The Doris Selo Speaker’s Series Fund
In the late 1970s, friends and family chose to honor the memory of Doris Selo by establishing the first named Department lecture series. Doris had been a much loved and admired graduate student when she died in 1975 after a courageous two-year battle with cancer. She had earned her master’s degree in 1969 and worked for a brief time in California. She returned to the Department in 1972. A year later, she was diagnosed with her fatal disease. But despite a discouraging prognosis, she continued in the graduate program and had completed all Ph.D. requirements except a dissertation at the time of her death. For this note, we asked Elaine Selo, herself a former student in Sociology at the University of Michigan, to offer some of her recollections about her sister’s time in Chapel Hill.
Elaine writes, “The years Doris spent at UNC were filled with a variety of challenges that allowed her to grow and develop in ways that none of us could have imagined. She came to Chapel Hill from Northwestern University in the late sixties and was intrigued by the political and racial changes around her. She became energized by the belief that it was possible to combine her academic and humanitarian interests to make a difference in the world. The Department then was a very cohesive group of faculty and students, and Doris found great support and intellectual stimulation from them. There were moments of frustration when she felt she hadn’t accomplished what she wanted or when she was agonizing over a thesis topic and she sometimes found the summer heat and humidity nearly unbearable. But she loved the beauty of the area, the ideas and theories to which she was exposed and the friendships that sustained her for the rest of her life.”
These friendships resulted in a great sense of loss when Doris passed away, leading to an outpouring of generosity from friends and family and establishment of The Doris Selo Fund in 1976. The primary purpose of the Fund was to sponsor a lecture series that provided a forum for current academic issues pertinent to Doris’ concern for the human condition. The original funding was eventually exhausted, and we were concerned the series would end. To ensure the continuation of the Selo Lecture series, her sister and brother have endowed a permanent fund in her name. Thanks to their generosity, we will continue inviting speakers to campus who exemplify Doris’ interests.
We thank Elaine Selo and her brother, Richard, for their support of the Doris Selo Speakers’ Series Fund which will bring nationally known sociologists to Carolina each year to address faculty and graduate students on important issues and trends in sociology. Income from the Fund will be used to pay for speaker’s travel expenses, a public reception for speakers and attendees and other expenses directly related to the cost of the speaker’s series.