Duke Remembers Jack Preiss, Professor Emeritus of Sociology

Thursday, May 9, 2019
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Jack Preiss, professor emeritus of sociology, passed away in April at the age of 99. Jack came to Duke with a joint appointment in Sociology and Psychiatry (Medical Sociology).  His appointment in the Medical School was more than an administrative convenience (e.g., he served on a committee to completely revise the Duke Medical School curriculum).  After retirement, he worked assiduously on various social issues (e.g.,. race relations, housing for the poor and elderly) as they were manifested in Durham.  The Preiss-Steele housing complex in Durham testifies to his doggedness in pursuing his goals.  While on faculty he worked behind the scenes to open Duke to Black undergraduates and to remove a restrictive covenant in the deeds for the lots the University developed for subsidized sale to faculty members.  Jack never gave up on an issue that concerned him until he brought it to a positive conclusion.  He was a deeply engaged and successful "public sociologist" long before the term came into use.  His obituary can be found here.

A Celebration of Life will be held at the Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Durham at 10am on Saturday, June 15th.