Monday, May 20, 2024
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The theme of the Midwest Sociological Society 2024 Annual Meeting fit perfectly with its session honoring the life of Steve Wieting

The Midwest Sociological Society annual conference in Des Moines, Iowa, held a special memorial session to honor Professor Steve Wieting who passed away last year. Steve’s daughter, Helene Wieting, gave a moving tribute as did Professor Mary Noonan from our department.  (See her article about him in this issue of the Newsletter.) They were joined by five of Steve’s former graduate students and colleagues in research, including Bruce Fehn, University of Iowa; Michael Altimore, Temple University; Michael Katovitch, Texas Christian University; Thorolfur Thorlindsson, University of Iceland; and Joe Bishop, Eastern Michigan University. 

All remembered Steve’s generosity and integrity. Mike Katovich recalled just how far one had to push him during a pick-up basketball game to see him angry—a truly rare sight. It was fitting, given Steve’s love of sport, that many in attendance had gathered the night before to see the Iowa Hawkeye’s defeat UConn in the Women’s NCAA Basketball Tournament. Also attending the memorial were Steve’s former Iowa colleagues and students.  These included University of Iowa Professors Mike Sauder and Michael Lovaglia, as well as Kevin Leicht, longtime Iowa professor now at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Shane Soboroff and Christopher Kelley now at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Steve Wieting is remembered as a professor whose life represented the ideal of what a teacher and scholar could be. He was devoted to his students and generous with his time. He was a helpful colleague. When Steve convinced Michael Lovaglia, a young, broke faculty member to visit the University of Iceland for a week, Steve then found him the resources to pay for the trip. He was unendingly curious. When Steve visited Iceland for the first time, he learned the language. 

Mike Sauder remembered that Steve became something of a historian for our department and helped with Carl Couch’s reflections. Professor Couch, who passed away in 1994, was a proponent of symbolic interaction, the theory that society emerges from one person talking with another to share their understanding of the world. Steve’s life shows the relevance of that idea.

Steve Wieting learned as much from his students as they learned from him, which was a lot.