Richard Jessor, DSc, PhD

Title: Emeritus Professor, Distinguished Professor
Company: the University of Colorado
Location: Boulder, CO, United States

Richard Jessor, DSc, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor and Professor Emeritus at the University of Colorado, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in behavioral science.

Dr. Jessor is a Distinguished Professor of behavioral sciences and Professor Emeritus of psychology at the University of Colorado, and the founder of the school’s Institute of Behavioral Science. A pioneer in researching the social psychology of poverty and high-risk behaviors, as well as a major contributor to contemporary theories of adolescent and young adult psychological development, Dr. Jessor has dedicated more than seven decades to the field. He began his career in the 1940s as a student at the City College of New York before enlisting in the United States Marine Corps and serving in the invasion of Iwo Jima. He returned in 1946 decorated with a Purple Heart and resumed his education, completing a Bachelor of Arts at Yale University and a Master of Arts at Columbia University. After a three-year clinical psychology internship at The Ohio State University, Dr. Jessor was awarded his Doctor of Philosophy in 1951.

He accepted an assistant professor of psychology post at the University of Colorado Boulder the same year, launching what would become the longest tenure of any faculty member in the school’s history. Dr. Jessor rose to associate professor in 1956 and full professor in 1961 and served as director of both the Institute of Behavioral Sciences and its Problem Behavior Institute research program for more than 20 years. In 2005, Dr. Jessor was named a Distinguished Professor of behavioral science, and in 2009, he was granted emeritus status as a professor of psychology. In addition to his work for the University of Colorado, Dr. Jessor is the former director of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Adolescent Development Among Youth in High-Risk Settings and has consulted for the World Health Organization, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, among many other bodies.

Dr. Jessor is a charter fellow of the American Psychological Society and a fellow of the American Psychological Association. He has been extensively published, with more than 130 articles and ten books to his credit, and three collected volumes of his writing were recently re-released by Springer International. In recognition of his contributions to social psychology and behavioral health, Dr. Jessor was designated a Highly Cited Researcher by the Institute for Science Information in 2003, presented with an Outstanding Achievement in Adolescent Medicine Award in 2005, and conferred an honorary Doctor of Science by the University of Colorado in 2015.


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