Erikson mourns co-founder Lorraine Wallach

President Geoffrey A. Nagle sent the following in an email to students, alumni, faculty, staff, and trustees:

With great sadness, I want to share with you that Lorraine Wallach, one of Erikson’s co-founders, died last Sunday.

Maria Piers, Barbara Bowman, Irving B. Harris, and Lorraine founded Erikson in 1966.

A social worker by training, Lorraine served Erikson in a number of positions from executive director to faculty member. After 27 years at Erikson, she retired in 1993 as a Distinguished Service Professor Emerita.

She is remembered as a supportive teacher who never stopped learning, devoted mentor of students and alumni, pragmatic colleague, and great friend — one with a very dry sense of humor. Alumni still think about her class on the role of play in development.

Lorraine shared a pioneering vision with Maria and Barbara of creating a well-trained group of early childhood professionals, and brought her strong social work and clinical perspective to the interdisciplinary framework of Erikson. The three of them worked as one to overcome many challenges, especially in the early years, to make their shared vision a reality.

Lorraine was instrumental in helping cement Erikson’s national reputation through her work with Native American and migrant Head Start programs. With Erikson colleagues, she helped the Institute earn one of its first national grants, the Child Development Associate Pilot Program. That work sent Erikson faculty into Native American communities across the United States to develop a model of culturally relevant teacher preparation.

Her legacy is Erikson: a national model for the highest quality education of early childhood professionals.

At Lorraine’s request, there are no arrangements. We at Erikson are considering what would make a fitting tribute to Lorraine, and will do her legacy justice in an article in the spring issue of our Erikson on Children publication.

If you would like to share memories of Lorraine, a tribute, or photos, please email Erikson at [email protected].

We would love to hear from you.