Wednesday, November 6, 2019


From an email received yesterday:
This is a call for nominations for the 2019-2020 Constantine Panunzio Distinguished Emeriti Award and an explanation of the nominating procedures. Created by a bequest from Professor Panunzio of UCLA, the award honors outstanding scholarly work or educational service (e.g. service in professional, University, Academic Senate, emeriti, departmental or editorial posts, or committees) performed since retirement by a University of California emeritus or emerita in the Humanities or Social Sciences.
Each campus may set up its own procedures for nomination and selection. Appropriate Deans on each campus, as well as the Provost or comparable officer, are asked to solicit nominations for this award from their constituent departments. Candidates may also self-nominate.  
The complete supporting dossier must include:
  • A cover letter outlining the nominee’s distinctive scholarly work and/or educational service since retirement,
  • A Curriculum Vitae, and
  • Supporting letters (2 minimum) from leaders in the field commenting specifically on the nominee’s achievements since retirement.
Below are some suggested guidelines and dates to facilitate this process: 
By Friday, December 6, 2019: Nominations submitted to the President of the campus’ Emeriti Association for review.

By Monday, January 6, 2020: Emeriti Association forwards recommendation(s) to campus Provost (or comparable officer) for review.

By Friday, January 24, 2020: Suggested deadline for completion of Provost’s review and approved nomination sent back to the Emeriti Association for coordination of the formal dossier (nomination package).

By Friday, February 14, 2020: Deadline for final nomination from each campus due to Selection Committee. The Emeriti Association President should inform the campus’ Provost, Deans, and pertinent Department Chairs of the final nominee.
Before or on the February 14, 2020 deadline, submit nominations online at the following link: 
The selection committee will announce the awardee(s) on or before Friday, April 17, 2020.  The award, consisting of a cash prize and a certificate, will be presented on the campus of the recipient(s) at a program arranged by their respective campus.
If you have any questions regarding eligibility or the nomination procedure, please contact Professor Emeritus Dick Weiss,

Note: There is more to the Panunzio story than the award. From his official obituary:

Constantine Maria Panunzio, Anthropology and Sociology: Los Angeles

Professor of Sociology

The patterns of men's lives are various, indeed. The structure of some lives is simple and orderly and comprehended at a glance. Other lives are confounded with many interweaving contours and hues of temperament and circumstance, so that a dominant and unique form is not readily perceptible. Into the latter category falls the life of Italian-born Constantine Maria Panunzio. In turn, a seaman in his teen-age years; a fugitive from his ship into an utterly strange land whose language he did not speak; a lumberjack; an itinerant farm laborer; a minister; a social worker; a college professor. Parallelling a turbulent external life was a troubled spiritual journey. Born into the Catholic faith, in early adulthood he became a Methodist minister with a pulpit, to return to Catholicism in middle life. Only a man of deep feeling and psychic-complexity could give exterior manifestations such as these.

Constantine Panunzio was born in the ancient little town of Molfetta, which is situated on the Adriatic, not far above the heel of Italy's boot, on October 25, 1884. The family tree boasted of a number of successful professional men and important civic leaders and his parents had planned for him accordingly. However, Constantine was interested not in studies but in the sea and at the age of fourteen he joined the crew of a merchant sailing vessel as a ship's boy. During the next four years he visited most of the major ports of the Mediterranean. His last sea voyage as a crewman was to North America; en route, the sailing vessel on which he served almost went to the bottom of the Atlantic in a storm. The treatment he received during this journey from the brutal captain was such that he asked for his release when the ship docked in Boston. The captain gave answer in the form of a well-placed kick--whereupon Constantine, then eighteen, skipped ship. This was in September, 1902.

The days of hunger, bewilderment, hopeless wandering and despair that followed, frequently with no roof over his head at night, are told in his beautifully written book, published twenty years later, The Soul of an Immigrant. The long calvary of brutal labor, exploitations, humiliations, disenchantments, that followed one another in dreary succession and which typified the lot of most unskilled immigrants at the time, need not be related here. Suffice it to say that these first experiences in America, The Land of Enchantment, contributed significantly to the molding of his personality and character. After many vicissitudes he was hired as a farm hand by a devout, Protestant, church-going family who gave him kindness and humane treatment and encouraged him to go on with his education. Who knows but that this segment of experience was a critical factor in determining Panunzio's professional activity in the early part of his adult life?

He eventually entered Kent's Hill Academy, a preparatory school in Maine, and finished the four year course in three, while working to defray his expenses. In the fall of 1907, he entered Wesleyan University, Connecticut, graduated with the A.B. in 1911 and the M.A. in 1912. He then enrolled in the Boston University School of Theology and earned the S.T.B. in 1914. He received final naturalization papers in the same year.

For a period of several years he served as pastor in several Methodist churches in Massachusetts and he was superintendent of Social Service House, Boston, from 1915-1917. His social service activities were interrupted by the first World War. From 1917 to 1918 he served as general organizer of the YMCA on the Italian front.

Upon his return to the United States after the war, he held a number of academic positions in sociology or social science, frequently interrupted by various administrative-social responsibilities, viz: superintendent of the immigrant labor division in the International Church Movement; lecturer on immigrant backgrounds at Hunter College; professor of social sciences at Willamette University; professor of social economics at Whittier College; professor of sociology at San Diego State Teachers College; investigator for the White House Conference on Child Protection and Guidance; director of The Neighborhood House and Sociological Laboratory. In 1925 he earned the Ph.D. degree at the Brookings Graduate School of Economics and Government.

Panunzio was appointed assistant professor of sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1931, and he remained at UCLA until he retired as professor of sociology in 1951.

