Lerner Named Brennan Prof. In Education

Authority on children and families

By Sandra Howe
Staff Writer

Richard M. Lerner, a professor at Michigan State University and director of its Institute for Children, Youth and Families, has been appointed holder of the Anita L. Brennan Chair in Education. He will arrive on campus Sept. 1.

The Brennan Chair was established in 1989 with a gift from former insurance industry executive John V. Brennan and his wife Anita, for whom the chair is named. It honors an experienced scholar who has made significant contributions to the fields of curriculum, teacher preparation, or instruction and pedagogy.

John Brennan, former chairman of US Aviation Underwriters, is a former co-chair of the Boston College Wall Street Council. Two of the Brennans' five children are Boston College graduates - John O., '87, and Thomas M. '91 - and a third, Mary Elizabeth, is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences.

"Endowed professorships have a lasting impact on the academic goals of an institution like Boston College," said University Relations Vice President Mary Lou DeLong. "This gift by John and Anita Brennan is especially gratifying because of the contribution it will make to a discipline in which our School of Education is fast becoming recognized as a national leader."

                                                       Richard Lerner. 
"Richard Lerner's outstanding reputation and broad experience in addressing problems faced by children and families today is internationally recognized," said Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties William B. Neenan, SJ, "and he is an ideal occupant of the Anita L. Brennan Chair, which was established to address precisely these problems that so torment society today."

"In addition to greatly enhancing the national visibility of the School of Education," SOE Dean Gerald Pine said, "Richard Lerner's appointment will position us for national leadership in addressing the needs of children, youth and families - particularly those living in poverty - and it will provide us with the international leadership needed to generate outreach scholarship."

"I look forward to working with my new colleagues to help coalesce and further the already substantial efforts going on at Boston College in the area of outreach service under the umbrella of Integrated Services," said Lerner, whose specialties include family and child ecology, psychology, pediatrics and human development.

Lerner said Boston College's commitment to social justice attracted him to the University. In addition to his duties as holder of the Brennan Chair, Lerner will direct the newly-created Boston College Center for Children, Family and Community Partnerships. The center's title, he said, underscores Boston College's commitment to be part of an active collaboration with the communities it serves.

"I think we will have the opportunity to provide a model for other universities to define what is needed to serve children and families in the future," he said.

Lerner, whose most recent book, America's Youth in Crisis: Challenges and Options for Programs and Policies, was published last year, has written or edited 32 books and authored more than 200 scholarly articles and chapters. He is founding editor of the Journal of Research on Adolescence and a forthcoming journal titled Applied Developmental Science .

During 1994-95, Lerner held the Tyner Eminent Scholar Chair in the Human Sciences at Florida State University. Prior to joining Michigan State in 1991, he held several positions at Pennsylvania State University, including director of the Center for the Study of Child and Adolescent Development and professor-in-charge of the graduate program in human development and family studies.

He has been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychological Society and the American Association of Applied and Preventive Psychology.

Lerner received bachelor's and master's degrees in psychology from Hunter College of the City University of New York in 1966 and 1967, respectively, and a doctoral degree in developmental psychology in 1971 from the City University of New York.

Return to March 28 menu

Return to Chronicle Home Page