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Rick Kurz

Ph.D. 1976

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.


Career Post-Degree


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.


Rick Kurz

New address:

8164 Stratford Drive

Clayton, Missouri  63105

314-899-7799 (cell)

Submitted August 2015