Between Houston and Galveston, Texas, you will find the small coastal town of Texas City. It is home to the nation’s third-largest oil refinery, and it is also the birthplace of William Reese, professor in the Department of Sociology, Criminal Justice, and Social Work. He was only three months old in 1947 when the devastating Texas City Disaster occurred. Considered to be the worse man-made disaster of the time, a burning French vessel with 2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate aboard crashed into the port of Texas City, and the resulting blast killed about 600 people and left many others critically injured. His father was one of the injured.
Dr. Reese attributes his interest in sociology and criminal justice to his early experiences of growing up in a blue-collar family in the rural South. Living during the years of the Jim Crow era, he says that segregation and other customs that went along with it didn’t make sense to him. When he became of age, he participated in Civil Rights demonstrations and marches throughout the South. As he continued to be an advocate for social equality, he move his discussions of injustice into the classroom.
“I knew there had to be a better way to effect social change and equality than marching around the South and getting bottles bounced off my head,” says Dr. Reese. “So, I decided to go to college and talk to reasonable people in the classroom about the injustices of racial inequality.”
He became a teaching fellow at the University of Houston in 1974, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in sociology He began his doctoral studies at the University of Arizona, and here his research interest turned to the delinquency of Native American youth. While there, his interest spread into the administration of juvenile justice. He earned a doctoral degree in sociology from the University of Arizona, and continued his research in the fields of criminal justice and juvenile justice.
“When I came to Augusta State in 1989, I didn’t think I would be here for the rest of my career,” says Dr. Reese. “But I found ASU to be a great place to work, and now here I am drawing near to closing my career.”
His career has been distinguished by a number of publications, professional activities, and honors. He is a charter member of Alpha Kappa Delta, National Sociology Honors Society, Theta Chapter of Georgia, and was inaugurated into the university’s chapter of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi in 2009. In 2003, Dr. Reese was awarded a three-year $150,000 grant from the U. S. Department of Justice to direct a Project Safe Neighborhoods program to decrease gun violence.
In his spare time, Dr. Reese enjoys woodworking and writing. His wife, Lynn, is the volunteer coordinator, youth director, and instructor for the Augusta Chapter of the American Red Cross
Married: Wife, Lynn.
Children, William a. Reese III and Lauryn Reese Hubbard.
Interesting Fact: His favorite song of the 1960s is John Lennon’s classic Imagine.