Last Thursday afternoon, nearly two hundred SAGE employees, authors, editors, board members and friends gathered overlooking the Pacific ocean at the Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel in Santa Barbara to celebrate SAGE’s 45th anniversary and honor our co-founder and executive chairman of our board of directors, Sara Miller McCune.
Sara founded SAGE in a one-woman office in New York City in 1965 when she was just shy of her 25th birthday. Today SAGE is the world’s largest independent academic and professional publisher, with nearly 1,000 employees at offices around the globe.
In a program entitled “Making Social Science Matter” (keeping with our 45th anniversary theme of Celebrating the Social and Behavioral Sciences), five distinguished academic panelists shared personal stories about their early involvement with Sara and SAGE and the impact she has had not only on their careers, but on their respective fields. The panel was chaired by Melvin L. Oliver, the SAGE Sara Miller McCune Dean of Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Molefi Asante, Professor, Department of African American Studies at Temple University and founding and current editor of SAGE’s Journal of Black Studies, related his early involvement with Sara in the turbulent late 60s shortly after Martin Luther King had been assassinated. He said that much of the credit for the creation of the field of black studies goes to the Ford Foundation but he believes that SAGE deserves as much credit for creating outlets for the intellectual discussion necessary to the growth the field of black studies.
David Goldfield, Robert Lee Bailey Professor of History at University of North Carolina at Charlotte and editor of the SAGE journal Urban History credits Sara and SAGE for making the field of urban studies a genuine field of inquiry that previous to SAGE did not exist. SAGE author Gareth Morgan, Distinguished Research Professor at York University, claimed to be a relative newcomer to the panel, having only been associated with Sara and SAGE since 1981. He discussed SAGE’s contribution to the field of methods and organizational management.
Ellen Wartella, Distinguished Professor of Psychology at University of California Riverside and former president of the International Communication Association, discussed Sara and George’s interest in publishing communication research that would have an impact on society and policy, helping transform a field that had previously focused on rhetoric.
Michael Quinn Patton, formerly at the University of Minnesota, spoke eloquently about Sara and SAGE’s contribution to the development of the field of evaluation, which didn’t exist prior to SAGE’s support of the field. He added that some think SAGE made the field of evaluation whereas other say the field of evaluation made SAGE.
In response to a question from a SAGE staffer, Dr. Patton credited the field of evaluation and SAGE for publishing research on battered women’s shelters that has revolutionized the way battered women are treated when they call a shelter and there is no bed available. It was the perfect story to wrap up the panel and illustrate the impact SAGE has had on the social and behavioral sciences in ways that directly impact the lives of people.
Even for someone like me who has been around SAGE since 1994, hearing the stories straight from the people who were there about how SAGE has been formative in so many fields was inspiring. A video was made and I’ll post a link to it. It’s definitely worth a watch.