wife also got an Equal Opportunities Scholarship and enrolled in the School of Social Work. We both graduated with our Masters on the same day Michael Jordan got his BA. We spent many of our Sundays at the Reformed Church at the YMCA building on Airport Road, or alternatively at the Mount Level Missionary Baptist Church in Durham. A friend from Cape Town, Vernon Rose, served as the Interim Pastor while he did his Master of Divinity studies at Duke.
I was amazed by the very strong emphasis on empirical sociology and mathematics, as I had before then engaged in the strong Marxist bent, critical analysis and interpretative understanding of social reality, characterizing our analysis of South African society back home. When in my second semester Statistics became part of the menu, things became more challenging, as my high school mathematics had been 20 years rusted over and I had to update basic algebra again, let alone master statistics. Thus members of my cohort had an advantage over me here and especially in the next semester’s regression analysis, I was quite challenged. Common concepts to them, such as the “white noise” term, were foreign to me, having Eric in astonishment asking me: “You want to tell me you don’t know what ‘white noise’ is”? He did not know that I had already switched off when on the first day he wrote a series on numbers on the black board and asked us what the next logical number in the series was. None of us knew and he proceeded to explain what it was, and that behind that series lied his “whole social science philosophy”, and had lost me ever since. The next course on categorical data analysis with Peter Marsden became even more of a battle, that I eventually overcame.
The beginning of the general use of computers to do papers and research had us make use of the Odum Lab and facing Howard Aldrich’s wrath if we ate there or violated other rules he established. I had a very uncomfortable encounter one night when typing a large part of my Masters thesis on an old floppy disk and it became full and I did not know what to do as we were instructed not to save personal things on the hard drives, and there was no one around to assist me at the time. Naively and stupidly, of course, I took it out and lost all the typed data. I’ve also had nightmares at the Carolina Computer Centre, waiting for printouts of data runs which I still had to go and make sense of afterwards. Those anxieties continued as I started building models for the dissertation proposal, which I eventually gave up in favour of a qualitative data analysis, producing the dissertation.
Fantastic intellectual experiences were spent in Gerhard Lenski’s Ecological Evolutionary Theory classes, the Sociology of Health Care work with Bob Wilson, Sherryl Kleinmann’s Qualitative Methodology research course, and Social Movements with Tony Oberschall. Duncan McRae’s Senior Policy Development Seminar with senior students from the School of Public Health to prepare a report on Health Care to indigent poor in North Carolina for the State Legislature, was a fantastic hands on experience at policy making. I also attended interesting courses in the School of Public Health and in the Dental School as part of my interest in health care. At the Dental School my involvement in the UNC Craniofacial (Cleft Lip & Palate) Team with Ron Strauss, Team Leader, and the Team members, (observations of clinics and meetings, working with their clients), was of special significance, as the Team and its work became the subject of my Master’s Thesis and the PhD dissertation. To have been accepted almost as a full member of the Team had a very special meaning to me and served as immense encouragement to undertake the work to be done. Taking reading courses involving people such as Bob Konrad, one of my Dissertation Committee members, who steered many of my thoughts, also went a long way to strengthen my understanding of health care to be delivered to communities of people, and not just to individuals and for making profits off peoples’ misfortunes.
I left Carolina ABD in 1988 and could only qualify for study leave from UWC again 5 years later in 1993. Earlier the previous year Carol had informed me in writing that my Graduate School clock was running out, as I never officially applied for leave of absence. When I got in touch with Howard Aldrich he told me that I had until June 14 to finish the dissertation. How well I remember Ron Strauss, member of my Dissertation Committee, when I came back in January 1993, asking me with deep concern, how I was going to be able to finish the dissertation by the deadline. He became a massive source of support and later in 1994, I joined him in presenting a paper at the American Cleft Palate Association Meeting in Toronto, Canada. Bob Wilson, my Committee Chair, was an outstanding advisor, and along with Sherryl Kleinmann and Barbara Stenross, guided me splendidly to the completion of my dissertation. What a semester I spent at UNC in the Spring of ’93. Doing the work on the dissertation, along with extra reading and interviews, teaching a course on Contemporary South African Politics in the AfAm Department, and watch the Championship Team of ’93, led by George Lynch, on many a night, and more writing and socializing. I had it all done by April 14!
Social relations in the Department were immensely cemented by such occasions as the graduate student seminars, the Friday sherry, beer and nuts receptions, graduate student soft ball games, and the Spring and Fall picnics. Then there was Jack Kasarda’s Soirees with dancing to golden oldies from his impressive seven singles collections. Soon after the start of our first semester a party was organized by Sally Boyd at her house and when I asked if I should bring something was told “no, we are only going to have a ‘keg’ (I heard cake) and some snacks”. I found it strange that grown-ups will have a party with cake and unobtrusively tried to find it, until I discovered the keg of beer. It was interesting to establish friendship groups with a number of women (from different cohorts) on the one hand, as well as with a group of men, particularly with Dick Garnett form my own class, and members from the next cohort including Brad Buchner, Lionel Deang and Pat Tormey. Circulating between these groups often meant adopting different value positions in our respective positions on many issues. Randy Chase and I spent some wonderful discussions at our respective carrels, and his wife introduced me to pumpkin pie. Charles Warren and I often shared our experiences as men who had taught undergraduates before.
It was very interesting to observe that attitudes of initial associates, later to become friends, turn from what I experienced as indifference and self-centeredness, to warm, and a few cases lasting friendships. Dick Garnet (who explained the intricacies of football to me), his then wife Barb and I spent lots of hours, driving around to places like Jordan Lake, and later in his native state of Vermont, where I spent quality time with his family. Brad Buchner and I maintain a good relationship to this day and my wife and I had both visited him and his wife in Cheney, PA. Lionel and Alice Deang became very good friends at whose home we spent lots of time and I had occasion to visit them in Virgina during one of my trips to the US in 2006. On one occasion we travelled to Fredericksburg, VA, for the wedding of Pat and Cherryl Tormey. Brad, Dick, Pat and I attended the Southern Sociological Association meeting in Chattanooga, TN, and also later in Atlanta, where UNC was the host institution. For the reception Jack Kasarda had us take care of the catering for the function. In the Summer of 1987, Brad and I drove to Chicago to attend the American Sociological Association meetings and had an opportunity to see the Cubs play at Wrigley Field.
During the Summer of 1985 I had the opportunity to spend time in Cabarrus County on the invitation of the Homemakers Extension Club down there, in their Adopt-a-Student Project. Arriving in Concord, I was met Sadie and Vic Harris who me with their family In Harrisburg, and the members of the groups in the area. Later that Summer my family and I went back there and further established relationships with them that remained very special to us, having us return a number of times. When years later Sadie’s daughter informed us of her Mum’s death my wife and I both started crying. Sadie used to refer to me as their African son. The trip might have not been because of my “chip on the shoulder” as initially I did not want to be “African monkey on show to a bunch of old white ladies”, who turned out not only to be very sweet and endearing, but also not all white as well. The women and men who were responsible for receiving me in their homes, accompanying me to various community facilities, institutions and places of interest, royally entertained, informed and enlightened me.
The support of the International Office at UNC was tremendous and membership of the International Students Society very special. I turned up the opportunity to become President in favour of an American undergraduate, arguing that the honour might serve her much better on a CV when she moves away from UNC. Here I joined with students from all over, including, El Salvador, Kenya, Tanzania, Nicaragua, India, Nigeria, China, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Korea, and elsewhere. While the association was mostly social, the organization established the relationships that helped me broaden my international horizons. It was in the Anti-apartheid Association that I had engaged in more significant political activities on campus, of course tempered by considerations to avoid any trouble with the law. This, however, did not deter my friend Dale McKinley who felt our Association needed more action and so he formed Action Against Apartheid and subsequently engaged in very radical and challenging activities that landed him in court. In one activity he chained himself to the door to a room where the FBI was recruiting students. One interesting aside of our organization was meeting Michael Jordan through Kenny Smith, a member of our Association. Our attempts to form an African Students Association were less successful during my time and was beset with bickering and doomed to fail.
However, my major African involvement found expression in an organization we formed in Durham along with students from North Carolina Central University and Duke, called the South African and Namibian Students Information Centre (SANSIC), with strong links to and support from Africa News in Durham. We held a number of information seminars and conferences on the UNC, Central and UNC-Greensboro campuses. A special honour for me was to be invited to take part in the 1985 South African History Seminar at East Carolina University in Greenville on the history of the South African churches in the role of and fight against apartheid. Another very interesting engagement was to teach an Introduction to Sociology course to Police officers in Durham, as part of an extension programme of Shaw University.
I had the privilege to go back to Carolina a number of times over the years. On leaving Chapel Hill I returned to me teaching job at UWC. Here my international experience at Carolina had stood me in good stead and I assumed a number of roles in committees at the University, one of it being member and the Chairperson of the Senate International Relations Committee. The main function initially was to manage the linkages with the University of Missouri (all four campuses), and related Historically Black institutions (HBUs) in the State, and with Howard University in Washington, DC. During visits to the US to deal with aspects of these linkages there were opportunities to visit UNC as well, among others exploring opportunities for academic collaboration, which unfortunately never came about. Later we established a link with Bard College to exchange students and in 1996 I spent a six weeks term as visiting scholar in the Department of Sociology at Bard, after delivering a guest lecture on Health Care in South Africa at the New School in New York City. In 1998 I spent a term in the Department of Sociology of the University of Missouri, St Louis, as visiting scholar, developing elements of our collaboration with faculty members.
The (then) Rand Afrikaans University in Johannesburg invited me in 1999 to join them in the Division of Public Relations to head up community partnerships and international relations, and I became Director of Public Relations after two years. When the University merged with the Technikon Witwatersrand and became the new University of Johannesburg in January 2005, I became the Director of Internationalisation, already having had that as a significant part of my earlier portfolio. I served in this capacity, responsible for all academic linkages, international students, exchange students, study abroad programmes, visits by international scholars, and managing relationships with the diplomatic corps, strategic international organizations, and political functionaries until my retirement in December 2011.
In my capacity as Director of Internationalisation I had opportunity to travel to universities and other institutions in many parts of the world, including 27 of the US states, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Hungary, Belarus, United Arab Emirates, India, Singapore and Taiwan. I met with university managers, faculty, students, diplomats and other government officials and spoke to different audiences at universities and international conferences. I also visited a number of African countries including Botswana, Gabon, Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Namibia. I delivered papers in Namibia, Gabon, Senegal, Mexico, the USA, Canada, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany and Hungary. Organising major events such as International Festivals colloquia and conferences was also part of the job. One important event organized during this period was the 9th Annual Conference of the International Education Association of South Africa (IEASA). I served on the Board of this organization for seven years, two of it as Vice-President. During 2013 I served out a contract position at the Central University of Technology, Free State, in Bloemfontein to develop their internationalisation strategy and establish their International Office. During that time I was also responsible for organizing the 13th Annual IEASA Conference, which they hosted.
Thus the refrain of the James Taylor song had been reversed for me in a very pleasant and personally enriching manner as Carolina and its impact on my life came back to my mind in such a bountiful manner over the years. I’ve not been personally able to give back to Carolina but believe that it had been paying dividends through my service to many students and other people in different parts of the globe. For, as Martin Luther King Jr. summed up John Donne’s 17th Century Meditation on life and death: “Somehow we are all caught up in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” Thanks for tying me into this global network.
Submitted September 2015
My favorite “department” memory is about Peter Blau. While I was working for Judith one semester I was allocated a parking spot in front of their house. One afternoon, as I was walking back from classes, a car came hurtling down Cobb Terrace like a bat out of hell. Which, given Cobb Terrace, was terrifying.
The car was driven by Peter.
The next day I saw Peter in the halls and told him that he had scared me to death with his driving.
He said, “I am a very old man. I have to get everywhere very fast before I go blind. Or die!”
He was a funny guy.
Anyway, I’m still in Chapel Hill. I had my third child within days of defending my dissertation and we just never really got around to leaving–it’s a good community to raise kids. Especially if you want them to spend lots of time in the woods and grow up to be critical thinkers of a liberal bent.
