American Patriotic 10

Dr. Alan J. Lizotte

January 7, 1948 ~ January 24, 2022 (age 74)


Alan J. Lizotte, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the University at Albany School of Criminal Justice and resident of Bristol, RI, passed away suddenly on January 24 while doing what he loved most: teaching. He was 74.

Born in Fall River, MA, Alan credited his French-Canadian roots for his open-mindedness and for what he jokingly described as “an inherent Catholic guilt.” He spent his childhood in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Colorado. Each place shaped Alan’s life in lasting ways.

Fall River held memories of a humble start and a grandfather’s adventures smuggling whiskey during Prohibition. In Colorado, Alan first developed a curiosity about guns which later led to his academic career in criminal justice and firearm ownership. Most recently, Alan returned to RI with his wife Lisa where from their home he was treated each morning to a view of Bristol Harbor. He loved the Harbor — so much so that for his last birthday Alan treated himself to new binoculars, just so he could bring closer its light, its boats, its liveliness.
In the summer of 1966, at the age of 18, Alan joined the United States Navy. Over the next four years, he served one tour in Vietnam on a guided missile frigate, the USS Jouett, and one and a half tours on land with Inshore Undersea Warfare Group One. By the time of his honorable discharge, Alan had attained the rank of Second Class Petty Officer as a radioman. He later continued his patriotic service through Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

In 1970, Alan enrolled at Bristol Community College (BCC) under the GI Bill. He often recalled his early education at BCC fondly and characterized it as a turning point in his life. At BCC, his experiences as a young vet caught the attention of his English literature instructor, Helaine Schupack. While other students were writing essays about teen-like milestones, Alan wrote about his unit capturing a North Vietnamese swimmer. Schupack subsequently helped Alan apply to Brown University, where he was accepted with a full scholarship. Alan earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Brown in 1974, followed by a Master of Arts degree (1976) and Ph.D. (1979) from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, also in Sociology. In 2018, Alan established a scholarship in honor of Schupack, to be given annually to “an adult learner over the age of 22” in need of financial support for education and related expenses.

Alan’s professional academic career began in 1978, when he was first appointed Assistant Professor at Emory University, leaving it in 1980 to join the faculty at Indiana University and, later, Rutgers University. In 1985, Alan earned an appointment as Associate Professor at the School of Criminal Justice at the University at Albany. He spent the next thirty-six years at Albany, serving as Dean of the School of Criminal Justice (2010-2015) and three-times as Executive Director of the Michael J. Hindelang Criminal Justice Research Center. By the time of his retirement in late 2021, Alan had attained the rank of Distinguished Professor, the highest honor in the State University of New York system.
Alan’s academic career was indeed truly distinguished. He was proud to lead, with his colleagues Marv Krohn and Terry Thornberry, the Rochester Youth Development Study (RYDS). Begun in 1987, RYDS is a groundbreaking project that followed the life course of 1,000 at-risk students from Rochester, New York. The RYDS project remains active to this day. Alan’s work on the project was recognized in 2003 when he and his co-authors received the American Society of Criminology’s Michael J. Hindelang Outstanding Book Award for Gangs and Delinquency in Developmental Perspective. In addition, Alan’s expertise in firearms research and his methodological prowess were internationally renowned. In 2009, he received the University at Albany President’s Award for Excellence in Research and in 2014 his lifetime of remarkable contributions to the field was recognized when he was named a Fellow of the American Society of Criminology.

Alan will be remembered with deep affection by his wide circle of students and dear colleagues. He acted as chair on forty-one Ph.D. committees, served as a member on many others, and mentored countless undergraduate students through their Honors theses. His mentoring relationships, rooted in his enormous expertise in research methods and statistics, and characterized by the respect, empathy and compassion he conveyed, frequently developed into deep and lifelong personal bonds. His advocacy for his students often extended well past their formal graduation, and he took deep pride in their accomplishments. Famously available for conversations on any subject (but especially Hemingway), he gave ideas freely, encouraged students to explore avenues they hadn’t considered (or couldn’t imagine), and offered opportunities for them to excel in the world. It was through nominations by several of those students that he received various honors for mentorship, including the University at Albany’s Bread and Roses Award for Excellence in Promoting Gender Equality in 2014. He was especially proud of being recognized for his mentorship of generations of women entering the field of criminology.

Alan’s passing will be felt profoundly by family, friends, colleagues, and students around the world. He will be missed for his dry wit and his entertaining tales of life, love, and the pursuit of scientific rigor. Alan is survived by his beloved wife of 37 years, Lisa Jackson, of Bristol, RI. The family is planning a memorial service for a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in his honor to the Helaine Schupack Scholarship at Bristol Community College: , or by check to Bristol Community College Foundation, 777 Elsbree Street, Fall River, MA 02720 (please indicate on memo line: Helaine Schupack Scholarship Fund).


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Helaine Schupack Scholarship at Bristol Community College
777 Elsbree Street, Fall River MA 02720

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