Dr. Gary Orfield Awarded Marie Fielder Medal for Lifetime Acheivement

President Katrina Rogers (L) and faculty member Dr. Nicola Smith (daughter of Marie Fielder) with Dr. Orfield

On January 13, Fielding Graduate University’s Marie Fielder Center for Democracy, Leadership and Education honored UCLA Distinguished Research Professor Dr. Gary Orfield with the Marie Fielder Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Social Transformation. Co-founder and director of the Harvard Civil Rights Project, and now co-director of the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA, Dr. Orfield was recognized for his decades of research on civil rights, education policy, urban policy and minority opportunity.

“Dr. Gary Orfield represents the highest ideals of the Marie Fielder Center and Fielding Graduate University in terms of his commitment to social justice and the impact of his work,” said Dr. Orlando Taylor, director of the Marie Fielder Center and Fielding’s vice president for strategic initiatives and research. “His efforts have deeply enriched our understanding of American educational opportunity.”

The Marie Fielder Center at Fielding Graduate University is a multidisciplinary research and advocacy center aimed at advancing diversity and inclusion throughout society. It honors the life and legacy of the late Dr. Marie Fielder, a brilliant and influential African American educator and champion for social justice, who was a member of Fielding’s founding family in the 1970s.

The event took place at the Fess Parker DoubleTree Resort in Santa Barbara, Calif., as part of Fielding‘s national session, where students, faculty and alumni gather from around the world for workshops in leadership and education.

Dr. Orfield with Dr. Rogers, Dr. Orlando Taylor, and faculty member Dr. Lenneal Henderson

Dr. Orfield is Distinguished Research Professor of Education, Law, Political Science and Urban Planning at the University of California, Los Angeles. His central interest has been the development and implementation of social policy, with a central focus on the impact of policy on equal opportunity for success in American society.

“It has been a great pleasure to participate in the struggles for racial equity in our country, which have won large victories but are far from over,” said Dr. Orfield. “After an election full of stereotypes and demagoguery, I call on my fellow academics and other concerned citizens to rededicate themselves as we face one of the most threatening reversals since the civil rights revolution.”

In addition to his scholarly work, he has been involved in the development of governmental policy and has served as an expert witness in court cases related to his research. His principal publications include reports on the national progress of desegregation during the last three decades, studies of civil rights policy, housing, and access to higher education. He is currently working on studies of the impacts of the major civil rights and educational policies of the 1960s.

Dr. Orfield encouraged the Marie Fielder fellows in attendance not to be put off by adversity they may face in the coming years.

“I encourage those of you working on these big projects to keep at it,” he said. “Don’t turn around.”

Watch a video of the event.