Professor John T. Cacioppo Memorial

Professor John T. Cacioppo Memorial

ROBERT ZIMMER: Good afternoon,
I’m Bob Zimmer president of the University of Chicago, and I welcome you to this Memorial in which,
together with John’s wife Stephanie and children Anthony and Christina, we remember and celebrate the life of our friend, our colleague, our family member –
John T. Cacioppo We will hear from several persons
who will reflect on John the richness of his life,
the importance of his work, our connections to him and the
deep impact he made on all of us. I would like to begin,
not by talking about his work directly, as others who follow me
were closer to that specific work, but rather something of own experience with John
and his particular role at the University of Chicago. I was Deputy Provost when John first came to
The University of Chicago toward the end of the 1990’s I distinctly remember the discussions
around his appointment The scientific imagination he demonstrated,
the field-defining work that he had accomplished, and the energy that he created around him. In many cases, one would have said this would
make him an excellent person to join our faculty but, in fact, the conversations all went well beyond that. They were much more of the tone that this
was an important appointment for us, even a critical one because John could become a true exemplar
of The University of Chicago’s highest aspirations in what the
university is truly about. 2 things happened: John T Cacioppo came to
The University of Chicago and, indeed, he did become a true exemplar
of the university’s deepest aspirations and meaning. I got to know John shortly after he came to Chicago
and we had many conversations over the years. Aside from the astonishing contributions he made, in which you will hear from others about,
there were four features of John’s work and the nature of leadership that he demonstrated,
that I always found so impressive and, indeed, moving. First, was the intellectual boldness
of the scientific vision John’s vision was distinctive and it broke
new ground not only technique and concept but in an overriding, imaginative
intellectual perspective. Second, was the bravery in execution. He approached building out this path-breaking program,
not only with determination, but with the true bravery that is inevitably required, though not often
acknowledged, to make such a grand effort succeed. Third, he brought into serious
scientific investigation, some of the deepest human
issues that we all confront, combining not only insight and bravery
but deep human compassion and the belief that science could help us understand and
address profound emotional and social issues. And fourth, John exemplified
the ideal of community through his dedication to his colleagues
and students, and his commitment and his commitment to improving
the university itself. John received countless accolades
in the course of his career but I want to mention two,
awarded by the University: Being named The Nora and Edward Ryerson Lecture
and being awarded the Phoenix Prize I mention these because both not only recognize scholarship
and academic achievement of lasting significance, but very importantly, by their very nature, reflect the depth of admiration for him among his
faculty and colleagues across the entire university. The qualities that I mentioned, of depth of insight,
personal and intellectual bravery, of deep humanity and compassion, and of
commitment to community are, of course, not just features of John’s work,
but of who he was as an individual. They are what I saw when I first got to know him,
now almost 20 years ago. What I saw, over and over again, in the role he played as a
faculty member and as a leader at The University of Chicago. Now what I will always
remember of him as I continue to miss my friend and
colleague, John T. Cacioppo BARNABY MARSH: Good afternoon,
I’m Barnaby Marsh, master of ceremonies. I’m glad that we can all be here
to remember and celebrate the life of our dear colleague
and friend, John Cacioppo In a few moments, I will be introducing Susan Levine,
who is the Chair of the Department of Psychology, and our other distinguished speakers,
to reflect on John’s amazing life and legacy But first, I wanted to give
out some context The first time I met John was many years ago,
when I was working as a talent scout for a billionaire, who was interested in finding and supporting
the most creative people in the world. From my first meeting with John,
I knew that John was some type of genius As the Margaret and Tiffany Blake
Distinguished Service Professor, John’s vast professional accomplishments
were clear to everyone. What impressed me the most was how
John discussed big, complex ideas. I had many discussions with
scholars all over the world but few people could play with complex ideas
as well, and with as much fun, as John I believe that being able to play with difficult
ideas is the mark of a great mind and later, as I got to know John better, I learned that his
mind wasn’t just interdisciplinary but it was integrative. He took data and ideas from many different fields and not only compared
them but integrated them and helped people work together. Our discussions ranged from medical science,
