Renowned Harvard sociologist to deliver inaugural Hollowell Lecture

Posted Feb. 13, 2012
Reported by Emily Williams

wilsonRenowned Harvard sociologist William Julius Wilson will deliver the inaugural University of Georgia Donald L. Hollowell Lecture Apr. 2 at 7 p.m. in the Mahler Auditorium of the Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel. Wilson, the Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor at Harvard University, will address “Affirmative Opportunity in the Barack Obama Era.” A reception, which begins at 6 p.m., will precede the event, which is free and open to the public. A live video stream of the lecture will be available at Please note, the link will not work until the lecture begins.

“We are thrilled to have him,” said Obie Clayton Jr., Donald L. Hollowell Distinguished Professor of Social Justice and Civil Rights Studies in UGA’s School of Social Work. “I have followed his work for more than two decades, and his research always addresses important social and economic issues affecting Americans and especially urban citizens.  I know his lecture will stimulate our students and the entire university community.”

Wilson, a nationally respected authority on race and poverty, is a past president of the American Sociological Association and in 1996 was named by Time magazine as one of America’s 25 Most Influential People. He is the recipient of 44 honorary degrees, including honorary doctorates from Princeton, Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania, Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, Dartmouth and the University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands.

Wilson has garnered numerous national and international accolades throughout his career. He has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Education, the American Philosophical Society, the Institute of Medicine and the British Academy. He was a MacArthur Prize Fellow from 1987 – 1992 and is a recipient of the 1998 National Medal of Science, the highest scientific honor in the U.S. He also was awarded the Talcott Parsons Prize in the Social Sciences by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003. He is the first and only non-economist to receive the Seidman Award in Political Economy. He has served on numerous national boards and commissions, including chair of the Board of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and of the Russell Sage Foundation.

Wilson is the author of numerous publications, including The Declining Significance of Race; The Truly Disadvantaged; When Work Disappears; The World of the New Urban Poor; The Bridge Over the Racial Divide:Rising Inequality and Coalition Politics; and More than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City.  He is a co-author of There Goes the Neighborhood: Racial, Ethnic, and Class Tensions in Four Chicago Neighborhoods and Their Meaning for America and Good Kids in Bad NeighborhoodsSuccessful Development in Social Context.

Wilson joined the faculty at Harvard in 1996 after a career at the University of Chicago and previously at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Wilson received his Ph.D. from Washington State University in 1966.

The Donald L. Hollowell Lecture was initiated by Clayton to annually invite nationally and internationally known experts who have conducted work in the civil and human rights and social and economic sustainability arenas.

The professorship and lecture are named in honor of Donald L. Hollowell, a legendary civil rights attorney and lead counsel in Holmes v. Danner, the landmark case that secured admission to UGA for Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter, the first African-American students to register for classes at the university in 1961.

The event is co-sponsored by the School of Social Work and the Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies. For more information on the School of Social Work, see For more information on the Foot Soldier Project see,