Social psychologists from around the country and across the globe converged on UCSB June 26th 2012 to celebrate Dr. David Hamilton’s transition to research professor (no one called it retirement). Organized by two of Hamilton’s former students, Jeff Sherman (UC Davis) and Steve Stroessner (Barnard College, Columbia University), the two-day event featured a day of scholarly talks focused on Hamilton’s work, a celebration dinner attended by family, friends, and colleagues, and an excursion to the wine country of the Santa Ynez valley for locals and visitors.
Dave Hamilton’s distinguished career in social psychology began with his BA from Gettysburg College, MA from the University of Richmond, and a 1968 Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. After an initial appointment at Yale University, Dave came to UCSB in 1976, starting nearly four decades of remarkable influence on the development of both the discipline of social psychology and UCSB’s social psychology program.
Dave’s research showing that stereotypes can arise merely because of biases in the way people process information was among the first to introduce a social cognition perspective. His contributions as a theoretician, methodologist, researcher, and editor helped make this then-revolutionary approach paradigmatic in modern social psychology. Dave made seminal contributions to our understanding of person impression, stereotyping, and the perception of groups, especially their entitativity or quality of “groupness.” He is the recipient of the Thomas M. Ostrom Award for contributions to social cognition and a National Institute of Mental Health MERIT award. His research attracted 35 years of extramural funding.
His influence, both scholarly and professional, has been international. Many of his more than 30 Ph.D. graduates occupy faculty positions in prestigious universities both in the US and abroad. His contributions to the development of European social psychology earned him Honorary Doctorate Degrees from the University of Lisbon and from Eötvös Lorand University in Budapest, as well as the Jean-Claude Codol Award from the European Association of Experimental Social Psychology.
At UCSB, Dave’s international stature, graduate mentoring, and collaborative collegiality are responsible for making the social psychology graduate program among the top ranked in the country. Dave’s openness to discussion, unparalleled support of colleagues, and sense of humor have long been indispensable as intellectual and social contributors to the entitativity of the social psychology program at UCSB.
Dave’s active research program will continue and perhaps expand, given that he will no longer be teaching or attending administrative meetings.