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Lloyd H. Rogler, Albert Schweitzer Professor Emeritus at Fordham University, has been a member of the American Sociological Association since 1957, the year he received his PhD in Sociology from the University of Iowa. Sociology, however, enveloped him much earlier. His father, Charles C. Rogler, a university sociology professor, believed that sociology, itself, was a major cultural value in need of propagation. "He gave sociology lectures at all hours," Lloyd remembers, "and it did not matter if he was in the classroom. He gave short lectures to anyone with whom he had transitory contacts and long ones to friends and family members. Listeners usually joined the discussions. The richness of sociological analysis was a part of my upbringing."
In 1941, shortly before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Lloyd’s family moved to Iowa City, IA, from Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, where Lloyd was born and raised during the years of the Great Depression and where his father taught at the University of Puerto Rico. Lloyd recalls many problems in acculturating to American culture. "Life in the new cultural setting seemed to contradict life in Rio Piedras and, without an adequate knowledge of English I could not figure out what was going on in Iowa." The cultural norms of the new country defied easy understanding and seemed to clash with his Hispanic background. Learning English gradually resolved the problem.
Lloyd was an indifferent student at the University of Iowa until the second semester of his sophomore year when he took a class in analytic philosophy and read Descartes, Hume, and Berkeley. The readings excited him. The problems addressed by philosophers made sense to him; in fact, much more sense than the tedious commerce courses he had been taking, so he decided to major in philosophy. He was taught by Gustav Bergmann, a philosopher/mathematician from the Vienna school of logical positivism who believed that the fundamental unity of the sciences incorporates sociology. Bergman argued that nothing about the structure of reality, in principle, prevents sociology from attaining full scientific status. Lloyd identifies his father and Bergmann as the two most influential academics in his life, but recognizes that many teachers influenced him toward sociology.
After earning his PhD, he returned to Puerto Rico to collaborate with Yale’s August B. Hollingshead as field director of a research project in San Juan. The research focused on how wretchedly poor families in the slums coped with schizophrenia in the absence of professional mental health care. Three years of difficult field research in the San Juan slums left him with enduring memories of persons trapped between the social structure, the stigma of mental illness, and the actual mental illness. The field work also produced the data for a book with Hollingshead, Trapped: Families and Schizophrenia (1965). Subsequently, as an Associate Professor of Sociology at Yale University he used the method of participant observation to study disruptions in the organizational life of Puerto Ricans in New Haven’s inner-city neighborhoods. The study culminated with the book, Migrant in the City: The life of a Puerto Rican Action Group (1971). The two books were the first of nine books he has published.
The books and the numerous articles published in refereed journals of several disciplines have been recognized in 1,115 citations from 1986 to 2008, according to the Social Science Citation Index. The citations demonstrate that his research has had broad interdisciplinary impact.
In 1974, the Regents of the State of New York approved the appointment of Lloyd to be the Albert Schweitzer Professor of the Humanities at Fordham University. In 2002, he became Emeritus Professor of the Schweitzer Chair. Three years after the initial appointment to the Chair, Lloyd founded the Hispanic Research Center at Fordham University with funding from competitive grants awarded to him by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). At a time of scarcity of the research dollar for sociology, grant applications from the Center competed successfully. During his 13-year directorship of the Hispanic Research Center, the Center published 14 monographs and several dozen articles, and it was recognized nationally as an outstanding research and development center oriented toward ethnic minorities. The Center’s portfolio of ongoing research projects was supplemented with training grants to provide Hispanic graduate students in sociology with in vivo research training.
As a member of the National Advisory Mental Health Council (the statutory board of the NIMH) from 1972-76, Lloyd devoted himself to the development of community mental health centers in the U.S. mainland and in Puerto Rico, and to the development of minority research and training programs. As a member of NIMH Council, but in the context of widespread skepticism, he argued for the approval of Minority Fellowship Programs in professional associations, including the ASA. In addition, From 1976 to 1978, he was Chairman of the ASA Minority Fellowship Program. Then, with unencumbered funds from the Schweitzer Chair, a variety of flexible grants, and through Fordham’s investment efforts, Lloyd established at Fordham University the Rogler Graduate Fellowship in Hispanic Research to support doctoral student tuition. Prior to the recent national financial crisis, the funds supporting the fellowship amounted to more than one million dollars.
Lloyd’s work has earned him major awards in each of the disciplines in which he has published, including sociology, psychiatry, and psychology. Among his awards: The 2002 Distinguished Career Award for the Practice of Sociology from the ASA, the 1996 Simon Bolivar Award from the American Psychiatric Association, the 1981 Eugenio Maria de Hostos and Jose Marti Award from the New York Society of Clinical Psychologists, Inc., the University of Iowa’s 1981 Distinguished Alumni Award, and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, in 1990. In 2006, a health economist from Columbia University designated him a "Superstar" in medical research because of the numerous citations to his publications and his success in competing for peer-reviewed research grants.
Barrio Professors: Tales of Naturalistic Research (2008), his most recent book, is a fictionalized memoir that returns to scenes of early research experiences in the slums of San Juan and New Haven. Lloyd lives in Dobbs Ferry, NY, and spends long summers in Downeast Maine where, in splendid isolation, he writes in the morning and fishes in the afternoon.