Celebrating the Legacy of Raymond "Ray" Corrado: A 47-Year Career at SFU

January 17, 2024

Renowned nationally and internationally for his extensive contributions to youth justice and violence, terrorism, and the entire field of criminology, Raymond "Ray" Corrado retires from Simon Fraser University’s School of Criminology after 47 years of dedicated service. Throughout his incredible career, Ray has mentored and inspired thousands of students, leaving a lasting legacy that will continue to impact future generations.

“Dr. Corrado is one of the most creative, inspiring, and supportive instructors and mentors,” says PhD student and former research assistant Amanda Champion. “He provides his students and research assistants with an educational experience that is truly unparalleled; his ability to encourage research creativity, and shape confident and competent students is by far one of his most commendable attributes.”

Ray Corrado began his journey at SFU in 1977 when he was hired as associate director of the Criminology Research Centre. A year later, he joined the faculty team as an assistant professor.

With a career spanning over four decades, Corrado’s groundbreaking work on the intersection of criminology and psychology significantly advanced the field of juvenile justice.

"His research has had a huge impact on how we think about juveniles in Canada and around the world, particularly in Europe," says SFU professor emeritus of psychology and former colleague Ron Roesch. "His work influenced the need to start thinking about youth at an early stage and identify red flags that might be present early on in a child's life that might predict whether they may or may not become violent offenders in the future."

Corrado’s impressive body of work includes co-authoring 15 books and publishing over 200 journal articles, book chapters, and reports. His research has covered a wide variety of theory and policy issues, including youth/juvenile justice, violence, young offenders, mental health, adolescent psychopathy, Aboriginal victimization, terrorism, and child/adolescent case management strategies.

Professor Ray Corrado's seminar at the Australian Institute of Criminology - Canberra, Australia - February 15, 2011.

He has presented his work in many countries across the world, including Italy, Turkey, the United States, Norway, and Australia. His expertise has been sought after by many universities, and he has held prestigious appointments at respected universities such as Cambridge University, and the University of Bergen.

In addition to his scholarly work, Corrado has held a variety of leadership roles including Director of the Institute on Violence, Terrorism & Security, founding member of the Mental Health, Law, and Policy Institute, co-director of the BC Centre for Social Responsibility and SFU Site Director of the Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia.

The start of his academic pursuits

While growing up playing hockey in his hometown of Trail, BC, Corrado developed a deep curiosity to understand the nature of violence. “It always fascinated me why some of my teammates were pretty violent fighters and some weren't”, says Corrado. "Fighting and aggression were all part of the way I grew up playing hockey”. This curiosity, framed by his never-ending excitement for learning, was the first spark of his academic pursuits.

Corrado moved to the States in 1963 when he attended Michigan State University on a hockey scholarship. He did four years in pre-law. He then went to Notre Dame Law School in Indiana for one year before transferring to Northwestern University in Chicago, where he earned his master's and doctorate in political science and political psychology.

"It was a decade of enormous change in Canadian, European, Western societies, and that change involved a lot of violence, a lot of protests, a lot of anger”, says Corrado. "I was fascinated and wanted to understand—Why? Why the violence now and where are we going in terms of violence trends?"

For his doctoral work, Corrado developed a theoretical model on the factors that seemed to identify those individuals who were likely to become terrorists, nationalists, or ideological terrorists. He incorporated psychological, political, and economic variables. This model was the beginning of his distinctive way of approaching research from a theory-building perspective.

“As an academic, my life has never been anything less than exciting, not even for a second”

Looking back on his academic journey, Corrado smiles and describes his career as a” beautiful dream.”

“I can’t think of any other profession that’d provide me with so many opportunities to enjoy life and fulfill my curiosity more than this one. It’s all been a dream to me, a beautiful dream,” says Corrado. “Having a fulfilling career with wonderful colleagues who became friends. The excitement to mentor and stimulate young people to believe in themselves and keep moving forward. And the excitement of working alongside my teams and colleagues, and being able to influence changes in laws not only in Canada but in other places."

