In Memoriam, Dr. Abby Stein

Dr. Stein with Nico Montano, 2013 recipient of the Abby Stein Award

CUNY Baccalaureate reports with profound sadness the passing of our devoted alumna Dr. Abby Stein ’91. Dr. Stein was an award-winning Full Professor at John Jay College teaching full-time in the Interdisciplinary Studies Program and serving on several college task forces and committees.

Dr. Stein was the author of two books that garnered much attention and praise: Prologue to Violence: Child Abuse, Dissociation, and Crime (The Analytic Press, 2007) and Cupid’s Knife: Anger and Agency in Violent Relationships (Routledge, 2014). She also authored over thirty articles on interdisciplinary research, criminal psychopathology, child maltreatment, and other challenging issues in sociology, anthropology and psychology.

Dr. Stein with 2011 CUNY BA graduate Chad Infante






Dr. Stein returned to school after a 15 year absence to receive her GED. After earning her Bachelor’s degree in Forensic Psychology Summa cum Laude with CUNY Baccalaureate in 1991, in 2000 she earned a Ph.D. in Psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center and then became a Post-doctoral Fellow at the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis and Psychology.

Her first career, however, was as a comedian. In the decade before returning to college she performed stand-up comedy working extensively in nightclubs, colleges and on TV in the U.S. and Great Britain. She wrote, directed and produced her own act, handled all her own contract negotiations, lectured on the college circuit about the history of humor and the state of the comedic arts in the U.S., and was one of the founders and directors of the Professional Comedians Association. This should come as no surprise to those who knew Abby; she had a star quality about her, a bright, wonderful sense of humor, a sincere love of teaching and mentoring, and an entrepreneurial spirit.

50242595-00701-0143Abby touched and enriched many lives and organizations. To name a few, John Jay College, of course, the William Alanson White Institute, and the Vera Institute of Justice – she was the Director of the Vera Fellows Program at John Jay. She was also a very important contributor to CUNY Baccalaureate. Not only did she delight in referring exceptional students to CUNY BA and conferring with the staff, but, to mark the occasion of earning her Doctorate, she established the Abby Stein Award. For the past 14 years Abby presented this — a $500 award for a graduating CUNY BA / John Jay student who achieved outstanding academic excellence in the social sciences — at CUNY BA’s annual commencement ceremony.

Our condolences go out to her family, friends, students and colleagues. We miss her already.

You can view additional photos of Abby here.