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Vince Punzo
Professor of Psychology

Vince Punzo is a psychologist interested in issues related to bioethics and human dignity. He also teaches such courses on such topics as the positive psychology and the psychology of sport. An avid sports fan, he has attended major league baseball games in more than 40 stadiums.

“At Earlham there is an emphasis on inter-disciplinary approaches to teaching and learning,” says Vince. “It is also a place in which there are quite a high number of truly extraordinary teachers who provide their students with exceptional classroom experiences.”

Contact Info

Campus Mail
Drawer 117



301 Landrum Bolling Center


  • Psychology
  • Exercise Science
  • Social Services
  • Graduate Programs in Education
  • Education
  • Education Applied Minor
  • Medical Humanities Applied Minor


  • Ph.D., University of Notre Dame
  • M.A., University of Notre Dame
  • M.S., Saint Louis University
  • B.A., Saint Louis University

Selected Courses:

Cradle and Grave: The Psychology of Infancy and Death and Dying: I believe this is one of the most unique courses offered anywhere  in the field of Developmental Psychology.  In the first seven weeks of the course, students focus on the beginning of human life: prenatal development, birth, and the first year of infancy.  After mid-term break we turn our attention to the last days of human life: dying, death, and bereavement.  By focusing on the first and last days of life, students are given the opportunity to study and reflect on the meaning and significance of birth, death, and temporal human life.     

Positive Psychology: This course focuses on the psychological attributes that lead to human flourishing.  We focus on topics such as the scientific study of happiness, love, gratitude, meaning, and full engagement with life.     

Psychology of Sport: This course focuses on the scientific study of athletes and the practical application of that knowledge.  Topics include psychological skills training for athletes, team dynamics, peak performance, competitiveness, and motivation.  In this course, students are given the opportunity to conduct a psychological case study assessment of a college athlete.     

Human Dignity and Bioethics: Dramatic advances in genetic research and biotechnology have led to the promise of the alleviation of human suffering while simultaneously raising troubling questions concerning the perils of attempting to “engineer” or “enhance” human nature.  This course examines the ethical implications of recent scientific advances through the lens of the concept of human dignity.  Students in this course will explore and discuss such questions as “What is meant by ‘human dignity?’” and “Can this concept provide a useful framework for exploring the ethical dimensions of scientific and medical progress?”

Bioethics and human dignity: recent advances in genetics, information technology and neuroimaging have led to increasingly complex ethical issues in medicine. I attempt to deliberate these issues through the lens of the concept of human dignity.

My most recent publication is: "Alzheimer's, Tube Feeding, and Prudential Judgment" in the Fall, 2013 issue of The National Catholic Journal of Bioethics. Over the years I have also published articles on the psychology of virtue ethics. In 2009 I was awarded a grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities to develop a first-year seminar course titled "On Human Dignity."

International Positive Psychology Association

I love to teach at Earlham because it provides an ideal liberal arts experience for students. At Earlham there is an emphasis on inter-disciplinary approaches to teaching and learning. Earlham is a place in which one can deeply and rigorously engage important and contentious issues. It is also a place in which there are quite a high number of truly extraordinary teachers who provide their students with exceptional classroom experiences.

I would describe Earlham students as "seekers and searchers." More specifically Earlham students are intrinsically curious and inclined toward exploring new ways of approaching important topics and issues. They also exhibit a natural openness and enthusiasm to new experiences that challenge them to move beyond their comfort zone. They are also deeply caring people who take the idea of intellectual community seriously.

Like many professors, I am a voracious reader. I love reading not only psychology but also works of philosophy, theology, politics and fiction.

I am a huge sports fan. Over the years I have attended games at approximately 40 Major League Baseball stadiums. I have attended games at a variety of stadiums across the United States and Canada with many of my former students.

I keep in shape by running. Over the years I have participated in countless 5 and 10K runs as well as one full marathon and two half marathons. In many of those races I competed against current and former students.

Over the last several years I have done volunteer work with hospice patients.

I own one of the oldest houses in Richmond (built in 1833) and have enjoyed having it restored over the years so that it maintains its unique historical character.

I am also an active member of my Catholic Church in Richmond.

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