Marie Fielder Center

Marie Fielder Medal for Social Transformation

Marie Fielder Medal for Social Transformation recipient, Dr. Patricia Gurin addresses a Fielding graduating class. (photo: pre-COVID-19)

Orlando Taylor

University of Michigan’s Dr. Patricia Gurin honored for lifetime achievement

One of the Fielder Center’s signature initiatives is an annual award of the Marie Fielder Medal for Social Transformation, which recognizes an individual for a lifetime of achievements devoted to efforts that support equal educational access and success. The award is presented at Fielding’s national Session where the awardee makes public remarks.

2018 medalist Dr. Patricia Gurin
Nancy Cantor Distinguished University Professor, Emeritus
University of Michigan

The Marie Fielder Center was honored to make its Third Annual Award of the Marie Fielder Medal to Dr. Patricia Gurin.   Dr. Gurin received the medal at Fielding’s 2018 Summer Convocation and spoke about the importance of diversity and intergroup dialogue.  Her remarks are available to read here.

Dr. Gurin is the Nancy Cantor Distinguished University Professor Emerita of Psychology and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan. She is a Faculty Associate of the Research Center for Group Dynamics at the Institute for Social Research and of the Center for African and Afro-American Studies. She directs the research program of the Program on Intergroup Relations, a curricular program co-sponsored by the College of LS&A and the Division of Student Affairs. A social psychologist, Dr. Gurin’s work has focused on social identity, the role of social identity in political attitudes and behavior, motivation and cognition in achievement settings, and the role of social structure in intergroup relations. She is the author of eight books and monographs and numerous articles on these topics. She is an expert witness in the University of Michigan’s defense of its undergraduate and law school admissions policies. In collaboration with Sylvia Hurtado, Eric Dey, and Gerald Gurin, all of the Center for Post-Secondary and Higher Education at the University of Michigan, she provided the expert report on the Educational Value of Diversity for these lawsuits.


The Marie Fielder Medal for Social Transformation has previously been awarded in 2017 to Dr. Gary Orfield, Professor at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Co-Director of UCLA’s The Civil Rights Project; and in 2016 to Dr. Walter Bumphus, President and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges.

About Dr. Marie Fielder

Dr. Marie Fielder was one of the most influential women in the history of California education.

Dr. Marie Fielder was one of the most influential women in the history of California education. Through her vision and commitment to justice throughout her lifetime and 60-year career, Dr. Fielder inspired many and left an indelible mark on the entire nation.
She was the first African American woman with a doctorate to teach in the San Francisco Bay Area and one of the first researchers who documented cultural bias in IQ tests. She helped the Berkeley public schools become the first in the nation to desegregate through two-way busing—one of her proudest accomplishments. She was also a member of the Founding Board of Trustees at Fielding.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Dr. Fielder contributed to the work of such civil rights leaders as Martin Luther King Jr. and Whitney Young. She also advised numerous government and civil-rights organizations.

Marie Fielder

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