Alumni Honorees

David S. HolmesDavid S. Holmes

B.S. Education, 1961
B.S. Sociology/Psychology, 1961


After graduating from NIU, Professor Holmes went on to graduate school at Northwestern University where he earned a Ph.D. in psychology. He then did his clinical training at Harvard Medical School. That was followed by professorships at Northwestern and the University of Texas, the position of “Visiting Research Scholar” at the prestigious ETS “think tank” at Princeton, and then to his professorship at the University of Kansas where he now teaches classes of 1,000 students.

The effectiveness and influence of Holmes’ teaching is clearly attested to by the many national awards he has received, including the Award for Distinguished Teaching In Psychology from the American Psychological Association. In its four editions, his textbook entitled Abnormal Psychology has been used by 400,000 students.

Holmes is also a prolific and influential researcher. In the first 25 years of his career, he published more than 130 articles in prestigious scientific journals. His primary area of research has been the psychophysiology of stress, including seminal work demonstrating that popular techniques such as biofeedback and meditation that are widely used to control stress are in fact not more effective than simply resting. Other areas of his research include adult personality development and the effects of defense mechanisms and aerobic exercise for controlling stress.