Robert P. Rankin, PhD*

Department of Sociology
1953-1975
Deceased: 2005

Dr. Robert Rankin, a nationally recognized expert in family and social problems, joined the sociology faculty in 1953 after earning a Master of Divinity at Union Theological Seminary and serving as pastor in several small north state congregations.

He received a Distinguished Teaching Award in 1967, founded the General Studies Thematic Program, chaired the Faculty Senate (twice) and the sociology department, directed the Institute of Community Regional Research, and was University Faculty Ombudsman. He was the informal university chaplain and was regarded as the "most compassionate" member of the campus community.

Dr. Rankin was founding director of the Sierra Sunrise residential development, assisted in the establishment of Aldersgate Methodist Church, chaired the Family Service League and United Way, and received the 1989 Salvation Army Civic Award for volunteer service.

His scholarship on divorce and its impact on children benefited many families. He helped young people view marriage as a sacrament and made daily rounds to comfort those in hospitals and rest homes. He exemplified the university's goals of providing intelligent, caring, committed, and effective community service.