Michael Katz, the Walter H. Annenberg Professor of History and a former co-director of the Urban Studies department, died Saturday of cancer at Penn Hospice of Rittenhouse. He was 75.
Students in the Urban Studies program were informed of Katz’s death via an email Tuesday. Current department co-chairs Elaine Simon and Mark Stern also posted a reflection on Katz’s Penn career to the Urban Studies site.
“[Katz], more than any individual, is responsible for the current contours of the undergraduate program,” Simon and Stern wrote. They credited him with restructuring the Urban Studies curriculum during his term as co-director between 1983 and 1996 and with prioritizing the major’s senior seminar, which is still a requirement.
Katz was also the chair of Penn’s history department from 1991 to 1995 and from 2011 to 2012. According to his biography on the history department’s website, he was a Research Associate in the Population Studies Center in recent years.
A former Guggenheim Fellow, Katz received his education at Harvard University. Major areas of his research included public education, urban family organization and the history of social welfare and poverty.