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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