Skip to content Skip to navigation

William Damon

Photo of William Damon

William Damon


- Stanford Center on Adolescence

Assistant: Lisa Staton

Office: Ventura Hall 29


William Damon is Professor of Education at Stanford University, Director of the Stanford Center on Adolescence, and Senior Fellow, by courtesy, at the Hoover Institution. He is one of the world's leading researchers on human development across the lifespan, and he has pioneered the scientific study of purpose in life. Damon is author of The Path to Purpose; Greater Expectations (winner of the Parent's Choice Book Award); Some Do Care: Lives of Moral Commitment (with Anne Colby); Good Work: When Excellence and Ethics Meet (with Howard Gardner and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi); and A Round of Golf with my Father: The New Psychology of Exploring your Past to Make Peace with your Present. Damon’s work in recent years includes a study of the development of purpose in adulthood and a study of purpose in American higher education. Damon has been elected to membership in the National Academy of Education and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Other Titles

Professor, Graduate School of Education
Hoover Senior Fellow (By courtesy), Hoover Institution

Program Affiliations


Research Interests

Higher Education | Lifelong Learning | Motivation | Professional Development | Psychology

See a full list of GSE Faculty research interests >

Recent Publications

Bronk, K. C., Liechtenstein, H., El Sehity, T., Mitchell, C., Postlewaite, E., Colby, A., … Swanson, Z. (2024). Family purpose: an empirical investigation of collective purpose (SEPT, 10.1080/17439760.2023.2254738, 2023). JOURNAL OF POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY.

Bronk, K. C., & Damon, W. (2022). Scientific and Ethical Mandates in the Study of Purpose. HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, 66(3), 219–221.

Damon, W. (2021). A Round of Golf with my Father: The New Psychology of Exploring your Past to Make Peace with your Present. Templeton Press.

William Damon in the News & Media

Professor William Damon addresses the importance of purpose in young people's development of morale and motivation.
October 24, 2023
Image of woman looking at photographs
September 27, 2021
Back to the Top