The key players who established our department's identity, mission and vision.

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Founding Members and Early Trailblazers of the Department

David L. Smith, C.S.Sp., Ph.D.

Dr. Smith was born in 1931 in Pennsylvania. After receiving a B.A. in philosophy from St. Mary's Seminary in Connecticut in 1955, he began his theological studies at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. In 1957 he was awarded a baccalaureate in sacred theology, and in 1959 a licentiate in sacred theology. After his ordination as a Catholic priest in the Congregation of Holy Ghost, he pursued his M.A. at Duquesne University's newly established graduate program. Under Van Kaam's direction, he completed his thesis: Anthropological Psychology and Ontology, and was awarded the M.A. in 1961. During the 1961-1962 year, he taught undergraduate courses, audited graduate courses in psychology and contemporary philosophy, and participated in the initial planning of the doctoral program in psychology. From 1962 to 1965, Smith pursued doctoral studies at the University of Montreal. In 1967, he worked as a psychological associate at Somerset State Hospital in Somerset, PA, and in 1968 joined the faculty of the Behavioral Sciences Department at Point Park College in Pittsburgh. That same year, he completed his dissertation, The Typical Components of the Experience of Feeling Guilty, using van Kaam's phenomenological methodology, and was awarded the Ph.D. degree. From 1969 to 1972 he served as Chairman of the department at Point Park College.

In 1972, Smith rejoined the Duquesne Psychology Department, where he served as Chairman from 1975 to 1985. He also served as the director of clinical and theory/research programs of the department. Smith taught graduate courses in phenomenological reflections on psychoanalytic metapsychology, and he supervised students in the advanced practica in psychotherapy. His research focused on phenomenological approaches to psychotherapy, psychopathology, and addiction; phenomenological approaches to religious and moral experience; phenomenological explorations of the metapsychology of psychoanalysis. He published multiple papers in Envoy and in Duquesne Studies in Phenomenological Psychology. In 1988 he left the University to engage in pastoral ministry. He returned to Duquesne in 1994 and served as the Executive Director of the Simon Silverman Phenomenology. He was appointed Professor Emeritus in 2002, and died in 2011.