Professor Gary LaFree's scholarship has reoriented theory and research and broadened the horizons of criminology. Dr. LaFree developed a conflict perspective on sexual assault, and has presented incisive and convincing analyses on the role of social institutions in the genesis and control of crime. Most recently, Professor LaFree has begun to study terrorism from the perspective of a criminologist, primarily through his work as lead investigator and director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START). Much of LaFree's research has focused on the creation of the Global Terrorism Database (GTD). A past president of the American Criminology Association and Fellow of the American Society of Criminology, he is the author of two books and more than 80 articles and book chapters, with over 140 talks (more than 40 invited talks or keynotes). Direct or indirect funding for his research amounts to almost $40 million, and he is the recipient of two Guggenheim Fellowships.
Throughout his career, Professor LaFree has been a highly regarded teacher and mentor. With the inception of START, he was able to expand his role and make dramatic impacts on national and campus curriculum, cross-disciplinary education, and student learning opportunities. Dr. LaFree has been a leader in establishing the study of terrorism as a critical area of education. He helped guide the creation of a new Terrorism Studies Minor and generate opportunities for internships. He has chaired 20 MA and 11 Ph.D. committees.