When asked what he would say to all the people who have been part of his wonderful career, he says. “Thank you. Thank you for making my life as a person, as a dad, as a friend, and as a mentor, really wonderful.”

“Thank you. Thank you for making my life as a person, as a dad, as a friend, and as a mentor, really wonderful.”

Corrados' dedication to his work has been a true inspiration to his colleagues, students, and the wider community. His incredible contributions to the field, his students, and to our School will continue beyond his retirement.

From all of us at the School of Criminology, happy retirement, Ray!

Celebrating Ray Corrado: Farewell Messages and Anecdotes

Thank you, Ray, for your kindness and for reminding me of the importance of family—especially when my daughter was born, and I was worried about teaching and tenure. Wishing you the best in retirement!

Alexandra (Sasha) Lysova, Associate Professor, SFU School of Criminology

Ray – Some of my most cherished memories are when I was newly hired and learned that you too enjoyed racquetball. I very, very wrongly assumed that the age difference would play in my favour… and just got repeatedly, utterly thrashed on the court. You hit the ball so hard it looked like a blur; I don’t even know if ever scored one point! But worth it because as always, these humiliating sessions were accompanied with wisdom and career advice. Best wishes for your retirement! Jen

Jennifer Wong, Professor, SFU School of Criminology

Dr. Corrado had a significant and profound impact on my career as a young Assistant Professor of criminology at SFU. Dr. Corrado was a positive figure throughout my academic career, one that also helped me and my family adapting to the lifestyle and culture in British Columbia. Dr. Corrado opened my eyes to the politics of research and he showed me the path to making a significant contribution to society through research; research that matters. Through shared experiences, he became a mentor in many facets of my professional life. His immense contribution to the School of Criminology at SFU is unparalleled and unprecedented.

Thank you, Ray

Dr. Patrick Lussier, Université Laval 

Ray Corrado is a towering figure whose work at the intersection of criminology and psychology was pioneering. Focusing on both description and understanding, Ray undertook seminal work on the pattern and treatment of juvenile offending. More importantly, however, Ray was a kind soul. One of my best memories with him was over a meal we shared on a beach in Barcelona. That evening was one of the best in my professional and personal lives, one I will never forget.

Alexis Piquero, Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology, University of Miami

The research experiences I have gained from working with Dr. Corrado prepared me for the success I have attained at the graduate level at SFU and professionally. Much of my success is due to the research experiences, guidance, and education I have gained through working with Dr. Corrado. He has taught me that networking, collaboration, and confidence are keys to success.

Congratulations on your retirement and your wonderful and incredibly successful career!

Amanda Champion, PhD student, SFU School of Criminology

December, 23, 1990. I was relaxing in the Student Commons Room when Ray stopped by. He had just handed in his grades (yes, we used to have to do things by hand). I had taken a couple of classes from Ray and were friendly (despite the fact that I was even worse then than I am now). We got to talking about "my plan." At the end of a three-hour conversation, my life trajectory has changed completely. I was no longer going to law school; instead, I was going to get an MA in Criminology. He has been among my dearest friends ever since. Ray saw beyond the very angry young man, and for that, I will always be grateful. I owe him everything.

Garth Davies, Associate Professor, SFU School of Criminology

Ray Corrado has made many brilliant contributions to criminological knowledge, most recently in the 2021 book "The Life Course of Serious and Violent Youth Grown Up: A Twenty-Year Longitudinal Study". Here is my endorsement: 

This book describes an outstandingly important longitudinal study of a large sample of incarcerated Canadian boys and girls. It is a brilliant contribution to developmental and life-course criminology, advancing knowledge especially about criminal career features, offending trajectories, the importance of psychopathy, and theories of desistance. It includes interesting case histories and draws policy implications. It should be read by all criminologists, psychologists, and social scientists who are interested in the development of criminal careers.