evolutionary dynamics, biology, psychology, economics in society,
mathematics, and even new ideas in statistics. And throughout, our discussions were infused
with a sense of enthusiasm, with a sense of what’s possible, and a sense that there’s a possibility before what we see
that we can create, and we can create a new type of scholarship John also had a fearless curiosity
that I saw in few other people. A new challenge was never seen as a challenge that
could hold us back but a challenge to be tackled and to see how well we could we could create new
types of science and new types of ideas. I also have to say John was very good, had a very
special talent, for engaging people of different personalities and different backgrounds
and to bring them together. He was a member of a club of people
who cares for other people, which people instantly recognize
and they trust. On our research retreats, he would always
encourage people to bring their entire families so people in the group would not have to worry
about getting home too fast – put the focus on ideas. It’s fitting on many levels that John finished his
career with work on the nature of love. Whether in focus on a single person
or love more broadly, love is one of the greatest, most mysterious,
most powerful invisible forces of all. In sum, during his extraordinary career
John planted many seeds. Though John is now gone,
these seeds continue to grow and, knowing John, he would be enthusiastic
about the possibilities ahead and in John’s honor, I hope that we might therefore
press forward with openness, optimism, and love. So now it’s my great honor to present Susan Levine,
who will make a few comments. SUSAN LEVINE: John’s legacy
is one that has changed our field. It is the rare academic who is recognized
for groundbreaking scientific discoveries, for founding a field, for being a highly
effective public spokesperson and for fostering the next
generation of scholars. But that was John. He had boundless energy and his approach to
his work epitomizes Daniel Burnham’s famous quote: “Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s
blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans.
Aim high in hope and work.” John not only made big plans but acted
upon them with brilliance and diligence. His work will continue to have a profound
and reverberating effect on the field of
psychological science. Several years ago, I heard John address a meeting
of chairs of psychology graduate departments. He presented his vision of
psychology as a hub science with a multiplicity of
interdisciplinary connections. As typical of John, he not only argued that psychology
sits at the nexus of other scientific disciplines with a great deal to offer other fields
but also provided data to support this view. The chairs were mesmerized by his talk
and I was so proud to be his colleague. John was also a leader in our
department, elevating our science and our graduate and
undergraduate programs. Important questions in scientific rigor
epitomized his research and his teaching. By demanding the best from his students,
he led them to do better. As a mentor, John pushed his students to
articulate how their research had changed knowledge in the field –
their work was important.
These questions were essential to
helping them conceptualize their research and communicate the importance
of their work to others. In the tradition of John Dewey, he also
pushed his mentees to learn by doing. Many of his former graduate students,
shocked and saddened by his passing, have articulated, in poignant ways,
what John was like as a mentor. There is a shared sense that he remains the
biggest influence on their thinking and research, even years after completing
their degrees. Although I have spoken of John as a scientist,
leader in the field, colleague and mentor, I know that his love of family – his beloved wife Stephanie,
and his children, Christina and Anthony – was first and foremost. As we share our memories and
our sorrow at John’s passing, we especially reach out
to those he loved most to express our deep sympathy
and to let you know we’re here for you. I will now introduce John Rowe, Roger Szafranski and
Michael Gazzaniga, who will each share a remembrance. Dr. Rowe is the Julius B. Richmond Professor of Health Policy
and Aging at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Mr. Szafranski, a Chicago Booth alum,
is managing director of Corporate Finance Associates. And Professor Gazzaniga is the Director of the
SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind at UCSB and the President of the Cognitive
Neuroscience Institute JOHN ROWE: I’m speaking today on behalf of my colleagues in the Aging
Society Research Network, several of whom are here. This is an interdisciplinary group of 14 scholars that
was assembled by the MacArthur Foundation in 2008 The group represents psychology, sociology,
economics, demography, epidemiology, public health policy, political
science, and medicine. The network seeks to understand the challenges
and opportunities presented by aging of societies. Each member of this group has deep
expertise and one of these areas. Some members of this group had deep
expertise in a couple of these areas. John had deep expertise
in most of these areas.John’s contribution to our work was remarkable.
