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New Chair Announced

The Lois S. Gray Professorship in Industrial Relations and the Social Sciences and the appointment of Professor Pamela Tolbert as the Gray chair’s first holder was announced by Harry Katz, Kenneth F. Kahn Dean and Jack Sheinkman Professor.

"Lois is a beloved figure in the ILR School and Cornell University. Establishment of this chair is a fitting tribute to her and her many accomplishments," Katz said.

Tolbert, he said, is internationally recognized as a leader in the development of institutional organizational theory.

Professor Gray joined ILR in 1947 and directed ILR's first Extension office, located in Buffalo.

In 1956 she moved to New York City to direct the ILR Metropolitan Extension District Office. In 1976, Gray became associate dean and director of ILR's Extension Division.

Innovations introduced during her leadership of the division, Katz said, included "training trainers" for industry and unions, the Institute for Women and Work, the Latino Leadership Center, international worker exchanges, off-campus credit and certificate programs, and the program for Employment and Workplace Systems.

In 1990, Gray was named the Jean McKelvey-Alice Grant Professor of Labor-Management Relations at ILR and Cornell. She became an emeritus professor and chair holder in 1998.

"Lois is widely recognized as an international leader in research on trade union leadership and administration and on the economic and labor relations dynamics in the arts and entertainment industry. To this day, Lois continues to carry out an active research and outreach agenda," Katz said.

Tolbert received tenure at ILR and Cornell in 1990 and was promoted to full professor in 1998, the dean said.

She has served as chair of ILR’s Organizational Behavior Department twice, first from January 1992 to December 1994, then from January 1997 to the present.

She "has provided extensive mentoring to assistant professors and graduate students in that department," Katz said.

Tolbert's recent research examines entrepreneurial activity through the lens of institutional theory.

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