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William Damon

Photo of William Damon

William Damon


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 the development of purpose. He is the author of The Path to Purpose. Damon's other books include The Moral Child; Greater Expectations (winner of the Parent's Choice Book Award); Some Do Care: Lives of Moral Commitment (with Anne Colby); Good Work (with Howard Gardner and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi); and The Power of Ideals: The Real Story of Moral Choice (also with Anne Colby). Damon’s present work includes a study that explores the development of purpose in the college years and a study of family purposes across generations. 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

Program Affiliations


Research Interests

Higher Education | Lifelong Learning | Motivation | Psychology

See a full list of GSE Faculty research interests >

Recent Publications

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

Damon, W., Colby, A., & King, P. E. (2018). They do care: An interview with William Damon and Anne Colby on moral development. JOURNAL OF MORAL EDUCATION, 47(4), 383–96.

Malin, H., Liauw, I., & Damon, W. (2017). Purpose and Character Development in Early Adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

William Damon in the News & Media

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