In Memoriam: Ruby Takanishi (1946 ─ 2020)

Dr. Ruby Takanishi
Dr. Ruby Takanishi

It is with great sadness that we share news of the death of longtime SRCD member Dr. Ruby Takanishi. Ruby’s distinguished career, focused throughout on the wellbeing of children,  included serving as Assistant Professor in UCLA’s Graduate School of Education; Director of the Office of Scientific Affairs at the American Psychological Association; first Director of FABBS; Executive Director of the Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development; Assistant Director in the President’s  Office of Science and Technology Policy for Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; President of the Foundation for Child Development; Chair of the Committee on Fostering School Success for English Learners of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine; and Senior Research Fellow at New America.

Throughout her professional life, Ruby was active in SRCD. In the 1980s she was one of the earliest SRCD Congressional Policy Fellows, an experience that she noted as altering the trajectory of her career. In the 1990s, Ruby served for six years on SRCD’s Governing Council and provided expertise to SRCD’s Finance Committee. While President of the Foundation for Child Development, she helped to launch SRCD’s Hispanic (now Latinx) and Asian Caucuses. In 2016 she served on the SRCD Task Force on the SRCD Policy Fellowship, a periodic review of the fellowship program, and was a pivotal voice in extending the program to include state as well as federal fellowships. Most recently, she served as a member of the Advisory Committee for SRCD Child Evidence Briefs and on the Rapid Assessment and Response Strategy Team, which provides timely input to SRCD’s Governing Council on engagement in social and public policy issues. With her discipline and commitment, these contributions continued into the last months of her life.

Ruby Takanishi completed an oral history interview in the Spring of 2020, providing her reflections on her professional experiences. To read the full interview transcript, as well as other interviews from over 100 leaders in developmental science, visit the SRCD Oral History Project collection.