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Some of these individuals participated in the ASC Oral History Project. For more information, please go to the Oral History Project page.


Paul E. Tracy, Jr. passed away unexpectedly on January 5, 2020, shortly after retiring from the University of Massachusetts Lowell where he served as professor and graduate director for the School of Criminology and Justice Studies for 8 years. Paul’s long and successful career also included serving on the faculties and impacting the lives of many students at the University of Texas at Dallas, Northeastern University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Paul’s earned his B.A. from Rhode Island College and his Ph.D. in 1978 in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania. He was Senior Research Associate for the Criminal Justice Program Evaluation Center at the Mitre Corporation, then returned to Penn as a faculty member to collaborate with his mentor, Marvin Wolfgang, becoming Director of the Graduate Program in Criminology and part of the move from Arts & Sciences to Wharton. He served as Associate Director of the Sellin Center for Criminology & Criminal Law, a position that enabled him to help assure that the 1958 Philadelphia Birth Cohort study was able to include the follow up to age 26 for those 27,160 subjects. In 1985, Paul moved to be close to family and taught at Northeastern for 7 years, leaving to help establish a crime and justice program at the University of Texas at Dallas, where he worked for 19 years, before returning to his favorite part of the country and joining the Lowell faculty.

A skilled methodologist and staunch advocate for improving criminal justice policies, Paul’s scholarly contributions focused on measurement and analysis of criminal careers over the life course, juvenile justice, drug prohibition, prisoner re-entry, and capital punishment. He was author or co-author of eight books, numerous articles and technical reports. He also served as Editor-in-Chief of Crime & Delinquency for 15 years. His scholarship was recognized by the Western Society of Criminology President’s Award in 2003.

A beloved teacher of courses at all levels, he served on or directed nearly 40 dissertations. Paul’s outstanding teaching was accorded Distinguished Teaching Awards by both Penn and Northeastern, the Social Science Teaching Award by UT-Dallas, and the Chancellor’s Outstanding Teaching Award by the University of Texas Systems.

Paul was a proud father, husband, and patriot. He cared about veterans, especially those who had served in Vietnam, as he had. He loved fast cars, spicy food, and practicing the martial arts, at which he was an expert. He will be missed by many.

Submitted by Kimberly Kempf-Leonard