Charles Willie, a longtime faculty member and administrator at Syracuse University in New York and Harvard University died early this year. He was 94 years old.
Dr. Willie, a native of Dallas, was the grandson of enslaved people. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College in Atlanta in 1948 where he was elected class president. After earning a master’s degree at Atlanta University in 1949, Professor Willie was awarded a doctorate in sociology in 1957 from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.
After earning his doctorate, Dr. Willie joined the full-time faculty at Syracuse University. In 1967, he became the chair of the university’s sociology department. Dr. Willie was the first Black faculty member at the university to be awarded tenure. In 1972, he was appointed vice president for student affairs.
In 1974, Dr. Willie left Syracuse to accept a tenured position as professor of education and urban studies at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. His areas of research included desegregation, higher education, public health, race relations, urban community problems, and family life.
Dr. Willie formally retired from Harvard in 1999 as the Charles William Eliot Professor of Education Emeritus. But, he continued to teach part-time at the university for another decade.