Everett Worthington is Commonwealth Professor Emeritus since his retirement from Virginia Commonwealth University on October 1, 2017. He is still affiliated with the Department of Psychology. In academic year 2018-2019, he will serve also as Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the Department of Psychology at Wheaton College in Illinois. His research and writing focus on forgiveness and other virtues, religion and spirituality, and issues related to marriage and family. His mission is to help individuals (every heart), couples and families (every home), and even communities and countries (every homeland) forgive.
Everett was counseling couples when he first became interested in the concept of forgiveness, and he began studying the topic scientifically in 1990. Since then, he has been a leader in the field of forgiveness research. From 1998 to 2005, he directed A Campaign for Forgiveness Research, a nonprofit organization that, during that time, awarded more than $6 million to studies on forgiving. He has also worked to help nurture researchers in other countries.
After the murder of his mother in 1996, Everett began thinking about how the practice of forgiveness relates to justice, faith, and virtue—a main theme of his recent work. While he forgave the murderer, as did his brother and sister, the emotional fallout was devastating, and in 2005, his brother committed suicide. In addition to studying forgiveness of others, Everett drew on his own feelings of guilt and self-condemnation, and added the study of self-forgiveness to his interests.