I’ve homeschooled the kids for most of the last two decades, but am now an independent consultant working on gender issues in international development. Most of my work centers around adolescent girls in Ethiopia and Vietnam.
For your records, I can be reached at:
Submitted late September 2015
I got my Ph.D. from UNC in 2001 under the direction of Arne Kalleberg. Linda Renzulli (another UNC Soc. 2001 grad) and I had just gotten married, and we both managed to get positions in the Sociology Department at the University of Georgia. Linda had a tenure-track position. I had a teaching post-doc for the first two years and then transitioned to a tenure-track job. We were incredibly lucky. We are both now full professors and have two children. Working at UGA has provided lots of opportunities to pursue research interests. I focus primarily on work-family issues, especially how many hours people work and why. I teach courses in research methods, statistics, and inequality on a regular basis, and I have also had the pleasure of teaching occasionally in Paris. When mentoring new generations of graduate students, I try to pass on the lessons I learned at UNC. Among those lessons are: statistical code is indispensable (Arne Kalleberg), don’t under estimate crosstabs (Howard Aldrich), inequality is as old as humanity (Gerhard Lenski and Francois Nielsen), good journal editors acknowledge and fix their mistakes (Dick Simpson), and happiness is contagious (Jim Wiggins).
I remember my years at UNC as a time of technological advance. When I arrived in the department in 1995, graduate students only worked in the computer lab in the middle of Hamilton Hall when there was no other choice. The windowless room contained a set of aging computers and mismatched furniture. Many people preferred to do their computer work in the basement of the adjacent building where IRSS was housed. Thankfully for us, Francois Nielsen also thought this was a problem, and he had secured a grant to renovate the lab. After much wrangling with the UNC purchasing department (which did most of its calculations using a calculator that had to be plugged in), we entered a new era of computing at UNC. The new computers, matching furniture, and fresh paint were soon followed by other stunning advances. I remember Howard Aldrich introducing us to the Social Science Citation Index, which was at that time a set of books in the library. By 2000, we had access to that information on the internet. When we prepared for comprehensive exams, we went to the library and assembled stacks of journals and spent the day reading them there. By 2000, most articles that we wanted could be accessed electronically in pdf format. In 1995, bibliographies were mostly assembled and checked manually. By 2000, Howard Aldrich had introduced many of us to EndNote, which I still find rather magical. In 1995, there were no computer projectors in the classrooms. Guang Guo taught us statistics using transparencies. When projectors were introduced some years later, they were transported from one room to another on a huge cart that also carried a full-size desktop computer. One thing never changed during my years at UNC: the computer lab never had windows. Perhaps virtual reality has taken care of that problem in the meantime.
My time at UNC was also marked by human triumphs. Rachel Rosenfeld was a remarkably active scholar and mentor when I arrived at UNC, and she was also department chair for some years. Cancer tried its best to end her work, but Rachel would have no part of it. I distinctly remember visiting her at home, where she was reading and commenting on student dissertations from a hospital bed. She was a shining example of generosity and the power of the human spirit. Peter Blau also inspired us to fight through obstacles. He taught the first portion of our classic sociological theory course. He also entertained us with stories of his youth. If I recall correctly, he would run through Vienna wearing a trench coat and throw communist pamphlets everywhere. When the police came, he would discard the coat and sneak away calmly in the tuxedo he wore underneath. This all came to a brief halt when Peter informed us that he would be taking some time off to address some heart problems with a quadruple bypass. He promised to return to class before the end of the semester, and he did. If I ever need a quadruple bypass, I hope I come through it at least half as well as Peter.
Submitted December 2015
I’ll leave to others to provide recollections from my years at UNC, but here is a summary of my life since then:
After I got my degree, I spent 3 years as a postdoc at Population Studies Center at the University of Pennsylvania working with Frank Furstenberg. Because I was geographically limited at the time, I stayed in eastern Pennsylvania working as a visiting professor for 2 years at different schools (Lehigh University and Lafayette College). I then spent 3 years as a tenure-track professor at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania before coming to Boling Green State University in 2011. I’m currently an Associate Professor at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. I’m also the Associate Director of BGSU’s Center for Family and Demographic Research (CFDR). I am married with two daughters, ages 8 and 11.
Submitted August 2015
June 23, 2015
With graduate education in City Planning, I have moved some distance from classical sociology, but demographics and race relations have figured prominently in my work as well building from the model provided in the advising I received as an undergraduate. I earned the Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1975. I have been a professor of city planning at MIT since that time and served as MIT’s chancellor from 2001 to 2011.
As chancellor and a senior administrator, I was involved in educational and research initiatives that MIT conducted with governments, corporations, and universities in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East to design sectoral or national strategies to harness the power of advanced research and education to advance national development goals. I am also experienced in higher-education development and administration. I have been a trustee of the Kresge Foundation and a founding member and former vice chair of the MasterCard Foundation. I currently serve on the board of the Aga Khan University and on an advisory committee of the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences and was previously a member of the board the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a faculty member, I have been active as a consultant on housing and urban policy.
Phillip L.Clay, Class of ’22 Professor of City Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Submitted December 2015
B.A. with Honors ‘64
I saw my undergraduate years at Chapel Hill as the time to gain as wide but deep an education as possible. I came out of an educated family but childhood was spent in a then-very rural and backward area (Gaston County, now an adjunct of Charlotte but then very separate) with poor schools. I read avidly, mainly the great fictional works of the English language but also some history (I read War and Peace at the age of twelve and then everything I could get my hands on concerning Napoleon, for some reason) but spent most of my time in the forest. I had no aptitude or liking for math or science although I always insisted on good grades, even in math and science.
How I got a Morehead Scholarship remains a great mystery. I devoured the required courses that I had to take in my freshman year at Chapel Hill to make up for my enormous educational deficiencies, from English poetry to Modern Civilization to geology. I was not one to criticize having to take these amazing required courses, allowing me for the first time make some claim to having an education.
From this potpourri in my freshman year, I continued the trend of delving as diversely as I could. I did not want to have to find a major, which would mean specialization, but I chanced to take an introductory sociology course from Dr. Gerhard Lenski. Then I took his religion course. I decided here was a major that would not over-specialize me and was by definition a wide exploration of our world. Dr. Lenski asked the questions about human societies that totally captured my mind. I took his comparative-societies course, which was the best of all, my best course ever at Chapel Hill. I think I took every course that he offered undergraduates.
I was hardly an exemplary sociology major. I did not care for the statistical or scientific trend of sociology, which automatically disqualified me from further study in the field. But it was what I wanted as an undergraduate, and it set me up for the further life I sought. In those days — I do not know if it might still be true fifty years later — there was a place in sociology for a Renaissance thinker such as Dr. Lenski, a protean mind coursing wide across all layers of our society and across all societies on the planet, without having to be suffocated by statistics.
I suppose I did what I had to do, taking the required statistical courses in which I made the usual A but instantly forgot everything that I had been taught (just like calculus, alas). I remember very well the summer honors thesis, which did require statistical analysis but which, in my fashion, I made as broad as possible. It was a long rambling questionnaire with a vast number of questions about class, education, and attitudes. I perpetrated this monstrosity on the town of Graham, 45 minutes drive from Chapel Hill. It is extraordinary how many people allowed me into their living rooms (more women than men in those days, when women still kept house and kept to the house). The main lesson I took away was how plain and boring most people’s lives were, how narrow their understanding of the world despite television (usually on all day and never cut off when they were patiently answering my questions), and how much religion laced their language. It was not a thesis that made any great contribution to our understanding of American society — I concluded that income and education, especially education, are directly correlated to liberality writ large — but it forever disabused me of any romantic or sympathetic notion of our so-called working classes.
As for my life thereafter, I was one of the lucky ones, the really really lucky ones. What can anyone do with a sociology major or a classics major or, in general, simply being well educated? In my case, you become a diplomat. How I passed the Foreign Service exam, which is appallingly difficult, remains a great mystery. (I did not answer half the questions but had the good sense to read the directions, which said that wrong answers would count against as much as right answers for; it pays to read directions.) I have often been asked, what is the best training for diplomacy? My first answer is that it is not the study of law. I went down that route first (UNC Law School) and hated every minute of it, and then often observed that diplomats with law backgrounds were some of our worst diplomats: too much focus on law and too little focus on human whimsicality. The second answer is: find another Dr. Lenski! In fact, my whole diplomatic career, on and off for almost 40 years, was an effort to emulate Dr. Lenski’s approach to comparative sociology. Good diplomats must understand their own society (very weird, very hard in our own case) and must have a very fine sense of very different societies, a way of open thinking, an analytical framework, but also uncanny intuition. Anyway, by hook or by crook and by sheer luck, I had the best undergraduate education anyone could for the life I led abroad as an American diplomat in the Arab world and Africa.
I have retired to our family land in Gaston County, where I grew up. I spend my time working in the forest and reading journals such as the Economist.
Submitted February 2016
I attended UNC from 1967 through 1971, and was a double major in sociology and history. Some of those were quite turbulent years at the university, covering such times as the cafeteria workers’ strike, and protests against the Vietnam War and demonstrations after the death of Martin Luther King, resulting in courses in my junior year spring semester just ending due to the problems on the campus. These were interesting years to be a sociology major, given all these varied social and political concerns. By my senior year I knew I wanted a social science career, and made the decision to focus on sociology, rather than history, due to better long-term career opportunities. I decided to attend graduate school at Brown University, with a focus on urban sociology.
Once at Brown, my fellowship was in a special grant linked to medical sociology in the urban context, and that required me to pursue medical sociology as well as urban sociology, my two areas of focus in graduate school. By the time I was writing my dissertation, I had become more interested in medical sociology and that, along with interests in aging and the lifecourse and gender, have been the focus of most of my professional career. I left Brown in the fall of 1975 to begin my first academic appointment at the University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB) in sociology, although because Brown has only one graduation a year, the date of my doctorate is 1976. I spend 5 years at UAB both in sociology but also as a faculty member in the newly created School of Public Health. From there, I spent 10 years in the health administration program in the School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina (1980-1990), and expanded my research interests from issues of health care utilization and gender and health, to many broader health policy concerns as well as work on health behavior topics such as health promotion and preventive health behaviors. The last 25 years of my career were spent at Arizona State University (1990-2015), first in a health administration master’s program in the College of Business and then with a return to the sociology department at ASU.
Across my career, I have always maintained my strong contacts with sociology professionally, and have served the medical sociology section in many roles including being chair of the section. I was also the President of Sociologists for Women in Society. I have also held office in the medical care section of the American Public Health Association, and am a Fellow in the American Academy of Health Behavior.
My research interests at ASU continued to focus on health policy, aging and health, gender and health, and health behavior concerns. For the last 15 years, one of my scholarly pleasures was participation again with a sociology doctoral program, and mentoring a number of students with interests in medical sociology and aging. I retired from ASU at the end of December, 2015, but remain professionally active on journal boards and as coeditor and deputy editor of two journals and the editor each year of a research annual in medical sociology.
Jennie Jacobs Kronenfeld, Ph.D., Professor Emerita, Arizona State University
Submitted December 2015
I graduated from UNC in 1972. My honors thesis and much of the focus of my Sociology honors’ classes was on India. I was raised in New Delhi, India from 11-18 years old with a British Father and an American Mother, and my Father worked for a British owned oil company. In the American International School I attended I had little opportunity to learn about rural India. My thesis was about the Status and Roles of women in village India. My main advisor had lived in a village and I went back to that village, with an interpreter, and did some research. I also visited another village to conduct the same research. Both were within driving distances of New Delhi (several hours). I spent additional time in a much more remote village where I did not do formal research, but learned a great deal. I was very interested in Cultural Anthropology, but UNC did not have a major in that subject. So, I studied Sociology and many Anthropology courses that were cross listed with Sociology.
