After 40 years of distinguished teaching, research, and service to the University of Cincinnati, Anthony J. Perzigian retired effective September 2011. Always ahead of everyone's expectations, Tony did not really retire as much as change his academic address, having commenced his current appointment as Adviser to the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Future University in Egypt.
But back to the neo-terrific, as his now-retired colleagues Profs Joe Foster and Barry Isaac would say. When the vast majority of current Anthropology faculty would not be born for at least another decade, Tony already had assumed his position as Assistant Professor of Anthropology in 1970. Armed with a freshly minted PhD in anthropology from Indiana University, Tony began teaching a suite of physical anthropology, osteology, and forensics courses, previously unavailable to the university community. A legendary instructor, Tony taught thousands of students the meaning of evolutionary theory, shared with them the latest exciting discoveries in human paleontology, and inspired them to think rationally about the crucial difference between biological and cultural conceptions of race. Importantly, Tony's highly regarded publications on the epidemiology of dental variation, the paleobiology of pathological responses to dietary shifts, and the osteological foundations of forensic science continue to influence sustained research in these areas nationwide.
After securing tenure, serving as Acting Head of Anthropology, being promoted to Professor, and earning induction as a diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Anthropology ("No. 34") by the mid-1980s, Tony struck out on out on a new academic path. He was appointed Associate Dean of A&S in 1987, a position he held until 1991 (simultaneously serving as Head of African-American Studies from 1989-1991), when he assumed the position of Vice Provost of Academic Affairs. Tony's initial administrative appointment as Vice Provost was followed, in rapid succession, by several others, including Interim Provost I (1993-1996), Interim Athletic Director (1997), then Interim Provost II (1998-2000), until (finally) he was selected as Provost in 2000. Most importantly, under his leadership as Provost between 2000 and 2010, UC was transformed academically and organizationally into the world-class institution it is today.
A tireless advocate of the importance of anthropology to the modern world, Tony never passed up an opportunity to remind his audience - be it high-schoolers or the Board of Trustees - of the value of evolutionary and cross-cultural perspectives in appreciating the origins and significance of global human variation. Unquestionably, the university and the entire Cincinnati community have been enriched by Tony's academic philosophy -- advance scientific understandings of the human condition and promote institutional change for the benefit of all stakeholders in higher education. Less broadly appreciated is Tony's unrelenting commitment to the recruitment and retention of junior faculty. As he sees it, the expansion of learning opportunities, the engagement of the institution with the community, and the likelihood of achieving the goals of the university's missions, all depend on continually refreshing, diversifying, and expanding the faculty. The vibrant intellectual community we enjoy today, particularly in A&S, is a testament to his forward thinking in this area of academic affairs.
In addition to his achievements as a researcher, faculty member, and administrator, Tony has a well-earned reputation for getting into trouble as an "innocent man." Perhaps the most famous incident involved Tony trying to explain, to an incredulous Ohio state trooper who had already radioed for back up, what he was doing with a human skull! Ironically, Tony was involved for decades as an expert in human forensics for the State of Ohio and the Hamilton County Coroner's Office - so, you never really wanted to look too closely at those boxes jiggling around in the back seat of his car.