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The Dartmouth
March 4, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Former PBS department chair David Bucci dies at 50


Bucci came to Dartmouth as a psychological and brain sciences professor in 2004 and served as department chair from 2015 to July 2019.

Dave Bucci, who recently served as chair of the psychological and brain sciences department, has died by suicide, College President Phil Hanlon and dean of the faculty Elizabeth Smith announced in an email to campus Wednesday morning.

Bucci, who first came to the College in 2004 after having worked as a professor at the University of Vermont, was appointed chair of the PBS department in 2015. In 2016, he was appointed the Ralph and Richard Lazarus Professorship in Psychological and Brain Sciences and Human Relations. 

Bucci served as PBS chair until July 2019, leading the department through a difficult stretch. Three former PBS professors were forced to resign from their positions in the summer of 2018 following allegations of sexual misconduct, and a lawsuit filed later that year by former Dartmouth students alleged that College officials had turned a blind eye to years of accusations against the former professors.

Bucci’s research focused on brain mechanisms underlying learning, memory and attention. His most recent studies involved research into the modern behavioral, chemogenetic, neuroanatomical and biochemical techniques in rodent models. 

“We will remember Dave as a kind and generous scholar, teacher, colleague, and community member,” Hanlon and Smith wrote.

Bucci is survived by his wife, Katie, and three children. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

A full obituary will be published in the near future. If you would like to share a memory, please contact

Counseling resources for students, faculty and staff are available through the Office of Counseling and Human Development, the College chaplain’s office, the dean on call and the Faculty/Employee Assistance Program. Assistance can be obtained by calling Safety and Security at 603-646-4000.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Editor’s note: The headline of this article has been edited to reflect the sensitivity of the circumstances it describes. The Dartmouth welcomes feedback on its reporting — please email with any inquiries.