Alice Rossi Dies
Prominent feminist and scholar, Alice S. Rossi, the Harriet Martineau Professor of Sociology emerita, died peacefully on November 3. Born in New York City, she graduated from Brooklyn College and obtained a Ph.D in sociology from Columbia University. Prior to her appointment at UMass Amherst, Rossi held faculty positions at Harvard University, University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins University, and Goucher College. She was one of the 16 founders of the National Organization of Women (NOW).
Rossi pioneered changes in the status of women in academe both through her research and leadership of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Committee on the Status of Women. She was an early advocate of abortion rights, startling both academic and popular circles with early calls for liberalization of abortion laws in Redbook magazine and Dissent.
As a scholar, Rossi embraced what has become a controversial view that both biological and social factors influence the roles of women and men in our society. She was also a pioneer in the study of changes that occur over the life cycle in sexuality and social relations. A past president of the American Sociological Association, she received many honorary degrees and awards for her contributions to sociology.
Rossi, who was 87, leaves her three children, Kris, Nina and Peter, and six grandchildren. Her husband of 55 years, Peter H. Rossi, the Stuart A. Rice Professor of Sociology, who also was president of the American Sociological Association, died in 2006.
Shortly after Peter's death, the Sociology Department created the annual Alice S. and Peter H. Rossi Speaker Series. Alice attended the inaugural event in 2007 with great enthusiasm. Last year, with Alice present, the event featured several speakers who focused on her many accomplishments. The third presentation took place on October 1; unfortunately, Alice was not able to attend. However, the lecture series will continue to celebrate the work of these two outstanding sociologists. Those who would like to honor either of the Rossis with a contribution to the lecture series may do so online* or by sending a check to:
The Alice S. and Peter H. Rossi Annual Lecture Series
Department of Sociology
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003-9277
*Under Allocation 1, select "Sociology."In the Gift Information area on the next page, select "In Memory of" and type in the name of the lecture series.
November 9, 2009