My parents retired from work in India to England in 1978. I have visited family friends in India several times over the years since my parents left there. However, I settled in the USA, got my graduate degree in Educational Counseling at the University of Virginia in 1976, moved to Oregon, later to northern California, and since 1983 have been in Alaska. I have been working in mental health rather than in the educational system, and obtained my first license as a Marriage and Family Therapist in 1980 in California. In 1993 licensing became available in Alaska, and I received the MFT license then. I had a private practice for about 30 years working with clients of all ages, and eventually I specialized in working with couples, and grief issues. I also worked in various other settings and taught at the University of Alaska as an adjunct instructor on various campuses – Sociology, Psychology, Human Services. I have done, and continue to do a great deal of volunteer work including teaching workshops and doing training for Hospice organizations, and other groups.
I am currently supervising a “new” psychotherapists, recent graduates, who need their work supervised to obtain their licenses. Otherwise I am now mostly retired. 6 years ago, I moved to a small community in another part of Alaska about 300 miles from where I lived since 1983, and decided not to open a new private practice business.
I am married, and my husband and I have 7 children, 24 grandchildren, and 13 great grandchildren dispersed around the USA, with only 1 child and 2 grandchildren in Alaska. I have family in England and Ireland who I try to visit regularly.
455 Elderberry Drive,
Submitted December 2015
I made the mistake of telling my dear wife that my four years at Carolina were the best years of my life. You see, she graduated from Syracuse and in college I Knew her not. Fortunately, the error was not fatal, and two children and two grandchildren later, we are well and splitting our time between Stamford, CT and Palm Beach, FL. I am a trial lawyer with a small firm and practice in CT and to a lesser degree in NY. I have visited Carolina many times and despite showing my son my honors’ thesis, which was still on the shelf, he rebelliously chose Duke. My daughter was a PBK, as was I, my mom’s twin, and their dad, my grandfather. It might be an interesting project to do a sociological study on multigenerational PBKs. I am no genius, merely a hard worker and generally competent in completing tasks. That would be my general hypothesis, and I would leave the data collection and analysis to others. Thank UNC Sociology for teaching me so many years ago and encouraging me as an honors student.
Submitted January 2016
After graduating I worked for two years and then returned to UNC and got a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning. I met my husband in grad school and we have been in Richmond, VA for almost 35 years. I recently retired after working for the Commonwealth of Virginia for 31 years. I managed housing and community development programs for the state.
Submitted April 2016
I entered UNC as a junior with a major in sociology. Prior to that, I’d spent a year at Ohio Wesleyan, one at Pitzer College and a gap year on a kibbutz in Israel. I married a British guy I’d met on the kibbutz and we lived in UNC’s married student housing. I was mentored as a student by Dick Cramer (academic adviser) and Pat Rieker (honor’s thesis adviser). I was involved with the growth of the women’s studies program and would have minored in it if it had been available.
My honor’s thesis blended the two as a historical look at attitudes towards breast feeding in the US in the 20th century. I remember working to pass the ERA in NC (it failed) and organizing the Women in Art events on campus. I treasure the broad education and experiences I had at Carolina.
After graduation, my husband and I moved to the greater Boston area. It was a tough time for anyone getting work in 1980 due to an economic downturn. The competition for social research jobs was fierce. I was lucky to be able to work at it for Pat Rieker who had become a faculty
member at Harvard Medical School. This was a wonderful but short-term experience. After that I became a paralegal, mortgage underwriter, then a housing planner for a regional planning agency, still not really finding what I wanted to do with my work life.
I finally found my passion in software engineering through a graduate program for non-technical undergrads at Northeastern’s College of Engineering. The dean of the program also ran the college’s Women in Engineering program. She happened to be a sociologist who valued my sociology degree from UNC and hired me as her graduate assistant. It was wonderful to be mentored through this program by her. She had a nearly 100% placement of graduates into technical positions and I was able to work on placements with her. This landed me a job at IBM in RTP, NC so we moved back to Chapel Hill.
IBM was a wonderful place at first, but over time it’s culture changed and I was miserable. Eventually I was laid off and ended up at SAS Institute which has an amazing, supportive culture and is usually in the top of the lists of best places to work. SAS sells statistical and analytical software so I feel like I’ve come back to my sociology roots.
Here’s a little story. One day I was in a grocery store in Chapel Hill and ran into a friend we’d known on the kibbutz. It turned out that she and her family live two blocks from us in the same neighborhood. One evening they invited us over for dinner along with neighbors of theirs. In walked Dick Cramer and his family and I’ve enjoyed getting to know him all over again.
Submitted April 2016
After graduating from UNC, I completed an MS in justice studies from ASU in 1994 and my PhD in sociology from the City University Graduate Center in 2004 and have been working at CUNY ever since in various institutional research capacities. I am now currently at the College of Staten Island as Director of the Office of Institutional Research.
I have many fond recollections of Jullian Groves, Phillip O’Connor (who supervised my honors thesis), Richard Simpson and Richard Cramer as undergraduate sociology club adviser extraordinaire. It was a challenging program and many of the core sociological concerns I learned about then still ring true today (e.g., inequality).
Submitted June 2016
Currently, I run a series of website for law students and people studying for the bar exam, including:
• The Girl’s Guide to Law School
• Law School Toolbox
• Bar Exam Toolbox
We offer online courses and private tutoring as well as a lot of useful free content (some of which might be of interest to your sociology students who are considering law school!).
Before launching The Girl’s Guide to Law School, I was a patent litigator at a large law firm in San Francisco, focusing on software patent litigation, since I spent several years working as a programmer in the early 2000s. Prior to that, I did a Masters in Architecture at Berkeley.
So, it’s an interesting mix! I’m also living in Mexico City off and on, since I can work from anywhere. 😉
Mailing address at 89 Ramona Ave., SF, CA 94103 is correct.
Submitted June 2016
I had something of a unique path since I left UNC in 1998. I joined JP Morgan’s investment banking group in New York, in part to learn the financial side of the world. It was quite the experience, during which I was bitten by the business bug.
I spent three years at JP Morgan before leaving for business school at Northwestern in 2001, where I got my MBA in 2003. Since then, I’ve spent my career in management consulting, with a focus on mergers and acquisitions advisory work. Though you may be surprised, the knowledge and lessons I learned from my Sociology classes has always been of great value to me professionally and personally. The ability to observe, analyze, and write about complex group and system dynamics have been huge assets to me. And in a funny way, my Sociology degree and skill sets have always distinguished me from the crowd.
I’m forever thankful to Kathie Harris, Rosa Haritos (my thesis reviewer), Dick Cramer and the department as a whole for helping me craft a successful and stimulating career, even if it’s not the one I would have been able to articulate back in 1998.
I live in a town called Lisle, about 30 miles west of Chicago, with my wife of 10 years, my 8 year old son and 6 year old daughter.
Submitted April 2016
Dr. Krishnan Namboodiri, 85, of Columbus, passed away on April 29, 2015 in Cleveland after a brief illness. He got his Ph D. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and worked as a professor of sociology at the University of N. Carolina, where he was Department Chair (1975-80), and The Ohio State University. He retired in 2000 as professor emeritus from OSU. He is the author of several books and scientific articles. He is survived by his wife, Kadambari; daughter and son-in-law, Drs. Sally and Sudhakar Rao and grandchildren, Sanjay and Samaresh. Anyone wishing can make a donation to the Heart Association in his memory.
Published in The Columbus Dispatch on Apr. 30, 2015
Rachel Rosenfeld, Department Chair, 2000-2002 died on 24 November 2002 at UNC Hospitals, of lung failure resulting from metastatic breast cancer, after a battle of 14 years with the disease. She was 54 years old.
Rachel was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on 15 November 1948, the first child of Jerome Rosenfeld and Ethel Hanners. Jerry, a bacteriologist, grew up on New York’s East Side, the son of Jewish immigrants from Galicia, Austria (now Poland). Ethel, a psychiatric nurse and later professor of nursing, is of English, Scottish, Irish, Scandinavian, and Native American stock. Rachel moved around the country with her young professional parents, living part of her early childhood on a farm in Kankakee, Illinois. The family settled in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Rachel grew up there with two sisters (Deborah and Diana) and two brothers (Peter and George).
Rachel showed an early aptitude for academic pursuits. She attended Hall High School in Little Rock and received many honors, including a National Merit scholarship. She attended Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, graduating in 1970 with a degree in Anthropology and Sociology. She then went to graduate school at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, graduating in 1976 with a PhD in Sociology (with minor in Economics and Statistics). She was a student of Aage Sørensen, with whom she maintained close ties until his death in 2001. Her first academic position was at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. In 1978 she took a position as Senior Study Director at the National Opinion Research Center where she was involved in major survey research projects. Among the outcomes of that experience was her book, Farm Women: Work, Farm, and Family in the United States (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1985; paperback edition, 1987), based on a large study of female farm operators that she conducted at NORC.
In 1981 Rachel became Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. She rose rapidly through the ranks, becoming Professor of Sociology in 1988; in 2002 she was named William R. Kenan Distinguished Professor. She was also a Fellow of the Carolina Population Center, and held administrative positions including Vice Chair of the Division of Social Sciences (1991-1992, 1993-1994) and Acting Associate Dean for Programs and Budgets of the College of Arts and Sciences (1991-1992). At the time of her death she was Chair of the Department of Sociology (since 2000).
As Department Chair, Rachel exhibited the same qualities she displayed in her other roles—fairness, consideration of others, supportiveness of people, especially graduate students. While her illness sapped her strength considerably in the last few months of her life, she remained engaged in departmental activities and in her responsibilities as Chair until the end.
In her research, Rachel was interested in the influence of social stratification on career and job mobility, particularly for women. Her recent research included studies of the U.S. Women’s movement, work histories of women, academic careers, and work-family policies in advanced industrialized countries. She has been working with Heike Trappe (former CPC postdoctoral scholar) on gender inequality in the early work life in the former East and West Germany and in the U.S. She had recently begun a new project studying the nursing profession, inspired by the career of her mother, Ethel. In the course of her highly productive research career she published, in addition to Farm Women (mentioned above), Reconstructing the Academy (editor, with Jean O’Barr and Elizabeth Minnich; Chicago; University of Chicago Press, 1988). She has published numerous articles in books and in professional journals including American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Science, Signs, Social Forces and Social Science Research.
Rachel, who was the immediate Past-President of the Southern Sociological Society at the time of her death, had previously served this organization in a variety of capacities, including as a member of the Publications Committee (1985-1990), Executive Committee (1992- 1995, 1996-1998, and 2000-2002), Vice President (1997-98), Honors Committee (1998-2001), Program Committee (1999-2000), and President-elect (2000-2001). Despite her self-concept as a “low energy” person, colleagues remember her as someone who accomplished every task, no matter how menial, as well as it could be. As Vice-President, for example, in response to a concern that the faculty of PhD-granting departments were not attending the Southern Sociological Society meetings as frequently as they had in the past, Rachel sent letters to each such department encouraging attendance. Also during her Vice-Presidency, Rachel suggested (along with Barbara Risman) that the Southern Sociological Society host a dance to foster solidarity among the members. Thanks to her persuasiveness, many of our membership remember dancing ourselves into Durkheimian rapture at the Atlanta 1998 meetings. She continued championing an annual dance as a member of the Program Committee and Chair of the Dance Committee for the 2000 meetings, and expressed disappointment that the Society could not afford such an event at her own Presidential meetings in Baltimore (2002).
For her Presidential meetings, Rachel chose the theme “Equality and Diversity,” which reflected her genuine concern that because it is impossible to treat all people equally, it is important to discover how to treat them fairly. In an article in The Southern Sociologist (Spring/Summer 2001) she prompted potential presenters to ponder questions such as: “What does equality mean when people and organizations are very different? How do we take into consideration—and even maintain— diversity while trying to increase equality of opportunity of outcomes? How do we recognize different skills, talents, and needs?” In her Presidential Address, which she feared she would not have adequate breath to deliver, she answered a related question: “What can the scholarship on gender teach us about studying difference and dealing with diversity in our professional and personal lives.” Her answer to this question is published in Social Forces (2002, Vol. 81, Number 1, pp. 1-24).
