Robert C. Wood Visiting Professorship in Public and Urban Affairs

About the Visiting Professorship

Each year, the Robert C. Wood Professorship brings a distinguished public leader to campus for a lecture and conversation to engage students, faculty, and community members in discussions of public policy and public service.

The Robert C. Wood Visiting Professorship in Public and Urban Affairs was established in 1998 at the now John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies. Conceived as a vehicle for bringing distinguished public leaders to lecture and engage on topics such as race, education, and government efficiency, the professorship links the scholarly pursuits of the McCormack Graduate School with practical problems and policies of the larger society. The selection of each year’s speaker is tailored to objectives developed by the McCormack Graduate School in consultation with the honoree, faculty, staff, and others.

The lectureship is named for Robert Wood, who served as president of the UMass System for seven years and was one of the nation's leading public intellectuals in the last half of the 20th century. His multifaceted career in public service also included was also a senior fellow and professor at the McCormack Institute, secretary of housing and urban development in the Lyndon Johnson administration, head of the Harvard-MIT Joint Center for Urban Studies, Superintendent of Schools in Boston, and General Manager of the MBTA. He wrote and edited several books on topics related to politics and public policy, the presidency, and local affairs.

Following is a list of the Wood Visiting Professors beginning from the program's inception. Their titles are those which they held at the time of their appointed professorship.

Wood Professorship Lectures

Reuben E. Brigety, II

2018

Reuben E. Brigety, II, Dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University

Lecture Title: America, Heal Thyself: Political Polarization and the Rebuilding of American Soft Power

Media Coverage: UMB News

Peniel E. Joseph

2017

Peniel E. Joseph, Professor of Public Affairs and Barbara Jordan Chair in Ethics and Political Values at the Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas Austin

Lecture Title: The Struggle for Black Dignity in the Age of Trump and the Era of Black Lives Matter

Media Coverage: UMB News

Maggie Hassan

2016

Maggie Hassan, Governor of New Hampshire, Daughter of Robert Wood, and Current Junior United States Senator from New Hampshire

Lecture Title: What I Learned from my Father about Public Service

Media Coverage: UMB News

William Julius Wilson

2015

William Julius Wilson, Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor at Harvard University

Lecture Title: Reflections on Issues of Race and Class in the 21st Century: Revisiting Arguments Advanced in The Declining Significance of Race (1978)

Media Coverage: UMB News

Paul Grogan

Spring 2014

Paul Grogan, President and CEO of The Boston Foundation

Lecture Title: Where Boston Can Lead: The Urban Education Crisis and What To Do About It

Media Coverage: UMB News

Garrison NElson

Fall 2014

Garrison Nelson, Professor of Political Science at the University of Vermont and Author of John W. McCormack, A Political Biography

Lecture Title: Promises Kept: John McCormack, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid

Media Coverage: UMB News

Shelley Metzenbaum

2013

Shelley Metzenbaum, Associate Director for Performance and Personnel Management at the White House Office of Management and Budget

Lecture Title: Performance: Delivering Effective, Accountable, Trusted Government

Media Coverage: UMB News

Gordan A. Martin, Jr.

2011

Gordon A. Martin, Jr., Adjunct Professor of Law at New England School of Law and former judge and chief of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination

Lecture Title: The Right to Vote: Access to the Polls from the Civil Rights Act of 1957 to the Elections of 2012

Media Coverage: UMB News

Theda Skocpol

2010

Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University

Lecture Title: Barack Obama and American Politics

Barbara Nelson

2009

Barbara Nelson, Dean of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and Founder of The Concord Project

Lecture Title: Building Social Capital in Divided Societies: Lessons from The Concord’s Work in Northern Ireland, South Africa, and the United States

Keith Wailoo

2008

Keith Wailoo, Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of History at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research at Rutgers University and Author of Dying in the City of Blues and Drawing Blood

Lecture Title: How Cancer Crossed the Red Line: Race and Disease in America

Alejandro Portes

2007

Alejandro Portes, Howard Harrison and Gabrielle Snyder Beck Professor of Sociology and director of the Center for Migration and Development at Princeton University

Lecture Title: No Margin for Error: Disadvantage and Success in the Immigrant Second Generation

Gerald Torres

2006

Gerald Torres, Bryant Smith Chair in Law at the University of Texas School of Law

Lecture Title: Democracy Means the People Make the Law

James Morone

2005

James Morone, Professor of Political Science at Brown University

Lecture Title: Hellfire Nation: The Politics of Sin in America

Michael Keith

2004

Michael Keith

Lecture Title: Globalizing Culture: Multicultural Cities and the Future of Racism

Edi Rama

2003

Edi Rama, Mayor of Tirana, capital of Albania

Lecture Title: Artful Democracy: Urban Government and Planning After Communism

Mary Frances Berry

2002

Mary Frances Berry, Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought, Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania, and Former Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

Lecture Title: Homeland Defense, Economic Security, and Civil Rights in the U.S.

Xavier de Souza Briggs

2000

Xavier de Souza Briggs, Vice President for US programs of the Ford Foundation

Lecture Title: Community Building: The New (and Old) Politics of Urban Problem Solving in the New Century

Charles Hamilton

1999

Charles Hamilton

Lecture Title: The Role of Government – the Perennial Debate

 

1998

Kick-off Lecture at UMass Boston and Dinner at JFK Library

Lecture Title: Bob Wood as a Public Intellectual

 

Wood Professorship Committee Members

Susan Bell, President, Bell Advantage Consultant Inc.

David W. Cash, Dean, McCormack Graduate School

Connie Chan, Emeritus Professor, UMass Boston

Rita Kiki Edozie, Professor and Associate Dean, McCormack Graduate School

Mary Grant, President, Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

Michael Johnson, Associate Professor, Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs

Jeff Moyer, PhD Student, Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs

Denise Muro, PhD Student, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance

Bianca I. Ortiz-Whyte, PhD Student, Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs

Rashelle A. Straker, Interim Director of Academic Programs and Events, McCormack Graduate School

Bob Turner (Chair), Research Fellow, McCormack Graduate School

Franny Wood, Daughter of Robert Wood

Margaret Wood, Wife of Robert Wood