William Sprott Pollitzer

William Sprott Pollitzer
Chapel Hill, N.C.
William Sprott Pollitzer of Chapel Hill died March 12 at UNC Hospitals. A resident of Chapel Hill for over 40 years, he was a Professor of Anatomy at UNC School of Medicine until his retirement.

He was born in Charleston, S.C., and grew up in Greenville. He received his A.B. and Masters degrees in Biology from Emory University, and earned his Ph.D from Columbia University, with a dissertation on human variation. He came to Chapel Hill in 1957, teaching gross anatomy in the medical school, and developing his own course in genetics and human evolution. He was editor of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, President of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, and received the Association's Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996. He was also President of the Human Biology Council. Based on his research for his dissertation and subsequent work, he wrote "The Gullah People and Their African Heritage." The book explores the history and culture of the Gullahs, and earned him the John B. Cawelti Award in 1999.

Survivors include his wife, Margaret Pollitzer; daughters, Virginia Pollitzer of Hillsborough and Patricia Pollitzer of Washington, D.C.; his brother, Richard Sprott Pollitzer of Spartanburg, S.C.; and six grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to the Haw River Association, 647 Bynum Road, Pittsboro, NC 27312, or to the Mental Health Association, 302 W. Weaver St., Carrboro, NC 27510.

Published in The Greenville News: 03-17-2002