During her career, Rachel received many honors and awards including the Sociologists for Women in Society Award for Outstanding Mentoring (1992), and the first Sociology Department Graduate Student Association Award for Excellence in Mentoring (1998). She was awarded the Lara G. Hoggard Professorship for outstanding mid-career faculty (1993- 1999). In 1995, Rachel was the first recipient of the Katherine Jocher-Belle Boone Beard Award of the Southern Sociological Society, an honor bestowed on her for a distinguished career of sustained high quality scholarship on women. In 1995-96, she was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, California, and in fall 1996 a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University. She was the 1998 Alpha Kappa Delta honor society speaker at Mississippi State University. She was also a deputy editor of the American Sociological Review (1997-1999) and at the time of her death was Chair of the Publications Committee of the American Sociological Association.
Rachel’s death touches an unusually large circle of people because of her special ability to form and maintain deep friendships with many of the women and men she met during her life, including (current and former) students and postdocs, neighbors, and colleagues. Although many of her friendships had intellectual foundations, those who were close to her know that she loved to “be lazy” and read mystery and fantasy novels in bed, to go out on the town and swing dance, and to participate in marathon shopping expeditions in search of clothing for herself and pottery and other gifts for friends and family. Rachel’s talent for friendship was based on her genuine feelings of love and admiration for other people and a truly non-judgmental attitude towards those around her. She discovered and appreciated the beauty and admirable qualities in people, no matter what their social status, and shared her discoveries with others. Rachel habitually said good things about people, to their face and behind their back. Many of us in the Southern Sociological Society have not only lost a friend and colleague, but an important part of our personal support network.
Rachel was buried in the Old Carrboro Cemetery in Carrboro, NC, following a funeral service that took place on November 29, 2002, at Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Church in Durham. A trust was being established in memory of Rachel through the Department of Sociology at University of North Carolina.
(Adapted from a report from the Southern Sociological Society)
In his exceptionally productive life, Hubert Blalock played a major role in shaping the field of sociology during the latter half of the twentieth century. His vision of social science inspired his students and colleagues as much as his teaching and writing instructed them. Although his life took
some surprising turns in his youth, his career as a sociologist was surprising only to those who underestimated his commitment and creativity.
Tad was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on August 23, 1926. Young Tad Blalock, whose childhood nickname lasted a lifetime, was a bright and active boy for whom the public school program in the elementary grades was not very challenging. As Tad was about to enter the seventh grade, his parents decided that a private school might be better able to channel his energies in constructive ways. They selected the well-respected Loomis School, which was relatively close to home and hence did not require Tad to become a boarding student. Young Blalock blossomed at his new school, especially in mathematics. After the Loomis faculty noted how he raced through the established mathematics curriculum, they developed more advanced courses especially for him. When he graduated from the Loomis School in June 1944, World War II was under way. Tad knew that he would enter military service shortly after he turned eighteen, but he had time for one semester at Dartmouth before entering the U.S. Navy in December 1944.
Nothing in his background had prepared eighteen-year old Tad Blalock for his two years in the Navy. Tad himself later wrote: I was a total misfit in the Navy, from the very first day when our Chief Petty Officer delivered a speech ending with the sentence, “Remember, youse guys, in the Navy you don’t think!” Tad was appalled to find that some of his shipmates “delighted in their nightly fisticuffs (and worse) with the so-called ‘gooks’”
For Tad Blalock the Navy provided both an eye-opening and a heart-rending experience. It awakened in him a deep sympathy for those who were poor and subservient and a vague commitment to make their lives better. In 1946, after completing his Navy service, he returned to Dartmouth, where he majored in mathematics. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in 1948.
But as a Dartmouth undergraduate he had also discovered new interests. His concern for the poor and subservient, initially kindled by his Navy experience, was reinforced by taking the “Great Issues” course required of Dartmouth seniors. He had also found an off-campus way of expanding his insights into the world of the underprivileged. He had become involved in the workshops of the American Friends Service Committee. During the summer following completion of his bachelor’s degree at Dartmouth, Tad worked in a Quaker work camp in a black area. He later reported that he “had always had a concern about the treatment of blacks in America—perhaps a Myrdallian white guilt complex”The Quaker summer camp provided his first experience of daily contact with black people.
In the fall of 1949 Tad started work on a master’s degree in mathematics at Brown University. There, he wrote that he discovered the meaning of “pure” mathematics, as well as the impact of absolutely horrible teaching. At about that time I began to realize that I did not want to spend my lifetime being quite so pure, and that there was something of an escape from reality in all of this. He remained at Brown for his master’s degree, but in 1950 he shifted from mathematics to sociology “almost sight unseen.” He had previously had only two sociology courses.
One of the friends whom Tad encountered in the workshops of the American Friends Service Committee was Ann Bonar from West Virginia. Following her graduation from Oberlin College in 1950, Ann had come to Boston as a research assistant on a Harvard University endocrinology project at Massachusetts General Hospital. She spent her weekends as a volunteer at Peabody House, a famous old West End settlement house. There in the fall of 1950 she met Tad Blalock. He was a graduate student at Brown who came to Boston about every other weekend to participate in the Quaker workcamp at Peabody House. Ann Bonar and Tad Blalock rapidly discovered their common values and interests. They first discussed marriage while walking around Walden Pond, and Tad gave Ann an engagement ring in the spring of 1951. They were married in August 1951 in Parkersburg, West Virginia, Ann’s hometown.
The newlyweds were both intent on continuing their education, Tad in sociology and Ann in social work. Having searched intensively for a university with strong programs for both, they decided on the University of North Carolina. Professors Howard Odum, Rupert Vance, and Guy Johnson were the influential elders of the North Carolina Department of Sociology at that time, but a somewhat younger group of faculty members also influenced Tad’s academic development. His interest in the use of statistics in social research was fostered by Daniel Price, while Nicholas Demerath influenced his thinking about sociological theory. Guy Johnson was his principal mentor in the field of race relations.
Tad spent only three years at North Carolina, a relatively brief time for a sociologist to complete a Ph.D. By the time he left in 1954, he had pushed himself through a demanding reading program, completed a minor in mathematical statistics, and finished a dissertation. His dissertation raised some eyebrows in the sociology department, where the established practice was to undertake an empirical study for the dissertation. Contrary to the usual practice Tad’s dissertation was an attempt to achieve a more systematic theoretical formulation in the field of race relations, drawing on the work of Robin Williams, E. Franklin Frazier, and others.
Although new Ph.D.s in sociology were not in high demand in 1954 Blalock was highly recommended by his mentors, and his first academic position was at the University of Michigan. The prevailing practice at that time was for new Ph.D.s to begin, not as assistant professors, but as instructors and to carry teaching loads that were considered, a decade later, inordinately burdensome. Twenty-eight-year old Tad Blalock, instructor in sociology, was in charge of his department’s statistics courses, both graduate and undergraduate. He also taught introductory sociology and the undergraduate course on research methods, and he served as an academic counselor for undergraduate majors and incoming graduate students.
Enthusiasm notwithstanding, classroom teaching did not come naturally to Instructor Blalock in his first years as a faculty member. One of the first things he had to learn about teaching was that everyone did not grasp abstract mathematical concepts as readily as he did, and the panic and tears of some of his early students in statistics courses prompted him to devise teaching procedures that went beyond the usual classroom lecture. He worked to develop improved ways of communicating with the students in his classes. Even in his first years of teaching, Tad showed evidence of the kind of concern and the extra time commitment that were to earn for him the high respect of several generations of students.
As demanding as his teaching duties were in those early years, Blalock rapidly started to accumulate a publication record. He had tremendous energy and drive. He loved what he was doing, and he frequently worked late into the evening and all through the weekend. During the first six years following completion of his Ph.D. (1954-60), he published eleven papers in scholarly journals, including papers in The American Sociological Review, The Journal of the American Statistical Association, and Social Forces. Occasionally, Tad and Ann Blalock published jointly, beginning in 1959 with a paper in Philosophy of Science.
While the flurry of journal publications from 1956 to 1960 was sufficient in itself to suggest an unusually active young scholar, another publication effort was under way. In 1960 the first edition of Social Statistics was published. Tad later indicated that, at the time, he was unaware of the disdain that some of his senior colleagues had for textbook writing, especially in statistics rather than sociology. After completing his manuscript, he was surprised to learn that it would not be very beneficial in his tenure decision. Perhaps it is fortunate that he didn’t know; otherwise he might not have written this outstanding and influential textbook. The book was authoritative without being esoteric, and it was student oriented without being oversimplified. Adoptions for classroom use were soon sufficiently numerous to make the book a commercial as well as a pedagogical success.
In the fall of 1961 Blalock accepted an offer to become an associate professor at Yale. His stay there was brief (three years), but it was during this period that he produced a series of publications on statistical procedures relevant to causal inferences. They included Causal Inferences in Nonexperimental Research, published in 1964, and a number of papers on the same general topic. Blalock’s papers were widely read and were among the most influential papers in sociology during the decade. His name was thereafter closely associated with causal models in the thinking of sociologists, and his reputation as a sociologist and statistical methodologist spread throughout the United States and abroad.
Responding to an offer of a full professorship, Blalock moved in 1964 to the University of North Carolina, where he remained until 1971. His years as a faculty member at North Carolina were highly productive. At North Carolina he produced three books and coedited a fourth with his wife, Ann. Two of these books were especially influential: Toward a Theory of Minority Group Relations, published in 1967, and Theory Construction: From Verbal to Mathematical Formulations. The papers produced during Tad Blalock’s period as a North Carolina faculty member were even more influential than his books of that period. While at North Carolina, he published twenty-one papers on a variety of substantive and methodological topics. His most influential papers of this period were concentrated in two areas. First, he presented a set of papers on methodological problems entailed in testing theories of status inconsistency. The second set of influential papers published during Tad’s period as a faculty member at North Carolina pertained to conceptualization and measurement in social research. The pervasive feature of these papers is representation of the relationship between concepts and their empirical indicators in the form of a causal model. This representation allowed him to explore measurement error and its implications for multiple regression, path analysis, and structural equation models. This was to be one of the continuing themes in his work for the remainder of his life. Tad’s publications brought him increasing recognition, and this was reflected in his invitation to serve on editorial boards or as an associate editor for several journals.
Although Tad had a highly congenial set of departmental colleagues at the University of North Carolina, he felt that the university was not in step with the spirit of the times. Influenced by the civil rights movement and the antiwar movement, there was a spirit of moral change in the country at the end of the 1960s. Tad had long been an advocate for civil rights, and he was pleased to see that American universities were in the vanguard of change. On the other hand, the University of North Carolina seemed to him to be unduly influenced by a faculty and administration that
were intent on preserving discredited traditions. Among other things, Tad believed the university was failing to recruit black students with genuine vigor. In an unrelated matter pertaining to a young faculty member, when the most conservative elements in the university took actions that Tad considered unwarranted and unfair, it was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Tad decided to seek a suitable position at another university.
After careful consideration of several options, Tad accepted an offer to join the University of Washington faculty in the fall of 1971. There he continued to play a vital role in the training of graduate students, and he was the recipient of numerous honors.
Tad’s many publications and other achievements during his Washington years can probably best be summarized by considering them in two sets: those prior to 1980 and those that came in 1980 or later. In the earlier of these periods (1971-79), Tad was the author or coauthor of three books
and the editor or coeditor of three additional volumes. In these books he further developed his work on familiar topics, notably quantitative research methodology and race relations.
In 1973 Tad received the Stouffer Award, presented by the American Sociological Association in recognition of his outstanding contributions to sociological research and research methodology. He was made a fellow of the American Statistical Association in 1974 and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1975. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1976 and served as president of the American Sociological Association in 1978-79. Such exalted recognition must have made an impression on Tad, but the only change in his behavior evident to colleagues and students was an increase in his energy. It was almost as if he were intent on convincing everyone around him that he was not unduly impressed by his own success and that he wasn’t going to rest on his laurels.
As president of the American Sociological Association, Tad was persistent in his attempts to improve the discipline. In his presidential report to the membership (Footnotes, August 1979), he urged the association to give continuing attention to several important matters, three of which represented well his own long-term personal and professional commitments: improving the training of sociologists, upgrading the quality of undergraduate teaching in sociology, and enhancing the standing of sociological research as a basis for social action and public policy decisions.
