In Memoriam: Karen S. Wampler

Karen Wampler

NCFR member Karen S. Wampler, Ph.D., died earlier this month. She was a member for 45 years.

Dr. Wampler served most recently as professor and chair of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Michigan State University. Prior to this role, she was a professor of marriage and family therapy (MFT), department chair, MFT program director, and Hutcheson Professor at Texas Tech University. She was an assistant and associate professor at the University of Georgia, and during her tenure there, she developed the COAMFTE-accredited doctoral program. Dr. Wampler was also the founder and first coordinator of the interdisciplinary MFT certificate program at the University of Georgia, a collaboration with the university's MFT, social work, and counseling programs.

Dr. Wampler earned a bachelor's in sociology from Indiana University, a master's in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania, and a doctorate in marriage and family therapy from Purdue University.

Dr. Wampler's primary research foci were the application of attachment theory to understanding couple interaction, family therapy process research, and observational measures of couple and family relationships. She authored over 50 refereed journal articles and 10 book chapters, and has brought in over one million dollars in externally funded grants.

A licensed marriage and family therapist, Dr. Wampler is a Fellow of AAMFT where she has served on numerous committees, including as a member of the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education. She was a past editor of the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy.

At NCFR, she served on the Elections Council and was a secretary/treasurer of the Family Therapy section. She received the Kathleen Briggs Outstanding Mentor Award in 2011 and was also a recipient of the Family Therapy Legacy Scholar award.


Dr. Wampler will be recognized during the annual memorial service at the 2020 NCFR Annual Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. The names of any NCFR members who have recently died are read aloud at this service. Members who have served as an NCFR board member, journal editor, or are conferred NCFR Fellow status are given a eulogy.

If you learn of an NCFR member who has passed away, please email Trip Sullivan.