He was an integrator. In interdisciplinary groups, the greatest
challenge is often communicating effectively, as scholars come to the table speaking
different scientific languages. As he understood several of these languages,
John could see the connections between the strands of work and catalyze the articulation of insightful and
important questions and research strategies. As we try to process John’s passing, our thoughts are
drawn to one very special day – September 28th, 2011 We were a having network meeting,
that time in Paris. As Laura Carstensen, a psychologist at Stanford, who
is also here today, recounts the events of that day, quote, “During the meeting, John leaned over to me and whispered
that he had asked Stephanie to marry him. I jokingly remarked that I’d be happy
to officiate that evening. He said that this was a great idea and that
he’d email Stephanie to let her know. I whispered back, this is Laura, “No, No. Women don’t like
to be rushed into things like this. She will want to plan.” John push backed,
“She’ll love the idea.” By the end of the afternoon, our collective network
and staff had planned a wonderful wedding celebration. The event was held in the nearby…I’m
not making this up, this actually happened… The event was held in the nearby Luxembourg
Gardens. The weather was perfect. Laura officiated, reading
the text from her iPad. As the chair of the group, I had the honor
of giving away the bride. Frank Furstenberg of the University of Pennsylvania enthusiastically
volunteered to be the annoying official wedding photographer, and was flitting about
with his iPad. Things almost went awry when the police saw
our group assembled in a remote part of the park and demanded that we
dispersed at once. We dispatched Lisa Berkman of Harvard and
Tony Antonucci of the University of Michigan, two fluent French speakers, to stall the police
and appeal to their innate French romanticism. Following a beautiful ceremony, we returned
to our hotel for a lovely wedding reception with memorable toasts from Lisa Berkman and
James Jackson of the University of Michigan. Stephanie and John refer to this as
the best day of their lives. In life, these are the days that we remember.
This is how families operate. This is how we will remember John –
the happiest groom ever. ROGER SZAFRANSKI:
Good evening. Thank you, Stephanie, for giving
me this opportunity to share some of my most heartfelt
thoughts and memories of John. It is truly an honor. John’s energy is here around us,
in our hearts and in our minds. He’s my best friend. When I say John, I mean
John and Stephanie because if you know John,
you know Stephanie. They are inseparable. From the very first time my wife Candice
and I met John and Stephanie, at a social gathering for the new condominium
owners, we immediately hit it off. We spoke freely and easily. We laughed at
each other’s self-deprecating jokes. We shared our common experiences
with The University of Chicago and, of course, we told stories
about our dogs. Normal, simple stuff but we really
clicked, all four of us. Of course, Candice and I recognize the same things
about John and Stephanie everyone else does, whenever we saw them and
whatever they were doing. They held hands.
All the time. They smiled at each other.
All the time. And they listened intently to each other.
All the time. We know John and Stephanie had something very
special that made them so cool and so interesting. It was fun to witness their relationship
and be around them because it was so beautiful, so
unusual, and genuine. They lived with passion and purpose.
They radiated love for each other. All four of us developed
a special connection. It was an unexpected gift to have
such chemistry between all of us. It wasn’t until months later that we learned about the brilliant
careers these two incredibly happy people had. They were so humble. Meeting John was like meeting someone who said he’s a
painter, and later you find out that he was Picasso. John is a
Renaissance Man. We learned about their passionate
work on loneliness and love. So talented, so brilliant, and so
intertwined with each other. But as much as John accomplished in his career,
no matter how prolific of a writer he was, no matter how meaningfully creative his
work is, and how many awards he receives, the most impressive quality about John
was his love for Stephanie. No matter what adjective you use to describe
John, the most descriptive word for is ‘loving’ John really loved Stephanie and
Stephanie really loves John. His love for Stephanie, and how he treated her in front
of everyone, affected me in a profound way. John made me a
better version of me. He and Stephanie set the benchmark for
what a loving relationship is and can be. I am so grateful to have met John and
Stephanie, blessed actually, because it is such a precious gift to meet two people with
so much love and respect for one another. It normally takes effort to learn something,
but John taught me so much so easily. All I had to do
was watch them. Unconditional, unwavering love.
