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Remembering the Generosity, Loyalty and Exceptional Career of David Huizinga

David Huizinga, a senior research associate at IBS, passed away on April 5, 2024. He was 82 years old. A memorial service will be held at IBS on Satuday, June 15 at 1 p.m. MT. 

An alumnus of The University of Wyoming, Huizinga earned both his Bachelors and Masters of Economics in 1963 and 1965. He earned his Ph.D in Psychology from the University of Colorado in 1977, whereupon he joined the Institute of Behavioral Science and had a distinguished 40-year career.

Known by many as hard working and accurate to a tee, Huizinga was also open-minded, patient, and loyal. He may be best known as the principle investigator for the Denver Youth Study (1988-1992), a five-wave longitudinal study of youth and parents in Denver-area, high-risk neighborhoods. Together with Del Elliott, professor emeritus and founder of both CSPV and what-is-now PSP, and the late Frank Dunford, a researcher and criminologist at IBS, Huizinga set a standard for longitudinal research on adolescent health and development.

“Dave was a stickler for accuracy and detail but very even tempered and patient, always generous with his time,” says Del Elliott. “I owe a great debt to Dave, he was my close, talented, dependable partner over most of my career and my success as a researcher and scholar relied significantly on his friendship and generous contribution to my work.”

Huizinga was renown for his mathematical expertise and experience in data processing and analysis. He was often asked to consult both criminological researchers and researchers in other areas involving large data sets and complicated data analysis problems. Huizinga also implemented techniques to protect the identity of human subjects in large data sets while still providing general access to the data.

“Dave Huizinga was a stalwart in the Problem Behavior Program in IBS,” says Richard Jessor, distinguished professor emeritus of behavioral science, professor emeritus of psychology and former director of IBS. “He was successful in bringing funds to IBS but, more important, he brought his methodological and conceptual skills to bear on the refractory task of illuminating life course development. He was a valued colleague and a model for others in IBS to emulate. His absence will be felt.”

In many ways, the legacy of David Huizinga will continue, whether through data techniques he created, password protocols he advised, or through the many David-ism sayings passed down in CSPV. IBS will continue its mission on collecting world-changing research thanks in part to the career and character of David Huizinga.