By 1980 Tad had accumulated an impressive record of achievements. He was a sociologist with an international reputation; he had been elected to membership in the nation’s most prestigious scientific organization; and he had just completed a term as president of the national organization
for members of his discipline. But at fifty-four he was far too energetic and vigorous to be satisfied simply being an elder statesman. He continued working. In 1982 he was selected to present the Annual Faculty Lecture at the University of Washington. In 1983-84 he served as vice-chair of the University of Washington Faculty Senate, and in 1984-85 he served as the chair of that body. This office brought with it a host of committee and administrative responsibilities, including ex officio membership on the Board of Regents. He immersed himself in these activities, and his penetrating questions did not always endear him to the university administration. But his straightforward style, his questioning attitude, his strong commitment to fairness, and his fervent defense of scholarly values gave him an enthusiastic following among the faculty. Even as he was heavily engaged in the activities of the University of Washington Faculty Senate, his commitment to teaching did not falter and his scholarly productivity did not decline. In the early 1980s he authored three books, edited a volume of selected papers from the 1979 meeting of the American Sociological Association, and coedited a collection of works on teaching sociology. He was also the author or coauthor of eight papers in the first half of the decade.
Few people knew in 1984—and no one who didn’t know would have guessed—that Tad had a serious health problem. During a routine hernia operation, he was found to be suffering from a rare form of abdominal cancer. He was told that there was no cure. He was also told that the cancer
was relatively slow growing and that the major treatment would be periodic surgery. Tad undoubtedly understood all that the specialists told him about his condition. He probably believed them. But it was almost as if his cancer and the threat it posed to his life never seemed real enough to him to be worthy of discussion.
But beginning about 1987, an examination of Tad’s work suggests that he had made a subtle change in his scholarly agenda, in recognition of his deteriorating health. After that date, his papers appeared primarily in edited collections, as if he were fulfilling commitments to a few colleagues to prepare a paper for their special volumes. The two major works that he completed in the few years remaining before his death reach for a new level of generality.
A longtime student of race relations, Tad had, of course, also been a student of social conflict and the exercise of power as exemplified in race relations. In Power and Conflict Processes: Toward a General Theory, Tad no longer focuses specifically on race relations; rather, he examines power
and conflict more abstractly, considering the relevant processes in all contexts, including, but not limited to, the context of race relations. Similarly, in Understanding Social Inequality: Modelling Allocation Processes, Tad goes beyond the specific features of inequality entailed in the stratification of racial groupings to explore general processes that create and sustain social inequality.
Even as he continued to work, medical treatments periodically interrupted Tad’s schedule. Long before his retirement in 1989, Tad’s deteriorating health was evident to all who saw him. In the spring of 1989 Tad retired from active faculty status to become professor emeritus. During that spring the Department of Sociology at the University of Washington sponsored a lecture series in Tad’s honor. Eight distinguished scholars whose work was related in some way to Tad’s were brought to Seattle to present public lectures on their current work and recent findings. As the 1988-89 academic year drew to a close, the Department of Sociology celebrated Tad’s career with a retirement dinner, complete with reminiscing speakers and testimonial toasts. Tad was on such a heavily restricted diet that he could not enjoy the feast, but he evidently enjoyed the event.
Tad’s brief period as professor emeritus was a period of continuing physical decline despite his tenacious will to live and a determination to continue his work. While recovering from his final surgery, he read proofs for his last book. He was notified by telephone that he was the 1991 recipient of the American Sociological Association’s Lazarsfeld Award four days before he died on February 8, 1991. The Persian Gulf War was under way, and Tad spent his final days analyzing recent developments in the Middle East in light of the general principles he had discussed in Power
and Conflict Processes: Toward a General Theory. To the end of his life, Tad remained a person of great inner strength, sustained by the remarkably warm and close relationship that he and Ann maintained for nearly forty years. To many he was an inspiring figure of great personal warmth. In the words of the Lazarsfeld Award citation, “. . .To colleagues, friends, and scores of former students, he was known simply—and very affectionately—as ‘Tad,’ and his image as an internationally renowned sociologist is inextricably mixed with his image as a kind and generous human being who has enriched the lives of many” (Footnotes, April 1991).
Amos Henry Hawley, 69th President of the American Sociological Association, died in Chapel Hill, NC, on August 31, 2009, at the age of 98. A seminal theorist, Amos helped revitalize macrosociology in the 1950s and 60s via his reformulation, extension, and codification of human ecological models. He left an indelible imprint on our discipline by his writings and those of many of his students.
Born in 1910, Amos came of age during the Great Depression where he dropped out of the University of Cincinnati for a life as a hobo. He rode boxcars to the West and panned for gold in Oregon. He even stowed away on a Japanese freighter heading to Asia before being discovered and sent back.
After his stint riding the rails, Amos returned to the University of Cincinnati where Professor James Quinn introduced him to sociology and human ecology. Amos also encountered Roderick McKenzie, a renowned visiting professor from the University of Michigan, who impressed him with his theories of urban hierarchies and metropolitan dominance. McKenzie convinced Amos to follow him back to Ann Arbor, where he became McKenzie’s protege. When an untimely illness and early death took McKenzie from Michigan in 1940, his protege succeeded him. There, Amos rose through the ranks from instructor to professor and served as chair of the department from 1951 to 1962. Amos effectively served as leader and social glue holding everything together as Michigan’s Department of Sociology prospered.
In 1966, Amos departed for Chapel Hill becoming Kenan Professor of Sociology at UNC where he remained a highly active scholar and graduate student mentor until his retirement in 1976. Soon afterwards, he took to writing fictional short stories, many of them incorporating his keen observations over the years of academic lifestyles. To the surprise of a number of us who always thought of Amos as being steadfast and restrained, some of these short stories have elements of intrigue and even risque behavior.
It was his more than 100 scholarly works, though, for which Amos will be most remembered. His academic career is best defined by an early book, Human Ecology: A Theory of Community Structure (1950). That book remains the most comprehensive statement of the ecological approach to social organization. In many ways, it was a major departure from previous work in sociological human ecology. Amos was able to distill prior research and field observations of human ecologists into a codified theatrical framework that explained characteristics of social organization as the product of a population adapting to its environment.
Amos’s ASA presidential address, “Cumulative Change in Theory and History” (American Sociological Review, December 1978), is a good illustration of his intellectual approach. He argued that although individual societies rise and fall over the long wave, human society tends to progress through cumulative advances and transferability of technology and economic organization. The result is societal growth measured in terms of system complexity, energy and products consumed, territory covered, and population supported.
Interestingly, Amos was among the few American scholars in the 1950s and 1960swho dispassionately engaged Marx. After considering the predictions of Malthus and those of Marx about the relationship of the size of a population to available resources, he came down firmly on the side of Marx, finding corroboration for the principle that access to resources is limited in the first instance by social organization. While certainly not a Marxist scholar, he felt an affinity for some of Marx’s theorizing and revisited the issue several times in his career, most recently in “Human Ecological and Marxian Theories” (American Journal of Sociology, 1984).
Amos contributed as much to practice as to theory, and he was as accomplished in the field as in the classroom. He served on the advisory committee for the 1960 United States census and on numerous National Academy of Sciences committees and boards (1960-1978). Amos also was a demographic adviser for the government of Malaysia (1973-74), directed the census of Aruba in 1960, and was an adviser to the prime minister’s office in Thailand (1964-65). He conducted field studies of populations and urban land use in Japan, the Philippines, and elsewhere.
For his many contributions to population studies, Amos was elected president of the Population Association of America (1971-72). In 1990, he received the Robert and Helen Lynd Award from the American Sociological Association for his research and scholarship on community and urban sociology. Also that year, Cornell University honored Amos with an award for outstanding achievements and contributions to sociological human ecology. At UNC, The Amos Hawley Distinguished Professorship is named in his honor.
Amos’ final request characterized his modest and generous persona. He asked that no funeral or memorial service be held and that any memorial contributions be made to a fund for the benefit of graduate students in the Department of Sociology at UNC. This fund has now been established and designated by UNC as The Amos Hawley Memorial Fund.
Daniel O’Haver Price died on November 18, 2012, in Jacksonville, FL at the age of 94. He was born in Palatka, FL, on September 12, 1918, the second son of Charles Henry and Lillian O’Haver Price. He graduated from Putnam High School in 1935 and then earned a BS from Florida Southern College in 1939 He taught high school science in Bartow, FL, before going to graduate school in 1940. He was awarded the MA in 1942 and PhD in 1948, both in sociology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Dan joined the UNC faculty shortly after receiving his doctoral degree and served from 1957-66 as the Director of the UNC Institute for Research in Social Science. He was a visiting professor at Harvard University in 1950 and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1957· During 1963-1964, he was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.
In 1966 he moved to The University of Texas-Austin. For four years in the mid-197os he served as chair of the UT sociology department. In 1978, he moved to UNC-Greensboro, where he was department head foi ten years. He retired in 1988 and moved to Jacksonville, FL, where he married Marion Albinson Conner on Ji 5, 1988.
Early in his career, Dan was elected a Fellow of the American Statistical Association. He was also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was a consultant to many government agencies, including the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Institutes of Health, the Social Security Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of Economic Opportunity. He was President of the Southern Demographic Association, 1983-84.
During World War II, Dan was an electronics officer in the U.S. Navy, attached to PT Boat Squadron 17 in the Pacific, with service in Panama, Hawaii, the Marshall Islands, New Guinea, and Mindoro. After the war, as a reservist, he taught courses in missile technology and consulted with the Naval Weapons Laboratory Dahlgren, Virginia. He retired as a Captain from the Navy reserves in 1978.
As a social statistician and demographer, Dan authored/co-authored seven books and more than 50 articles in professional journals. His books include (with Margaret Hagood) Statistics for Sociologists (Holt 1952: The 99th Hour: The Population Crisis in the United States (UNC Press 1967); and Changing Characteristics of the Negro Population: A 1960 Census Monograph (U.S. Government Printing Office 1969).
In 1942 Dan published an article in Social Forces, titled “Factor Analysis in the Study of Metropolitan Centers,” which was the very first article published in the sociological literature using factor analysis. The first sentence of this article is: “The purpose of this article is to point out some of the possibilities for sociology of a comparatively new statistical technique, factor analysis, and give an example of its application.” Dan’s units of analysis were the 93 metro areas with populations in 1930 of 100,000 or more. 1Dan would sometimes tell us that he did the factor analysis and orthogonal rotation of the 15 characteristic of these 93 cities by hand, and that it took him more than two months to do. These days such a problem would run on Stata or some other statistical software in much less than one minute.
At a Memorial session held during the meetings of the Population Association of America (PAA) in New Orleans in April 2013, Dan was remembered by many of his students and colleagues. One of his doctoral students at UNC, Charles Nam, commented on Dan’s graciousness when Dan and he were candidates for the Presidency of the PAA. When Nam won the election, Dan noted how proud he was that now one of hi1 students was the PAA President. A former UT colleague of Dan’s, Teresa Sullivan, now the President of the University of Virginia, noted that Dan preceded her by several years as Chair of the Department of Sociology at UT. Terry wrote us recently that “I later realized, chairing the same department, how deft he had been in managing many dicey situations.”
William Markham, both a student of Dan’s at the University of Texas and a colleague of Dan’s at
UNC-Greensboro, noted his frequent reliance on Dan for statistical advice. As we all know, Dan was a superb teacher of statistics, but also unpretentious and humble. On one occasion, after masterfully helping unravel a difficult problem with which Bill had been struggling for days, Dan told Bill, “Just remember though; my advice is worth exactly what you paid for it.”
Dan’s second wife, Marion Conner Price (1918-2010), was a leading Jacksonville actress and television pioneer. His first wife, Doris Price (1921-2012), was the mother of his three children: Philip Price, Karen Price, and Gary Price. Dan is survived by his brother Charles Price, his three children, five grandchildren, and countless students, friends, and colleagues.
He was born October 27, 1921, in Concord, North Carolina, the only child of George L. Simpson, Sr., and Willie Odessa Hudson Simpson. After graduating from Concord High School, he entered the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1937, receiving a B.A. degree in 1941 and an M.A. degree in Sociology in 1944.
