Chris Uggen's Blog: passing of the boomerang / words of wisdom

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

passing of the boomerang / words of wisdom

the name of each minnesota sociology chairperson is engraved at the base of a cool ceremonial boomerang. this reminds me of the hockey players' names carved onto lord stanley's cup, but long-serving chair elio monachesi created the tradition with a different purpose in mind. he offered the boomerang to successors as a "Symbol and Reminder of the Consequences of High Office."

uh-oh. point taken, dr. monachesi. aside from the boomerang metaphor, what advice do you have for a new chair? i've got a big blank blackboard in my new office and i'd love to fill it with some inspiring words of wisdom. for example, a friend who has seen many chairs come and go said this: "just don't get mean. chairs can get real mean."

i was surprised to find my name on the boomerang already, since i've only been in office four days. to learn more about the department's history and past chairs, i ran a google scholar search on each chair and dug up some pictures. the range of research was fascinating, and i was reminded that several chairs had research programs not terribly unlike my own. i also noticed that the department only had two chairs from 1923 to 1970, with f. stuart chapin serving thirty years in office. fortunately, informal term limits have since arisen. there's absolutely no chance that a 72-year-old uggen will still be serving as a piece of furniture consisting of a seat, legs, back, and often arms, designed to accommodate one person.

samuel g. smith, 1890-1914 [pic]
albert e. jenks, 1915-1919 [pic]
arthur j. todd, 1919-1921 [pic]
frank j. bruno, 1921-1922
f. stuart chapin, 1923-1952 [pic]
elio monachesi, 1952-1970 [pic (left)]
george w. bohrnstedt, 1970-1973 [pic]
john p. clark, 1973-1976; 1983-1984 [pic]
richard h. hall, 1976-1977 [pic]
don mctavish, 1977-1980 [pic (right)]
david cooperman, 1980-1983 [pic]
david a. ward, 1984-1988; 1992-1995 [pic]
joseph galaskiewicz, 1988-1989 [pic]
david knoke, 1989-1992 [pic]
william brustein, 1995-1998 [pic]
candace kruttschnitt, 1998-2001; 2005-2006 [pic]
ronald aminzade, 2001-2005 [pic] [better pic]
christopher uggen, 2006- [pic] [better pic]

aside from telling me to get a better picture, do you have any advice or words of wisdom to share?


At 9:40 AM, Blogger Kim said...

At least you get a boomerang. I'm sure the boomerang's origin as a hunting weapon has been noted several times. Or maybe you're supposed to use it as a decoy for hunting sight-impaired waterfowl?"

At 5:51 PM, Anonymous sarah said...

I recommend a good slipcover.

At 4:46 PM, Anonymous oblion said...

Since my dad just retired last week, this has been on my mind...
Being chair is a step closer to retirement!

But on a more "positive" note...
Your mentoring, research, teaching, and service stem past these walls and will influence sociologists for years

At 5:42 PM, Blogger Penn State Punk said...

I think I need to puke ...........

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