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Alumni lecture to mark political science anniversary

John Higley, a professor of government and sociology at the University of Texas, Austin, will be the first speaker in the political science department's Distinguished Alumni Speaker Program. The talk, the first in what is expected to become an annual series, will take place on October 29 at 4 p.m. in the Konover Auditorium at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.

The Distinguished Alumni Speaker series was begun to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the political science department this year. "It will give the department an opportunity to showcase the academic achievements of our alumni," says Rudolph Tokes, a professor of political science and one of the co-founders of the program.

Higley, '64 M.A., '68 Ph.D., who holds the Jack S. Blanton Chair in Australian Studies at the University of Texas, will lecture on "Elite Theory After Marxism."

"It is a great privilege to be invited to come back and speak at the University of Connecticut," he says.

The discussion will focus on what he says was the inevitable concentration of power in the hands of a relatively small number of people in all societies during the 20th century.

"There was no escape from this," Higley says. "A classless and a fully equal society that Marxism promised became an impossibility."

Higley's research focuses on tpeople in leadership positions or who shape political outcomes.

"Certainly the distinction that Professor Higley has earned is due to his own intellect and hard work," says John Rourke, professor and chair of the political science department, "but we would like to think it also reflects the training he received in Storrs."

Higley says he owes much of his success in the discipline to former department head G. Lowell Field, with whom he collaborated on research projects and publications.

Field, who died in April, was one of just nine people who have headed the political science department since it was established in 1947 as the department of government and international relations.

Since then, the department has had 111 faculty members, graduated more than 100 Ph.D.s, awarded master's and bachelor's degrees to several thousand students, and taught tens of thousands more. Now the department is one of the largest on campus.

Luis Mocete