Throughout her career, Alice Hendrickson Eagly has brought her characteristic rigor, courage, and brilliance to understanding a wide range of social phenomena. Indeed, her research is considered foundational in attitudes, in gender, and in meta-analysis. She received her B.A. from Harvard University (1960), and her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan (1965). The program’s dual focus on psychology and sociology strongly shaped her way of viewing an individual’s traits and behaviors as emerging from the social context and social structure. She began her faculty career at Michigan State University (1965-67), followed by positions at University Massachusetts, Amherst (1967-1980), and Purdue University (1980-1995). Eagly then moved to Northwestern University, where she holds the James Padilla Chair of Arts and Sciences.
Throughout her career, Eagly has pursued fundamental questions of human behavior with the highest standards and the utmost regard for the tools and processes of science. Her early forays into meta-analysis provided examples of how quantitative tools could capture both the overall picture of a literature as well as its nuances. Her theoretical and empirical work delves into challenging and complicated questions, integrating knowledge not only from sociology but also from political science, anthropology, biology, and primatology. Throughout her career, she has not shied away from controversy, but she has deliberately and persistently pursued scientific answers.
Eagly has led several organizations, including holding presidencies of SPSP and SPSSI, among other offices. Numerous prizes honor her long history of research and contributions to the field, including the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association, the Eminent Leadership Scholar Award from the Academy of Management, and the Donald Campbell Award for Distinguished Scientific Contribution from SPSP. Her esteem within psychology internationally is reflected in her honorary doctorates from University of Bern, Erasmus University, and University of Lausanne, as well as several visiting positions.
Alice’s guidance and mentorship extend far beyond her graduate students: She has served as a mentor for numerous emerging scholars, both in the United States and internationally. Alice and her husband Bob travel extensively, with frequent trips to the coasts to visit with daughters Ingrid and Ursula and their families.
- What a privilege it has been to have Alice Eagly as a colleague for the first 15 years of my professorial career! Her blend of expansiveness and rigor, of intellectual scope and intellectual precision, is an inspiration to me. I am forever grateful that she has been willing to serve as both role model and mentor to me.
-Eli Finkel, Professor, Northwestern University
- Professor Alice H. Eagly is an inspiration, both academically and personally. Her charisma and her generous way of transmitting knowledge and support to people, like me, who want to move forward, is an example of transformational leadership. Nowadays, sharing, supporting, empowering is fundamental to career development, and she does constitute a pillar for social science. Her proposals of social role theory or role congruity have been a revolution in gender studies and are a key element to understand and transform social reality. From the personal point of view, my research stay abroad with her was a turning point in my career, both professionally and personally. Alice H. Eagly is for me a role model, an inspiration and an aspiration for the future. I think I can simply say that I adore her and that what I have learned with and from her is a central part to what I am now.
-Esther Lopez-Zafra, Professor, University of Jaén
- I am delighted at the opportunity to honor Alice, who has been a formative force not only in my own career but in psychological science as a whole. I continue to be amazed by her capacity to entertain vast questions while also focusing on the smallest detail of a design, a citation, or a sentence. Alice’s words the “data are the data” echo even decades later (in part because my students and I say them frequently). This phrase captures much of what I learned from her: Being a scientist is being true to the data, paying attention to the data, and following the puzzles of the data, even when – maybe particularly when – we do not yet understand them. I am grateful for Alice’s creativity and tenacity in pursuing some of the most important questions of our time; I am grateful for her support of emerging scholars; and I am grateful for her unwavering brilliance and bravery.
-Amanda Diekman, Professor, Indiana University
- At 19 years old, I enrolled in a class on gender and psychology. Midway through the quarter, I walked in to the professor's office and asked if I could work on her research. That professor was Alice H. Eagly and that meeting changed my life. The two years that I spent working in Dr. Eagly's lab showed me how challenging societal problems could be addressed with highly rigorous research. Dr. Eagly's incredible contributions to social science are nearly overshadowed, however, by her dedication to mentoring. I was (and am) truly lucky to have such a generous role model.
-Monica C. Schneider, Associate Professor, Miami University
- From Alice, I learned the grad school essentials: how to ask interesting questions about the world, how to learn from the data, and how to write with precision and clarity. But I also learned countless, far more abstract lessons about academia—lessons that I am still unpacking after more than a decade. I learned how to keep pursuing a problem, even after you think you’ve found an answer, just to make sure you haven’t missed something. I learned how to be a scientist who cares deeply about pressing social issues while also acknowledging data that do not fit your values. I learned that embracing the essential critical spirit of academia means that, one day, you might need to stand in front of a group of 100 people—all of whom disagree with you—and unflinchingly say “I have a different interpretation.” Thank you, Alice, for inspiring me and so many others.
