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Message on R. Wayne Kernodle

Provost Michael R. Halleran sent the following message to the campus community March 27, 2017 - Ed.

Dear Colleagues,

I write to share the news that Dr. R. Wayne Kernodle, Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Anthropology, passed away on March 24th. Professor Kernodle’s devotion to William & Mary is more than half a century strong.  A native of North Carolina, Kernodle received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  In 1945, he was hired by William & Mary, becoming the first instructor added to the faculty after World War II.  The courses that he taught included sociological theory, demography, and marriage and family analysis.  He was part of the research team that studied the impact of the Second World War on Hampton Roads. That study was used as a blueprint for postwar planning for cities and counties around the area.

In 1950, Kernodle became the chair of the sociology department, and he remained in that position for 20 years.  During his career, he added the first anthropology courses ever offered at the College and established the joint department of sociology and anthropology.  It grew from three to 16 members under his leadership, before anthropology became a separate department.  His legacy at William & Mary goes beyond departmental growth.  As a young faculty member, Kernodle helped investigate an athletics scandal at the College in the early 1950s. His work helped restore the program’s reputation and academic integrity and he even served temporarily as William & Mary’s acting athletic director.  

Kernodle served the College in various roles and on many committees, including chair of faculty affairs, athletics, curriculum/educational policy, tenure and promotion, and faculty-student cooperative committees. He also was part of the committee that developed the honors program at the College.  Additionally, Kernodle served as the coordinator of the Marshall-Wythe symposium course for juniors and seniors from 1958-64, bringing prominent scholars and political leaders to the campus.  He also edited a five-volume publication of these lectures.  The professor was also the head coach of the men’s varsity tennis team between 1951 and 1955, and often served as the chief marshal at the College’s Charter Day and Commencement ceremonies.  He was the initial coordinator of William & Mary’s Elderhostel, which was one of the first and most popular such programs in the nation.  He served as the faculty advisor to Omicron Delta Kappa, and as the chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee of The Borgenicht Program for Aging and Exercise Science and board member of The Borgenicht Foundation.  In 1976, he received the Thomas Jefferson Award, which is given annually to a member of the College community for significant service through personal activities, influence, and leadership.

After serving for more than four decades at the College, Kernodle retired in 1987 and received the title of professor emeritus.  In 1991, he and his wife, Ruth Lynch Kernodle, founded the Christopher Wren Association for Lifelong Learning at William & Mary.  In 2008, the two were named honorary alumni.  In 2010, he was the recipient of a William & Mary Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters. 

He is survived by his, wife Ruth; son, Dr. Michael Kernodle of Boone, N.C. and his wife, Lou Ann; daughter, Dr. Kathryn Ruth Kernodle Loveland of Asheville, N.C.; his granddaughter, Abby Dixon; and his great-grandson, Rylyn Dixon.  A Celebration of his life will be held on Thursday, March 30th at 2 p.m. at the Williamsburg Landing Retirement Center at 5700 Williamsburg Landing Road in the Alvin P. Anderson Auditorium.  Bring “Wayne stories.”  In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the R. Wayne Kernodle Endowment Fund in the Department of Sociology at William & Mary or to the Ruth and Wayne Kernodle Endowment Fund of the Christopher Wren Association.

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