Steve Winn Memorial Scholarship
The Steve Winn Memorial Scholarship states that “the recipient shall be a full time undergraduate or graduate student majoring in Sociology who has done outstanding work in the areas of sociological theory and social stratification.” This scholarship is intended to support outstanding students in these areas while honoring the life and work of Dr. Stephen Winn who died tragically while on sabbatical in French Guiana on March 5, 1995.
Dr. Stephen (‘Steve’) Winn was born on September 22, 1947, in the shadow of Mont Shasta, in Redding, northern California. He earned his B.A. in 1969 and M.A. in 1971, both from the University of Chico. His doctorate in Sociology was granted by Washington State University in 1976. Steve also studied at the University of Bari, in Italy, the London School of Economics, the University of Lund and Stockholm University in Sweden, and in various French institutions, including the Sorbonne. Dr. Winn was particularly interested in the relationship between class status and voting behavior. His dissertation research examined electoral support for George Wallace in the years 1964-1972. He later turned his attention to an examination of similar questions in Sweden and France where he spent considerable time doing research.
Steve was a strong advocate of proportional representation (PR) in elections, having studied the voting behavior in some American cities where PR had once been used. The data he collected indicated that PR results in higher levels of political participation, greater representation for labor and minority groups, and greater governmental efficiency on the municipal level. He was convinced that the political right and centrist defenders of the status-quo had no real desire to attain such democratic goals. It was just this skepticism grounded in empirical research, coupled with a love for what democracy could be, that made Dr. Winn a much sought after and inspiring teacher.
Dr. Winn was the recipient of a number of Faculty Development grants from Marshall University and of a National Endowment for the Humanities Stipend in 1978. His research was further supported by generous financial grants from the Institute for Social Research (Stockholm University), and from various French institutions, including the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, the Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques, the Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques, and the Centre Universitaire de Recherches Sociologiques d’Amiens.