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Distinguished Alumni Award

Many graduates of the Ohio State Psychology program, both undergraduates and graduate students, have gone on to earn great distinction in their careers. The Department recognizes the impact of one especially accomplished graduate each year with the Distinguished Alumni Award. Recipients are invited to return to campus to receive their award and to give an address to faculty and students.

Distinguished Alumni Award 2018, Keith Widaman

Keith Widaman with Charles Emery

Widaman has spent his career focused on child and developmental psychology in relation to intelligence, intellectual disability, processes and individual differences in cognition and gene X environment interactions in determining developmental outcomes. His research has primarily focused on factor modeling and application issues, psychometrics and evaluating psychological assessment methods from the past.

Widaman received his Ph.D. from Ohio State in 1982 with a major in developmental psychology and a minor in quantitative psychology. Currently, he is a Distinguished Professor in the graduate school of Education at University of California, Riverside and is a member of the team developing Diagnostic Adaptive Behavior Scale, a new measure of adaptive behavior that is designed to be of special utility in diagnosis of intellectual disability. Widaman is on the Editorial Boards of several journals, was Associate Editor of Psychological Methods and is the current Editor of Multivariate Behavioral Research. He is a past President of the Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology and of Division 5 (Evaluation, Measurement and Statistics) of the American Psychological Association. Additionally, Widaman is a fellow of APA (Divisions 5, 7 and 33) and of the Association for Psychological Science. Among his other honors, he received the Cattell Award for early career contributions by SMEP and two Tanaka awards in 1994 and in 2002 for best article of the year in Multivariate Behavioral Research. 

Distinguished Alumni Award 2017, Sally J. Rogers

Sally J Rogers

“Starting Again”: the themes and products of my work - development with all its variations, systematizing interventions, measurement, early plasticity and learning, child, family, and community relations, intervention science - were uniquely shaped by my graduate school education at OSU. 






Distinguished Alumni Award 2016, Mahzarin Banaji

Picture of Mahzarin Banaji

“Implicit bias” is the idea that individuals may unconsciously develop hidden biases from a lifetime of experiences with members of different groups. Mahzarin Banaji (PhD, 1986; MA, 1982), one of the world’s leading experts on this topic, began her work to understand this bias and its effects as a graduate student at Ohio State.

A prolific scientist since leaving Ohio State and joining the faculty first at Yale and then Harvard, Banaji has published more than 190 works, including journal articles, books and chapters, including the popular press book Blindspot with co-author and collaborator Anthony Greenwald. Still, more important than the number of her publications is the impact of her work – Banaji has been cited more than 50,000 times, and many of her publications are among the most significant in the field of social psychology. Her body of work has focused on how the human mind works in social settings, more specifically on how unconscious, automatic processes impact our feelings, judgments, and decisions about both ourselves and others.

In January 2017, Banaji received the American Psychology Association (APA) Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions, the APA’s highest honor. Banaji shares the award with Anthony Greenwald.

Banaji is the founder of a new project, Outsmarting Human Minds, a set of videos and podcasts aimed at bringing psychological science to broader understanding. 

Distinguished Alumni Award 2015, William R. "Bill" Uttal

William Uttal

William R. "Bill" Uttal received his PhD in experimental psychology and biophysics in 1957.  His first position after graduation was at IBM, where he helped to build the earliest computers and developed programs for computer-aided instruction.  Uttal went on to a long and distinguished academic career in cognitive science, although his work had extensive impact in many other fields, including engineering and computer science.

Uttal retired in 1985 from the University of Michigan to work for the Navy in Hawaii, where he studied autonomous underwater vehicle system vision. He ultimately returned to academia for a second academic career at Arizona State University, where he studied visual systems and the neural foundations behind human-computer interaction. He retired from the ASU School of Computing, Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering in 1999, again receiving emeritus professor status.

A prolific author, Uttal authored 32 books and more than 140 scholarly articles. In fact, he continued to publish frequently even after his second retirement, publishing on average a new book every 1-2 years. One of his most impactful books was The New Phrenology: On the Localization of Cognitive Processes in the Brain (MIT Press), which was critical of cognitive neuroscience efforts to study localization of function. Uttal questioned whether psychological processes can be isolated to the extent that they can be associated with specific brain regions. Highly regarded for his scientific skepticism, Utall earned the respect of his fellow scholars for his critical analysis and scientific skepticism with respect to brain imagining and cognitive neuroscience research.

Bill Uttal passed away in March 2017.  Tributes to his life and scholarship can be found in his obituaries from the University of Michigan and Arizona State University.

