The William I. Cole Chair in Sociology and Anthropology honors the work of William I. Cole (a.k.a. "Billy Ike") in establishing the field of Sociology (later joined by Anthropology) at Wheaton. He taught a course entitled "Applied Sociology" in 1912 when Sociology was just a fledgling discipline and encouraged the study of culture and society, which the two departments continue to this day. Thanks to Prof. Cole, Wheaton was one of the first liberal arts colleges to offer sociology.
The William I. Cole Chair is awarded to a tenured member of the Department of Sociology or Anthropology for a five year term in recognition of exceptional scholarly work, excellence in teaching and contributions to the community. It supports the continued professional development of the honored faculty member.
The current holder of the William I. Cole Chair is Professor John Grady (2010-2015). Prof. Grady received his Ph.D. from Brandeis University and joined the Wheaton faculty in 1979. He has taught a range of courses focusing on the sociology of work, medicine, cities, and technology and has also supervised more honors theses than any other sociologist. Prof. Grady has researched and produced a number of documentary films including "Down the Projects", "Love Stories" and "Water and the Dream of the Engineers." His has gained an international reputation as a leading visual sociologist and served as the president of the International Visual Studies Association.