This year, the University of Maryland sociology community lost a valued colleague, a formative influence, and a beloved friend. Suzanne Bianchi changed our ideas of how American families function with her contributions to demography, feminist theory, and time use studies. Her most notable work debunked the long-held notion that mothers’ labor force participation had an adverse effect on children by demonstrating that working mothers make concessions in their leisure time and their work expectations to be able to spend more time with their children.
Suzanne lived her work. Before she was the Dorothy Meier Chair in Social Equities at the University of California at Los Angeles, she was a professor of sociology and a population scholar here at the University of Maryland. The department recruited her directly from the United States Census Bureau, where she was Assistant Division Chief for Social and Demographic Statistics in the Population Division. When she transitioned to UMd, she juggled her duties as a professor of sociology with her position as Founding Director of the Maryland Population Research Center, as well as President of the Population Association of America and Editor of Demography. Coupled with a prolific and highly regarded publishing history, Suzanne kept busy, but was never too busy to raise her three children with husband Mark Browning.
Suzanne passed in early November shortly after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She was 61 years old. She will be dearly missed by her family, and her absence will be keenly felt by the men and women who have called her a colleague, a mentor, and a friend. We asked a few of her former collaborators and students to reflect on Suzanne’s life, her influence on their lives, and her lasting impact on the field.