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Enrico (Henry) L. Quarantelli

In Memoriam: Enrico Quarantelli

Service on June 9 to honor, remember Enrico Quarantelli

A Celebration of Life for Enrico (Henry) L. Quarantelli, professor emeritus of sociology and a co-founder of the University of Delaware’s Disaster Research Center, will take place Friday, June 9, at UD.

Prof. Quarantelli, an internationally recognized pioneer in the field of disaster research, died April 2 at his home in Newark, Delaware, at age 92.

The June 9 service will take place from 2-4 p.m. at Daugherty Hall, Trabant University Center, on UD’s Newark campus. Before the reception, a brief graveside interment with a military honor guard will be held from 11-11:15 a.m. at Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 2465 Chesapeake City Road, Bear, Delaware.

Attendees from out of town are encouraged to RSVP by June 1 so that the Disaster Research Center (DRC) may plan accordingly.

The Celebration of Life, hosted by Prof. Quarantelli’s DRC family and UD’s Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, will give friends and former students the opportunity to share memories and reflections of his personal and professional impacts.

Those unable to attend are encouraged to submit a memory or reflection at the In Memoriam website. Friends and former students who wish to share photos of Prof. Quarantelli are requested to contact Pat Young directly at pyoung@udel.edu.

A number of panels and activities will take place over the next year to honor Prof. Quarantelli’s many professional contributions during a long and productive career that was dedicated to disaster science and disaster management practice. The DRC – which he co-founded with Russell Dynes, now a research professor emeritus at UD, and Eugene Haas – is the world's oldest center focused on the social science and management aspects of disasters.

Prof. Quarantelli served in the U.S. Army during World War II and then earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, all with honors, from the University of Chicago, where he began his work in the disaster research field by playing an instrumental role with the National Opinion Research Center. After completing his dissertation, he joined the faculty at Ohio State University in 1959, where he remained until 1984.

The DRC was founded at Ohio State in 1963 and went on to generate some of the most important social and behavioral science research on disasters. Profs. Quarantelli and Dynes spearheaded what became a hallmark of disaster research methodology – quick response.

In 1984, the center moved to UD, where Prof. Quarantelli joined the faculty, teaching until 1989 and conducting research until 1998. He served as professor emeritus until his death.

Over the years, the DRC has completed some 700 quick response studies, generating a host of graduate students uniquely trained in this methodological approach. Prof. Quarantelli's field deployments with the center spanned from the 1964 Alaskan earthquake to the 2001 Sept. 11 attacks, when he was 76 years old.

One of his intellectual passions was the growth of the DRC's Resource Collection, which includes not only decades of qualitative and quantitative research data, but also a library holding of more than 70,000 publications. Visiting scholars from around the world apply to DRC, sometimes a year in advance, to come to make use of this vast collection.  

In 1996, Prof. Quarantelli was awarded the Charles E. Fritz Award for Career Contributions to Disaster Research. 

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