(Endorsement by David Farrington)

It was a great pleasure for me to get to know Ray quite well during his year in Cambridge! Best wishes.

David P. Farrington, Professor, Cambridge University

When I first met Dr. Corrado in 1996, I had just started my PhD. I didn’t know anyone in the School of Criminology but, because of my interest in terrorism, someone suggested that I speak to Ray about my research interests. Little did I know that our first meeting would lead to a 25-year friendship that continues to be one of my most cherished personal and professional relationships. Ray has always been so much more than just an educator, mentor, supervisor, and colleague to me and so many other students. His friendship, generosity, and support continue to be an inspiration. For me, he is the model of what it means to be a professor and a mensch. After 25 years, I continue to feel honoured and fortunate to be able to call him one of my dearest friends.

Dr. Irwin M. Cohen, Associate Professor, and Director of the Centre for Public Safety and Criminal Justice Research, University of the Fraser Valley

Dear Ray,

Your encouragement and advice were invaluable to my personal and professional growth. Coming from Germany and being concerned about my level of English, I was out of my comfort zone when starting the criminology MA program. You continued to push me out of my comfort zone and thus expanded my horizons and abilities. Putting me on the Young Offender Study, hiring me as your teaching assistant, urging me to do my PhD and start teaching, and taking me to conferences were some of the highlights. You trusted my abilities more than I did, and working with you turned out to be a fantastic learning experience and deepened my curiosity for juvenile justice and research. I am now a full professor of Criminology at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania and love my job. You are a big part of why that happened. Thank you for all you have done! You were the best mentor a student could wish for.

Sarah Kuehn, Professor and MA Program Director, Criminology & Criminal Justice Department,
Slippery Rock University

I first met Professor Corrado in the gym at SFU where he took the time out of his workout to talk to me and other student athletes about research. This first interaction led to a series of research experiences that would change the trajectory of my educational journey and my life. As a Full Professor today, I look back at that first meeting and my time working for Ray with great appreciation. It is hard not to smile reflecting on the many stories that Ray was at the center of, including when I had to find him in his office to remind him that he was in the middle of teaching a course because he had gotten distracted writing an article during the break! As a first-generation college student, it took someone like Ray to open doors in the academy that are inaccessible to most. Thank you Ray for the mentorship and support you have given to hundreds of students like me. I have trouble imagining SFU Criminology without you walking down the hall, but I know that your legacy will continue to inspire and shape future generations in these spaces.

Candice Odgers, Associate Dean and Professor of Psychology and Informatics, University of California, Irvine

I will always think of Ray as he was when I first met him. I was making my first presentation at a national conference in the late 80’s and we were on a panel together. He was fascinating to talk with, both about our respective presentations, and our shared interest in the interface between the mental health and criminal justice systems. Most memorable, however, was what I came to know as his characteristically warm, welcoming, and supportive nature, and what great fun he was to be with. Such thoughtful attentiveness in my young career meant more than you know, Ray. Congratulations and best wishes on your retirement! 

Karen Mirsky Abram, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Northwestern University

I would not be where I am today if not for Dr. Raymond Corrado. During my undergrad at SFU, I was lucky to get a seat in one of Ray’s courses. That opportunity completely shifted my career plans. After meeting with Ray about an upcoming absence, I walked out of his office having been recruited as a research assistant and encouraged to apply for grad school. Over the following years, I progressed from data entry of interviews with incarcerated youth to managing and eventually directing the project under Ray’s supervision and guidance. Ray’s immense networking skills also opened up many doors for me, and I’ll never forget the many lunches that we spent with colleagues discussing politics, history, and of course ice hockey and figure skating ;) Ray left an indelible impact on me and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to be mentored by him.

