At press time we received the sad news that Albert J. Solnit, M.D., HS ’52, died following an automobile accident in Bethlehem, Conn. Solnit and his wife, Martha, were en route to their weekend home in Lakeville when the accident occurred on June 21. Martha Solnit was recuperating in Waterbury Hospital following the crash.
Solnit, 82, came to Yale in 1948 as a resident in general psychiatry and was the first child psychiatry resident from 1950 to 1952. He served as the third director of the Child Study Center from 1966 to 1983, when he was succeeded by Donald J. Cohen, M.D. ’66. Cohen died last October 2 of melanoma. A collaborator of Anna Freud, Solnit was a Sterling Professor at Yale and, from 1991 to 2000, Connecticut’s commissioner of mental health and addiction services.
“He was a professional father throughout my career,” said John Schowalter, M.D., the Albert J. Solnit Professor of Child Psychiatry. “As a mentor, he was always accessible and combined both a wise brain and a moral backbone.”
Alan E. Kazdin, Ph.D., who became the center’s fifth director in April, called Solnit’s death “a huge loss for the Child Study Center, for the faculty and staff, and for children everywhere.
“Al Solnit was a monumental figure in child psychiatry, a pioneer,” said Kazdin. “He had enormous impact on individuals because of his acumen as a clinician, and at the same time he had a major influence on the profession throughout the world.”