Distinguished Alumni Award 2014, Gary L. Wells

Gary Wells

Gary L. Wells received his Ph.D. in psychology from Ohio State University in 1977. Currently, he is Professor of Psychology at Iowa State University and holds the title of Distinguished Professor and the Stavish Chair in the Social Sciences. He is an internationally recognized scholar in scientific psychology and his studies of eyewitness memory are widely known and cited. Wells has authored over 200 articles and chapters and two books. Most of this work has been focused on the reliability of eyewitness identification. He has received more than $2 million in funding from the National Science Foundation for his research on eyewitness identification and his findings have been incorporated into standard textbooks in psychology and in law.

His works have appeared in some of the most prestigious journals in psychology, including Psychological Bulletin, American Psychologist, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, Psychological Science, Current Directions in Psychological Science, Annual Review of Psychology, and the Journal of Applied Psychology, among others. His research‐based proposals on lineup procedures, such as his idea of double‐blind lineups, are being increasingly accepted in law enforcement practices across the U.S. His conclusions about eyewitness identification have received national media attention in such places as Time magazine, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, Wired Magazine, Discover Magazine, Atlantic, The New Yorker, and the New York Times. He has made appearances on CBS's 48 Hours, the NBC World News Tonight, Oprah, CNN, Court TV, NBC's Today Show, Rock Center, and 60 Minutes, among others. He was a founding member of the U.S. Department of Justice group that developed the first set of national guidelines for eyewitness evidence and co-chaired the panel that wrote the Justice Department training manual for law enforcement on eyewitness identification evidence. Wells has worked with prosecutors and police across the U.S. to reform eyewitness identification procedures. Wells is a past President of the American Psychology-Law Society and has received Distinguished Contribution awards from the American Psychology-Law Society and a Presidential Citation Award from the American Psychological Association. In 2008 Wells was awarded an honorary doctorate from the City University of New York, John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Distinguished Alumni Award 2013, Karl E. Weick 

Karl Weick

Professor Karl E. Weick received his A.B. degree from Wittenberg University in 1958, and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from The Ohio State University in 1960 and 1962, respectively. From 1962-88, he held faculty positions at Purdue University, the University of Minnesota, Cornell University, Seattle University, and the University of Texas. He joined the University of Michigan faculty in 1988 as professor of organizational behavior and industrial relations, professor of psychology, and Rensis Likert Collegiate Professor of Organizational Behavior and Psychology. He was appointed Rensis Likert Distinguished University Professor of Organizational Behavior and Psychology in 2001.

Professor Weick is a leading international scholar, writing on such aspects of organizational behavior as collective sense-making under pressure, medical errors, handoffs in extreme events, high reliability performance, improvisation, and continuous change. In 1990, Professor Weick received both the Irwin Award for Distinguished Scholarly Contributions from the Academy of Management and the Best Article of the Year Award from the Academy of Management Review for his article, "Theory Construction as Disciplined Imagination." In 1996, his book, The Social Psychology of Organizing (1969), was named one of the nine best business books ever written by Inc. Magazine and was translated into several languages. Professor Weick's book, Managing the Unexpected: Assuring High Performance in an Age of Complexity (2001), co-authored by Kathleen M. Sutcliffe, received the Best Book of the Year Award from HR.Com in 2002. Professor Weick is an excellent teacher and has served on the most prestigious editorial boards and top professional organizations in his field.

Distinguished Alumni Award 2012, Randall W. Engle 

Randall Engle

Randall W. Engle received his bachelor’s degree from West Virginia State College graduating with as many hours in zoology and math as in psychology. For doctoral study, he was admitted to the Ohio State University experimental psychology program to work with D.D. Wickens. Wick was a wonderful mentor and was exceedingly patient with a student that wanted to do everything but did not focus on anything long enough to do it well. The job market was tough in 1972 and Engle felt fortunate to land a job at King College in Tennessee. His two years there, with 10 classes per year, made him a teacher. Fortunately, two of his classes each year were senior research seminars and he used them to conduct experiments. He was limited in equipment to a tape recorder and slide projector so he did research on modality effects in short-term memory. At the end of two years, he had two publications, enough to land him a job at the University of South Carolina where he spent the next 21 years.