When America entered World War II, he was commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy and served as the gunnery officer on the destroyer U.S.S Ordronaux in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Pacific theatres, rising to the rank of Lieutenant.
Following the war, he returned to Chapel Hill to pursue a Ph.D. in Sociology under Dr. Howard Odum, doing course work at both UNC and Vale and writing his dissertation on the Coker family of Hartsville, South Carolina, which was published by the UNC Press as The Coke rs of Carolina (1956). He received the Ph.D. degree in 1951 and would later receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from UNC in 1969.
He joined the faculty of UNC in 1951 and taught Sociology there until 1956. At that time, Governor Luther Hodges and others were seeking to improve the economy of North Carolina by using the research capabilities of UNC, what was then NC State College, and Duke University to attract technology-based companies to the state. To that end, the Research Triangle Committee was created in 1956 to establish a research park in the center of the geographic triangle formed by the three institutions, and George was app ointed the Committee’s first Executive Director.. As historians of the Research Triangle have said, if Governor Hodges was the heart of the Triangle, George became the brains, translating the Research Triangle dream into a concrete plan and leading the way in implementing it.
He returned to the UNC faculty in 1959 and taught there until 1962, when he went to Washington to serve as Assistant Deputy Administrator for Public Affairs at NASA. He later served as Assistant Deputy Administrator for Technology Utilization and for Policy Planning as well.
In July, 1965, he was installed as Chancellor of the University System of Georgia by the Georgia Board of Regents, and he served in that capacity until July, 1979. After leaving the Chancellorship, he remained in Atlanta until 2006, when he and Louise moved to Raleigh to be near family members.
He is survived by the following, all of whom are in Raleigh: his wife Louise; his sons George L. Simpson, Ill and wife Nancy, and Joe H. Simpson and wife Melissa; his grandchildren Barrett Simpson Brewer and husband Curt and George L. Simpson, IV and wife Kate; his step grandchildren Jennifer Leigh Martin, Tudi Martin Jackson and husband David, and John Barry Martin; his great grandchildren Catherine Campbell Brewer, William Smith Brewer, Sara Barrett Brewer, and George Pierce Simpson; and his step great grandson John Reese Taylor.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m., Monday, December 8, 2014, in the Carman Center of the Mayflower Community with Rev. Christine Tinker, Chaplain of the Mayflower Community. Music will be provided by William Tinker.
Memorials may be directed to the Mark Thelin Memorial Fund and sent in care of the Smith Funeral Home, P.O. Box 368, Grinnell, Iowa 50112.
Mark was born on August 29, 1933, in Fuzhou, China to Guy and Elizabeth Cushman Thelin. His father was Vice Principal of an agricultural high school. Due to the political turmoil China experienced in the 1930s and 40s, Mark was evacuated three times by the time he was sixteen; he spent part of his early years in suburban Providence, Rhode Island and later graduated from high school in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Mark received his undergraduate degree from Oberlin College in Ohio, majoring in Sociology. In 1955, he went to Taiwan with Oberlin’s Shansi Program and taught English at Tunghai University during the first two years of that university’s existence. He then returned to the US to pursue an MA at Oberlin College followed by Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina, both in Sociology. He returned to Tunghai in 1962 to teach in the university’s then newly established Sociology Department, the first such program in Taiwan. He helped establish a work camp program at Tunghai, allowing students to volunteer on community development projects in rural villages. He continued to serve as faculty advisor to this program for the next 20 years. He also joined the board of directors of the Taiwan Fund for Children and Families, and remained on that board for more than 30 years.
On April 3, 1966, while on sabbatical in New York City, he married Virginia Hermann and a few months later they returned together to Taiwan and Tunghai, where Mark became chairman of the Sociology Department, a position he held for 11 years. In the late 1960s, Mark and Virginia had two sons, Carl and Eric.
In the 1970s, Mark authored the book, Two Taiwanese Villages, about community development efforts in Taiwan, and established a Social Work program within Tunghai’s Sociology Department. This was the first Social Work program in Taiwan. Five years later it was spun off into its own department, and Mark’s former students went on to found other social work departments in Taiwan, as well as the first several social work departments to be established in Mainland China.
The family lived briefly in Grinnell from 1988 to 1989 while Mark was a visiting professor at the Sociology Department of Grinnell College. In 1990, they moved to Tainan Theological College, where Mark established and served as chairman of the Social Work Department. They remained there until Mark’s retirement in 1999.
After retirement, Mark and Virginia moved to Durham, England where they completed graduate degrees in archeology, and remained for 9 years, volunteering on archeological digs and doing further research. Mark and Virginia have lived in the Harwich Terrace neighborhood of the Mayflower Community for the past six years.
Survivors include his wife, Virginia (Ginny) Thelin of Grinnell; and two sons, Carl Thelin of Shanghai, China and Eric Thelin of South Lake Tahoe, California. He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Robert Thelin.
Rachael was born October 12, 1939, the daughter of the late Rod and Jouree Blakemore Tayar. Rachael lived a rich life, punctuated by her many travels with family and friends; her love of the outdoors; her love for her dogs; her passions for music, drama and movies; her interest in technology. She is survived by her sons: Brian Anderson of Charlotte, North Carolina; Tait Anderson of Sacramento, California; and Rod Anderson and his wife Amy of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Her four grandchildren are Jensen and Hal Anderson of Charlotte and Mary and Meg Anderson of Chapel Hill. She is also survived by her sister, Rodene Gosselin of Oceanside, California and by Rodene’s children and grandchildren.
Rachael attended Oklahoma State University, Trinity College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she earned a Ph.D. in sociology. In addition to teaching sociology and statistics for a number of colleges, she worked for many years as a training specialist for the state of California. She had lived in Sacramento, California for almost 25 years. Rachael loved dogs and tolerated cats and would be honored by contributions in her name to the ASPCA or Humane Society. In June, Rachael’s sons will host a memorial service for her in Sacramento. Details are still pending.
January 2, 1937-January 27, 2014
Beloved husband, father, and Zayde Extraordinaire
Murray Binderman is survived by his wife, Eleanor Binderman; daughters, Suzanne Gopman (Jonathan), Eileen Goldfine (Howard), Laurian Williams (Ron) and Dilhani Uswatte (Gitendra); grandchildren, Jenna & Rachel Gopman, Suman & Asel Uswatte, and Andrew & Lexi Goldfine; and brother, Arnold Binderman (Maureen). He was a member of Temple Beth-El.
Dr. Charles “Chuck” Bonjean, 72, a beloved member of the Department of Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin and retired executive director of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health at UT, died February 20, 2008, in Florida of natural causes. He had moved from Austin to Florida in his last days to be near family.
Bonjean was a noted sociologist, scholar, philanthropist, educator, and administrator whose career spanned more than 40 years with UT. He also was a talented pianist and jazz devotee who enjoyed playing music with friends.
Bonjean came to UT in 1963 as an assistant professor with the Department of Sociology and spent his entire career there. He was promoted to associate professor in 1966 and to professor in 1970. He was chair of the department from 1972-74, when he was appointed Hogg Professor of Sociology, a position he held until he retired in 2002.
As a sociologist, Bonjean’s academic interests encompassed formal organizations, sociology of the community, evaluation research, and mental health. He was a prolific researcher, writer, and editor whose name appeared as author, co-author, or contributor to more than 65 books, articles, chapters, and book reviews. Many of his articles appeared in such prominent journals as the American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Urban Affairs Quarterly, Sex Roles, Journal of Applied Behavioral Sciences, Sociological Quarterly, Work and Occupations, Journal of Politics, Contemporary Sociology, and Sociology of Education.
Bonjean first joined the American Sociological Association (ASA) during his graduate student days at the University of North Carolina. He was elected to ASA Council in 1985-88. He served on or chaired two-dozen different ASA committees, including the Committee on Nominations, the Executive Office and Budget Committee, the Minority Opportunity Summer Training (MOST) Program Committee, the Council Subcommittee on Relations with Sections, the Council Subcommittee on Program Reorganization, the Council Subcommittee on Sociological Practice, and the Minority Fellowship Committee. Bonjean served terms as chair of the Council Subcommittee on Women and Minorities, as chair of the Committee on Association Reorganization, and as chair of the Career of Distinguished Scholarship Award Selection Committee.
Those who worked with Chuck on the MOST project know how central his humor and enthusiasm for all things Texas was to this work. He created a tradition of giving task force members highly personalized t-shirts, encouraged endless jokes and bantering, and welcomed members on numerous occasions to his home and his boat on Lake Travis outside of Austin. There was nothing he liked better than club-crawling along Austin’s infamous 6th Street where he would introduce people to the diverse music of that fun-loving community. Chuck loved sociology, he loved working, he loved music, he loved Texas, and he loved his good times with friends.
Bonjean served as editor of a number of academic and professional journals and publications. He was the editor of Social Science Quarterly (SSQ) from 1966-1993. When he became the editor, the journal was but a small regional publication known then as the Southwestern Social Science Quarterly. In 1968, behind Bonjean’s leadership, the journal changed its name and soon became a nationally visible, highly regarded journal. It may have been one of the first social science journals to publish research dealing with Hispanics. As an editor, Chuck was known for his detailed reviews and the help he gave authors to improve their work. And he always promised to send three reviews within six weeks of the date the manuscript was submitted to SSQ. More often than not, he was able to fulfill this promise. He nurtured many young sociologists in his role as editor, colleague, and friend. Along with the journal, Chuck served in many positions of the Southwestern Social Science Association (SSSA) and was its president in 1994-95. He helped establish the present excellent reputation of the SSSA.
In the early 1970s, the UT sociology department was not as large as it is today. Like many University departments at that time, the department had an abundance of assistant professors. Bonjean had just been promoted to full professor in 1970 so was one of the role models in the department for the younger assistant professors. He was always accessible on campus and also was known for the exciting parties he would throw at his home overlooking Lake Travis.
In addition to his role as an educator, Bonjean joined the Hogg Foundation in 1974 as executive associate and was promoted to vice president in 1979. He served as the foundation’s executive director from 1993-2002 and was only the third person to hold that position since the foundation’s inception in 1940.
Chuck loved to travel and was on the road more than 100 nights each year in connection with his Hogg Foundation and other responsibilities. He traveled the world in his free time and was one of only a handful of “two-million milers” with Delta Airlines.
Bonjean served on boards and committees of numerous national, state, and local philanthropic and professional organizations, including the Council on Foundations, Grantmakers in Health, the Center for Nonprofit Organization Management, Grantmakers Evaluation Network, American Sociological Foundation, Southwestern Social Science Association, Conference of Southwest Foundations, Mental Health Association of Texas, Texas Grantmakers in Health and Human Services, Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, Mental Health Association of Greater Houston, and the Greater Houston Collaborative for Children.
At the University, Bonjean served on the Faculty Senate, the University Council, the University Public Lectures Committee, the University Research Institute and the Publications Policies Committee. He also was a consultant and advisor to the University’s Department of Journalism, School of Nursing, and School of Social Work.
His honorary affiliations included Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, Kappa Tau Alpha, and Sigma Delta Chi. He received numerous awards, including the Sigma Delta Chi Scholarship Award in 1957, The University of Texas Students’ Association Teaching Excellence Award in 1965, the Drake University Alumni Distinguished Service Award in 1979, the Association of Junior Leagues’ Award for Voluntary Association Organizational Self-Assessment in 1983, and the Southwestern Social Science Association’s Outstanding Service Award twice, in 1984 and 1991.
Bonjean received a doctorate in sociology from the University of North Carolina, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Drake University.
If one thing stood out about Chuck above all else, it was his unique ability to make and remain friends with everyone he met. He is missed by the many hundreds of friends he left behind in Texas, the U.S., and the world.
Leo Helzel Professor of Entrepreneurship, Haas School of Business
Faculty Director, Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
1944 – 2008
John H. Freeman, learned scholar, kind teacher and mentor, innovative educator and entrepreneur, faculty director of the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and Helzel Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Haas School of Business, died of a heart attack at his home in Lafayette, California, on March 3, 2008. He was 63.
