Honoring 50 years with Professor McIntosh

Lehigh University was a very different place in 1966 when James McIntosh arrived straight from graduate school at Syracuse. What was then an all-male institution is now co-ed; the Department of Social Relations he joined as one of three faculty members is now the Department of Sociology & Anthropology with 17; the campus has expanded to the top of South Mountain and beyond. And whole generations of students have been inspired by his teaching. On April 28, members of the university's faculty, staff and student body gathered in Williams Hall to honor his 50 years at Lehigh.

Back in those early days, Michael Kimmel was one of Professor McIntosh's students. "The air was electric," he recalled of McIntosh's classroom in 1968. "We could talk about things that were happening in the world." Kimmel, today a Distinguished Professor of Sociology at SUNY Stony Brook, credits his first sociology professor with launching his career in the field. "You really did change my life," Kimmel told McIntosh. (Kimmel appears with McIntosh in the photo below right.)

Joe Sterrett, Lehigh's Murray H. Goodman Dean of Athletics, fondly remembered his classes with "Dr. Mac" in the 1970s, characterizing McIntosh as a tough but outstanding teacher. "He is my wise leader, my colleague, and my friend," Sterrett said to a large crowd (see photo at left). Some of Sterrett's own children have been students in Professor Mac's classroom over the years.

Professor Judith Lasker recalled McIntosh as the chair of the department when she was hired in 1981, describing him as a "wonderful mentor." Whenever she encounters Lehigh alums, she said, they almost invariably ask her "How's Dr. Mac? Please say hello to him, he was the best teacher I had at Lehigh." The extent of his impact on colleagues and friends, she told the gathering, is not even possible to measure.

Professor John Gatewood, chair of the Department of Sociology & Anthropology, presented McIntosh with a plaque for the "Harry Cakalarry Award for 50 Years of Excellence at Lehigh" (below right), and Dean Donald Hall of the College of Arts & Sciences toasted McIntosh and his longstanding service to the university.

Professor James McIntosh will retire at the end of this academic year. Lehigh will never be the same without him.

James McIntosh