With great sadness, I’m writing to share that our colleague Suniya Luthar, Professor Emerita of Psychology and Education, passed away on February 16, 2023. Professor Luthar joined the Department of Counseling & Clinical Psychology at Teachers College in 1997, and served as the department’s chair in 2006 and Senior Advisor to the Provost from 2011 to 2013.
Born in New Delhi, Suniya earned her Ph.D. from Yale University before embarking on a career dedicated to examining challenges and resilience among at-risk groups, and applying insights to mental health support. Her prolific contributions to the field include her co-authored paper on conceptual issues in resilience, which is among the most often referenced articles in the area; her years of research on youth and families in poverty; and her groundbreaking findings on the challenges faced by youth in high-achieving communities.
In recent years, Suniya was Foundation Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University, and founded AC Groups, a nonprofit organization that provides supportive evidence-based interventions in hospitals, schools, and university settings. Suniya’s commitment to giving back was further explored alongside her daughter, Nina Kumar, when the two co-founded the organization Authentic Connections Co. to assess and improve mental health and well-being in schools. Over decades at TC, her generous mentorship and discourse with students and colleagues fostered life-long friendships. Though both her professional pursuits and health struggles brought Suniya away from TC in recent years, her impact here is felt and she will be sincerely missed.
We extend our thoughts during this difficult time to her children, Nina and Nikhil, and her dear friend Mary Wiley, as well as Suniya’s many friends and dear colleagues. You may also read Suniya’s full obituary here.
William J. Baldwin
Interim Provost and Dean