Provost Peggy Agouris sent the following message to the campus community on Aug. 8, 2023. Ed.

Dear colleagues,

I write to share the news that Michael A. Faia, Professor of Sociology, Emeritus, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, July 19, 2023, with family at his side.

Michael August Faia was born to Nina Iola Herbrandson and August Ronald Faia on January 5, 1938 in Los Angeles, California.  After earning an associates degree in English from Diablo Valley College, he graduated from the University of Southern California in 1959 with a B.A. in sociology.  He went on to earn his master’s degree from the University of Chicago in 1962, then returned to USC to complete a doctoral degree in sociology in 1966.

Early in his career he was on the faculty at the California State University at Fullerton and at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.  In 1970, Dr. Faia accepted an associate professorship at William & Mary, and in 1979, he became a full professor.  At William & Mary he taught courses on Comparative Sociology, Methods of Social Research, Advanced Data Analysis, the Social Impact of Computers and the Communications Revolution, and Sociology Through Literature: An Updating of Coser.  Professor Faia was also a prolific author and researcher, publishing scores of peer reviewed articles and writing two books during his career:  Dynamic Functionalism, published in 1986, and What’s Wrong With the Social Sciences, published in 1993.  Following retirement in 2000, he enjoyed writing fiction and creative nonfiction.  One of his short stories, The Anchorite, was published in the Owen Wister Review in 2015.

Throughout his life, Michael was an avid outdoorsman and lover of nature.  He and his family enjoyed many hiking and camping adventures in state and national parks throughout the United States.  He also got a kick out of traveling internationally, and he spent time in many different countries, including France, Israel, Mexico, Spain and Tonga.  He had a lifelong interest in aviation, and in the early 1990s took flying lessons and earned his private pilot’s license.  In 2009, he moved to Staunton, Virginia, where he had a beautiful view of the Appalachian Mountains from the balcony of his home.

Besides his parents, Michael was predeceased by his brother, Ronald Faia and his sister, Laurie Faia Milligan.  Survivors include daughters, Caitlin Faia Miley (Matthew) of Urbanna, Virginia, and Nina Faia Mutlu (Daniel) of Ossining, New York, and sons, Michael August Faia of Austin, Texas and Louis Franklin Faia of Oaxaca, Mexico.  Other survivors include three grandchildren, and a brother, Tom Faia of Los Angeles, California.

In lieu of flowers, a donation in Michael Faia’s name may be made to Lutheran World Relief or Virginia Public Media, two organizations he regularly supported.  On Friday, January 5, 2024, a celebration of life will be held for his family and friends in Williamsburg, starting at 11 a.m. at Nelsen Funeral Home at 3785 Strawberry Plains Road.  Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at Nelson Williamsburg for the Faia family.