Professor Emeritus Arnold Goldstein dies at 68
Professor Emeritus Arnold Goldstein dies at 68February 27, 2002Jonathan Hayjhay@syr.edu
Arnold Goldstein wasn’t ashamed to tell his students and colleagues that, while growing up in Brooklyn, he was a member of a street gang and did some things that had the potential to put him on the wrong side of the law. Instead, he used his personal experience to better understand children and adolescents who displayed aggressive behavior and develop a technique to help them.
Goldstein, professor emeritus of education and psychology, co-developed Aggression Replacement Training (ART), a technique designed to alter the behavior of chronically aggressive youths and replace it with positive action, making the youths a constructive force in their communities. In 1994, the program was honored with the Gould-Wysinger Award from the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Earlier this year, Goldstein’s friends and colleagues in Norway nominated him for a Nobel Peace Prize.
Goldstein, a resident of Nottingham Road in Syracuse, died at his home Feb.16 after a battle with lung cancer. He was 68.
Corinne Smith, interim dean of the School of Education, had Goldstein as a faculty advisor when she was an undergraduate student and has continued to reap the benefits of his friendship and mentoring throughout her career. She says the ART technique was an academic framework built on the compassion and love Goldstein had for all people.
“He had an understanding that all people are good and moral deep down, but some just have to be taught how to access that goodness,” Smith says. “His research took a big thing – social skills – and broke it down into subcategories. Then he showed how to teach each subcategory. He took a behaviorist approach; he would provide positive reinforcement to the children he was working with and make them feel good about doing good things.”
Born in Brooklyn, Goldstein earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at City College of New York and his doctorate at Pennsylvania State University. Goldstein joined the SU faculty as a professor of psychology in 1963. He became director of the Center for Research on Aggression at Syracuse University in 1981. He taught for 22 years in the psychology department and 12 years in the special education department before being granted Professor Emeritus status in 1997.
A prolific writer, Goldstein is the author or co-author of more than 50 books on aggression, youth violence, teaching, law enforcement, psychology and psychotherapy. His only fictional novel, “The Shoes of Maidanek,” is the fictional diary of a young man’s daily experiences in a concentration camp. Goldstein donated the profits of the book to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human rights organization dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust by fostering tolerance and understanding through community involvement, educational outreach and social action.
“I think that book really represented the deep anguish he felt when people were the victims of injustice,” Smith says.
Goldstein not only studied crime and violence among adolescents and in society-at-large but also designed and implemented anti-violence programs. He gave invited presentations at more than 50 colleges and universities; 40 professional associations; 50 medical schools, hospitals, mental health centers and prisons; and more than 20 school districts.
Goldstein was the co-founder and a board member of the International Center for Aggression Replacement Training. In 1996, he received the Career Achievement Award from the Committee on Children, Youth and Families of the American Psychological Association, and the Senior Scientist Award from the APA’s School Psychology Division. He is a 1979 recipient of the Chancellor’s Citation for Exceptional Academic Achievement.
Kenneth Reagles, professor emeritus of education and Goldstein’s longtime friend and research partner, says what he will remember most about Goldstein is the efforts he made to maintain his many friendships around the world.
“He knew that friendships take work and he was always willing to expend the time to make sure they were nourished,” Reagles says. “One time he called me up at almost midnight just to see how I was doing and how the basketball team had done that night. I asked him why he was calling so late and he told me that he was in Anchorage, Alaska, and must have miscalculated the time difference. The fact that he would call from Alaska just to see how I was doing really showed me how much he valued our friendship. I think a lot of people felt very loved by him and loved him as well – he will be deeply missed.”
Goldstein’s survivors include his wife of 10 years, Susan Striepling; two daughters, Susan Goldstein of Redlands, Calif., and Cynthia Goldstein of San Francisco; a step-daughter, Sarah Semelsberger of Fountain Valley, Calif.; a son, Steven Semelsberger of Austin, Texas; a sister, Phyllis Cohen of New York City; and two granddaughters.
His first wife, Lenore, died in 1987. Goldstein dedicated a conference room in Lenore’s name in the School of Education’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.
Contributions in Goldstein’s memory may be made to the International Center for Aggression Replacement Training (ICART), 118 Julian Place, No. 301, Syracuse, NY. 13210.