He moved to the School of Psychology at Georgia Institute of Technology as Chair, a position he held for 13 years. He stepped down as chair to found the GSU/GT Center for Advanced Brain Imaging on the Georgia Tech campus. He is editor of Current Directions in Psychological Science and has been on the editorial board of numerous other journals over his career. His research for the past 30 years has explored the nature of working memory, the nature and causes of limitations in working memory capacity, the role of those differences in real-world cognitive tasks, and the association of working memory capacity and cognitive control to fluid intelligence. His work has been funded by various agencies including the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and Office of Naval Research. His work has been highly influential across a wide array of areas including social psychology, emotion, psychopathology, developmental psychology, psychological testing, and has contributed to modern theory of cognitive and emotional control. Harzing’s Publish or Perish shows that Engle’s work has been cited nearly 17,000 times. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, Association of Psychological Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Society of Experimental Psychology, and the Memory Disorders Research Society. He has served as Chair of the Governing Board of the Psychonomic Society, Chair of the Board of the Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology (COGDOP), and President of Division 3 of APA. He is to receive the first Division 3 Lifetime Achievement Award at APA this fall.

Distinguished Alumni Award 2011, Bonnie R. Strickland

Bonnie Strickland

Bonnie R. Strickland completed her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at OSU in 1962. During the past 50 years she has had a distinguished career as an academic psychologist, as a leader in the field of psychology, as a vocal supporter of minority education/training opportunities, and as a mentor of women and minorities in psychology. Dr. Strickland is currently an Emerita Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where she has been a faculty member since 1973. She is a past President of the American Psychological Association (1987) as well as of the Division of Clinical Psychology within APA (1983), and she is a Fellow in six APA divisions (1,8,12,35,38,44). Dr. Strickland received the award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest from APA in 1999; and APA Division 35 (Society for the Psychology of Women) has named their annual Award for Distinguished Mentoring in her honor. She is a past President of the Society for General Psychology and the American Association for Applied and Preventive Psychology. In addition, she was one of the founders of the Association for Psychological Science and served on the first APS Board of Directors (1989-1993). Dr. Strickland has published more than 100 scientific and scholarly works, including two Citation Classics for her research on locus of control. In addition, she was among the first to study sex differences in health, illness, and morbidity, and she focused especially on depression and women’s health. Her research also has addressed psychological adaptation among socially stigmatized groups including ethnic minorities as well as lesbian and gay adults.


Distinguished Alumni Award 2010, Walter Mischel

Walter Mischel

Walter Mischel (PhD, clinical psychology, Ohio State, 1956), is the Robert Johnston Niven Professor of Humane Letters in Psychology at Columbia University where he has been since 1983, after 21 years as a professor at Stanford University. His research focuses on the structure and organization of individual differences, and the psychological mechanisms underlying self-control. His research showed that “good things come to those who wait”—willpower can be learned and carries with it lifelong benefits. His classic research paradigm known as “the marshmallow test” demonstrated that preschool children can learn to resist gratification, and such willpower creates a “protective buffer” that translates into higher order benefits later in life. His research has informed clinical psychology, personality psychology, education, and health science.

He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2004, and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1991. His honors include the 2011 Grawemeyer Award in Psychology, a Doctorate Philosophiae Honoris Causa from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association (APA), the Distinguished Scientist Award of the Society of Experimental Social Psychologists, the Distinguished Contributions to Personality Award of the Society of Social and Personality Psychologists, and the Distinguished Scientist Award of the APA Division of Clinical Psychology. He is past editor of Psychological Review. He was president of: APA Division 8 (Social and Personality), the Association for Research in Personality, and the Association for Psychological Science (2008-09).

Distinguished Alumni Award 2009, John T. Cacioppo

John Cacioppo

John Cacioppo is a 1977 graduate of the social psychology doctoral program at the Ohio State University. After serving on the faculties of Notre Dame, Iowa, and Ohio State, he is currently the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor at The University of Chicago. He is an internationally recognized expert on social and emotional influences on brain, behavioral, and biological processes.

At Chicago, Cacioppo founded and directs the interdisciplinary Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience. He holds appointments in the Department of Psychology, the Department of Psychiatry, and the Neuroscience Institute.

His innovative, interdisciplinary research has contributed to many different areas of psychology and is known world wide. Cacioppo gained recognition early in his career for his work in the area of attitudes and persuasion with his collaborator and fellow OSU alumnus Richard Petty. More than 20 years ago, Cacioppo began a collaboration with Gary Berntson at OSU to pioneer a new field they called “social neuroscience.” This growing field of study seeks to identify neural processes underlying social behavior and cognition—more specifically, to understand both how the brain affects social cognition and behavior, and how social cognition and behavior in turn affects the brain. Cacioppo’s most recent research is on loneliness and how this sense of social isolation can disrupt perceptions, behavior, and physiology.

