November 2012 Issue • Volume 40 • Issue 8

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Kent State Sociology Celebrates Its 75th Anniversary

Richard T. Serpe and Jerry M. Lewis, Kent State University

In the autumn of 2012, the Sociology Department at Kent State University celebrated the 75th anniversary of the department, which was founded in 1937 by James T. Laing. At the two-day event, there were more than 140 registrants celebrating the department’s anniversary including many former students of the department, current graduate students, and faculty.

The celebration began on October 11, 2012, with a reception and a presentation by Glen Elder, the Howard W. Odum Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and alum of Kent State University. He spoke about his life cycle research.

On October 12, Bernice Pescosolido, Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Indiana University, delivered the keynote address, “The Stigma of Mental Illness: Data and Directions from a Decade of Research and Theory.” Her presentation was followed by Will Kalkhoff who presented a creative documentary film on the history of the department from its founding to views of the future. A panel of Kent State University doctoral alumni representing three decades discussed their experiences during their time at Kent State University and how it has served them in their careers. The second panel of the day focused on current departmental research featuring faculty and doctoral students. The day ended with a tour of the May 4 National Historic Landmark site guided by Jerry M. Lewis.

During an October 12 luncheon, two Kent State alumni received the newly created Oscar Ritchie Distinguished Alumni Award. The award is named for the first African-American to reach full Professor in the Ohio Higher Education System. This Award was given to Elder for his distinguished career in sociological research and to Kathleen Piker-King, Mount Union University, for her distinguished career in the Scholarship of Teaching.


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