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Willie Presented ESS Merit Award

Posted February 27, 2006

Cambridge, MA -- Eliot Professor, Emeritus, Charles V. Willie received the Eastern Sociological Society Merit (ESS) Award at the ESS Annual Conference in Boston on February 25. The award, the highest honor the ESS bestows upon its members, was first offered in 1960. It recognizes members for outstanding contributions to the discipline, profession, and organization.

"I am very pleased with this honor," said Willie, who was president of ESS in 1975 and a member since the early 1950s. "My career has been a little different from many of the people who received this award before me. I have intentionally focused on applied sociology, which involves trying to solve social problems in communities as well as total societies."

Willie focuses his research, teaching, and practice on education planning and school desegregation, the structure and process of family life, community organization, race and ethnic relations, and public health. He has been associated with the Ed School for more than 31 years, having been appointed as a professor of education and urban studies in 1974. Though he has been a professor emeritus since 1999, Willie still teaches one course each year. "Community Power, Decision Making and Education" deals with grass-roots action to solve community problems, especially educational issues.

Willie was previously honored with the American Sociological Association's Career of Distinguished Scholarship Award in August 2005. "My phrase is, if one lives long enough something will happen," he said in response to receiving two of the highest awards from sociological organizations.

The ESS is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting excellence in sociological scholarship and instruction. It has approximately 1000 members, most who live and work in the Northeastern United States.

Before coming to HGSE, Willie was chairman of the department of sociology and vice president of student affairs at Syracuse University. He was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the President's Commission on Mental Health and has been a member of the board of directors of the Social Science Research Council.

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