Born in 1927, Saugerties, NY, he graduated from Princeton in 1947 (BA honors) and received his PhD from Columbia University in 1954. In 1957 Professor Stycos launched his long and distinguished career at Cornell University in the department of Sociology. In 1962 he founded the International Population Program (IPP), subsequently renamed the Population and Development Program (PDP), and served as its director until 1992. These programs were supported by such organizations as the Population Council, the Ford Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. He also served as chair of Cornell's Department of Sociology (1966-1970) and as director of the Latin American Studies Program (1962-1990).Professor Stycos was an expert on fertility in Latin America, among many other things, and I was introduced to his writings at a young age because he had received his doctorate under the mentorship of Kingsley Davis, who subsequently moved to Berkeley and eventually became my mentor. One of Joe Stycos's fellow students at Columbia was Judith Blake, who married Kingsley Davis and went with him to Berkeley where together they founded the Department of Demography. She and Joe Stycos both worked on a project on fertility in Jamaica funded by the Conservation Foundation and that project helped to launch both of their careers while enlightening the world about fertility trends in developing nations.
Among the many people whom Professor Stycos mentored at Cornell are two of my good friends, Dennis Hodgson and Karen Hardee, both of whom serve with me on the History Committee of the Population Association of America. Professor Stycos's influence was long and wide, but his legacy lives on in his many important publications.