His published works include three books and two research monographs. Among the former is his earliest publication, the popular The Soul of an Immigrant. The other two are sociological works, one of which was a text Major Social Institutions that achieved a considerable measure of success. His monographs are studies of the self-help cooperatives in California at the time of the depression. There are, in addition, some seventy articles, the majority of a popular or semi-popular nature and published in various types of media, and thirty book reviews. There is also a completed manuscript in two volumes entitled Population and the Crisis. His published writings are characterized by a lucidity of style, a poetic sense, and a literary flavor not too common in academic prose.

In 1931-33, Panunzio was president of the Pacific South-western Academy; in 1934-35, president of the Pacific Sociological Society. In 1939, he participated in the founding of the Mazzini Society, the well-known Italian group whose leading lights were Italian intellectuals who had left, or who had been expelled from, Italy because of fascism. Among its members was the historian Salvemini and the journalist Tarchiani who after the war was Italian ambassador to the United States. In 1940 he was designated by the New York World's Fair Committee as among the foreign-born who have made “outstanding contributions” to American culture. In 1961 he received the Wesleyan University Distinguished Alumnus award.

It is curious that Panunzio, a sociologist, perhaps did his greatest sociological work after he had retired. The then (1952) existing University pension system was grossly inadequate. The average income of emeriti was something like $108 per month; instead of being retired at a maximum of four-fifths of the terminal salaries, many found, upon retirement, that they were receiving barely one-fifth of their highest pay. In certain instances, the consequences were pathetic: to cite one example, a well-known full professor who had been an important figure in the early days of UCLA's development worked as a night watchman to supplement his $93-a-month pension. Non-academic employees who were enrolled under the state civil service pension system fared much better; whereas a full professor might draw $110, a plumber with an equivalent time record of service received something in the vicinity of $210 a month.

Panunzio, upon discovering his own plight--he was to receive $129 a month--went to work. He drew up a bill of particulars, setting forth the facts and statistics, and comparisons with benefits derived from the state's civil service pension system. It was a six-page document, signed by fifty emeriti; copies of the memorial were sent to the President of the University, the provosts and chancellors on the various campuses and to members of the Board of Regents. The document created a sensation. The reaction of certain members of the Board was particularly vivid. A special committee of The Regents was appointed to study the matter in 1953. Professor Panunzio met with this special Committee on Pensions and Retirements and recommended in the strongest terms that a University retirement system comparable in benefit structure to the California State Employees' Retirement be established to replace the then existing Retiring Annuities System. Shortly thereafter he was employed by The Regents as a consultant to the Special Committee and participated in most of its subsequent meetings.

In the months that followed he played a major role in drafting the provisions of the Standing Orders of The Regents establishing the new “Pension and Retiring Annuities System,” as of July 1, 1954. He was also instrumental in drafting the provisions of the “interim plan,” under which faculty members who had retired prior to 1953 received “Fellowship Stipends” supplementing their annuity payments. This interim measure was approved by The Regents in April, 1953. The Regents also created the Academic Retirement Office and Panunzio was its de facto Director until January, 1955. The function of the Office was to look after the interests of retired and about-to-be-retired faculty members. After the directorship of the Retirement Office had passed to Dr. D. G. Tyndall, Panunzio continued as consultant to the Chairman of its Governing Board (Regent Hansen) during 1955 on a full-time basis, and during 1956 in a part-time basis. During this time his advice and counsel were of great value to The Regents, especially in the development of the plan to provide supplemental retirement incomes to faculty members who had retired prior to 1953.

As a consequence of Panunzio's characteristic unwillingness to accept things-as-they-are, he set in motion a chain reaction which has resulted in a pension structure for the University of California faculty which is among the best. Prior to his dramatic efforts, committees had been in existence for years to study the problem; but nothing tangible had transpired. To quote one of The Regents most closely involved with the reconstructing of the University's pension system: “If any one man may be said to be the architect of this reform, it is Professor Panunzio.”

More than seventy years old, this restless man had not finished. Recognizing that the plight of the emeriti of the University of California was but a sample of what was happening to retired professors the country over--and not the worst sample--he sought and obtained grants from the Ford Foundation and the University of California in order to create a nation-wide registry of emeriti. Propelled by his enthusiasm and compelling energy, a National Committee on the Emeriti was formed in 1956; this is constituted of a group of some fifty interested individuals who take it upon themselves to promote the interests of college professors throughout the United States. Among other things, Panunzio organized an employment service for retired faculty members, wherewith the needs of colleges and universities and the talents and competencies of retired and interested academicians might be brought together. A publication, Emeriti for Employment, listing the names, addresses and experience of retired faculty members who wished to continue working has gone through a number of printings. There are several other facets to the activities of the National Committee on the Emeriti--i.e., Panunzio--but there is insufficient space to relate them here.

In the midst of these numerous activities and responsibilities, which he was reluctant to relinquish, Professor Panunzio died, August 6, 1964, after an incapacitating illness. Until the very end he bemoaned the fact that he knew of no one who was willing to carry on his work.

He is survived by his widow, Pierina, two sons, Constantine and Vincent, and a daughter, Angela.

Although a person of great social charm and given to human warmth and kindness, Panunzio could be a tenacious and unyielding opponent in matters which involved his convictions.

He was not a man to be awed by opposition, however great. This singleness of purpose, though it sometimes lost him potential friends and created strained relations with colleagues and administrators, made it possible for him to achieve goals which otherwise would have been out of reach.

Panunzio's lifework presents an unusual cycle: he started out in his youth and early manhood in social work and service; his middle and late life was spent in academic pursuits; in his old age he plunged back into the battle of social amelioration. Thus the wheel turned full circle.

Gordon H. Ball Harry Hoijer Lloyd N. Morrisett J. A. Gengerelli

Two audio books by Panunzio below:

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