Cacioppo has written or coauthored 17 books and more than 400 chapters and articles. Among his honors and distinctions are election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Society of Experimental Psychologists, and the Society of Experimental Social Psychology (SESP). Cacioppo is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science (APS), the American Psychological Association (APA), the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, the International Organization of Psychophysiology, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), and the Society of Behavioral Medicine.

Cacioppo is one of the department’s most highly decorated alumni. He received the Distinguished Scientific Award for an Early Career Contribution from the Society for Psychophysiological research (SPR), the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the APA, the Troland Research Award from the National Academy of Sciences, the Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Psychophysiology from the SPR, the Donald Campbell Award for Distinguished Contributions to social psychology from SPSP, the Scientific Impact award from SESP, and the Patricia R. Barchas Award from the American Psychosomatic Society.

Distinguished Alumni Award 2008, Harry P. Bahrick

Harry Bahrick

Professor Harry P. Bahrick received his PhD in Experimental Psychology from The Ohio State University in 1950. He joined the faculty of Ohio Wesleyan University in 1949 and has been a full professor with OWU since 1956. Professor Bahrick also has held guest professorships at Kenyon College, University of Marburg (Germany), University of Hamburg (Germany), University of Graz (Austria), Ohio State University and University of South Florida. Throughout his illustrious career, he has received many noteworthy honors including; Senior Fulbright Lecturer to Germany, National Science Foundation, Senior Fellow, Ohio Wesleyan’s Bishop Welch Meritorious Teaching Award, the Helen Whitelaw Jackson University Professorship at Ohio Wesleyan and the American Psychological Foundation, Distinguished Teaching Career Award. Professor Bahrick’s research also has been recognized with grants from the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health. His numerous publications, chapters and specialty books on the topic of human memory are highly regarded and frequently cited in popular science journals and introductory psychology textbooks.

Professor Bahrick’s influence on his students cannot be overstated. He has encouraged and inspired students at all levels to pursue their interest in psychology. In an article in the APS Observer he estimates that “over 100 people” were motivated enough in his classrooms to go on to earn psychology doctorates. Many of his students and post doctoral researchers have gone on to have exemplary careers due to his mentoring.

Distinguished Alumni Award 2007, Michael T.Turvey

Michael Turvey

Professor Turvey received his Ph.D. from the Ohio State University in 1967, where he was a student of Delos Wickens. That same year, he joined the faculty at the University of Connecticut. He was promoted with tenure just two years later, and was again promoted early to full professor in 1973, where he currently serves as Board of Trustees' Distinguished Professor. Professor Turvey has also had a joint appointment at Haskins Laboratories since 1970.

Professor Turvey is now considered among the foremost researchers in the world in the study of reading, motor control, perception (haptic, visual and auditory). He has won numerous national and international awards for his research. He received an APA early career award in 1974. He was the University of Connecticut Alumni Association Distinguished Professor from 1994-1997. He has been elected to the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Society for Experimental Psychologists, and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

In addition to his scholarly contributions, Professor Turvey is renowned as an outstanding teacher and public speaker. He has on several occasions won the University of Connecticut Alumni Award for Teaching Excellence. In his 39 years at the University of Connecticut, he has taught more than 25,000 undergraduates and produced over 40 PhDs.

Distinguished Alumni Award 2006, Claude M. Steele

Claude Steele

Professor Steele received his Ph.D. in Psychology from The Ohio State University in 1971. That same year, he joined the faculty of the University of Utah, moving to the University of Washington, then University of Michigan, and finally to Stanford University in 1991. At Stanford, Professor Steele served as department chair, the Lucie Stern Professor in the Social Sciences, and the Director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.

Professor Steele's research interests include how people cope with threats to the self-image, stereotype threat, and addictive behaviors. He is the recipient of numerous awards among which include the Cattell Fellowship, the Gordon Allport Prize, the William James Fellow Award from the APS, the Kurt Lewin Prize from the Society for the Scientific Study of Social Issues, the Senior Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest, and the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from both the APA and the APS. Professor Steele is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Education, and the National Academy of Sciences.


Distinguished Alumni Award 2005, Donald "Al" Riley

Donald Riley

Professor Emeritus Donald “Al” Riley received his Ph.D. in Psychology from The Ohio State University in 1950. That same year he joined the Psychology faculty of the University of California at Berkeley. Rising through the ranks, he became Professor in 1964, served as Associate Vice- Chancellor for Academic Development for UC Berkeley, and chaired the department from 1982 through 1987. He has been Professor Emeritus since 1991.

