Psychologist and Africana studies professor Jerome Taylor was born on January 26, 1940 in Waukegan, Illinois to Willie Mae Taylor and George Washington. Taylor earned his B.A. degree from the University of Denver in 1961, and his Ph.D. degree in clinical psychology from Indiana University Bloomington in 1965.
Upon graduation, Taylor received and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in child and adolescent psychology at the Menninger Clinic of Topeka, Kansas. He then served as director of the county’s Mental Health Unit from 1968 to 1969. In 1969, Taylor moved to the University of Pittsburgh, where he was named director of the Clinical Psychology Center. He went on to serve as chair of the Graduate Program in Social Psychology, and as associate professor and chair of the Department of Africana Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. In psychology, he has chaired more than twenty-five dissertation committees of African American students, a record at the University of Pittsburgh.
Taylor served as a consulting editor for the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, and has published articles in a number of scholarly journals. He has also presented his research and development activities at numerous institutions of higher learning, including Howard University, Hampton University, Florida A & M University, Princeton University, Yale University, and Oxford University.
Originally conceived in 1970, Taylor founded the Institute for the Black Family at the University of Pittsburgh and the Center for Family Excellence, Inc. in 1988, which serves Allegheny County, and went on to serve as its executive director, president and founder. The Center for Family Excellence, Inc. has received the Alfred W. Wishart Jr. Award, and its violence prevention program has been rated as the best in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Taylor’s awards include the University of Pittsburgh Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Service Award; University of Pittsburgh Black Alumni Pioneer in Civil Rights Award; the Distinguished Research Award from the International Association of Black Psychologists; the Kujichagulia Award from the Sankofa Institute of Pittsburgh; and the Norman Dixon Award for Outstanding Black Faculty Member. Taylor is a member of the Association of Black Psychologists and the National Institute of Black Child Development.
Jerome Taylor was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 10, 2014.