Born in Rochester, New York, on July 21, 1944, Freeman received three degrees in sociology. He earned his A.B. degree from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, in 1966; and his master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1970 and 1972, respectively.
A natural innovator, Freeman applied his work in sociology to business, joining the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Business Administration in 1975 as assistant professor. From 1985 to 1993, he served as editor of Administrative Science Quarterly at Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management. During his tenure, the journal published some of its most influential papers on strategic choice and environmental determinism, hybrid organizational forms, and entrepreneurial network dyads.
Upon his return to Berkeley in 1993, Freeman became professor of entrepreneurship and innovation and faculty director of the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University’s business school, now known as the Haas School of Business. Four years later, he founded the Berkeley Entrepreneurship Laboratory, a free resource center for young firms founded by Berkeley students. Providing the ultimate in experiential learning, the ‘Lab’ was a passion for him and the entire Lester Center team. Under his guidance and support many student projects emerged as viable and successful ventures and contributed to building a vibrant entrepreneurial community that continues as a tribute to his efforts.
Freeman’s early research focused on organizational politics and the variations among organizations in the ratios of managers and supervisors to the rest of the work force. Freeman’s empirical studies revealed that organizations in decline have higher “administrative intensity” than similar-sized growing organizations because staffing decisions are made by managers, who might be expected to favor their close associates. The pattern came to be known as the “Freeman effect” and became a staple of macro-organization theory.
Perhaps Freeman’s greatest contribution to the study of organizational theory was an area he helped create with colleague and friend Michael Hannan, professor of management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and professor of sociology at Stanford University. The two sociologists pioneered “organizational ecology.” Together they sought to answer the question, “Why are there so many kinds of organizations?” Their work included rebuilding the foundations of macro-organization theory by emphasizing change by selection rather than adaptation, shifting the level of analysis to the level of the population of organizations, and introducing a focus on dynamics. Freeman was involved in building many now-standard themes including age dependence in organizational mortality, r and K selection, niche width, organizational forms, and density-dependent legitimation and competition. In 1992, the American Sociological Association awarded Freeman and Hannan the Max Weber Award for Distinguished Scholarship for their book Organizational Ecology, published in 1989.
Because of Freeman’s work, organizational ecology became a major subfield in organizational studies and its influence extended into management studies in general and strategic management in particular. Hannan remembered his friend and colleague by saying, “His impact on our field was immense.”
Jerome Engel, executive director of the Lester Center, also worked closely with Freeman for 20 years. He credited Freeman with helping to develop the still young, cross-disciplinary field of entrepreneurship and for emphasizing its applications for start-up businesses. Freeman and Engel’s long collaboration is evident in “Models of Innovation: Startups and Mature Corporations,” California Management Review 50:1 (2007).
Leo Helzel, an adjunct professor emeritus of entrepreneurship and business law at the Haas School, endowed the chair held by Freeman. Helzel believed Freeman had a unique talent for melding the practical, business world expertise of adjunct faculty members with the requirements of academia.
Before his death, Freeman headed a two-year project and a team of 14 Berkeley professors from a variety of disciplines, researching entrepreneurship in the United States. In the words of Jerome Engel, “At UC Berkeley, entrepreneurship is a team sport. John was a leader of our time, and his contributions will live long after him.”
Freeman’s contributions continue to live on in his students’ successes. He was known for his devotion to them. According to former student Jaz Banga, cofounder of Feeva Technology Inc., a software platform company, “Professor Freeman was so much more than a professor. He was our mentor, guide, trusted friend and even, fishing buddy. He touched the hearts and minds of every one of our employees. He was there to encourage, course correct and just plain motivate during the times we just wanted to give up.”
That ability to motivate inspired many of John’s doctoral students to become faculty members themselves at leading institutions and contributors to the emerging field of entrepreneurship education. Chris Rider, assistant professor of organization and management at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, said Freeman was an exceptional advisor: “John stopped me from going down roads that, I realize only now, did not lead where I wanted to go. And he did so in a remarkable way. John would indirectly offer valuable advice with a story—almost a parable—that was clear but politely subtle … I couldn’t be more grateful.”
In his free time Freeman enjoyed fishing, camping, skiing, and international travel. He is survived by his wife, Diane; sons Chris Freeman and John Freeman Jr.; daughters Jennifer Freeman, Sarah Freeman, and Amanda Bielskis; sister Mary Freeman-Dove; and eight grandchildren.
John Wardwell, demographer and a professor of sociology and rural sociology at Washington State University died of lung cancer, September 20, 1998, in Pullman, Washington. He was 56.
A native of North Dakota, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in 1964 from North Dakota State University, and in 1995 studied at Goethe Universitat in Frankfurt under a Fulbright Fellowship. In 1969 he was awarded a Masters degree from the University of Arizona, and in 1973, a PhD in demography and sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He then joined the faculty at Washington State University.
Wardwell is recognized for his extensive work on understanding the dynamics of rural vs. urban growth. An
influential article he published in Rural Sociology in 1976 was recognized as the first theoretical attempt to explain the renewal of growth in rural United States after many decades of steady decline. It set the pattern for his later work of specifying and elucidating linkages between sociology, demography, human ecology and development.
From 1973 to the present he was influential in the efforts of a USDA sponsored Western Regional Research Committee in monitoring and understanding rural demographic changes in the United States, serving several times as chair. The results of this committee’s work, and John’s personal commitment to understanding the factors influencing change, are published in a series of three important volumes which he co-edited, New Directions in Urban-Rural Migration (1980, with David Brown), Society, Community and Migration (1992, with Patrick Jobes and William Stinner), and Population Change in the Rural West 1975-1990 (1997 with
James Copp). He has left us with an important legacy of demographic understanding. For 25 years Wardwell taught most of the undergraduate and graduate demography courses offered at Washington State University through the Department of Sociology. He earned a well deserved reputation for filling the margins of student papers with neatly scripted comments that pushed them to do their best work. And, his efforts to mentor students went well beyond the traditional classroom boundaries.
Even the challenges of white-water rafting and downhill skiing were viewed as opportunities to teach and
learn. In recognition of his contributions to the education of a generation students, a memorial fund to support the “John Wardwell Demography Award” has been established by the Departments of Sociology and Rural Sociology. It will recognize outstanding demographic accomplishments by future Washington State University students who study demographic issues. Contributions to this fund are welcomed and appreciated. Inquiries or contributions can be sent to either Annabelle Cook, Chair of Rural Sociology, or Eugene Rosa, Chair of Sociology at Washington State University.
Wardwell is survived by his wife of 34 years, Jean, a son, Joseph, and foster son, Michael.
Albert Corbin Higgins was born in New York City on November 1, 1930. He died of cancer on May 5, 2016, in Johnstown, where he had lived for more than 40 years.
He received a BS and an MA from Fordham University, and a PhD in sociology from the University of North Carolina. In 1957 he married Anne Nichols and they had five children. Their son Sean was killed in a motorcycle accident in 2001.
Al is survived by his wife and four daughters, Brigitte Higgins-Havlicek of Johnstown, Jessica Catlin of Boulder, CO, Alexandra Higgins of Mayfield, Martha Higgins of Williamsburg, VA, and 10 grandchildren, Nicole, Brittany, Elizabeth, Emily, Rajendra, Sanjay, Wyeth, Piper, Isabelle, and Colemar.
Al was honorably discharged after two years of service as a second lieutenant for the United States Air Force. He was a professor of sociology at the State University at Albany and was awarded numerous presidential citations for excellence in teaching. He was well known in his field for starting and maintaining a SciFraud board, in which he exposed and publicized fraud in the scientific community. He authored a book on the care and treatment of handicapped children and published many articles in professional journals. He was an avid reader and loved discussing science and politics.
Allen W. Imershein, PhD, 61, died Sunday, December 4, 2005, in Tallahassee, Florida. During 2005, he successfully recovered from three difficult operations associated with Crohn’s Disease, only to learn that an undetected cancer had spread beyond the possibility of treatment.
Al was born on July 28, 1944, in Buffalo, New York, and grew up in Buffalo and Coral Gables, Florida. He earned a Bachelors Degree from Duke University, a Masters Degree from Yale Divinity School, and a Masters and PhD in Sociology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
He was a member of the sociology faculty of Florida State University from 1973 to 2005, rising through the ranks from assistant to full professor, where he played an active role in the development of the department throughout those years. Al founded and directed the Institute for Health and Human Services Research at Florida State University, which supported the research of faculty and graduate students over many years. He served on the Florida State University Faculty Senate where he was an advocate for liberal arts education, particularly for entering first-year students. He served as a Visiting Scholar at the University of North Carolina School of Public Health and at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. In the year prior to his death, he was elected Vice-President of the Southern Sociological Society.
Al’s research and teaching concerns focused on health, human service organizations, and social policy. He was intensely interested in social theory and his publications appeared in our leading journals including the American Sociological Review and American Journal of Sociology. He was dedicated to working with both graduate and undergraduate students and received a University Teaching Award and a Teaching Incentive Program Award from Florida State University. His Socratic method of instruction challenged students to analyze and think rather than memorize and repeat. In addition to teaching and research, Al was a social activist who devoted himself to university and community service. He was instrumental in establishing several organizations in the local community, including the United Church of Tallahassee. He was active in local politics and was a strong advocate for social justice and progressive environmental policies.
Al’s colleagues and acquaintances will remember him as an energetic, gregarious, and faithful friend. He was a beloved father, husband, brother, and social activist.
He is survived by his wife of 11 years, Donna Crowley of Sopchoppy, FL, his son Chris and wife Dawn of Chapel Hill, NC, and a sister Norma Barton of Bethpage, TN.
Biography Of A Forgotten Man
Son Retraces Father’s Steps, Documents Elder’s Downfall Into Schizophrenia
April 23, 2000|By MIKE HOLTZCLAW Daily Press
“I certainly felt a lot of regrets for what had started out as such a brilliant career, and sadness for both this person, Charlie Lachenmeyer, and his son and family,” Kernodle says. “Regret to know that the larger contribution he might have made got short-circuited by the illness.”
As they talked, Kernodle picked up on the remorse that Nathaniel felt, the way this son was questioning whether he could have done something to help his father hold on.
And that led to a second thought.
“It made me think about other students who have come through here,” Kernodle says. “You wonder if the same thing has happened to others, if this is a story that has repeated itself in the lives of lots of people.”
In a sense, that’s why Nathaniel Lachenmeyer wanted to write “The Outsider.” An estimated 2.5 million Americans are afflicted with schizophrenia, but the condition remains almost universally misunderstood, often wrongly equated with multiple- personality disorder.
He was just a teen-ager when he began reading up on schizophrenia, forming a context for his father’s increasingly paranoid and delusional letters. His education became decidedly hands-on as his research into “The Outsider” took him to Burlington, Vt., where he sat on the same bench his father had sat on a few years earlier with no shelter from the sub- zero temperatures.
He met such people as the manager of the shelter who had reluctantly turned his father out when both his behavior and his hygiene became impossible. Then there was the college student who had befriended Charles after detecting the intelligence and education beneath the layers of madness, followed by the sub shop cashier who would look the other way when Charles would steal a bag of chips while sipping coffee refills at 3 a.m.
Somewhere along the line, an ironic point hit home. Most of the people Lachenmeyer interviewed had told him that his father was always scribbling away at notebooks, napkins and random scraps of paper – insisting that he was working on a book detailing the insidious experiments his enemies were conducting on him.
In the end, it was Nathaniel who wrote that book. But from a mirror-image perspective.
“I don’t know how many times in one’s life you get to do something that is truly for a greater good.”
With those words, Nathaniel Lachenmeyer begins to talk about the impact he hopes “The Outsider” will have. Because its father-and-son story makes it more accessible than a clinical tome on mental illness, he hopes it will find its way into the hands of people who have never thought much about its primary subject matter.
He talks in terms of “altering the mythology surrounding the mentally ill and the homeless.” He wants people who read “The Outsider” to come away changed – whether they become advocates for mental health causes or simply stop joking about “feeling schizo.”
“My father’s story is as representative as it is unique,” he says. “I hope there’s a degree of empathy that doesn’t die when you put the book down.”
