Wright is one of 60 new members and 15 foreign associates elected to the Academy.
The Academy is a private organization of approximately 2,000 scientists and engineers dedicated to the furthering of science and its use for the general welfare. Election to membership is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded scientists and engineers, in recognition of distinguished, sustained achievements in original research.
Wright, who also is curator at the Museum of Anthropology, won a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship last spring. He studies the origins of the cultural, political and economic operation of archaic states and pre-states, and has conducted fieldwork in sites as disparate as Macomb and Saginaw counties in Michigan; Tepe Farukhabad, a fourth millennium B.C. town in Southwestern Iran; and the islands of Anjouan and Ngazidja in the Comoro Islands.
Henry is certainly the intellectual leader in the world in the evolution of complex societies, said Prof. Richard I. Ford, chair of the Department of Anthropology. His work has set the standard for two generations of research.
Wright received an A.B. degree from the U-M in 1964, continuing his studies in anthropology at the University of Chicago, where he received a Ph.D. in 1967. That same year, he joined the
U-M faculty as an assistant professor of anthropology and curator at the Museum of Anthropology. He became a full professor in 1976.
Wright is a member of the Society for American Archaeology and the American Anthropological Association, among other professional societies. He is also the author of more than 70 publications. The first, An Archaeological Survey of the Upper Potomac Valley, appeared in the West Virginia Archaeologist in 1959 when Wright was 16.
Other U-M faculty members of the National Academy of Sciences include Richard D. Alexander, Mathew Alpern, Robert Axelrod, Jerome W. Conn, Minor J. Coon, H. Richard Crane, Horace W. Davenport, Thomas M. Donahue, Kent V. Flannery, Ronald Freedman, Stanley M. Garn, Frederick W. Gehring, James B. Griffin, Melvin Hochster, James N. Morgan, James V. Neel, J. Lawrence Oncley, Kenneth L. Pike, and Warren H. Wagner Jr.