Here are 483 retirement messages from some of your colleagues:
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I have enjoyed working with you on everything from Here2Listen to your talks at PGSP. Look forward to more opportunities, as I know you will not be any less active when you "retire."
All the best.
My first experience as a graduate student (in the 70s) at a professional meeting was a Western Psychological Association meeting. I presented a paper (my first!) -- but Phil and a student of his had a paper in the same session. I was terrified... but I managed, though I couldn't bring myself to speak to such a famous person.
Since that time, nearly 30 years later, you and I have met in a number of contexts, you have been kind and generous both to me and to my 13-year-old son (who also attends APA meetings, and who speaks of you often), and generally been the kind of professional and person role model for me that I would hope to be for students in the future.
Thanks for showing the way to so many of us. Don't be a stranger.
I don’t know Dr. Zimbardo personally, and he has never been on the campus of our small residential liberal arts college in Napa Valley, 150 miles or so north of Stanford. But Dr. Zimbardo has been a significant and consistent teaching colleague here for at least the last 15 years. We have made attendance at the Western Psychological Association Convention an annual event for our majors, and every year we take 10 to 20 students. Early in this process a few of our students noticed that “Zimbardo” was posing for photographs with undergraduates, and worked up the courage to ask him to do so with them. Since then every year our students look forward not just to taking a picture with him, but asking him a few questions. He has always been unbelievably gracious to these students, taking time out of his busy convention schedule to (at least look) interested in what must be the zillionth time he has heard the same question from eager college students. He has also often stopped by at student poster sessions, and gone out of his way to give helpful and encouraging feedback.
We have collected a number of “Zimbardo” stories over the years from our students, but the best, and one that I saw unfold with my own eyes, happened the last time WPA was in Phoenix. One of my students was on her way to set up her poster and ran into Zimbardo in the hallway. Undaunted, she gave him a big smile, hello, and a hug and said “I’m C****, remember me? We spoke at last year’s WPA and I told you I would be doing a poster this year, and you said you would try to see it. My session starts in 15 minutes, can you come?”
Dr. Zimbardo expressed his regrets that he would not be able to attend, as he was scheduled to chair a session that began at the same time. Our student was momentarily crushed, but then lit up and said: “No problem – I have the posters right here!”, and without waiting to see his reaction, spread her poster boards on the floor of the hotel hallway.
At this point I began to fiddle with my convention badge, trying to hide the name of my affiliated school so that Dr. Zimbardo would not know that the student harassing him was one of mine, but I had no need. Dr. Zimbardo got down on his hands and knees on the floor of the hotel, and took a good five minutes to read over my student’s poster, give a few kind words, and wish her well. Needless to say that encounter meant the world to that student, and the story, now the stuff of legend and repeated to each new generation of majors here, has meant a lot to scores more. In smaller but just as important ways, in chance encounters in elevators, coffee shops, and in other spots (including the beach in Maui and Kona), Dr. Zimbardo has played a very real, direct, and personal role in the education of our students – and I know the same can be said for many other small schools whose students have had a chance to interact with him at WPA.
Thanks for all of your help, Phil!
Pacific Union College
With your retirement the curtain drops on your academic activity at the Departement of Psychology at the Stanford University, but at the same time wonderful scenery is opening that will mean a better future for you and for your family. This is my best wish, your friend forever.
You might remember -- I certainly do -- that you were a member of my dissertation committee back a few years ago. You were of course very helpful and gave me a copy of your book on the cognitive control of motivation (which you pointed out, I had not read -- though I should have!). Before that, your Intro Psych text was my own first introduction to psychology. In the years since, I have continued to be inspired by your passion for explaining psychology clearly, and teaching why psychology matters. Plus, you're a nice guy.
Best wishes on your so-called retirement, which I would bet money, won't change a thing.
University of California, Riverside
I remember when you visited Brooklyn College when I was a graduate student at CUNY -- Hal Proshansky introduced you. Hal was a significant influence in my life...instigating a transition from clinical to social psychology.
Anyway...I just wanted to tell you that I have admired your thinking about so many issues....and your empirical work as well. Since as an academic one is free to teach whatever one wants to (just about), whenever one wants to, and research -- whatever one wants to... this transition for you should be relatively easy...since you can still continue to do whatever you want to....
Best of luck...
University of Delaware
I will never forget Zimbardo's visit to my university when I was a postgraduate student -- it was my first real glimpse of how social psychology can be done and can make a difference. I have followed and been inspired by his work ever since, and it has had a great impact on my own teaching and research. Very best wishes to him and his family for a productive and enjoyable retirement.
University of Queensland
Phil -- in so many ways, you've helped make Social Psychology the dynamic, thought-provoking, important, often-outrageous, and (above all else) fun discipline in Psychology Proper.
I'll be talking about your research in class for the next 50 years.
On behalf of my students and myself, MANY THANKS!
SUNY New Paltz
I was a student of yours at NYU back in the 60's. I have followed your footsteps and become a professor here at California Institute of Integral Studies in S.F. for the last 20 years.
I remember having a wonderful social psych. class with you. Wishing you the best of luck on your retirement.
Judye Gershman Hess
In my own teaching I have always tried to provide students with a highly practical view of psychology -- in the classroom and outside of class. In these attempts you have been both a model and a big help. I have used your books and tapes in class, my students had the chance to meet with you at Stanford during our Psychology Study Tours to California and you gave our students and colleagues a lively and well received example of your inspiring way of teaching when we had you as a guest on our Vienna Campus. You and your work will continue to be a lasting inspiration for my own teaching. I want to thank you for this, and hope that we will continue our professional and private meetings (in California and/or in Austria) in the future.
Webster University, Vienna
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