Sociologist Charles Tilly honored in Elmhurst, IL

It is not often that you see renowned sociologists acknowledged by their high schools in the Chicago suburbs: the late Charles Tilly is being honored by York High School in Elmhurst.

York High School finally has its first group of hall of famers—or as they are referred to in District 205, Dukes of Distinction.

This well-deserved group was culled from nominations submitted by Elmhurst community members, District 205 staff, alumni and others early this year. These eight honorees have distinguished themselves through significant and extraordinary accomplishments, service and an outstanding contribution to society…

Dr. Charles Tilly, Class of 1946

Dr. Tilly was a a comparative and historical sociologist, analyst of social movements, and a social theorist, political sociologist and methodological innovator. Dr. Tilly authored 51 books and over 600 articles, as well as directing over 200 doctoral dissertations. He was a member of numerous scientific academies and a lecturer at universities all over the world. He was called “an intellectual global powerhouse,” whose contributions led to the development of seven subfields in sociology. Dr. Tilly died in 2008.

Perhaps I’m alone in this but I would be intrigued to hear how well-known sociologists made it from high school to an academic career in sociology. Is there anything about Lombard and Elmhurst that pushed Tilly toward sociology? I recently saw another suggestion that the lives of adults tend to mirror their lives in high school, which is highly reductionistic and depressing, but perhaps future sociologists were different?

Also, given the history of sociology in Chicago, how many other sociologists are from the Chicago suburbs? How about a per capita look at which major US regions produce the most sociologists?

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