Here are 483 retirement messages from some of your colleagues:

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Dear Dr. Zimbardo,

Thank you for giving so much to the field of social and personality psychology, in particular, and psychology in general. You are very much appreciated.


Constantine Sedikides
University of Southampton
United Kingdom

Phil and Marty
August 1999

The true story of how Phil did it:

Racing through the corridors of the Boston American Psychological Association convention site, I collide head-on with Phil and Chris. Phil has just had his hip replacement, so the collision is not trivial.

Sorting ourselves out and dusting off, I say, “Phil, APA needs a great president, one with your values and standing in the field. This is the crucial election coming up. A successor for Ray Fowler will be chosen during the term of this president. If the successor has academic values, APA will continue to flourish. If not, chaos and hardship.”

“You mean, I should run for President of the American Psychological Association.”


“Okay. I will.”

That was it. The meeting (collision) of like minds changes APA history.

Martin E.P. Seligman
Fox Leadership Professor of Psychology
University of Pennsylvania
President, American Psychological Association, 1998

Marty Seligman
University of Pennsylvania
United States

Thanks, Phil, for all you've done for us teachers of social psychology. Your research has permeated my class lectures for 37 years! A special "thanks" as well for all your work in the audiovisual realm. The video clips from Discovering Psychology, Candid Camera, Stanford Prison Experiment, etc., have helped our discipline come alive for a great many students.

Best wishes in your retirement years.

Dave Senn
Clemson University
United States


Best wishes for your retirement. You have been an inspiration to generations of scholars.


James Shepperd
University of Florida
United States

Dear Phil,

It has been a pleasure to work with you and be your friend for the past 8 years. There have been so many memorable moments. One that stands out was when we were commuting back from Stanford to San Francisco together in 1996. We passed a car that was on fire on the way to 280. Ever mindful of bystander apathy, we stopped and you offered comfort to the woman whose car was on fire until the police came.

At all times, I learned, Phil Zimbardo is a psychologist, teacher, leader, and friend.

Congratulations, and best wishes for many more years of contribution to the psychological and academic communities.

Your friend,

David Sherman
UC Santa Barbara
United States

Phil - Psychology simply wouldn't be the same without you! You can't RETIRE! ;) Thanks for being such an inspiration to those of us who are just beginning our careers. I'm so grateful that I got to know you when I was in graduate school, and will remember our psych 1 adventures very fondly. HAPPY RETIREMENT!

Donna Shestowsky
Stanford University
United States

Dear Phil,

What an honor to be included on this list of people who have gotten to know you and work with you and learn from you over the years! However, I feel a particularly special honor because we share the same roots (da Bronx!) and I can say that I danced with you (ladies, eat your heart out!)!

It has been an absolute joy to know you. All the best on your retirement -- I hope you get to do all the things you've been wanting to do with your leisure time! Enyoy!

Diane Siegel
United States

Dear Phil:

We met on the occassion of the Congress of the German Psychological Society - you gave a wonderful talk, and we had also a chance to chat about good and bad things (such as some films). I wish you the best of luck for the new projects, personal and official ones. I trust that such an energetic man like you will never rest (as mothers and good soldiers do) - give us more of yourself, but take the best for home.

Have a wonderful day!

Rainer Silbereisen
University of Jena

Phil -- you have inspired generations of young people across the world with your creative, important scholarship. Learning about your research led me to pursue a career in social psychology, and over the years I have made sure that my Introductory Social students learned not only about your classic prison experiment, but also about your important work on deindividuation, shyness, madness and evil (among other topics).

As a young teacher I read your Instructor’s Manual for your Introduction to Psychology text dozens of times, learning tips from the master teacher (as my physician brother, who took your introductory class at Stanford, calls you). You have been a constant cheerleader for our field, and have dedicated yourself to bringing psychology to the masses. We cannot thank you enough for all you have done for us. Enjoy “retirement” (although I can’t imagine that you will really ever really retire from the scene!).

Roxane Cohen Silver
University of California, Irvine
United States

While earning a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Ohio State in the 1970's under Tom Ostrom, I read with fascination your research and benefited as an Oberlin undergraduate from your early Introductory Psychology text. Thank you for conveying to me my love of Social Psychology and for your many contributions.

David Simpson
Carroll College, Wisconsin
United States

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