Committed to each other for life and beyond. John had many virtues and talents but
none greater than his love for Stephanie. They were happy doing anything and everything,
as long as it was together. They even took their dog, Bocho, for walks together.
Both of them. All the time. It didn’t matter if it was sunny and pleasant
or cold and miserable. They did it together. I remember one morning, during the polar
vortex, I got bundled up to take our dogs out. I was double stacked, hat to boots,
scarves, gloves. I had it all on. Multiple
layers of everything. I was hoping no one would see me.
I looked ridiculous. So, when the elevator door opened on
our floor, 32, and it was empty, I was hopeful that it would go non-stop,
straight to the lobby. But as soon as the elevator started its
descent, it stopped at 30. Here comes Bocho, with her coat on, and
John and Stephanie right behind her. Well I thought I looked silly. John and Stephanie in matching black
leather Aviator caps on, you know the ones with the fur bill
turned up on your forehead and the fur-lined flaps hanging on their ears, with
the buckle under their chin. They were hilarious. But their winter ensemble would not be
complete without their trademark smile and of course they were holding hands
with their thick winter gloves on. They were smiling, ready to go out into brutal
sub-zero weather, because they were together. A real smile is supposed to start in your
brain and then show up on your face but John and Stephanie’s smiles start in
their hearts and show up everywhere. For those of us who know John and Stephanie,
we don’t see a couple holding hands and smiling. We see a love story. Stephanie, you will never be alone. John’s love for you is the Eternal Light from
the brightest star in Heaven, shining on you. And it will never fade. MICHAEL GAZZANIGA: Albert Einstein
once observed that, quote, “Everyone sits in the
prison of his own ideas. He must burst it open,
and that in his youth, and so try to test his
ideas on reality.” Well that what John did. I don’t know John in his youth
but several of my colleagues did and were very close to him. They describe their young colleague,
who always had a better idea, as almost irritatingly brilliant
and appealing. These friends stayed with him throughout his dazzling
career and constantly consulted with him for guidance. I know every institution I have ever been at
recognized his talents and tried to hire him. Actually, everybody who calls themselves a bioscientist
actually knows of John’s lifetime work. Professor Abbie Baird at Vassar did not
know John personally but wrote to me to say, “I always teach his work. Young students who think
cognitive is hard science and emotion is soft science. That it is actually pretty easy to tell whether a neuron
is firing or blood is going to a certain part of the brain. The truly hardcore science is in
constructing the models that help us understand what it means to be human
and that’s where John’s work is breathtaking.” Breathtaking, indeed, his work on the emotional
state of loneliness, of course, is known to all. Like a true innovator, he’s not only studied it
but he communicated it to a vast audience. He made the public aware that loneliness
is harmful. That, when lonely, our brains snap into an evolutionary-determined,
non-conscious self-preservation and we start to show less
empathy for others. And loneliness increases defensiveness
because lonely people are concerned with their own welfare rather than the perspective of people
and loneliness increases unhealthy impulsive behavior. John also thought broadly about the human
condition and explored new issues all the time. It was at a national research council committee
in 2001, studying the veracity of lie detection that he met the distinguished brain imaging scientist, Marc Raichle.
