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Gridder to scholar to honors...

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Gridder to scholar to honors

Donald R. Deskins Jr., a University of~Michigan geography professor, has had his share of successes both on and off the football field.

In the late 1950s he played tackle under coach Bennie Ooster-baan at the U-M and later went on to play professional football with the Oakland Raiders.

Today he is a scholar specializing in geographic and social problems of American cities. Last year he was appointed associate dean of the U-M Rackham school of Graduate Studies, while still retaining his geography teaching position.

His most recent honor was being named one of the recipients of the U-M’s faculty recognition award, given to faculty members for their “impact on the life of the student body as a teacher and counselor.”

THE AWARD cited Deskins’ humane approach as a teacher and administrator, his research into important social problems, and his service to the geography profession “by enhancing educational opportunities for minority groups.”

Deskins note that, like many other black athletes, he entered college with his eye on the gridiron. He participated in both track and football at Michigan, graduating “with distinction” in 1960. After playing with the Oakland Raiders, Deskins decided to return to the U-M to work on his doctorate in geography.