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Nov. 13 Tribute to Professor Charles Moskos

November 5, 2008 | by Pat Vaughan Tremmel
EVANSTON, Ill. --- "A Tribute to Charles Moskos" will be held at 4 p.m. Nov. 13 at Alice Millar Chapel to celebrate the life of the popular Northwestern University sociologist.

Colleagues, friends and family members will share their memories of Mr. Moskos, the nation's leading sociologist with expertise on the U.S. military and one of Northwestern University's most beloved teachers. Known throughout the world for his warmth and wit as well as his scholarship, he was popular with fellow academics, generals, policymakers, reporters and students alike.

Mr. Moskos, professor emeritus of sociology, died at age 74 on May 31 after a long illness. He joined Northwestern in 1966, after two years at the University of Michigan, and officially retired in 2003. But in a sense he never left Northwestern. Each year following his retirement, except for fall 2006, he came back to teach the University's largest and most popular introduction to sociology class.

His teaching of thousands of Northwestern students in his sociology and military sociology classes was legendary.

Until retirement, Mr. Moskos was the Harold H. and Virginia Anderson Professor in the department of sociology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern. A Charles Moskos Visiting Professorship was established in 2006 to recognize his service to Northwestern.

For more than 40 years, Mr. Moskos' research took him to numerous combat units during major military deployments, and he lectured all over the world. He advised the U.S. military and governments here and abroad on the major issues facing the military. He also was a past chair and president of the Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society, an international scholarly society for the interchange and assessment of research on the military.

He was perhaps best known as the author of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law, the controversial measure that replaced the complete ban of gays serving in the military.

Quoted frequently by the media, he was described by the Wall Street Journal as "the most influential military sociologist." Mr. Moskos also wrote numerous opinion pieces for major news outlets.

He wrote or edited 19 books and monographs and 164 journal articles, review essays and book chapters. His books include "The Military -- More Than Just a Job?" "Black Leadership and Racial Integration the Army Way" and "The Postmodern Military."

He took great pride in his Greek-American heritage, also a subject of his scholarship. He wrote a book titled "Greek Americans: Struggle and Success" and was active in a number of Greek-American organizations.

Mr. Moskos' career path was inspired by his tenure in the U.S. Army, where he served for two years as an enlisted soldier. He was drafted in 1956 after receiving a bachelor's degree in sociology from Princeton University. After his military service, he earned master's and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California at Los Angeles.

A native Chicagoan and son of immigrants, Mr. Moskos was born in Chicago May 20, 1934, and graduated from high school in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Ilca; son Andrew, daughter-in-law Saskia and grandchildren Finn and Aidan, of Amsterdam, the Netherlands; and son Peter and daughter-in-law Zora O'Neill, of Astoria, N.Y.
Topics: People, Campus Life