University News

Adler University Founder,
 Internationally Known Adlerian 
 Harold Mosak Retires from Teaching 07.30.15
Adler University Founder,
Internationally Known Adlerian
Harold Mosak Retires from Teaching

Adler University co-founder and Distinguished Service Professor Harold Mosak, Ph.D. has announced his retirement after more than 60 years of teaching. Considered a leading global expert in individual or Adlerian psychology, Dr. Mosak begins his retirement with gratitude from the entire University community for his continuous leadership, teaching, and work building our institution since 1952.

“Adlerians throughout the world have been trained and supervised by Harold, and we are fortunate that he has been teaching our students for the entire 63-year life of our institution,” says Adler University President Raymond E. Crossman, Ph.D.

“Harold has been the key to our history and our work advancing the teaching and concepts that Alfred Adler pioneered,” he said. “I benefit from what he has taught me every day, and his work is why Adler University is here today. Even as he retires, we will stay involved and continue to benefit from his wisdom. He is a beloved mentor to us and to people across the globe, through his passion for learning and community.”

63 years of teaching, writing, leading, and serving

With his mentor Rudolf Dreikurs, M.D. and colleagues including Bernard Shulman, M.D., Dr. Mosak founded the Alfred Adler Institute—today Adler University—in 1952. The three served as faculty and staff for the Institute, handling all daily tasks from teaching classes to stuffing envelopes. With his colleagues, Dr. Mosak saw patients daily, taught nightly, and supervised and lectured in between.

In the Adler Institute’s early years, Dr. Mosak founded the school’s library.  Although works by Adler and his students were hard to find, he acquired them one by one and recruited students to the cause. His late wife Birdie worked alongside him in reaching out to students and building the institution; through their efforts, the library grew and students from around the world came to study at Adler.

In 2011, in conjunction with Dr. Mosak’s 90th birthday and through benefactors’ support, the University dedicated its modern library as the Harold and Birdie Mosak Library. The library today offers one of the world’s finest archives of Adlerian psychology materials. The University itself now enrolls more than 1,200 students in a range of doctoral and master’s programs focused on social change, at Chicago and Vancouver campuses and through a new Global Campus for online degree programs to officially launch this fall.

In addition to co-founding and teaching at Adler, Dr. Mosak has written hundreds of articles and numerous books on individual psychology. He also served as a trustee for most of Adler’s history—from the school’s founding in 1952 until 1999.  During that time, he served as the longest-serving chair in Adler’s history and, in 1984, as the institution’s interim president.

Holding an A.B. in psychology and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Chicago, Dr. Mosak is a diplomate in clinical psychology of the American Board of Professional Psychology, and a life member and fellow of the American Psychological Association. He was among the first psychologists licensed in the United States and Illinois; his Illinois license number is 37. 

'We wouldn't be here today if it weren't for Harold'

“There aren’t too many institutions that have benefited from more than 60 years of service, connection and leadership from one individual, an individual of such stature and wisdom as Harold Mosak,” said David Sinski, Chair of Adler’s Board of Trustees and Executive Director of Heartland Human Care Services.

“We wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for Harold and his colleagues. Based on his guidance, the board and staff have implemented things that have brought us to where we are today as Adler University. Not only his teaching but his service has taught us, and we have big shoes to fill.”

'Do a hell of a lot, and leave some for future generations'

At a private retirement celebration for Dr. Mosak last week at the University’s Chicago Campus where he has taught, Dr. Mosak said, “Some decades ago, Kurt Adler, the son of Alfred Adler, thought I was working too hard and had too many positions on the board, as a teacher, etc. He approached me and said, ‘Harold, I’d like to make a pact with you. Let’s not do it all. Out of social interest, we owe it to future generations to leave something for them to do.’

“I invite you to enter a pact with Kurt Adler, and not to do it all--but do a hell of a lot, and leave some for future generations. If you persevere and you recognize that you have something to offer the world, don’t desist from it. Offer it to the world.

“I suspect Adler is smiling down on us today because of the things the people of the last 60 years have accomplished." 

Cards and messages for Dr. Mosak congratulating him on his retirement may be sent to:

c/o Adler University
Attn.: Office of the President
17 N. Dearborn
Chicago, IL 60602

To make a gift to Adler University in Dr. Mosak's honor, visit our online giving pageSee photos from our retirement celebration for Dr. MosakRead Dr. Mosak's remarks to the Adler University community upon his retirement at

About Adler University

Adler University educates students to engage the world and create a more just society. Established in 1952, it enrolls more than 1,400 students in master’s and doctoral programs for social change through its campuses in downtown Chicago and Vancouver, as well as an Online Campus. Adler University’s mission is to continue the pioneering work of Alfred Adler, the first community psychologist, by graduating socially responsible practitioners, engaging communities and advancing social justice.