They became fast friends and, eventually, collaborators. Their assignment took them into the inner workings of the
US intelligence agencies’ courts, legal, situations and more. In that setting, Marc told me, John stood out,
conveying an understanding of human knowledge that reflected his reputation as one of the
world’s most outstanding social psychologist. Indeed. My family’s personal relationship with John blossomed when
Stephanie entered his life seven years ago. Their insatiable devotion to each other, from
almost the moment they met, is Manifest to all. In fact, as their behavior never, ever changed, their
devotion to each other served as an inspiration that now, through Stephanie,
will continue to do so. SUSAN LEVINE: I’ll now introduce
further remembrances from David Amodio, Jay Van Bavel, Jon Kaplan
and Richard Saller. Professor Amodio and Professor Van Babel
are in the department of psychology at NYU. Jon Kaplan leads the Boston Consulting Group’s Health Care
Payers and Services team in North and South America. Professor Saller, currently Dean of the School of
Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University, previously served as Provost and the Dean of Social
Sciences division at The University of Chicago. DAVID AMODIO: My heart goes out
to John’s family and loved ones and I want you to know that you’re joined by thousands
in our field who are inspired by John’s vision, his generosity, and
his pioneering work. John’s career trajectory was
singular as it was brilliant. As a graduate student in the mid-70s, he
realized that to fully appreciate the human condition, one must consider the interplay of social,
cognitive, and biological processes. This might seem obvious now but
back then it was unheard of. He actually had to hide his psychophysiology
from the social psychologists while the psychophysiologists told him that his
ideas were cute, but a total waste of time. But of course, this only strengthened his
resolve. You don’t win an argument with John. So, his resolve was to do better research with
better methods than either of those camps and indeed they noticed. In 1981 he received
early career awards in both fields and by the mid-90s he had been president
of their premiere societies. John operated at another level. No one’s star burned brighter
and the field quickly recognized his vision. When I arrived on the scene in the late 90s, the field
of social neuroscience was already taking shape but John’s lab was still the only game in town
and I wanted to be part of it. I remember our first meeting at my first social
neuroscience poster at SPR in San Diego 2000. On his student, and my friend,
Kat Norris’ prompting, John came by my poster
and it was a huge thrill. He greeted me warmly, with his cheerful grin that
I’ll never forget. He shook my hand and then he proceeded to grill me relentlessly for 30
minutes on every single detail of my poster. Kat looked on,
cringing. I relished it, though. John was reaching out.
He was mentoring me and he was including me in
this exciting movement. He was also doing
quality control, though, making sure that any social neuroscience research
met the standard that he worked so hard to set. He wasn’t just mentoring students,
he was nurturing an entire field. I last saw John in 2016 in New York, when he
accepted the SANS Distinguished Scholar Award. John had been sick already and we
were very lucky that he could come. By then the field had exploded, attracting waves
of eager students who took it in all directions. And standing before this young crowd, you
could sense John’s deep pride and satisfaction and as he spoke on his unprecedented
analysis on human social connection. The crowd sat in awe, many with newfound
appreciation for his brilliance and energy, his rigor, and his profoundly
ambitious science. I thought it was a moment
of triumph for John. John modestly described himself as part of the third wave of
social neuroscience, but the field as we know it, which has included, touched, and inspired so
many, started with him and only him. We’ll miss you dearly, John.
We’ll never forget what you done for us. JAY VAN BAVEL: I lost my speech on
my computer on my way over so I’m going to speak from the heart here about John
and talk about some specific feelings and experiences I had with John
that shaped the entire direction of my life. The metaphor that comes to my mind
that helps me, helps express how I perceive John as a
young person in the field was best captured in the famous
movie by Milos Forman, Amadeus.The movie opens
with Salieri who, as young boy, prayed to God to
become a composer, against his dad’s wishes and, as it turned out, things fell his way.
