Dr. Chris Stout graduated from the School of Science at IUPUI in 1981, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. “The wellspring of what I’ve spent my 35-year career doing was grown starting in Psych 101,” Stout explained. “The skill set of working with other people, working with groups, and leadership activities - all of this variety and richness - it felt like psychology was the lightning rod that powered all the other things.”
Chris is a numbers person, so it is no surprise that when he started in the School of Science, he was a math major. Here is a brief example of Chris-By-The-Numbers:
- Published 38 books, two best sellers, and his works have been translated into 8 languages
- He’s lectured across the nation and internationally in over 20 countries, and visited over 100 countries, all 50 states, 6 continents and over 130 World Heritage Sites
- He was noted to be “one of the most frequently cited psychologists in the scientific literature
- Listed in TED Founder Richard Saul Wurman’s “Who’s Really Who, 1000: The Most Creative Individuals in America”
- He’s climbed 3 of the world’s Seven Summits
- Completed a 100k ultra, and others
- Is nearing one-half million LinkedIn followers and is a LinkedIn Influencer
- Is Executive Producer and Host of Living a Life in Full podcast, ranked in the top 5% of all podcasts
- Has 3M+ followers across social media platforms
- Has >125,000 subscribers to his weekly LinkedIn Newsletter, Tools for Change
- Earned a doctorate (clinical psychology) and four honoris causa doctorates, including a Doctor of Technology from Purdue.
Chris came to IUPUI as a first-generation college student, in fact his grandparents did not complete high school. “I was taking classes at IUPUI in my last semester of high school and the summer before college, I was just so excited to go and get going.”
Although he was not sure what he wanted to do, he had good grades, liked math, science, and art, but it was taking an intro psychology class that sparked his love of psychology. It’s what would become the basis of his career. “I took just about every psychology class there was, I graduated with more than 50 credit hours just in psychology,” he said. “In my final semester, I enrolled in 21 credits of psychology; there were just so many classes I wanted to take.”
It was so exciting to be a 20-year-old and to have access to faculty who were supportive of undergraduate research. Just being in the School of Science and in the Department of Psychology gave me such a rich breadth and depth of being able to get involved in psychology and great opportunities to do research.Dr. Chris Stout
He also worked as a teaching assistant for Dr. John Kramer’s Abnormal Psychology course, unusual for an undergrad, and Chris loved it. He worked throughout undergrad, as part of the Science Technology and Research (STAR) summer research program and as a work-study student at the Medical Sciences Department on the IUPUI medical campus. He was an Honor’s Graduate via the then new Accolade Program as well.
Chris credits the faculty in the department with helping to guide his learning and his career path. “IUPUI has such a richness of faculty who would take undergraduate students under their wing,” Chris said. “It was so exciting to be a 20-year-old and to have access to faculty who were supportive of undergraduate research. Just being in the School of Science and in the Department of Psychology gave me such a rich breadth and depth of being able to get involved in psychology and great opportunities to do research.”
It set him up to get into the doctoral program he wanted, being accepted into a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Harvard Med, and 10 years later taking the GMAT and going to The University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business and starting in their MBA Program. “I credit all of my academic success as a student, and later as a professor, as predicated on the solid foundation IUPUI gave me,” Chris stated.
His natural curiosity has led him from one area to another. He has worked in a variety of roles including, as an advisor to multiple healthcare startups, serving as a clinical full professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the College of Medicine at the University of Illinois, Chicago, at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and at Rush University. He was appointed to the World Economic Forum’s Global Leaders of Tomorrow and has served as an NGO Special Representative to the United Nations.
Chris has built a medical global health network, made connections with Doctors Without Borders, Amnesty International, and other international non-governmental organizations. Many of whom have been guests on his podcast. “It’s great to learn the backstories of these amazing friends and colleagues, and how they do what they do,” Chris said. “The show is like a gym membership for your brain.”
While Chris has had many titles throughout his career, the one he gets the most satisfaction from is what he calls becoming an “accidental” humanitarian. Bringing together all these relationships and connections, Chris created the Center for Global Initiatives, a 501(c)3, which has a mission to help in the creation of self-sustaining programs that improve access to healthcare and education in underserved communities worldwide. It has been a top-ranked nonprofit every year since 2013 and has achieved platinum status by GuideStar.
The all-volunteer organization has worked on multiple, small-scale projects in Tanzania, Bolivia, Cambodia, and India with coordinated focus and outcome accountability. In addition to supporting and launching projects until they are self-sustaining, the Center now offers Certificate and Fellowship Programs, as well as an abundance of free resources and materials. “This is our way to open-source humanitarian intervention,” said Chris. “I believe it shouldn’t be so hard to do humanitarian work, so that’s where we come in.”
The American Psychological Association has awarded him with their highest humanitarian honor for his work, they dubbed him “International Psychology’s Rockstar” in a cover story of his work. In addition, Chris has recently deeded the professional archive of his papers and work to the Smithsonian’s Museum for the History of Psychology.
Chris visited campus recently and was impressed with all the changes and updates, including the newly opened Innovation Hall. “The academic rigor, the awards the school has received, and other accomplishments of IUPUI and the School of Science are impressive. It speaks to the growth of the campus, and it makes you feel proud of it,” he said. “It’s just gotten better and better as things have developed over the years. The caliber of faculty and recruiting; the quality of research, publications, and grant awards; the beauty of the new buildings and the way campus has developed and advanced are a testament to outstanding leadership. It makes alumni feel very proud. I can’t what to see what comes next.”