College of Education and Human Development

Institute of Child Development

ICD mourns the passing of Professor Emeritus Dr. Willard (Bill) Hartup

Professor Emeritus Dr. Willard (Bill) Hartup

Dear ICD community & friends,

It is with deep sadness that I share that our dear colleague and friend, Professor Emeritus Dr. Willard (Bill) Hartup passed away over the weekend at the age of 95.

Bill was recruited to the Institute of Child Development as an Associate Professor in 1963 after eight years at the Iowa Child Welfare Research Station (University of Iowa) and was quickly promoted to the rank of Professor in 1964. His groundbreaking work in the experimental study of peer relationships in children changed the face of relationships research, highlighting the importance of non-familial relationships in individual development. He and his students spent countless hours observing social interactions among children in preschool and laboratory settings which formed the foundation of his commitment to the training of early childhood educators in the science of child development. 

Current and former ICD Directors (L to R): Ann Masten, Katie Thomas, Bill Hartup, Megan Gunnar, W. Andy Collins

Bill Hartup was an influential leader in both our department and field. He served as Associate Director of the Institute of Child Development from 1964-1971 under the leadership of Harold Stevenson, and assumed the Director role in 1971, which he held for 11 years. Dr. Hartup served in numerous leadership roles in the professional organizations of our field, including as president of APA Division 7 (Developmental Psychology), president of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD), president of the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development (ISSBD), and as editor of the journal, Child Development. His profound impact was recognized by the APA Division 7 Award for Distinguished Contributions to Developmental Psychology (formerly the G. Stanley Hall award) in 1991 and was bestowed the highest award given to faculty at the University of Minnesota, the Regents Professorship (1993). Dr. Hartup retired in 1997 and continued to be a lifelong champion of the Institute of Child Development and the Child Development Laboratory School as an emeritus professor.

Bill was predeceased by his wife, Rosemary, and is survived by his three children (Barry, Grant, and Hope), as well as multiple grandchildren and his recently arrived great-grandchild. He will be remembered with admiration and fondness, and greatly missed by his many friends, colleagues, and former students.

For those who are interested, both SRCD and ISSBD have archived oral history interviews with Bill addressing his scientific career and influence in our field.

Kathleen Thomas, PhD
Director, Institute of Child Development