Jack Siegman passed away on April 21, 2015 in Laguna Beach, California. He was a faculty member at UNL from 1966 and retired as full professor in 2001.
In 1953, Jack graduated with undergraduate majors in Sociology and Philosophy from Brooklyn College, CUNY, in New York City and then attended the New School for Social Research to study social stratification and industrial sociology. Working with Bernard Karsh at the Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, he completed his Ph.D. in 1966.
As a faculty member at UNL, Jack was engaged in classroom and community social movements. He activated his interests in Political and Urban Sociology and Minority Relations by teaching one of the first Black Studies courses at UNL: The Negro in American Society in 1968. This course originated in Sociology with his efforts to help initiate, organize and structure the first Ethnic Studies Program at UNL. He continued to teach courses in Race and Ethnicity and Political Sociology for over 35 years. As Chair of the Urban Studies Program at UNL from 1975-1981, he forged interdisciplinary connections that would link to him and his students to civil rights and community movements. Jack also expanded his students’ understanding of the global meaning of urban inequality through the Semester in England, Semester in the Czech Republic and Summer Course in Italy.
Jack’s leadership roles took many forms. He was elected to serve as Chair of the Department of Sociology from 1980 to 1983 and served on many other committees for the campus.
He also served on the Lincoln Human Rights Commission in the early 1970s, on the Mayor’s Community Cabinet, was appointed by the mayor as a member of the Lincoln City Charter Revision Commission, was a member of the Lincoln Public Schools Equal Opportunity Task Force, and chaired the Lincoln Police Review Board. In the Lincoln Community Congress, he was involved with such issues as downtown re-vitalization, neighborhood development, scattered site affordable housing and recreation opportunities. In 1996, Jack was interviewed by the campus and community newspapers on the red-lining activities of local banks in the racialized and class-based profiling of mortgage loans in the historically Black Malone community.
One of our former UNL colleagues, Dr. Robert Benford worked on a collaborative public sociology effort with Jack. From 1992 to 1994, these two sociologists responded to a series of shootings on and near the UNL campus by establishing a Campus Gun-Free Zone Movement.
Jack is survived by his wife Collette, children, grandchildren, family and many friends and appreciative students.
Jerry S. Cloyd
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