Office of External Communications

Houston, TX 77204-5017 Fax: 713.743.8199

July 10, 2006

Contact: Marisa Ramirez
713.743.8152 (office)
713.204.9798 (cell)

Janet Chafetz’s Career Spanned More Than 30 Years

HOUSTON, July 10, 2006— Janet Saltzman Chafetz, professor of sociology and longtime faculty member at the University of Houston, passed away Thursday, July 6, 2006 after a battle with cancer. She was 64 years old.

Professor Chafetz called UH home for 35 years. For 12 years she served as the chair of the sociology department.

“Janet Chafetz was not just an accomplished scholar, but also an effective leader in the college,” John Antel, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, said. “Most significantly, however, Janet was totally dedicated to the university and the students. She was a member of a generation of faculty who, with more grit than real resources, helped build UH into a research university.”

Chafetz focused her teaching and research energies on the study of gender roles and the sociology of gender. Her many publications included the books “Gender Equity” and “The Handbook on the Sociology of Gender.” With fellow sociology professor and longtime friend, Helen Rose Ebaugh, she co-wrote the book “Religion and the New Immigrants.” Chafetz also served on the council of the American Sociological Association, as president of the Sociologists for Women in Society and the Southwest Sociological Society.

Ebaugh said their offices were side-by-side, and they began each morning with a cup of coffee and conversation.

“Janet was a woman of integrity who could not be swayed by majority opinion,” Ebaugh said. “She was a challenger of the taken-for-granted, both for students and colleagues. She loved intellectual discussions, heated arguments over issues, Russian novels, the New York Times crossword puzzles, writing scholarly articles, and especially her husband, Hank, and son, Josh.”

Hank Chafetz is a professor in the UH geosciences department. Their son, Josh, is a former Rhodes Scholar and currently at Yale Law School.

“Hank and Josh were her pride and joy,” Ebaugh said.

Chafetz graduated from Cornell University in 1963 with a bachelor’s degree in history. She completed graduate studies in sociology at the University of Connecticut in 1966, and received a doctorate in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1969.

A memorial service at the University of Houston is planned for early fall. In lieu of flowers or the usual remembrances, friends are asked to consider a donation to the Janet S. Chafetz Fund, Department of Sociology, University of Houston, 4800 Calhoun, Houston, Texas 77204-3012. This fund will support graduate and undergraduate programs in the sociology department.

About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 35,000 students.

For more information about UH visit the university’s ‘Newsroom’ at