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Home » Campus News Latest » Obituaries » Dr. Frances Degen Horowitz ’54

A nationally recognized educational leader and renowned developmental psychologist, Dr. Frances Degen Horowitz passed away on March 15, 2021 at her home in New York City. She received her B.A. from Antioch College (1954), a master’s in elementary education from Goucher College (1954), and a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from the University of Iowa (1959).

Frances Degen ’54 in 1950

Dr. Horowitz, who was Trustee Emerita of her alma mater, Antioch College, served as a member of the Board of Trustees from 1987 to 1991, from 2003 to 2004, and from 2009 to 2018. She also served as Chair from 2012 to 2016 during a critical period following the College’s alumni-led bid for independence and reopening, with which she was deeply involved. Frances also served on the Antioch College Alumni Board from 1980 to 1986, and as its President in 1986. She gave the commencement address for Antioch College in 1986 and also in 2016.

Dr. Horowitz has been acclaimed for her research, particularly in infant behavior and development. She was a Fellow of the Division of Developmental Psychology of the American Psychological Association. She authored more than 120 articles, chapters, monographs, and books on the subjects of infant development, early childhood development, high-risk infants, the gifted, and theories of development. Her lecturing and teaching took her to Israel, the People’s Republic of China, and throughout Central and South America. She served as President of the Society for Research in Child Development, was on the founding Advisory Board of the Sackler Institute for Human Brain Development, a member of the Council of Advisors of the National Center for Children in Poverty, a member of the Board of Directors of the National Council for Research on Women, a member of the advisory council for the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at NIH, and a member of the Overseers’ Committee to Visit the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. She was a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the Weizmann Women in Science Award Committee.

Frances Degen Horowitz ’54 in 1991

In 1991, Dr. Horowitz was named President of City University of New York Graduate Center where she also served as President Emerita, University Professor, and was Interim Jack F. Skirball Director of the Center for Jewish Studies.

Prior to becoming President of CUNY Graduate Center, Dr. Horowitz served as Vice Chancellor of Research, Graduate Studies and Public Service, and also Dean the Graduate School at the University of Kansas (1978-91). Also at the University of Kansas, Dr. Horowitz served as Director of the Infant Research Laboratory (1964-91), Associate Dean (1975-78), and Professor of the Department of Human Development and Family Life and Psychology (1964 to 1991, Chair 1969-75).

She has received a number of honors and awards for her work, including Outstanding Educator of America award, 1973; Distinguished Psychologist in Management award by the Society for Psychologists in Management, 1993; named to Women’s Hall of Fame University Kansas, 1974; recipient of the Antioch College Alumni Association Rebecca Rice Award, 1996; Special Commendation, New York City Comptroller’s Office, 1997; and the New York Women’s Agenda Star award, 2002.

Dr. Horowitz has held many leadership roles in educational and civic organizations. She was a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges (NASULGC); had been an active participant in the Council on Research Policy and Graduate Education, serving as its Chair; was a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of Graduate Schools and the Board of Trustees of Antioch College; and served as a member of the Commission on Women in Higher Education of the American Council on Education. She had been a member of the Board of the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute; a member and former Board member of the Women’s Forum; a member of the Board of the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Hebrew Free Loan Society; and Chair of the Commission on Human Resources and Social Change, NASULGC.

Dr. Horowitz has served in several editorial capacities. She was the editor of The Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development,;was a member of the editorial boards of Developmental Psychology, Contemporary Psychology, Developmental Review, and Infant Behavior and Development; served on the Board of Directors of the Feminist Press; and was a member of the Publications Board of the American Psychological Association.

Dr. Horowitz is survived by her two sons, both of whom attended Antioch College, Jason D. Horowitz ’82 of New York, NY, and Dr. Benjamin H. Levi ’83 of Hershey, PA. She was predeceased in 2014 by her spouse, Floyd Horowitz, a professor and poet.

A Shiva memorial gathering open to Antioch Friends will be held virtually via Zoom on Tuesday, March 23, 7:00 EDT. If you wish to attend, please contact Anita Brown for details.

Scholarship Honors the Legacy of Frances Degen Horowitz ’54

The Frances Degen Horowitz ’54 Scholarship provides financial assistance to students with significant financial needs who are a member of an underrepresented group majoring in psychology and or social sciences. Special consideration will be given to students in their third and/or fourth year of study to assist them in completing their degrees.

To contribute to the scholarship, please contact the Office of Advancement:, 937.767.2341


Alumni, colleagues, and friends are invited to share their tributes. If you would like to share a remembrance for posting on the College’s website, you may send an email to, or write to:

Office of Communications
Antioch College
One Morgan Place
Yellow Springs, OH 45387

A selection of remembrances will also be published in a future issue of The Antiochian magazine.