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Alumni Spotlight: Wanda Rushing, A Focus on Service

Wanda RushingWanda Rushing received our 2016 Distinguished Alumna Award for her service and commitment to social justice. She graduated in 1998 with a PhD in sociology after completing her dissertation on how elites in business, government, and science impact inequality in education.

Her specialties, then and now, are in urban sociology, political economy of development, racial and social inequality, education and economic development in the southern United States, and urban change.

Rushing began teaching sociology at the University of Memphis in 1998. Two years after she started, she received the Alma Bucovaz Urban Service Award, which is awarded to a member of the college for a commitment to solving urban problems through research and outreach. She received the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Research Award in 2010 and the Dunavant University Professorship in 2011.

In addition to her professorship in sociology, Rushing serves as president of Sociologists for Women in Society. Previous service endeavors include the executive committee of the Southern Sociological Society and director of Women’s Studies at the University of Memphis.

She is the author of several books including Memphis and the Paradox of Place: Globalization in the American South and the recently-edited New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Volume 15: Urbanization, both published by the University of North Carolina Press. Rushing is also published in several journals including Current Sociology; Race, Ethnicity and Education; Gender and Education; City and Community, and Urban Studies among many others.

But Rushing’s service is not the only thing that’s noteworthy. Her generosity to our department has helped to create the Dr. Wanda Rushing Sociological Research Excellence Endowment, which, when fully-funded, will allow us to provide support to outstanding faculty for their research and fund graduate research fellowships. We are deeply grateful for Wanda Rushing’s support.

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