Here are 32 retirement messages from some of your personal friends and family members:

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Dearest old friend,

Knowing you and observing your way of life has always been original and an exceptional experience to see. I recall the first time I met you. You had just given a speech at the Four Seasons Olympic Hotel and came through my store door, promptly closed it, and announced, "We need to be alone to do this." I, of course, being from somewhat rural Seattle, became a little nervous with this dark, tall gregarious Italian fellow. It turned out to be your first entre into the mystical and spiritual world of the Northwest Coast Ethnic Art. Through the years there are too many events to write on paper, but they will always be cherished in my memory. By the way, I thought you knew that you got paid for speeches! Thank you for the great sale that day and for the friendship we have cultivated.

May you have good health, cheer, and happiness in your well deserved retirement...Now, maybe we can get together for lunch when I am down there.

Ray and Glenny Law
R.J.L. Olympic Hotel, Seattle
United States

You simply have to love life transitions. They keep you from falling into a rut, and they're never quite as abrupt as they may appear from a distance.

Whatever. Have a delightful, fulfilling, exciting, and audacious retirement!

Michael Leiter
Acadia University

Is "retiring" the word to describe Phil Zimbardo??? I don’t think so!

Shy he is not, inactive he is not, ready to slow down – definitely not!

So, sweet fillip, what we are really going to be celebrating on November 1 is your transition from all the amazing things you have done so far to all the wonderful things still to come. Remember -- “Every exit is an entrance to somewhere else” – and I am looking forward to continuing along on that ride with you.

Much love from the woman who fits all the categories on this web site, and more!

Christina Maslach
United States


My life is greater from becoming a member of your family, and you of mine. You are one of the most exciting people I know- informed, exuberant, positive, provocative. I appreciate the support you've given me. You appear from time to time in my thoughts and life, even when you are nowhere near me. I was driving to California from Seattle some years ago- stopped late at night in a southern Oregon motel- fell asleep with the TV on- and awoke around 3 with you peering intently at me, lecturing me about the psychology of aging. You are omnipresent! I happened to feel a bit aged that morning, and listened with rapt attention- a mass of new ideas kept me awake and thinking that day. Congratulations to you on your retirement- you will redefine retirement in your unique way-

Your brother-in-law and friend,

Steven Maslach
United States

Phil Zimbardo has been an inspiration to many of us. He has promoted high school psychology, not only through his videotaped series but in other ways as well. When I approached the board of the Western Psychological Association three years ago requesting that a session for high school teachers be included in the program, Phil Zimbardo not only made it happen but he co-chaired the session the next year.

What I most appreciate about Phil is his incredible enthusiasm for psychology and the ability to convey that to students. Several years ago I had heard that Phil would be giving a lecture on shyness at Holy Names College in Oakland. I asked my students if any of them would like to attend. One girl meekly raised her hand. I met Shirley and her father the night of Phil’s speech, and after his talk, I introduced Shirley to Phil. I watched their conversation from a distance, and it was a magical moment for me. I felt that her life had been transformed by that meeting. I ran into Shirley at San Francisco State University several weeks ago where she is a senior, majoring in psychology and applying to graduate schools in the field. No doubt, she will take with her into her career in psychology a piece of Phil.

I often wish that the other psychological researchers of the world would take their cues from Dr. Zimbardo. He’s worked hard not only to learn things about human behavior but to get that message out to the rest of us. Unfortunately, ivory tower is not just a cliché. Too often psychologists are content to write merely for their peers. The topics they write about become progressively more obscure and their intended target audience becomes narrower. That’s how one gets published in the most prestigious of journals. Many of those psychologists have it backwards. They need to first popularize their findings, and then go to the journals. Tackle the big stuff and tell us what you learned. After all, you have the most interesting topic in the world to research and write about-human behavior. Somehow I think Phil Zimbardo knows that.

(Phil -- This is part of a longer tribute I wrote to and about you that will be appearing in the Psychology Teacher Network).

Patrick Mattimore
United States

Dear Phil:

Here's to thirty years plus of nonstop, high-velocity teaching, writing, and speaking, leading people from the darkness into the light! You are truly one-in-a-billion (one-in-a-million, or even Johnny Depp as you in the Prison Study, does not do you justice!).

