Monica Grant delivers Sewell Memorial Lecture

On Friday, February 23, 2024, Monica Grant delivered the annual Sewell Memorial lecture, titled “Fertility Responses to Climate Change in Malawi.” Seventy members of the Sociology community attended the lecture, including faculty, staff, emeriti, students, and family members. A reception followed the talk.

Poster for Sewell Lecture.

The annual Sewell Memorial Lecture honors William H. Sewell, for whom the Sewell Social Science Building is named. Bill Sewell, as he was known by his friends, served as chair of Rural Sociology (now Community & Environmental Sociology) from 1949-53 and of Sociology from 1958-62. Later, he served as the University Chancellor from October 1967 to June 1968, during the height of campus unrest over the war in Vietnam.

Sewell, who died in 2001 at the age of 91, played a central role in putting Wisconsin on the map in quantitative social sciences. Perhaps his signature achievement was to found and sustain the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study — the long-term and ongoing study of the Wisconsin high school class of 1957. He also made a point to instill in the department the values of “decency, excellence, and diversity,” which we strive to uphold to this day.