He worked hard and he rose to the Emperor’s Court Composer, an
incredibly prestigious position. And things are going well, everybody held
him in very high esteem. Until one day he happens
to meet Mozart and upon meeting Mozart he was immediately
confronted with a transcendent talent, somebody who’s brilliance was so far
beyond his, that is was shattering for him. And what was most interesting about it was that he
was talented enough that he could see the chasm between him and Mozart in a way that
few other people were capable of doing. And at the end of the movie he was so
tortured by this that he goes insane and declares himself the
Patron Saint of Mediocrities. And this is what it felt like for many
of us around John. The more you read, the more you learn,
the more you published, the more acutely aware you became of how
wide the chasm was between you and John. He was just simply that good. But he went out of his way to find ways to include people,
including people who were young, anxious, out of the mainstream, and this happened to me as a very first
semester, anxious PhD student at the University of Toronto. John came and gave a colloquium and I was
one of the students who helped host him and I remember, not only reading his papers
before he came and going to lunch with him and essentially realizing that something
I taken completely for granted, the brain I thought was mundane and a boring direction for
somebody interested in prejudice and social psychology, he not only convinced me the brain is
relevant but that it was essential to understanding these issues
in a serious way. And not only that but that social psychology was
essential to understanding the brain and biology but what I remember even more
about his trip to Toronto is that he took the time to connect with me, pulled me aside
and asked where I was from and I told him I was from University of Northern Alberta,
way up in the hinterland. And he told me about a time he had taken a trip
there and his experience and how cold it was – much more bitterly cold than Chicago,
to everybody here, just so you know. That’s why he was so comfortable and happy walking
around in the middle of winter here. He’s seen worse. And the story was important to me because I
was anxious first-year student but also because about a dozen years later I was
reading an interview with John and he by then was famous for all his research
on loneliness and he said his dream study would be to study people in Northern Alberta
who for the summer go to these lookout towers in the middle of the woods all by them self for
weeks on end and they’re totally socially isolated and he thought this would be a really compelling, real world
quasi-experimental test of the power of social isolation. And it just so happened that my mom
was an administrative person for the Fish and Wildlife and Forestry of
Northern Alberta who was key to placing people in those Lookout towers and so
I emailed John and I suggested he collaborate with my mom and I have never invited anybody to collaborate with my
mother before and I’m sure it will not happen again. And so, they got in contact and tried to set
up this experiment to test these people. One thing he did I’ll remember. My mom is a voracious
reader and he sent her an autographed copy of his book and to an audience of academics that might
seem commonplace, it happens to us regularly. But my mom must own a thousand books, and
not a single author has ever sent her books. This is her only… It’s her only signed book. And these might seem like random examples and the
thing that struck me, and I think I remember every conversation I’ve ever had with John, and
two of the lessons that he told me at various times. One was that he only collaborates with
people he loves, people he enjoys, and the other was that he responds to every email
he gets. He tries to. No matter who it’s from. I just want to say that the thing that
most impressed me about John is, over and above the scholarship and the science and the
accolades is, his sensitivity, I think, to people. He understood what he meant
to them in a deep way. And that’s impossible to replace and
that’s the thing that I’ll carry with me after. So, thank you. RICHARD SALLER: John and I
worked together for 9 years when I was at the University of Chicago
as Dean and then Provost. The University of Chicago and
John Cacioppo, in my mind, were an excellent match in their
intellectual intensity and ambition. I had some sense of this when,
as Dean of the Social Sciences Division, I wrote a cover memo recommending his
appointment to the Provost in May of 1998. It occurred to me that it would be interesting to
see how that memo has stood the test of time. Here are just a couple
of excerpts: I wrote about John, “This is an extraordinary strong
appointment that could serve as the foundation for building a psychology department for the future and
so I endorse the recommendation emphatically. My understanding is that he has taken
various phenomena of social behavior and provided new understandings based on the
physiology of the brain and the endocrine system. In tying together the social and the physiological,
he’s doing path-breaking work.” The memo concluded, “John Cacioppo’s
career is extraordinary. At the age of 46, he’s invented the subfield of
social neuroscience and has been president of three professional societies in
different fields of psychology. He was rated by my 4 external advisors, for the
biopsychology search, as an A+ candidate. That is in the category of someone
we should do anything to attract. No other candidate received such
uniformly high marks.” So, John came to the University of Chicago with high
expectations and he certainly didn’t disappoint. And remember that that memo was written when he was 46 years old.