But more than that, you have touched so many lives, helped so many people, alleviated so much suffering, and made the world into a much better place. Your accomplishments -- one student at a time, one friend at a time, one prisoner at a time, one study, book, or video at a time, over and over and over -- are truly mind boggling and staggering. You should be very proud of yourself. And, yes, never fear, your wonderful children, your students, your impact, will forever hold mortality at bay!

Here's to an even better next 30 years!


Rose McDermott
UC-Santa Barbara
United States

Dear Phil,

I'll resist the temptation to tell dozens of funny (and TRUE) stories about you, although they come to mind so easily! Instead, I'll just say something serious and important: Your model of excellence in teaching and the mentoring that was your gift to me in graduate school have shaped my teaching style for three decades. I can hear your voice in my mind, giving me advice. I don't even have to close my eyes to watch you in action, through the wonderful medium of memory. You set a standard of care, support, and individual nurturance which I've always aspired to reach with my own students.

Although you're retiring, your living legacy will enhance classrooms around the nation and the world for many years to come.

With respect, appreciation, and love....

Jamie Newton
San Francisco State University
United States

Carissime ac amicissime Phil Zimbardo,

Deep in my heart -- ever since 1967 -- there is a special niche cherishing the warm memory tracks of my truly unique and unparalleled bosom friend -- born fifty five days before me -- and now pretending to retire from Stanford.

When I think of you, Phil, I visualize brightly-coloured marvellous Flemish paintings by Jan van Eyck or Antoon van Dyck of a dazzling, flamboyant, flashing and flaming Florentine Renaissance Prince. Today you are at the very central part of Van Eyck's Adoration of the Zimbardo-lamb, while the other panels are crowded with thousands of admirers hailing, mailing, singing, and sounding your praises from all corners of the planet.

P.S. If you look carefully, you will also see at least two angels: Monika decently covered by long blond hair and Annie wearing hot pants. They are both thriving with wonderful grandchildren. Our oldest son Bart has tenure as a neurosurgery professor, has four kids (Laura, Bram, Matthias, and Dries) with Claire who takes also care of four horses. Katrien and Gary live in Perth Australia, have two kids (Myee and Kaila), and stimulate much flying back and forth for the two families. Piet and Patricia travel all the time, so far without kids.

As you know, I retired 5 years ago (65 is the imposed limit in this country). But I also only pretended to retire: e.g., in July 2003 I got appointed by the Board of Directors to function during the coming 5 years in the very top club of our university, which is here called the Founding Authority. This is a small group which has the ultimate power for all crucial decisions of the university and of some 15 associated colleges throughout Flanders.

As you know, we have each spring (May-June) international artists (Queen Elisabeth Competition for piano, violin or song) who stay in an apartment in our house. That apartment is always available to you and dear Christina. Leuven is the sleeping town of the capital of Europe, and so you both have a permanent free board and lodging and friendship ticket for the European Union (25 countries coming May), that covers at least one corner of our planet.

Jef - Monika - Annie Nuttin
University of Leuven

Dear Phil,

You are not only a wonderful friend, but an exceptional young role model for all of us. We will be out of the country during your celebration with the special young man whom we share with you. The three of us will toast you and your continuing remarkable career. We hope to see you soon.


Joy and Howard Osofsky
United States

Dear Phil:

Retirement? It seems too soon, too premature. Wasn't it just yesterday that you were a tall, trim, high spirited sprinter, an undergraduate track star, rounding the curve and heading for the tape? Isn't it too early for you to leave the game? Aren't there many more good miles in you? I am flooded with memories spanning fifty-two years. Memories of us as friends and brothers. In our first years together I see us as young hoods dancing with attractive women in a darkened Brooklyn basement, it's a Friday or a Saturday night. In my mind's eye, just a couple of years later, there we are, two young college students aspiring and cooperating as a team to break the grading curve in an undergraduate experimental psych course. I could go on this way but I would overflow the pages of this volume, there are just too many memories to chronicle.

Fortunately, there is one image, a memory of you, that cuts through the many years, creating in my mind an essential Flipper. It's a memory that comes to mind when we haven't seen each other for a long time. There you are standing in front of me, arms outspread, slightly bowed to make an open circle, you are beckoning me and we embrace. For that brief moment I am held, nurtured, loved by my mother, my father, my dear friend -- I am home, I feel safe.

You are the most demonstrative, generous, nurturing, loving man I have known. Your presence in my life has delighted and enriched me. If you must go into retirement, have a wonderfully fulfilling one.


Gerald Platt
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
United States

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