Wingfield installed as Mary Tileston Hemenway Professor in Arts & Sciences

Barbara Schaal (left), dean of the faculty of Arts & Sciences, applauds Adia Harvey Wingfield following her installation as the Mary Tileston Hemenway Professor in Arts & Sciences. (Photo: Sid Hastings/Washington University)

Adia Harvey Wingfield, a leading sociology expert in gender equity and racial inequality, has been installed as the Mary Tileston Hemenway Professor in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.

Wingfield was installed by Barbara A. Schaal, dean of the faculty of Arts & Sciences and the Mary-Dell Chilton Distinguished Professor, in a Feb. 6 ceremony in Holmes Lounge.

“As one of the founding members of the current sociology department, Adia has played a pivotal role in developing and shaping the future of sociology at Washington University,” said David Cunningham, chair of sociology in Arts & Sciences. “Her dedication to the department and expansive research accomplishments make Adia an ideal recipient of this honor.”

“Adia Harvey Wingfield is an international expert on racial and gender inequalities in the workplace. Her trailblazing work seeks to understand why these inequalities exist and to provide a way forward for companies to create more inclusive and just workplaces,” Chancellor Andrew D. Martin said. “It is appropriate that she hold a professorship named for Mary Tileston Hemenway, who was a trailblazer in her own right.”

Wingfield’s research examines how and why racial and gender inequality persists in professional occupations. Her 2019 book, “Flatlining: Race, Work and Health Care in the New Economy,” explored the challenges — both economically and socially — facing Black doctors, nurses, technicians and physician assistants working in health care. According to Wingfield, hospitals are relying on Black employees to perform equity work to serve increasingly diverse constituencies. Yet Black workers often do this labor without recognition, compensation or support.

She has authored or co-authored several other books along with dozens of peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. Wingfield has lectured internationally and is currently president of the Southern Sociological Society, one of the largest regional sociological associations in the country.

In addition to her role as professor of sociology, Wingfield serves as the associate dean for faculty development in Arts & Sciences.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in English at Spelman College in 1998. At Johns Hopkins University, she earned a master’s degree in sociology in 2000 and a PhD in 2004. Wingfield joined Washington University in 2015. She received the Public Understanding of Sociology Award from the American Sociological Association in 2018.

The Hemenway Professorship was established in 2002 to honor the contributions of Mary Tileston Hemenway (1820-1894) to Washington University. Erik Trinkaus, who recently retired after long service as a professor of anthropology, was the initial holder of the endowed professorship.

An active and involved philanthropist, Hemenway made a generous gift to the fledgling university as the result of a fundraising mission in 1862 by William Greenleaf Eliot. Over the next 20 years, she gave additional gifts to the university. Eliot called the gifts “so large and so timely” that “on several occasions” they proved to be the “turning point of our progress and success.”

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