Pettigrew receives Centennial Medal from Harvard University

"Thomas Pettigrew ... laid the empirical and theoretical groundwork for ideas that are now fundamental to the way we think about prejudice in the United States and around the world," said Xiao-Li Meng, dean of the Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. (Photo by J. McNulty)
Thomas Pettigrew, research professor of social psychology, received the Centennial Medal from Harvard University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences today (May 24) for his work in racial relations.

Pettigrew earned his Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard in 1956.

"Thomas Pettigrew has devoted his life to confronting some of the most divisive problems facing human society—racism, discrimination, and prejudice—and laid the empirical and theoretical groundwork for ideas that are now fundamental to the way we think about prejudice in the United States and around the world," said Xiao-Li Meng, dean of the school. "We are proud to award him the 2017 Centennial Medal."

Pettigrew taught at Harvard for many years before relocating to Santa Cruz in 1979 and formally joining the UC Santa Cruz faculty in 1980. He retired in 1994 but has continued to conduct research in social psychology. He has been at the forefront of studies of racial prejudice for more than five decades. An expert on black-white relations in the United States, he has also conducted intergroup research in Australia, Europe, and South Africa.

Pettigrew is the author of more than 300 scholarly articles and book chapters, as well as nearly 100 book reviews. His many honors include lifetime achievement awards from the American Sociological Association, the Society for Psychological Study of Social Issues, the Society for Experimental Social Psychology, and the International Academy for Intercultural Research. He has twice received the prestigious Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, and he also received the University of California's 2008/09 Constantine Panunzio Distinguished Emeriti Award.

The Centennial Medal was first awarded in June 1989 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). Each year, Harvard University through GSAS recognizes outstanding alumni whose contributions to knowledge, to their disciplines, to their colleagues, and to society have made a fundamental and lasting impact.