A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, Professor Stryker received three degrees from the University of Minnesota--the B.A., summa cum laude, 1948; the M.A. in 1950, and the Ph.D. degree in 1955. He held a postdoctoral fellowship from the Social Science Research Council in 1959-60. He was a Fellow, Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavior Sciences, 1986-87.
Stryker was a teaching assistant at the University of Minnesota while working on his master's and doctoral degrees. During World War II, he served with the 290 Engineers Combat Battalion of the U.S. Army.
Joining the IU faculty in 1950 as a teaching fellow, he was promoted to instructor in 1951, assistant professor in 1956, associate professor in 1960 and to professor in 1964. During 1966-67, he held a Fulbright research grant in Italy. He was named to the departmental chairmanship in 1969, holding that position until 1975. He directed the IU Institute for Social Research from 1965-1969 and from 1989-1994. He directed the National Institute of Mental Health sponsored training program in social psychology for pre-doctoral and post-doctoral fellows from 1977 through 2002. In 1985, he was named Distinguished Professor of Sociology.
He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, published six research monographs, and continued to be a regular contributor of articles to professional publications. He edited the American Sociological Review, Sociometry, and the Rose Monograph Series. He was president of the Sociological Research Association (1983-94). In 1986 he received the Cooley-Mead Award for lifetime contributions to social psychology from the American Sociological Association; he also received the George Herbert Mead Award for LifetimeConributions from the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction in 2000 and The Lifetime Career Award for Contributions to the Study of Self and Identity from the International Society for Self and Identity in 2007.