Memorial Friday for Duane and Linda Buhrmester
Psychology Professor and University Leader was Killed in Hiking Accident

Dr. Duane Buhrmester, associate dean of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS) and a professor of psychological sciences at UT Dallas, and his wife, Linda, were killed in a hiking accident last week in southern Colorado.

A celebration of their lives is planned for Friday, Aug. 6, at 3:30 p.m. in the Jonsson Performance Hall (JO 2.604 on interactive campus map). Friends, family, former students and the University community are welcomed to join the couple’s sons, Ryan and Michael Buhrmester, and Dr. Bert Moore, dean of Buhrmester’s school, for this event.

Linda and Duane Buhrmester

Linda and Duane Buhrmester



Friday, Aug. 6 3:30 p.m.

Jonsson Performance Hall


Buhrmester was honored last fall for 20 years of service to UT Dallas. He was an active and respected researcher and teacher. In his administrative role, he served on vital University committees and worked closely with undergraduate and graduate students, acting as an enthusiastic mentor to many.

Buhrmester was born in 1952 in Ritzville, Wash. He and Linda married in 1977. They shared a passion for the outdoors and athletic pursuits. Buhrmester trained as a developmental psychologist at the University of Denver, where he received his PhD in 1983.

“Duane Buhrmester was one of the true leaders of the University,” said Moore. “His careful thinking and commitment to building and improving the University were critical ingredients of our success. But, perhaps even more important, was his commitment to student success. He spent countless hours mentoring and helping students, with many whose lives that he touched going on to successful, productive careers. Outside of the University, he loved camping, hiking and climbing with his family, and was an extraordinary athlete.”

The Buhrmesters had been hiking in Crestone Needle, a popular climbing site in Custer County, Colo. Their family reported them missing over the weekend, and their bodies were discovered on Sunday.

Colleagues at UT Dallas said the Buhrmesters were avid hikers and frequently made trips west to pursue their interest. Details regarding the circumstances of the accident were not fully known at the time of this writing. News reports indicate a severe storm may have overtaken the couple while they were in a remote location.

Buhrmester’s research in recent years centered on social development during middle childhood and adolescence. He focused primarily on close friendships, romantic relationships and parent-adolescent relationships. One of his main contentions was that during early adolescence, teenagers become preoccupied with a set of interpersonal issues that give rise to a fundamental reorganization of the functional structure of their social networks.

Buhrmester served on advisory and leadership panels for many professional organizations, and his research was published in a variety of top-level developmental psychology journals. He was on the editorial board of the International Journal of Behavioral Development and frequently spoke at international psychology conferences.

Buhrmester played a major role in the lives of many students at UT Dallas. Holly Roelse, a PhD student, worked with him as an undergraduate and then as a graduate student.

“He had such attention to detail and yet he was such a calm presence,” she said. “He was truly interested in his students’ research and always full of fresh suggestions about how to test ideas.”

Hillery Cross, another doctoral student working with Buhrmester, said he served as a guide for undergraduate students who were trying to decide on a career path. “He was great with all of the students,” she said. “He was always there to give his time.”

Roelse said he will be greatly missed throughout the University.

“I’m sure he was one of the best professors and administrators this University has ever had,” she said.

Those wishing to make an acknowledgement of the Buhrmesters may send a donation to:

Buhrmester Student Development Fund
The University of Texas at Dallas
Office of Development and Alumni Relations
800 W. Campbell Road
Richardson, TX 75080

Dr. Duane Buhrmester worked closely with undergraduate and graduate students, acting as an enthusiastic mentor to many.

From left: Duane and Linda Buhrmester climbed Mount Whitney in July with their sons, Michael and Ryan.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].