He was only halfway through his career. He could be a fierce intellectual
interlocutor but you could also be a sensitive and compassionate friend
and I know that from my own experience. In the summer of 2001, when I was
going through a rough personal patch, he called me in my office every
morning at 8 am, without fail, and invited me to go for a walk
and a talk on the Midway. He listened carefully on those long walks. He help me sort
out my own thoughts and offered decisive advice. It’s hard for me to think of another friend who
gave as much time and care as John did. All of that in the midst of his
fast-paced research agenda. For that kindness and support,
I’ll be forever grateful. The social sciences division of the University of Chicago has
been blessed over the generations with towering intellects. John will be remembered
with the best of them and the premature loss of his talent and friendship
is a source of pain and regret for us all. JON KAPLAN: First of all, thank you
all for the opportunity to speak. Obviously, I’m honored. I’m obviously
humbled in the shadow of a great man. The opportunity to share with you some
of my wonderful memories with John, a friend that inspires
and whom I will deeply miss. I start by reflecting on the three people
I know the best at the University of Chicago: John, Stephanie
and Bob Zimmer. I happen to know Bob the longest,
we won’t put any years on that, for Bob’s sake and my own, but I’ve
known Bob for a very long time. But what I loved about all three of them, and I still love to this
moment, is that they all fundamentally embrace thinking, independent thought, and are
open to passionate discourse. Probably said better: commit to discourse,
argument and a lack of deference. Those aren’t my words but probably
someone else here has said them. I believe this is at the core of what makes us
all great and I choose to learn from all three. Sadly, we have lost one of them
from our daily lives. I was lucky to meet John and Stephanie 5 years ago as
they moved in directly underneath our apartment. They put up with our excessive pounding on the
floor and our endless moving of heavy furniture at odd hours a day and night and in spite of this,
always met us with a smile and a warm greeting, even though Bocho would run whenever
Bocho had the pleasure of seeing us. Our building, the condominium
we all live in, is quite social. Many of us are good friends and look for opportunities
to share experiences in both good and bad times. I’ve been lucky enough to share many of meal, cocktail
party, and workout session with the Cacioppo’s. My wife Lorraine would often comment about how John,
Stephanie and I would get lost in conversation together when we all mingled. Candidly, the
conversations were always spectacular, never were predictable, and always left us
thinking further and wanting to discuss more. Through the years we simply looked
for opportunities to talk and debate always in an open, energetic, and
simply enjoyable way. I once had the opportunity to speak at Stephanie’s
undergraduate class for an hour and a half with both John and Stephanie
and it remains a highlight. Although preparing for the class
was very entertaining, I recall one session with John and
Stephanie in their apartment where they were teaching me about the different segments
of the brain and how each segment reacts to stimuli. All I could think about was, when
they were teaching me about this, about how dangerous this conversation that I was going to
have with a bunch of students at the University of Chicago and I had no desire to speak to a bunch of students
who knew more about the brain than I did and, I just, all I could think about was how
I was going to navigate through that class. Anyhow, the class was actually a wonderful set of
discussions and we never did discuss the brain. I end by giving tribute and bow my head in respect
to a wonderful man and his amazing wife. I treasured our
time together. Love that they are both
open and thoughtful, they welcome alternative thinking
and they embraced it in their lives. I hope that, as Stephanie transitions, she can
continue to bring this beautiful trait forward. I am sure will take time, but it’ll be a loss and
certainly not what John would have wanted, if this is lost with his passing.
