Emory Report
December 8, 2008
Volume 61, Number 14



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December 8
, 2008
Sociologist relished roles of scholar, friend

By Alvin Boskoff

John T. Doby, emeritus professor of sociology, died on Nov. 1 in Corbin, Ky. After a distinguished career in the Air Force during World War II, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin and began his career at Wofford College in South Carolina. In 1958 he came to Emory where, over 27 years, he nurtured a highly successful graduate program in sociology.

In those productive years, he published books on social psychology and methodology, several articles and book reviews, and received several research and training grants for a rapidly developing program. He was one of the founders of the Georgia Sociological Society and served as president of the Southern Sociological Society. He was a frequent consultant to Georgia’s mental health program.

Many of John’s close associates and long-term friends saw him relish his role as scholar, administrator, mentor, debater and confidante. He combined small-town common sense and humor with the accelerating diversity of metropolitan Atlanta, but returned to Kentucky in retirement. John had a love for sociology at its core and a critical, Veblenian view of American higher education. He greeted stories and puns with reverberating laughter, even over the phone in recent years. His students and colleagues profited from his concern and knowledge.

He will be remembered as a leader, thinker, listener, pragmatist, but above all, friend.

Alvin Boskoff is professor emeritus of sociology. Department Chair Bob Agnew and Maggie Stephens, academic department administrator and close friend, contributed to this article.