Johns Hopkins Gazette: October 24, 1994

Sociologist Coleman Honored by Department He Founded

    More than 75 faculty, students and friends crowded into the
graduate seminar room on the fifth floor of Mergenthaler Hall
last week to welcome home James S. Coleman, the department's
founding chairman and a pioneer in the sociology of education.
The seminar room, which was renovated with funds donated by past
and present faculty, students and friends, was dedicated to Dr.
Coleman and features a charcoal portrait created by Hopkins
alumnus Craig Hankin.
    Dr. Coleman was considered among the leading thinkers in
educational sociology in 1959, when he convinced the Ford
Foundation to make a $750,000 grant to establish the Department
of Social Relations at Hopkins. In the first year, he attracted
two other faculty members and four students to the narrowly
focused graduate-only program designed to produce "sociologists
with sharp edges," Dr. Coleman said. During his 14-year tenure,
Dr. Coleman made significant contributions to education reform,
first with his 1961 book, The Adolescent Society, and then in
1965 with The Coleman Report, a massive U.S. Office of
Education-funded study on educational opportunity for minorities.
Before departing for the University of Chicago, where he has been
since 1973, Dr. Coleman was instrumental in establishing the
Hopkins Center for Social Organization of Schools, a leading
center for education research reform. "Jim not only gave us our
start," CSOS director James McPartland said, "but he contributed
its lasting focus on issues of access to equal education
opportunities and reform based on scientific research." 
    In a heartfelt and humorous tribute to his former mentor,
past department chair Edward McDill said, "The words applied  to
the great hockey player Wayne Gretsky apply to your  career as
well, Jim: you  have achieved great success by skating to where
the puck is going to be and not where it is."

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