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William Kurtines - In Memoriam

Professor Emeritus


It is with great sadness that I inform you of the passing of Professor Emeritus William Kurtines from the department of Psychology. Dr. Kurtines died at the age of 76 on October 5, after battling Alzheimer's disease for several years.

Born in Kulpmont, PA, William moved to Baltimore, MD, with his family at the age of 15. After attending Patterson High School in Baltimore, he volunteered to serve in the U.S Army and was deployed to Vietnam in 1967, where he served as an Infantry Platoon Leader in the 4th Infantry Division. He was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor for his actions during the Tet Offensive in 1968. 

After returning stateside, he received his PhD in Psychology from the Johns Hopkins University in 1973, then accepted an academic position in the Psychology Department at Florida International University beginning in the Fall semester. For many decades, he was a tireless mentor for many undergraduate students while working to create opportunities within FIU and in the larger field to support broader academic and professional achievements. With his colleagues in the Department of Psychology, he helped to create a Masters in Developmental Psychology and the Masters in Community Psychology, which were two of the first five graduate degree programs approved for FIU by the State Board of Regents. As Director of Graduate Studies in the Psychology Department, he spearheaded efforts to create the doctoral program in Developmental Psychology, which was recognized in 2006 by the American Psychological Association with the Suinn Minority Achievement Award.

Dr. Kurtines' early areas of research and publications explored moral development and identity development across the lifespan. Later, his research and publications focused on applied developmental and intervention science and community-supported positive development programs. Together with his colleagues in the Psychology Department at FIU and the Center for Family Studies at the University of Miami, Dr. Kurtines was awarded numerous large grants funded by the National Institute of Health, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse to support research programs on interventions for children and youth. ​In 2000, Dr. Kurtines helped to co-found the International Society for Research on Identity and was a founding editor of its journal, Identity: An International Journal for Research on Identity. 

Professor Kurtines published more than 100 journal articles, book chapters, and numerous books; many were published with FIU masters and doctoral students he mentored for later success in academic careers in higher education. His three-volume Handbook of Moral Behavior and Development: Theory, Research, and Application (published in 1991 with FIU Professor Emeritus Dr. Jacob Gewirtz) was subsequently translated into three languages. Two of his most recent publications, of which he was very proud, culminated decades of work with FIU mentees and colleagues: Group- Versus Parent-Involvement CBT for Childhood Anxiety Disorders (with Silverma​n, Marin, Rey, Kurtines, Jaccard, & Pettit; Clinical Psychological Science, 2019), and Empowering Marginalized Youth: A SelfTransformative Intervention for Promoting Positive Youth Development (with Eichas, Montgomery, Meca, & Kurtines, Child Development, 2017).

He retired from FIU in 2012 as Emeritus Professor in Psychology to devote time to family in Pennsylvania and Maryland, and travels throughout the United States with his spouse, Marilyn Montgomery (former Associate Professor in Psychology and in Education). Dr. Kurtines is survived by Marilyn, his former spouse Carole Becker, and his sisters, Jane, Selina, and Michelle. He was a devoted father to Heather Kurtines Castro (Patrick) and Robyn Kurtines Evans (Joseph) and stepfather to John Ivy Mccormick (Rhianon), Kathryn McCormick (Joseph), and Christopher McCormick (Liesl). He was a loving grandfather to Joey, Ava, and Tyler (in Maryland) and Jack, Vivian, Isaac, and Isabel (in Oregon).

Research Areas

Within the field of developmental science, Dr. Kurtines' areas of scholarly and research interest include social and personality development, positive development, and moral development across the life span. Within the field of applied developmental and intervention science, they include outreach research and the development of community supported positive development programs across the lifespan. Professor Kurtines is a Fellow in the American Psychological Association (Div. 7) and has been Investigator and/or Senior Research Scientist on many large grants funded by federal agencies such as NIDA, NIMH, and NIH. He has received many awards for his teaching and research. Professor Kurtines has published more than 100 journal articles, book chapters, and numerous books.

View selected publications by Dr. Kurtines

Courses Taught

  • Promoting Positive Development
  • Psychology of Adolescence
  • Theories of Personality
  • Identity Development
  • Moral Development
  • Graduate Seminar in Psychosocial Development
  • Graduate Seminar in Moral Development
  • Qualitative Research Methods in Developmental Psychology


  • PhD in Psychology, The Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, Maryland
  • BS in Sociology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County - Maryland