Sociology professor Don Gibson retires after 30-plus-year career
The University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg has announced the retirement of Donald E. Gibson, PhD, professor of Sociology. Gibson’s career spanned more than 30 years and is highlighted by his dedication to making students aware of the importance of an informed citizenship by exploring power, both social and economic, and its effect on US economic problems.
Gibson, a resident of Greensburg, started teaching at Pitt-Greensburg in 1981 as an assistant professor of Sociology. He advanced to associate professor in 1987, and then full professor in 1997. He served as chairperson of the Behavioral Sciences Division from 2003 through 2005. Active with the American Democracy Project, a multi-campus initiative that focused on higher education’s role in preparing the next generation of informed, engaged citizens for our democracy, he also played a part in developing Pitt-Greensburg’s course on American society.
“A devoted teacher and scholar, Dr. Gibson’s scholarship in an impressively wide range of important social areas—including implications of the development of the hospice movement, changes in the economy and shifts in social values, mass media, and environmentalism—demonstrated to his students the power of research to inform decisions on important policy questions,” said Sharon P. Smith, PhD, president of Pitt-Greensburg.
Gibson’s teaching areas included technology and social change, medical sociology, mass media, white collar crime, and American society. His research areas ranged from mass media, and the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, to the changes in the US economy since the 1960s and the relationship of these changes to shifts in social values and public policy.
A prolific writer, his first book was published in 1994, “Battling Wall Street: The Kennedy Presidency” (reissued by Progressive Press, 2014), which challenges conventional wisdom and asserts that Kennedy was always on the side of economic, political, and social progress. Gibson also authored “The Kennedy Assassination Cover-up” (Kroshka/NOVA Science Publishers 1999), described as “an effectively researched and probing analysis of America’s most important solved murder.” One reviewer credits Gibson with writing three of the most important books available on the politics of modern times, listing Gibson’s third book “Environmentalism: Ideology and Power” (NOVA Science Publishers, 2002) with the first two Kennedy books.
A fourth book, “Communication, Power and Media” (NOVA Science Publishers, 2004) explores how the media has been used to control and manipulate people rather than as a means to inform and inspire people. His most recent book, “Wealth, Power, and the Crisis of Laissez-Faire Capitalism” (Palgrave MacMillan, 2011), traces America’s rise to global supremacy and examines how free-market ideology and the “establishment” networks exemplified by Wall Street and the Council for Foreign Relations combined to lead the United States to the political and economic crises faced at the dawn of the 21st century.
Gibson also has published numerous journal articles and other articles that explore these topics, as well as the hospice movement and the rise of organized opposition to nuclear energy. He also was a frequent panelist discussing the relationship between money and power.
Prior to coming to Pitt-Greensburg, Gibson taught at Middlebury College, Oberlin College, and the University of Delaware. He also was an instructor in the Department of Labor Studies at Pennsylvania State University where he taught a course on labor and the economy for the United Steelworkers of America Union Leadership Academy in Wilmington, DE. Gibson earned his BA in sociology/social welfare from West Chester State College and his MA and PhD in sociology from the University of Delaware. He also served four years in the U.S. Air Force.
Publication Date - Wednesday, May 21, 2014 - 9:15am