Professor Emeritus Annenberg Elihu Katz dies at 95
Annenberg School for Communication Professor Emeritus Elihu Katz died on December 31 at the age of 95.
Recognized as a distinguished sociologist and a “founding father of the field of communication,” Katz wrote more than 20 books and 175 articles and book chapters during his lifetime, Annenberg News reported. His research interests included the diffusion of ideas and innovations and the dynamics of public opinion, according to his profile as Professor Annenberg.
Katz joined Penn’s faculty in 1993 as Professor Emeritus of Communication at the Annenberg School. While at Penn, Katz launched the Annenberg Scholars postdoctoral program and co-wrote the book “Echoes of Gabriel Tarde: What We Know Better or Different 100 Years Later” with Annenberg Ph.Ds Christopher Ali and Joohan Kim, reported Annenberg News.
Katz retired from Annenberg in 2014. A collection of his works can be accessed through the archives of the Annenberg School of Communication Library.
Katz earned her bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. from Columbia University. As a graduate student, Katz met his mentor, sociologist Paul F. Lazarsfeld. With Lazarsfeld, Katz co-authored her first book “Personal Influence: The Part Played by People in the Flow of Mass Communications,” which explored the intersection of mass media and interpersonal communication, Annenberg News reported.
Throughout his career, Katz has worked at several universities, such as the University of Chicago, the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Katz helped establish the Hebrew University’s communications and journalism department, the Jerusalem Post reported.
In Israel, Katz has been credited with bringing television broadcasting to the country. In the late 1960s, the Israeli government appointed Katz to lead a task force to implement television broadcasting, and from 1968 to 1969 Katz was the director of Israeli television, according to Annenberg News.
Katz has received several honors, including the UNESCO-Canada McLuhan Prize, the Israel Prize and the Burda Prize. He was an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
In addition to receiving honorary degrees from the universities of Ghent, Montreal, Paris, Haifa, Rome (La Sapienza), Bucharest and Quebec, and from Northwestern University, Katz received an honorary doctorate of science from Penn in 2018, reported. Annenberg News. .
“Elihu Katz is a scholar of rare achievement and influence. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of an honorary degree from the University of Pennsylvania. And I can think of no better way to show our gratitude to him for his many contributions to Annenberg, Penn and to the field of communications,” former Annenberg Dean Michael X. Delli Carpini said in 2018, Annenberg News reported. .
Katz continued to engage in research and writing in Jerusalem until his death. He was buried in Jerusalem’s Har Hamenuhot Cemetery on January 2, the Jerusalem Post reported. He is survived by his wife, two sons and their families.