Kernodle, for one, believes the book will have precisely the impact Lachenmeyer intended.
“I don’t see how it could miss doing that,” he says. “It will do that. What Nathaniel has done is to provide this personal insight into his father’s development as a scholar, as a prisoner, as a mentally ill person – but without the trap of maudlin feelings that sometimes comes with efforts of somebody to describe a relative’s life. It’s really an exceptional piece.”
It is suggested to Lachenmeyer that perhaps, indirectly, this book represents the fulfillment of the predictions made by those college professors three decades earlier. That through his son’s book, Charles Lachenmeyer could leave a discernible mark in the field of sociology and the study of mental illness.
“By example, maybe,” Nathaniel Lachenmeyer says. “It’s not sociology, but it might have those ramifications. I think of it less as a memoir of my search for my father and more as a biography of a forgotten man. A biography of someone who wasn’t, but who could’ve been.
“It’s an attempt to not have that be wasted – to get across the larger message that his struggle wasn’t in vain.”
Published on December 26, 2008 by Wake Forest University
Dr. Charles F. Longino, Jr., Ph.D., ’68, the Washington M. Wingate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Reynolda Gerontology Program, died on Dec. 25, 2008, in Winston-Salem following a brief illness. Longino, a prolific scholar, speaker and author who was a world-renowned expert on aging and retirement migration research, was also Professor of Public Health Sciences at the Wake Forest School of Medicine.
Influential in and outside of the classroom, Longino wrote countless academic articles, books, chapters and encyclopedia entries, presentations, and amassed millions of dollars in research grants. But more than his body of work, Longino’s colleagues said what set him apart was his ability to synthesize many disciplines — sociology, political science, economics, demographics — into the study of aging.
“My goal,” he once said, “is to bridge between the sciences, and the social sciences on one side, and the humanities of aging on the other. It allows me to be somewhat of a dilettante, to dabble in things that I find interesting.”
Despite his busy schedule, Longino, who came to Wake Forest in 1991, was regarded as a professor who put teaching and students first. “As a freshman,” said former student James O’Neill (’02), in a 1998 article in Wake Forest Magazine, “I was in his class and I had a question. I went back after class just to ask him what was going on, and about five minutes later I found myself sitting at his table, having coffee with him and getting to know him. That was one of the moments I was glad I came to Wake Forest, because I knew I wouldn’t get that kind of contact at another school.” Known for his friendly smile and quick wit, Longino was service-minded and was a fixture at Wake Forest’s Late-Night Breakfasts, preparing food and serving students during exam week. He also enjoyed helping new students and their families on move-in day.
“As a person, he glows, he emanates,” said William J. Hazzard in that same article. Hazzard, an internist and endocrinologist and former director of the J. Paul Sticht Center on Aging at the medical school, added, “He’s just such an easy person to be around, and you feel better to have spent an hour with Chuck Longino.”
Longino taught at the University of Miami and the Universities of Kansas, Virginia, and North Carolina, earlier in his career. In 1967, he received a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and in the mid-1970s he was a post-doctoral fellow in the Midwest Council for Social Research in Aging.
He was a fellow and former President of the Gerontological Society of America, and was the North American chair of the International Association of Gerontology from 1989-1993. He served as editor of the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences. He was a founding fellow of the Association for Gerontology in higher Education, as well as former president. He served as chair of the Section on Aging and the Life Course of the American Sociological Association, and was former President for the Southern Gerontological Society.
“I’ve been able to move, in my last job, to the place I would want to stay anyway,” Longino said in 1998. “I’ll work until I’m seventy if the University will let me.”
The seventh president of Berea College, John B. Stephenson, was born on September 26th 1937 in Staunton, Virginia. He was the only son and the second child of Edna May Moles and Louis Stephenson. His father was a lieutenant in the United States Army and served in the Pentagon during the World War II years. Consequently, John grew up in Arlington, Virginia. After 1945, Louis Stephenson was discharged from his military duties and he moved with his family back to Staunton and later to Warrenton, Virginia to work first in a bank and then in a real estate.
In 1955, at the age of eighteen, John Stephenson enrolled at the College of William and Mary situated in Williamsburg, Virginia. While there, Stephenson studied sociology and earned his Bachelor’s degree in 1959. Upon completion of his undergraduate studies, he immediately pursued graduate studies in sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1961, he completed his Master’s degree in sociology under the guidance of Dr. Ernest Campbell with the master’s thesis “On the Role of the Counselor in the Guidance of Negro Youth.”
In August of 1961, he accepted a teaching position at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina. Based on John Stephenson’s letters to his parents, he enjoyed, yet at times was confused with, the quietness of Banner Elk. During his life in Banner Elk, he discovered two of his passions – the mountains and the Appalachian people. While at Lees-McRae College, he also met his future wife, Jane Ellen Baucom, who served as a faculty member at the College. In less than a year in 1963, John Stephenson and Jane Baucom married. They had three children: two daughters, Jennifer and Rebecca, and one son, David.
In 1963, he returned to Chapel Hill to earn his doctorate degree. Upon completion of his doctorate degree, Dr. Stephenson joined the Sociology Department at the University of Kentucky in 1966. Beginning in 1970, he served as the dean of undergraduate studies. He established a center for Appalachian studies through the grant that he received from the Rockefeller Foundation. From 1973 to 1974 he was a fellow at the American Council on Education. In 1979, he accepted the position of director of UK’s Appalachian Center. During his sabbatical year in 1981, he traveled to Scotland as a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar to conduct research on regional consciousness in Scotland and compare it to the Appalachian region. After his trip he published a book called Ford: A Village in the West Highlands of Scotland (1984).
Berea College Presidency
In 1984, at the age of forty-six, Dr. John Stephenson was selected as the seventh president of Berea College. He was selected among 171 candidates and two Berea alumni, who were also running for presidency. Dr. Stephenson was the first president of Berea College who was chosen from a public university. He quoted that he was honored, proud and excited to take on the position as President of Berea College.
During his presidency, Berea College saw many positive and progressive changes. During Stephenson’s administration, Berea College gained recognition not only nationally, but also and especially internationally as a higher institution for gifted students not only from the Appalachian region, but also from around the world. His contributions and devotion to the Berea College’s mission brought much progress and prosperity during the last decades of the twentieth century.
The former Berea College President Larry Shinn described Dr. John Stephenson as “a very effective fundraiser for the College.” Under Dr. Stephenson’s leadership Berea College’s endowment doubled in number, increasing from 120 million dollars to 360 million dollars, and there was a significant upgrade in the salary of the faculty and staff. Dr. Stephenson was deeply committed to serving the African American and Appalachian communities. He founded the Brushy Fork Institute and the Black Mountain Youth Development Program (BMYLP), both of which aimed to serve the youth of the Appalachian region. The purpose of the Brushy Fork Institute was “to promote education and innovative strategies to advance socioeconomic growth in the central Appalachian states…” This institution aimed at “strengthening individual leaders and building leadership networks…” The BMYLP program aimed at increasing cultural literacy and encouraging community service.
Dr. Stephenson valued Berea’s commitment to interracial education and the education of the Appalachian population. In 1990, a new field of women’s studies was added to the general studies and a minor in women’s studies was included into the College’s academic curriculum. In 1992, there was a revision of the academic curriculum and in 1993 the curriculum based on liberal arts education was accepted. Moreover, the First Lady Jane Stephenson contributed to Berea College’s mission of educating the Appalachian population by founding the New Opportunity School for Women (NOSW). The NOSW aimed to help the adult women of Appalachia to obtain professional skills and knowledge in pursuing higher education or careers.
In addition to emphasis on service to the Appalachian region, Dr. Stephenson was deeply committed to international education and service. Therefore, Berea College established the Tibetan Scholarship Program, which allowed Tibetan students living in exile in India to study in Berea. One of the highlighting achievements during Dr. Stephenson’s presidential office was the official visit to Berea College of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in April of 1994. In addition to that, the College became a participant in the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship program.
In 1992, Dr. Stephenson discovered that he suffered from a disease called chronic lymphocytic leukemia. This illness caused hardships not only his daily life, but also created obstacles in his presidential duties. Although he resigned from the presidency in early 1993, he created plans for an academically active retirement. He was committed to continue with positive mind and spirit. After officially retiring in August 1994, Dr. Stephenson traveled to Scotland to visit and reunite with his friends and spend some time with his family. Upon return, he planned to teach a course entitled “Inside/Out: Presidential Roles in Higher Education” at the Graduate School Education at the Harvard University. However, due to his weak health conditions Dr. Stephenson and his wife returned to Kentucky. On December 6th 1994 Dr. Stephenson suddenly died of a viral infection at the Berea Hospital.
During his academic life, Dr. Stephenson wrote and published several academic books:
Shiloh: A Mountain Community. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1968.
Editor, with David S. Walls, Appalachia in the Sixties: Decade of Reawakening. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1972. ISBN 0-8131-0135-2
Ford: A Village in the West Highlands of Scotland. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1984. ISBN 0-8131-1507-8
A Scottish Diary. Photographs by J. David Stephenson. San Francisco: Custom and Limited Editions, 1990
Each semester, Berea College hosts three memorial concert convocations named after Dr. John B. Stephenson. The family of Dr. Stephenson serves as the sponsor of these convocations.
There is a John B. Stephenson Memorial Forest situated in the Berea College’s territory. The John B. Stephenson Memorial Forest is a host to more than 450 species of native plants, among them 32 ferns, and various tree species. The well-known 75-feet waterfall, Anglin Falls, is situated within the forest territory. The forest has an outdoor laboratory, which is often utilized by the Berea College students, as well as by nearby universities, in order to do ecological research. In December 1996, the forest was dedicated into the state nature preserve system.
Irving Ginsberg, B.A. with Honors, ‘73
Mr. Irving Jerrold Ginsberg, 58, of Wilmington, died Monday, October 5, 2009, at his residence. Irving was born in Wallace, NC, March 31, 1951, the son of the late Noah and Lillian Rosenfelt Ginsberg.
He is survived by his loving wife of 35 years, Gayle Feit Ginsberg of the home, their son, Joshua Chaim Ginsberg of Atlanta, GA, his sisters, Alice Ginsberg, Vickie Ginsberg Reisman and husband Bruce, all of Atlanta, GA, his sister-in-law, Sandra Bierman and husband John and many affectionate cousins. Irv was a loving husband and devoted father, a kind and gentle person beloved by all who knew him.
Irv earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Medical sociology at The University of North Carolina, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa. He remained an avid lifelong fan of the Carolina Tar heels and attended a football game in Chapel Hill two days before his death. He also died postgraduate study in medical sociology at the University of Wisconsin, earning his Master’s Degree there and taking additional post graduate course work. While in Wisconsin he met his future wife Gayle Feit. They married in 1974 and remained in Wisconsin for five years, during which time he worked as a Public Health Planning Analyst. He and Gayle returned to North Carolina in 1985 and he became co-owner of Market Furniture Company in Wallace, NC.
Irving was for many years an active member of B’Nai Israel Synagogue. He was president of the synagogue from 1998-2000, during which time the synagogue celebrated its 100th anniversary. He also was a proud member of The Kavanotes, the synagogue’s choir and her chaired the ritual committee of the synagogue. Additionally, Irv was a member of the Wallace Rotary Club.
Dateline: Landrum, SC
James Hamilton Geer, Jr, Died JUNE 23, 2013. He was born November 2, 1948.
He graduated from St. Pauls School in Concord, NH in 1967; Received A B.A.. from UNC Chapel Hill in 1971; A MBA From UGA AT Athens in 1977; AND A Juris Doctor USC at Columbia in 1980.
He is survived by his father, James Hamilton Geer of Florida; Brothers & Sisters, Penelope Echo Reardanz, Christopher Potter Geer, Michael Danforth Geer, and Suzanne Delight Geer.
He was predeceased by his mother, Josephine Sessions Geer and his grandparents.
In lieu of flowers, Donations may be made to: New Testament Church, First Baptist Church of Gowensville, Landrum First Baptist Church or Landrum United Methodist Church.