Last year ended on a sad note, as we experienced the loss of Harriet Presser. Reeve (with the assistance of others) wrote a very thoughtful obituary in the last issue of Footnotes [http://www.asanet.org/footnotes/septoct12/obit_0912.html#obit4]. Harriet Presser made a huge contribution to the reputation of our department, and it was comforting to see, at her memorial, how many lives she had touched.
We begin a new academic year with lots of news. After fulfilling a two-year Robert Wood Johnson post-doctoral fellowship at U.C. Berkeley, Rashawn Ray has now joined us in-residence as our newest Assistant Professor. Soon, we will be receiving Liana Sayer (currently at Ohio State), who will be joining us starting next Spring as an Associate Professor. We have admitted a (large) cohort of wonderful new students into our Ph.D. program. We have welcomed Erika Hoff (Administrative Coordinator) and Lindsey Lennon (Program Management Specialist) as the latest additions to our staff. And some of the office space in our department has been (or is in the process of being) renovated, providing a greatly improved setting for the Program on Society and the Environment (PSE, coordinated by Professor Dana Fisher) and the Time-Use Lab (to be coordinated by Professor Sayer).
I am very excited about the accomplishments of our faculty and students. I’ll mention three noteworthy events. Recently, Stanley Presser was recognized as a Distinguished University Professor: he joins in that rank our existing DUPs, Patricia Hill Collins and George Ritzer. Melissa Milkie was able to secure university and college support for a new Culture Lab that will focus on content analysis. And David Segal was instrumental in facilitating a $1 million donation to our university, to be used as a full veteran scholarship. These are very good news, and they have served to enhance the prestige of our department.
I would be remiss in this brief letter as new chair if I failed to acknowledge the very effective leadership that Reeve Vanneman provided to our department for the past three years. His act will be very tough to follow. Thank you, Reeve!