Renowned UCI criminologist Gil Geis dies at 87
Produced highly influential work on white-collar, financial crime
Gilbert Geis, a UC Irvine criminologist best known for his major contributions to white-collar crime research, died Saturday, Nov. 10, after a lengthy illness. He was 87.
His work spanned the fields of sociology, psychology, history, criminology, criminal justice, law, media studies, education, and policy studies. He published more than two dozen books, 250 journal articles, 100 chapters and 30 monographs.
“Gilbert Geis was well known as a prolific scholar, charming colleague and beloved friend,” said Valerie Jenness, dean of UCI’s School of Social Ecology. “For so many of us, it was a pleasure and an enriching experience to know him.”
Geis joined the UCI faculty in 1971 and played a significant role in establishing the School of Social Ecology and Department of Criminology, Law & Society. He was the 1976 president of the American Society of Criminology and in 1985 received its Edwin H. Sutherland Award for distinguished research, the most prestigious prize in the field of criminology. He remained an active and engaged scholar until the very end of his life.
A member of the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement & Administration of Justice, Geis was responsible for publicizing victim compensation in cases involving financial crime. He was also a member of the National Council on Crime & Delinquency from 1973 to 1976 and served for more than 10 years as president of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, a group that now has nearly 65,000 members worldwide.
“Gil’s work on white-collar and corporate crime spawned a new generation of scholars around the world who have greatly broadened the scope of criminology,” said Henry Pontell, UCI professor of criminology, law & society. “He was not only a giant in the field but an ideal mentor, colleague and dear friend to many. We lost a brilliant star whose keen sense of justice and humanity was evident in everything he wrote. His legacy will guide scholars for years to come.”
Born Jan. 10, 1925, in New York City, Geis served in the Navy during World War II and attended college under the GI Bill. He earned a bachelor’s degree at New York’s Colgate University, a master’s at Brigham Young University in Utah and a Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
A memorial service was held Wednesday, Nov. 14, at Pacific View Memorial Park & Mortuary in Corona del Mar. Geis will be remembered fondly by his extended family of friends and colleagues at UCI and throughout higher education.
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