Saturday, October 01, 2005

Obit: Dr. Urie Bronfenbrenner

From The Cornell Daily Sun:
Father of Hum Ec Dies
September 27, 2005
By Melissa Korn
Sun Senior Editor

Urie Bronfenbrenner ’38, longtime Cornell professor, co-founder of Head Start and one of the world’s most renowned developmental psychologists, died in Ithaca Sunday of complications from diabetes. He was 88.

Bronfenbrenner was the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Human Development and Family Studies and of psychology. He retired in 1987.

A giant in the field of psychology, Bronfenbrenner is credited with creating the discipline of human ecology with his 1979 theory of “human bioecology.” This breakthrough forced sociologists, economists and psychologists to reconsider child development through a more holistic lens that considered community, race and other factors. The rise of human ecology led to the drastic revision of national and international child and family development programs.

Bronfenbrenner was described by long-time colleague Prof. Stephen Ceci, the Helen L. Carr Professor of Developmental Psychology, as a “true master” and “someone peerless.”

Prof. Emeritus Henry Ricciuti, human development, a close friend of Bronfenbrenner, said, “His death is a major loss to his many friends and colleagues, as well as to the field of human development.”

In addition to his work on the role of community and other factors in child development, Bronfenbrenner published extensively on cross-cultural studies of family and child development. He was the author, co-author or editor of more than 300 articles and chapters and 14 books, including The State of Americans, The Ecology of Human Development and, most recently, Making Human Beings Human.

Bronfenbrenner was well regarded at Cornell not just for his research findings, but also because of his close connection to students and love of teaching.
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Anthony H. Risser | |

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