Thank you. SUSAN LEVINE: Her Royal Highness,
Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, has written a letter that Professor
Shadi Bartsch-Zimmer will now read SHADI BARTSCH-ZIMMER: This letter is addressed
to Doctors John and Stephanie Cacioppo and was written on
the 21st of March. Dear Stephanie, I was very saddened to hear of
the passing of your husband John. John was a person who left a deep and
lasting impression on the people he met during his visits to Denmark and
it was a privilege to know him. When we, at the Mary Foundation, first
decided to work within the area of loneliness as one of our three focus areas, we
discovered that the only name that came up when searching for leading
scientists was John’s. His continuous dedication, valuable
research, and extensive knowledge, combined with his willingness to
share his findings about loneliness have, and will for many years, continue to
contribute to the quality and success of our work work and the work of many others
within the field of loneliness. John had a special gift. Not only as a
researcher but also as a communicator. He was able to make his research alive and
relevant and through his impressive efforts, he succeeded in shedding light
on an overlooked issue that negatively affects the lives
of way too many people. I have on several occasions shared
John’s illustrative comparison of the emperor penguin’s rotation to survive
and our own need to be part of a community. Through his work, John demonstrated the clear link between
the quality of our relations and our health and well-being. John has left an immense
and important mark and his legacy will live on through all of us
who use his research in our work. In the Mary Foundation, he will without
doubt continue to play a vital role in our efforts to combat social isolation, based
on the belief that everyone has a right to belong. Our thoughts are with you and
your family at this difficult time. With my deepest sympathy
and warmest thoughts, Mary, Her Royal Highness Crown Princess
Mary, Chairman, The Mary Foundation SUSAN LEVINE: John’s beloved wife
Stephanie will now share a few words STEPHANIE CACIOPPO: I’m standing here
before you tonight to simply express deep gratitude on behalf of your father, your brother,
your colleague, your neighbor, your teacher, your friend, your hero, and my husband,
the love of my life, John T. Cacioppo. John had an immense admiration
for The University of Chicago and a lot of respect for this historical chapel,
where he gave the Convocation speech in 2002. He would have been deeply humbled
and honored by this touching memorial. He would have been especially grateful to
President Zimmer for his heartfelt opening remarks. To Her Royal Highness
for her beautiful letter. To those of you who spoke tonight,
to those of you who are here tonight, and also to those of you who are thinking
about him from all around the world. Each day John lived, he
wanted to be the best of him. And each day he inspired us
to be the best of us. Tonight is no exception. His physical passing will
not stop his momentum. His spirit, his energy, his grace, his
sophisticated thinking, now live in each one of us. In each one of you. And for this reason,
I am grateful to you too. I’m also grateful to John for
falling in love with science. For being a pioneer in the neuroscience
of human nature and for finding the social and behavioral sciences
to be home of some of the most compelling scientific questions concerning human existence
and the potential for its improvement. While he knew the importance of
rational processes in causal thinking, he decided to pave the way for a more sophisticated
mathematical reasoning of social connections and he showed us empirical, rather than rational, evidence
that a meaningful life is a life connected to others. His ultimate goal was to make
this world a better place. And our world, my world, more than ever,
is a better place because of you. Because of him, and
now because of you But don’t take my words for granted, let’s hear
it directly from him, Professor John T. Cacioppo JOHN T. CACIOPPO: So, one of
the “good news” points about our research on isolation is that
people go up and down. If can feel isolated sometimes it can feel like
the end of the world. You’ve lost your best friend, maybe your spouse of 50 years,
and the world has ended. We have been doing longitudinal research, we’re now in
year 11 of a longitudinal study of isolation in Chicago and I’m happy to say that people have risen
from really crushing episodes of felt isolation. But events, time passes, friends are made anew and these
individuals now are living very happy, productive lives so sometimes when the world looks darkest,
we have to turn that adversity to an advantage. We have to figure out what are the opportunities
that are now available and not give up. Just be patient. The worst thing you can
tell someone is grieving is ‘Time will heal’ It’s not really time. Time does help
but it’s really the actions, the cognitions. It’s how you approach other people that changes with time but
you have to be willing to approach those other people in a way that’s positive, in a way that’s
engaging, in a way that’s mutually enjoyable and from that,
one can find life again. ♪ Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
T’was blind but now I see
T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear
And Grace, my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
Through many dangers, toils and snares
We have already come
T’was grace that brought
us safe thus far
And grace,
grace will lead me home
When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

One comment

  1. I met Dr. Cacioppo and his wife at a lecture at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, OH in either 2016 or 2017. I read his book, "Loneliness" and watched his video's on you tube and realized this was a brilliant, caring man. It was such an amazing privilege to meet him at BWU. He was so very kind and caring as was Dr. Stephanie Cacioppo. They spent a few minutes after their lecture talking to me. It was advice I followed. Rest in peace, Professor Cacioppo. Thank you for sharing your life and your talents with the world.

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