-Paul Eastwick, Associate Professor, University of California Davis
- Alice’s pioneering work has advanced our understanding of a wide range of social phenomena. Her research on attitudes and stereotypes has been path-breaking. With her brilliance and wisdom, she is a much-admired role model for many researchers. Alice is a wonderful mentor from whose generous support many younger and especially female scholars have profited in their careers. Discussing research questions and planning research with Alice is always a pleasure and very inspiring. Therefore, it was one of my best decisions to spend one year with Alice at Northwestern as a postdoctoral fellow. I am deeply grateful for Alice's constructive long-time collaboration and friendship.
-Sabine Sczesny, Professor, University of Bern
- Alice for me embodies true greatness – brilliance, kindness, and service to others. Alice has the sharpest mind that I have ever encountered. Her work on gender stereotyping, sex differences and similarities, and female leadership has been ground-breaking and impacted so many scholars including myself. I am truly inspired by her intellectual precision, creativity, and methodological rigor. Alice’s brilliance is only matched by her kindness and service to others. Her leadership and service to the field, and her science to address societal challenges have been exemplary. On a personal level, Alice has been and is the most generous and caring mentor of emerging scholars. I have been so fortunate to spend a year of my doctoral studies with Alice at Northwestern University - it marked the start of the most wonderful personal and professional journey for me! I am forever grateful for your mentorship and friendship, Alice. I could not have wished for a better role model.
-Janine Bosak, Associate Professor, Dublin City University
- I am enormously grateful to Alice for her brilliance, generosity, encouragement, and support over the years. She taught me to fearlessly go where the data lead, and to always be humble in the face of human complexity. To say my life has been enriched by Alice as a friend and role model is beyond an understatement. I simply love her and always will.
-Laurie Rudman, Professor, Rutgers University - New Brunswick
- Alice has been a most wonderful colleague throughout the twenty plus years that I have been at Northwestern. She is generous with her expertise, time, advice, friendship and hospitality. She inspires us not simply by her very impactful research, but also by her approach to research -- the rigor, the meticulous attention, and the dedication she demonstrates in each and every project she works on make her the perfect role model for all of us. I salute her as a scholar, a colleague, and a friend.
-Angela Y. Lee, Professor, Northwestern University
- I owe Alice the deepest, heartfelt thank you for all that she has done for me over the years. I was lucky to have Alice as my graduate school advisor, as well as a continued mentor and collaborator. Her scientific contributions are world-renowned, and if I had known that when searching for a graduate school mentor I may have been too intimidated to have applied to work with her! I am glad that I did, as she taught me different ways to look at the world in general as well as gender roles specifically. She is generous, patient, and encouraging as well as methodical, measured, exacting, formidable, and uber-intelligent. When you read Alice’s work, you know she has thoughtfully put together not only the theory, hypothesis, or conclusion, but that she has worked on every sentence so that it says exactly what she wants it to say. She can think at this detailed level, but also has vast knowledge and a sharp memory that allows her to form interdisciplinary answers to important, significant questions. She has been a wonderful academic and life role model for me, and I appreciate every bit of what I learned from her.
-Anne M. Koenig, Professor, University of San Diego
- As the current Chair of NU’s Psychology Department, I wanted to add that Alice has not only made a transformative impact on the field of Psychology through her scholarship and research but she has also had a lasting impact on the department. In addition to her insightful contributions to department discussions and her service on many committees, Alice provided strong leadership to the department as Chair in 2004-2005 & 2006-2009 and we will forever be grateful for her service.
-Richard E. Zinbarg, Professor, Northwestern University
- For me, Alice Eagly set the norm. For me, it is an impossible standard to live up to, but I aspire to every day. In how to do research, to supervise, and to be an engaged scholar. In welcoming and hosting junior academics visiting her lab and home. In doing very rigorous work with clear societal relevance and impact. In taking a stand to be an honest broker. In subtle ways of pointing out the prescriptions inherent to the norm (“it might be a good idea to use the Huyhn-Feldt correction”). In raising two bright, smart women in true 1970s feminist style, despite the pressures to conform to gender roles coming at them from all sides. In sending holiday letters and pictures that provide insight into how things are going on several levels. In writing eloquent, convincing, and respectful letters to editors and responses to reviewers – subtly pointing out when they did not read or understand the manuscript very well. In replying to emails within 24 hours with feedback and insight, including one email that changed my perspective and prospects radically some 20 years ago. I am deeply grateful to Alice for allowing me to be part of her “circle.”
-Claartje Vinkenburg, independent scholar and expert adviser on gender diversity in careers
Added October 2018