William Damon
Stanford University
Director, Center on Adolescence; Professor, Education

Year Elected


Membership status

William Damon is professor of education at Stanford University and one of the world's leading scholars of human, social, and moral development. He focuses his work on the positive aspects of growing up rather than on the severe behavioral problems of adolescence. His current research explores how people develop character and a sense of purpose in their work, family, and community relationships. He examines how young people can approach their careers with a focus on purpose, imagination, and high standards of excellence. He also has written widely about how to educate for ethical understanding. Damon’s most recent books are: The Path to Purpose: How Young People Find Their Calling in Life (2008); Taking Philanthropy Seriously: Beyond Noble Intentions to Responsible Giving(2006, with Susan Verducci); The Moral Advantage: How to succeed in business by doing the right thing (2004); and Noble Purpose: The joy of living a meaningful life (2003). His earlier books include: Bringing in a New Era in Character Education (2002); Good Work: When Excellence and Ethics Meet (2001, with Howard Gardner and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi); The Youth Charter (1997); Greater Expectations: Overcoming the Culture of Indulgence in Our Homes and Schools (1995); Some Do Care: Contemporary Lives of Moral Commitment (1992, with Anne Colby); and The Moral Child (1990). As a developmental psychologist, he has made important contributions to education, establishing after-school programs in Boston, unifying communities in educating youth, and working with journalists. Damon has received awards from several major foundations and the Parent’s Choice Book Award. He is currently the director of the Stanford Center on Adolescence.

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