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Renowned, Trailblazing Sociology Professor Dies at 88

Dr. Doris Yvonne Wilkinson, the first African American female appointed to a full time position at the University of Kentucky in 1967, has died at age 88.

Dr. Doris Yvonne WilkinsonDr. Doris Yvonne Wilkinson“Dr. Doris Wilkinson was powerful, influential and, at times, larger than life,” said UK's President Dr. Eli Capilouto. “It is with deep sadness that I learn of her passing, but I am comforted in knowing that her legacy continues to run deep across the foundation of our community.”

Wilkinson earned several professional civic honors and awards over her career, writing, publishing, and reviewing several professional article and books. A Ford Foundation Fellow at Harvard University, she was the first African American elected to the Hall of Distinguished Alumni.

She earned master’s and doctoral degrees from Case Western Reserve University as well as an MPH from Johns Hopkins University.

Wilkinson taught at Kent State University in Ohio and later joined the Department of Sociology faculty at Kentucky, where she served as director of the Project on African American Heritage.

“Throughout her life, she faced adversity with the kind of fierce determination and unwavering grace that pushed open doors and ensured they never closed,” said Capilouto. “We are grateful to be beneficiaries of her goodness and intellect, her perseverance and drive, her passion for education and devotion to progress. We are proud to count her as an indelible part of the UK family.”

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