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The Leon Mayhew Prize

Leon Mayhew The Leon Mayhew Prize celebrates Leon Mayhew's contributions to sociology and to the UC Davis graduate program. Leon Mayhew ws born in Utah, attended public school in Berkeley, and graduated with a BA in sociology from UC Berkeley. He earned an MA and a PHD in social relations from Harvard and worked in the sociology departments at the University of Michigan and UC Berkeley prior to joining the UC Davis sociology faculty in 1969.

Dr. Mayhew was a scholar's scholar. His published work includes four books and more than a dozen journal articles on topics as diverse as discrimination, social influence, law, and institutions. He was a man of wide interests who enjoyed discussing Japanese poetry, contemporary economic policy, or piano compositions as much as he enjoyed debating the contributions of Parsons, Habermas, and other social theorists.

Dr. Mayhew also devoted much of his energy to administration. In addition to chairing the sociology department, he served as Chair of the Committee on Academic Personnel, UC Davis Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, Dean of the College of Letters and Science, and Senior Advisor to the Chancellor.

Dr. Mayhew was a man of great integrity. He approached all dimensions of his academic work --- teaching, research, administration --- with a strong sense of his responsibilities to others.  He was deeply concerned about the development and recognition of the University of California Davis as institution of higher learning. Embedded in that sense of integrity, that concern for the institution, was a strong commitment to a set of fair rules, to mechanisms for ensuring that all relevant parties knew the rules, and to procedures that ensured the just application of the rules.

Dr. Mayhew donated money to the department to establish a yearly award for the best graduate student qualifying paper. These funds paid for a yearly award but could not sustain the award past 2012. In 2011, a UC Davis sociology faculty member and family donated funds for the establishment of a permanent prize to honor Dr. Mayhew's contributions. The award received matching funds from the UC Davis Soderquist Matching Fund Initiative for Graduate Student Support (

The winner of the award will receive a prize of at least $500.


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