Professor Riley is regarded as a thoughtful, respectful, and generous mentor to his students, and many of them went on to productive careers in animal learning. He earned an international reputation as a scientist who maintained the study of animal learning and cognition as an ecologically relevant field.


Distinguished Alumni Award 2004, Richard McFall

Richard McFall

Professor Richard McFall received his Ph.D. in clinical psycholgy from the OSU Psychology Department in 1965 under the mentorship of George Kelly and Julian Rotter. His first academic appointment was with the University of Wisconsin, and in 1979 he joined the faculty at Indiana University, where he is currently Director of Clinical Training.

Dr. McFall has written many highly influential articles on a wide range of topics in clinical psychology. Much of his empirical research has focused on the role of social competence in relation to various forms of psychopathology in adults and children. That work has helped shape the perspective used by clinical scientists for studying agression, depression, and a wide range of other problems. Along with Dr. McFall’s highly respected body of empirical work, his efforts to enhance the role of science in clinical practice will be his enduring legacy. Dr. McFall’s work in this area has led to a profound, and growing change in the field. For example, he was the driving force behind the formation of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science (APCS). This is but one of many exceptional contributions Dr. McFall has made to the field of clinical psychology, which promise to reverberate to the betterment of the field for many years to come.

Dr. McFall contributes his views about scientific clinical psychology to his graduate training at OSU and the influence of his mentor, Julian Rotter. As Dr. McFall said in an article about APCS in the APS Observer (Jan. 2002), "The philosophy of the program at OSU was that they were training people for careers in clinical research. I think the rest of the world is now catching up to that point of view."

Distinguished Alumni Award 2003, Frank Stanton

Frank Stanton

Psychologists know the enormous impact the media can have on human behavior. Frank Stanton began his career studying this impact as a pioneer in media psychology. Fascinated with radio as a graduate student at Ohio State, Stanton used his doctoral research to study why people reacted positively to some broadcasts but negatively to others. His dissertation raised eyebrows at CBS and within the year he was running the network’s audience research department. In collaboration with Dr. Paul Lazarfeld, then at Princeton, Stanton developed a program analysis system to pre-test the appeal of new programs with studio audiences. Nicknamed “Little Annie,” this system was widely used and later adapted for television.

Stanton rose through the ranks quickly and was named president of CBS in 1946 at age 37. During his 25-year tenure he supervised the growth of CBS from a chain of 16 radio stations to a communications empire, embracing publishing and recording. He was a critical force in persuading Congress to permit the first broadcast of Presidential debats between Nixon and Kennedy in 1960. He believed broadcast journalism had a critical role in serving the public interest. In keeping with this philosophy, Stanton kept CBS News on the air for four days straight after the Kennedy Assassination, without commercial interruption, to heop stabilize the country during a critical and emotional time.

These achievements alone are impressive, but Stanton’s place in broadcast history was sealed by his staunch defense of the First Amendment. In 1971, CBS’s documentary, “The Selling of the Pentagon,” exposed massive expenditures for public relations efforts to promote militarism but subsequently drew fire from Congress. Stanton risked a prison sentence for contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over copies of outtakes and scripts from the film, maintaining First Amendment protection. During congressional hearings, Stanton defended the freedom of the press, saying, "A fundamental principle of a free society is at stake."

In 1990, Stanton and his wife Ruth established the Harold E Burtt Chair in Psychology in the name of Stanton’s former mentor. This fund supports distinguished teachers and scholars in the department of Psychology whose interests focus on issues of fundamental research and theory related to the application of psychology. This chair is currently held by Professor Russell H. Fazio.

Perhaps his greatest accolade came from his peers; in 1999 the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences awarded Stanton the Emmy Award for Lifefime Achievement, naming him “the conscience of broadcasting” for his fierce protection of the broadcast journalist’s First Amendment Rights.

Distinguished Alumni Award 2002, Roger E Kirk

Roger Kirk

Professor Roger E. Kirk was raised in Ohio and received all of his university degrees at The Ohio State University, including his Ph.D. in 1955. He has spent his career on the faculty at Baylor University where achieved great distinction as a teacher and as a scholar in the areas of statistics and experimental design, as well as in several substantive areas of psychology. He contributed to the education of generations of undergraduate and graduate students through the publication of superb textbooks in statistics and experimental design. His book on experimental design is among the most frequently cited sources in psychology. At Baylor was named Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Statistics and received the university's highest teaching honor, being named Master Teacher. In addition, he has provided exemplary service to major organizations, including APA. He has served as President of the Division 5 of APA (Evaluation, Measurement, and Statistics), and of Southwest Psychological Association.