Donald Metz (1961)

Emeritus Professor, Marquette University

I knew so little about Sociology when I arrived in the Bay Area, that I wasn't accepted into the graduate program until I had taken a full semester of undergraduate courses. I was an ordained minister and wanted to work in the Sociology of Religion. Charlie Glock, who was the expert on that topic at the time, hired me for a research project on new congregations and encouraged me to take a qualitative approach. The report developed into my Master's Thesis and was published (and reviewed in the ASR) before I took my comps. The experience pumped up my confidence so much that I failed the exam and had to retake it. I was also influenced by Blumer, Smelser, Wilensky, and Selznick.

The best thing Berkeley did for me was to introduce me to my wife, Mary Haywood, by putting us together as TAs for the undergraduate methods course. We both got Kent Fellowships in 1965 which made it possible for us to get married. Our first choice of available jobs was a liberal arts college (Earlham) in Indiana, where we were nearly the whole department. We learned about teaching and became competent in a wide range of substantive areas. Student interest in religion was declining so I decided to prepare myself in medical sociology which promised unending growth. To get into the backstage of health care I trained (while still a faculty member) as an Emergency Medical Technician. This nurturing of talents didn't impress the administration, and after six years our contracts weren't renewed.

I was hired at Marquette University (and Mary later at the U. of Wisconsin), where I spent a mostly pleasant twenty-six years, several as department Chair. I got certification as an EMT, worked for a private ambulance company, and wrote a book about ambulance work. My primary interest is in exposing the intriguing complexities of social life to non-specialists, so my greatest pleasure as a sociologist has been in teaching (except for the grading). When I retired in 2001, I was happily involved in an introductory course, substantive courses in health care systems, and a capstone course for majors. Looking back, I can see that I have made little mark as a sociologist, but I am able to feel I have contributed something useful to a lot of people. I am more convinced than ever that sociology is important; I am grateful for the life it has enabled me to lead; and I delight every day in being able to exercise the sociological perspective Berkeley gave me.

Dissertation Title: 
Informal Involvement in the Protestant Congregation