Math alum to speak to graduates at spring commencement

John Gottman, Ph.D., an alumnus of the UW–Madison, is world-renowned for his work on marital stability and divorce prediction. He will be awarded an honorary doctoral degree during spring commencement. As is the tradition for recipients of honorary doctoral degrees, he will speak at the ceremony for graduate students.

Gottman earned a master’s degree in clinical psychology–mathematics from UW–Madison in 1967 and a doctorate in clinical psychology from UW–Madison in 1971. Prior to that, he earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics–physics from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1962 and a master’s degree in mathematics–psychology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1964.

After holding faculty positions at Indiana University and the University of Illinois, Gottman joined the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington in 1986. In 1996, he co-founded of The Gottman Institute in Seattle with his wife, Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman. Its mission is to “create and maintain greater love and health in relationships.”

“Dr. Gottman was the first to develop rigorous mathematical analyses of behavior to objectively describe relationships in couples,” says Professor Janet Hyde, chair of the UW–Madison Department of Gender & Women’s Studies and a professor of psychology. “His background in mathematics was the key to the development of this, which at the time was a groundbreaking experimental approach. These analytical methods have since had great relevance to many other areas in the study of human behavior.”

Gottman is the author or co-author of over 200 published academic articles and more than 40 books, including the bestselling “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work”; “What Makes Love Last”; “Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love”; “The Relationship Cure”; “Why Marriages Succeed or Fail”; and “Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child.” His media appearances include “Good Morning America,” “Today,” “CBS Morning News,” and “Oprah.”

In 2002, Gottman became an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Washington and the executive director of the Relationship Institute in Seattle.