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The Department of Sociology at The University of Akron is an active community of students and faculty members who apply the tools of sociology to better understand and improve our ever changing and complex world. Our department creates a welcoming environment for all. We respect and celebrate our diversity as we collectively pursue inclusive excellence in learning and teaching.
Dr. Baffour K. Takyi, a professor of sociology, died on Nov. 18, 2020. He was 64.
Takyi was born on Oct. 14, 1956, in Ghana. He earned a B.A. in Sociology with honors, at the University of Ghana, Legon in 1978. After a period of working as an internal auditor at the Ghana Audit Service and a teacher in Nigeria, he migrated to the United States in 1983 and obtained an M.A. (1986) and Ph.D. (1993) in Sociology at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany.
Takyi, who joined UA on Aug. 25, 1997, taught undergraduate and graduate courses, and focused his academic work on areas that included demographic and health outcomes in Africa, family dynamics, maternal and child health, religion and reproductive outcomes, the intersection of gender and power on fertility decision making, and the experiences of Africans and other black immigrants within the United States. In addition, he served as director of the Pan African Studies Program from October 2005 to May 2011.
A prolific author, Takyi’s articles have appeared in such publications as Journal of Marriage and the Family, Social Science and Medicine, Journal of Comparative Family, Sociological Focus, Family Perspectives, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Western Journal of Black Studies and Sociology of Religion. In addition, he has contributed chapters to several edited volumes on family and immigration and is co-editor on two books: “African Families and the Turn of the 21st Century” and “The Neo-Diaspora: Africans in America.”
Takyi remained involved with the Ghanaian community at home and abroad until his untimely passing. He helped lead an ongoing effort to raise funds for the “Ghana Make a Difference Academy of Learning,” created in 2017 to provide an education to children living in the academy as well as children in the neighboring area. He worked with one of his nephews, Dr. Chris Opoku-Agyeman, to initiate an endowment fund to help about 15 UA graduate students between the 2012-2013 and 2014-2015 academic years. Takyi and his wife, Salomey, always opened their home to foreign students for Thanksgiving, which became a yearly tradition.
“Georgia and I were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Professor Baffour Takyi,” said President Gary L. Miller. “We join the Department of Sociology and the entire University in expressing our most sincere sympathy to Professor Takyi’s family and friends. The University community has lost a great colleague.”
Takyi is survived by his wife of 40 years, Salomey Yeboaa Takyi, as well as his three sons, Kwame Baffour Takyi, Baffour Osei Takyi Jr. and Albert Kwaku Takyi (all UA alumni), and his grandchild, Kaden Takyi. He is also survived by a brother, seven sisters, nieces and nephews, two of whom are UA alumni (Dr. Chris Opoku-Agyeman of UA and Case Western Reserve University and Dr. William Opoku-Agyeman of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington).
“The Ghanaian community in Akron has lost a kindhearted and dedicated mentor,” said Professor Enoch E. Damson, his friend, and fellow Ghanaian UA faculty member. “He offered so much to his family, friends and the African community. Thanksgiving will never be the same without him and I miss his enduring friendship already.”
The University of Akron’s Interdisciplinary Symposium (UAIS) is a student led initiative that strives to showcase the innovative and creative scholarship among all UA students. This year we accepted 120 abstracts to present at the symposium, double that of our first symposium last year. However, due to COVID-19 the UAIS planning committee decided to cancel this year’s event for the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and community members that would attend UAIS. Next year UAIS will be back, and hopefully we will be bigger than ever. UAIS plans on having more involvement from all colleges and departments across campus next year, and we encourage any student who is interested in planning the symposium to contact this year’s chair Matt Williamson (email@example.com).
For the second UAIS, we received a total of $7,000 for funding the event. UAIS would like to thank the following colleges and departments for helping to fund UAIS: Bucthel College of Arts and Sciences, College of Applied Science and Technology, College of Business Administration, College of Engineering, College of Health Professions, Lebron James Family Foundation College of Education, Williams Honors College, The University of Akron Graduate School, The University of Akron Libraries and MakerStudio, and EXL Center for Experiential Learning.
To all presenters who did not get to present their posters at UAIS, we encourage you to include your poster to your CV/resume. This can be done by noting that your abstract was accepted for presentation, but the 2020 conference was canceled due to COVID-19.
I would like to personally thank the following individuals for helping me during my time as the UAIS Symposium Chair: Dr. Robert Peralta (Assoc. Professor of Sociology), Dr. Carolyn Behrman Professor of Anthropology), and Scott Swiatek (ABD, Department of Sociology). The three of you provided countless hours of work for this year’s event, offered great suggestions and feedback, and helped to make UAIS a success over the last two years.
UAIS offers UA students (both undergraduate and graduate) a place to share their academic work with fellow students, faculty, and the community. The mission of UAIS is to showcase innovative and creative scholarship, offer students a chance to network, and to provide a forum for future interdisciplinary work. UAIS also offers students a chance to help plan the symposium, which offers both a challenging and rewarding experience for those on the planning committee.
I would like to formally announce that Garrett Decker (undergraduate student and President of the Sociology Club) will be taking over as Symposium Chair for next year’s event.
Congratulations Garrett, and thank you for stepping up!
Thank you all for your support of UAIS, student scholarship, and enabling an atmosphere that will lead to more innovative work,
UAIS Symposium Chair