Dr. David C. Pollock — 1939-2004

Dr. David C. Pollock was born June 9, 1939 in the Capitol District of New York and died on April 11, 2004 in Vienna, Austria. He was recognized around the world as an authority on third culture kids (TCKs), transitions and internationally mobile families. His work has been varied, but focused in its purpose: meeting the needs of people through teaching and training that brought reconciliation, compassion, hope, encouragement and practical tools. From 1980 to the present, he served as Executive Director of Interaction International—traveling countless miles and speaking to many groups of TCKs, educators, parents, organizational leaders, caregivers and others. In addition to heading Interaction, Dave was on the faculty of Houghton College in New York—serving as an Adjunct Professor of Sociology in Intercultural Studies (from 1986 to the present) and as Director of Intercultural Programs since 1992.

Dave was a passionate advocate for and served well TCKs and internationally mobile personnel. He stressed the importance of providing a “flow of care” which includes preparation for transition to overseas assignments, support while living and working cross-culturally, and preparation for reentering home culture. Through transition seminars, prefield orientations, adult TCK seminars, speaking, workshops, etc., Dave and the Interaction staff have provided the services which are crucial to the flow of care as well as encouraged and assisted organizations in providing these services for their personnel. He believed these services were essential for the well-being of both children and adults.

Dave’s concern for the needs of TCKs and vision for providing a flow of care began in the 1970s. In 1977, Dave and his wife, Betty Lou, along with their four children moved to Kenya. While there, Dave taught Bible at Moffat College of Bible, Betty Lou taught nursing and they served as boarding home parents for adolescent boys at Rift Valley Academy. They returned from Africa in 1980 and Dave became the Executive Director of Interaction International (formerly Manhattan Youth Services which he had co-founded in the 1960s). The name of the organization changed, and the focus of its work became third culture kids, expatriate families and the personnel who work with them.

Pollock received his diploma from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL, in 1960. He then attended Houghton College in Houghton, NY where he earned a B.S. in 1963. He was named Houghton College’s Alumnus of the Year in 1993, and received an honorary degree of Doctor of Pedagogy (DPd) from Houghton in 2000. David authored many articles on TCK issues and international mobility. He coauthored the book, The Third Culture Kid: Growing Up Among Worlds (published by Intercultural Press in April 1999 and later retitled The Third Culture Kid: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds). His models for transition and the profile of third culture kids were pioneering concepts and foundational in this field. In addition, Dave developed several important tools for helping people process their transition experiences and adapt to new cultures.

Pollock was actively involved as an organizer or board member of many organizations serving the TCK community such as Global Nomads, MuKappa, CCTECC (Christian College Teacher Education Coordinating Council), and Youth Compass. He served as the Director of Transitions for Global Associates. He consulted with the U.S. State Department—serving as a member of the advisory council for the Foreign Service Youth Foundation and as a resource person for the Family Liaison Office. He was seminar speaker at embassies around the world.  He was co-director of three International Conferences for Missionary Kids (ICMK) held in the Philippines (1984), Ecuador (1987) and Kenya (1989) respectively. Annually, he was the co-director of a two-week program (and graduate-level course) called TCK-PFO—a prefield orientation for international Christian school personnel. He was a member of the Mission Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance and was the co-director of WEA’s Global Member Care Task Force. Dave Pollock pastored several churches while working in other capacities. While serving as the director of the Manhattan Youth Services, he pastored churches in New York and New Jersey from 1964 to 1975. After returning from Africa and while working as Executive Director of Interaction, he served as Interim Pastor of Community Bible Chapel in Brattleboro, VT for two years.

Dave Pollock is survived by his wife, Betty Lou; sons Dan (Mariko) and Mike (Kristen); daughter Michelle (Mike), daughter-in-law Amy, and five grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his son Nate  in January 2002.