William Green Mather Jr., 1924
B.S., Denison University
B.D., Rochester Theological Society
M.S., Ph.D., Cornell University
State College, Penn.
Citation awarded on Saturday, June 8, 1974
In his professional lifetime, Dr. William Green Mather has researched the sociology of everything from juvenile delinquency to rural preaching, birth control to alcoholism, and teenage accidents to rural physicians. Few sociological subjects have been too challenging or too far removed for him to study. In 1969, after 36 years as a sociologist, 24 of them at Pennsylvania State University, he retired as research professor of sociology and accepted a position with the Pennsylvania Advisory Council on Crime.
His career is distinguished by numerous articles and extensive research in the rural church, the smaller religious sects in American life, rural welfare, rural retirement, and the sociological factors in rural health.
He has been actively engaged for many years in the burgeoning problems of environmental health. He helped to organize the public and private health and welfare organizations into the Pennsylvania Health Council in 1950, serving as its president in 1959. In 1952, he was named president of the Pennsylvania Public Health Association and in 1969 became chairman of the Pennsylvania Action Committee for Clean Air. He has also headed up research projects in the healthcare field, sponsored by the U.S. Public Health Service, including one on personnel turnover in Pennsylvania nursing homes.
From 1941 to 1950, Dr. Mather, an ordained minister, was the first chairman of the Council on Christian Social Progress of the Northern Baptist Convention and in 1953-54 was president of the Pennsylvania Baptist Convention. For 17 years, he taught a Sunday School lesson over the radio.
His many students and colleagues agree that “in the colorful ideas and words that have always been his” is the essence of the man as a teacher and scholar of distinction.