Urban Policy Expert William Julius Wilson to Speak at UMass Amherst on Jobless Poverty, Welfare Reform

AMHERST, Mass. - William Julius Wilson, nationally known author and expert on race, poverty, urban policy, and the role of class in American society, will speak at the University of Massachusetts Thurs., March 12 at 3 p.m. in Bowker Auditorium in Stockbridge Hall. His talk will be the first in the University’s new Public Policy Lecture Series. The public is invited to attend.

Wilson’s talk, which will focus on joblessness, poverty, and welfare reform, is sponsored by the new interdisciplinary Center for Public Policy and Administration (CPPA) at UMass. John A. Hird, CPPA director, says Wilson’s appearance will serve as the inaugural event for the new center and new master’s program which offer teaching, scholarly research, and involvement with the community on public policy issues. "This is an exciting way for the center to begin what we hope is an ongoing dialogue with the community about critically important public policy issues," Hird says.

The talk is also something of a homecoming for Wilson. He taught at UMass Amherst from 1965-71, received the campus’s Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award in 1970, and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University in 1982. Wilson is currently the Malcolm Wiener Professor of Social Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and professor in Harvard’s department of Afro-American studies.

In 1996, Wilson was chosen by Time magazine as one of America’s 25 most influential people. He is the author of several books, including, "When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor," which was selected as one of the notable books of 1996 by the editors of the New York Times Book Review and received the Sidney Hillman Foundation Award.

Wilson is a member of numerous national boards and commissions including the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships, the National Urban League, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the Twentieth Century Fund, and the Russell Sage Foundation. He has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Education, and the American Philosophical Society. Wilson is past president of the American Sociological Society and is a MacArthur Prize Fellow.