Amanda McCormick (née Watkinson), Associate Professor, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of the Fraser Valley

I have my career thanks to Ray’s vision and creativity in initiating a path-breaking study that placed psychopathy on the radar of developmental and life-course criminology. In the first year of my Master’s, I was in Ray’s office every week. I cannot remember exactly what we would talk about, but I know we spent most of the time laughing.

Evan McCuish, Associate Professor, SFU School of Criminology


Almost 17 years ago you made me feel welcome and at home here in the School. I will never forget your stories but also some of the advice provided over the years. It’s been an honour and a privilege to be one of your colleagues. I wish you a well-deserved retirement and I hope we will keep enjoying our regular coffee – here or somewhere in Italy!

Eric Beauregard, Professor, SFU School of Criminology

Internationally recognized for his contributions to youth justice and violence, comparative justice, political crime, terrorism, among much more, students, me among them, have been fortunate to learn from and work with “the (Dr.) Raymond Corrado” at SFU. Ray’s interdisciplinary approach laid the foundations for important research. 

Through his career-spanning dedication and well-known and respected expertise, many students and colleagues sought collaboration with and got to be part of dream studies with Ray. He established teams of bright, eager, and budding criminologists, and grad school embodied fun and fascinating times full of incredible opportunities for discovery and growth. We were and are still so passionate from the values Ray instilled.

Ray’s impact will continue through his work/writing, but also through the work of his many former pupils living and working throughout the world. Ray is a lifelong mentor and collaborator. I was fortunate in my education at SFU to have mentors like “the Ray Corrado.”

Adrienne Peters, SFU School of Criminology Alumnus, Associate Professor, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador

I will always remember you, Ray, as one of my SFU mentors. We call you the Godfather for a reason! With Ray, I was always able to talk academics and life, in equal proportions. As I started my career with my head down on my laptop all the time, you were the one to tell me to also relax and look around. “You're in Vancouver, look at the mountains, you don't have that in Quebec. Look at the ocean, it's right there 5 minutes from your place.” Of course, I discovered later that Ray wanted me to look elsewhere because he was trying to steal French fries from my plate at lunch! Ray would literally sit down at the pub with us, order nothing, especially not fries – because he shouldn’t/couldn’t! – and proceed to pick our plates apart.

So, that's how I got to know you. Your talent, your intelligence, the fun you had, in everything. If you're not sure about academia, go talk to Ray. I’m sure he is going to tell you “This is the best job in the world, you know, I still pinch myself.” He believes it, and we believe him. Ray was there to help us remember the good parts of this job, why we're here, and the good work that we do. That's one of the many things that you taught me in the 17 years that I've known you, and I hope for many more years of meeting you at your favourite café on Denman.

Martin Bouchard, Professor and School Director, SFU School of Criminology


Congratulations on your much-deserved retirement. I can’t even imagine you retiring but am so glad that you are embarking on this new life journey. Focusing on you, what you love doing and those who are important to you. You have given so much to the field of Criminology and Psychology, especially youth violence, mental health, juvenile justice, evaluation and risk assessment and management. One of my career highlights was participating in the working group you led, Multi-Problem Violent Youth which produced the awesome book Multi-Problem Violent Youth: A Foundation for Comparative Research on Needs, Interventions and Outcomes and various other publications. What I so enjoyed learning from you the most was seeing your passion which came through in that great smile you always had on your face, and how you embraced and balanced both your professional and personal lives.  You gave so much to so many – students – colleagues – and the field.  I am one of those recipients and I will forever be grateful to you, my friend. You so lived this in practice, “be the change you want to see in the world” (Ghandi). As a result of this way of ‘being’ and what you accomplished – your teachings, your research, your publications, and the impact you left on your students and colleagues – your work and vision of wanting to improve the lives of our most vulnerable youth will continue to flourish. Most of all, I hope those you inspired will do it with a smile on their face and the same passion in their hearts as you did.

Thank you.

Leena Augimeri, Adjunct Professor, University of Toronto