William Velez

  • Professor Emeritus, Sociology
  • Affiliated Professor Emeritus, Urban Studies


PhD, Sociology, Yale University,1983

Office Hours

By appointment only

Courses Taught

  • Course SOCIOL 323-201: Perspectives on Latino Communities

Research Interests

  • Sociology of Education
  • Social Stratification
  • Race and Ethnic Relations
  • Sociology of Latinos

Related Activities

  • 2017 - present, Professor Emeritus
  • 1997 - 2016, Professor
  • 1989 - 1997, Associate Professor
  • 1981 - 1989, Assistant Professor

Biographical Sketch

William Velez was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico. He atended the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan, where he majored in Psychology and Sociology. In the 1970s he attended Yale University where he earned a doctoral degree in Sociology in 1983. He joined the UWM faculty in 1981 and in 1996 was granted the rank of full professor. Prof. Velez retired from the UWM faculty in 2017 and was granted the title of Professor Emeritus.

He is married to wife Barbara and has two children, Alfredo Joel Velez, a psychiatrist who lives in Eugene, Oregon, and Marilka Rebeca, a senior vice-president of Associated Bank, who lives in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

While at UWM Prof. was instrumental in the creation of the Latino Studies Certificate Program, the Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies major, and the Roberto Hernandez Center. In 2021 he received the Ernest Spaights Award from UWM for his service to the university .

Selected Publications

Goldsmith, P. R., Britton, M. L., Reese, B. , & Velez, W. (2017) Will Moving to a Better Neighborhood Help? Teenage Residential Mobility, Change of Context and Young-Adult Educational Attainment. Urban Affairs Review , 53(2), 305–337.
Britton, M. L., & Velez, W. (2015) Boricuas, Barrios and Birth Outcomes: Residential Segregation and Preterm Birth among Puerto Ricans in the United States. CENTRO Journal , 26(1).
De Jesus, A. , Burgos, G. , Almenas, M. , & (2014) “Bifurcated Boricuas: A Multilevel Analysis of Cultural and Economic Factors Influencing Marriage Patterns of U.S. Puerto Ricans.”. Velez, W. (Ed). The Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment , 24, 156-178.
Antrop-Gonzalez, R. F., Garrett, T. , & Velez, W. (2012) “What have we learned from our research?: Making sense of the impact of protestant religiosity on the academic achievement of urban Latina/o youth. Jeynes, W. , & Robinson, D. (Eds). International Handbook of Protestant Education , 417-430. New York, NY: Springer.
Velez, W. , & Goldsmith, P. A. (2011) Transitions to Wage Labor and Postsecondary Education Among Puerto Rican Youth. Centro Journal , 23(2), 20-37.
Velez, W. , Martin, M. E., & Mendez, E. (2009) Segregation Patterns in Metro Areas: Latinos and African Americans in 2000. Centro Journal , 21(1), 118-137.