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Remembering Kurt Salzinger, President, New York Academy of Sciences 1985

Published November 13, 2018

Kurt Salzinger

The New York Academy of Sciences extends its sincerest condolences to the family of Dr. Kurt Salzinger, who was a Member for many decades, and served on our Board of Governors for ten years in the seventies and eighties, including a year as Board Chair (President) in 1985.

A distinguished scholar in the field of behavioral psychology, Dr. Salzinger was professor emeritus in the Department of Psychology at Hofstra University, and Professor and Director of Training for Hofstra’s graduate program in Combined Clinical and School Psychology.

At the Academy, in addition to his leadership accomplishments, Dr. Salzinger is best remembered for campaigning tirelessly for the rights of oppressed scientists.  He established communications with the Soviet Academy of Sciences during the waning days of the Cold War, and published the work of those scientists whose papers could not be circulated in their own countries. During his tenure, the Academy’s “adoption” program — which put Academy Members in touch with oppressed scientists abroad — led to the creation of a special Human Rights Award, to be given in recognition of service to the human rights of scientists.

During his more than 50 year career, Dr. Salzinger held positions at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, Polytechnic University, the National Science Foundation, and the American Psychological Association. He was also President of the Association of Behavior Analysis and of the Eastern Psychological Association.  He authored or co-authored 14 books and more than 120 articles and book chapters, and in 2002 was named a Presidential Scholar for the Association for Behavior Analysis in 2002.

A young immigrant who fled the Nazi occupation of Austria in the 1930’s, Dr. Salzinger settled in New York City and attended the Bronx High School of Science, NYU and Columbia University. He is survived by his wife, four children and two step-children.