Academics and Research / Magazine Feature

DU sociology and criminology professor given lifetime achievement award

DU Professor Peter Adler, right, recently was given a lifetime achievement award along with this wife, Patti, who teaches at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Peter Adler, a DU sociology and criminology professor, and his wife, Patti, a sociology professor at the University of Colorado, received the George Herbert Mead Award for lifetime achievement at the American Sociological Association meeting in Atlanta on Aug. 16.

“Winning the Mead Award is beyond my wildest dreams,” Adler says. “The cadre of scholars who have previously won this award reflect the peers whose work I most admire, the people I read as a student, and the part of the sociological community to which I feel most closely aligned.”

It is the first time this honor, which is given out by the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, has been presented jointly to a collaborating couple. Adler met his wife his freshman year in college at Washington University in St. Louis and began writing with her just a year later.

“To to be the first couple ever to win this award, after all the naysayers advised against this type of union, makes it even more special,” Adler says. “I thank the entire DU community who never once questioned my decisions, never took anything away from me because I was writing with my wife, and supported us for nearly 25 years now.”

The Adlers have co-written or edited more than 20 books and 100 scholarly articles and chapters. Their work has been reprinted more than 100 times in readers and anthologies. Their most recent book, The Tender Cut: The Social Transformation of Self-Injury, is forthcoming from NYU Press. They are currently working on a volume titled Drugs and the American Dream (Wiley).

“Winning the George Herbert Mead award is an enormous accomplishment that reflects Pete and Patti’s place among the foremost scholars in the field of symbolic interaction,” says Scott Phillips, associate professor and chair of the DU’s Department of Sociology and Criminology. “I am pleased to see them get the recognition they richly deserve for a lifetime of extraordinary scholarship.”

Adler says the award is the culmination of his commitment to improving society’s problems and enlightening the public about issues that would have been ignored.

In brief, Adler says, “I am thrilled!”

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