AMHERST, Mass. - Cora B. Marrett, vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost of the University of Massachusetts, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The election recognizes distinguished professional contributions and is the result of an extensive selection process undertaken by current Academy members.
A prominent sociologist who serves on many national panels and committees, Marrett is the first University administrator in 40 years elected to the Academy. Former UMass president Jean Paul Mather was elected in 1958. He was president from 1954-60. Both Marrett and Mather were elected in the category of educational and scientific administration.
This year, besides Marrett, only seven others were elected in the administration category, including Henry S. Bienen, president of Northwestern University. Marrett joins several UMass professors, or professors emeriti, in Academy membership, including: John Edgar Wideman, English, elected in 1992; Richard Stein, chemistry, 1991; Alice Rossi, sociology, 1986; Peter Rossi, sociology, 1986; Barbara Partee, linguistics, 1984; and former chancellor Oswald Tippo, botany, 1957.
Chancellor David K. Scott praised the election, saying, "Such an honor is rare, especially for an administrator, and most especially, for an administrator of a public institution. The University is fortunate to have a leading intellectual like Cora Marrett as its chief academic officer."
According to Academy President Daniel Tosteson, the Academy honors leading intellectuals from both the United States and abroad in every field and profession. It was founded in 1780, and its membership now totals 3,500 Fellows and 600 Foreign Honorary members. Tosteson says the purpose of the Academy is "to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independ-ent, and virtuous people."
Newly elected members will be formally welcomed to the Academy at an induction ceremony and dinner to be held at the House of the Academy in Cambridge, Mass., Oct. 3. Marrett joined the University Aug. 1, 1997. She had been a professor of sociology and Afro-American studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison since 1974. From 1992-96, she was assistant director of the National Science Foundation, where she created and was the first person to lead the directorate of social, behavioral, and economic sciences.