1999 APA President
Richard Michael Suinn was the first APA President of Asian American descent. He earned his doctoral degree from Stanford University in 1959. After brief stints at Whitman College (Adam West, the original TV Batman was an alum) and the University of Hawaii, Dr. Suinn settled in to a long career at Colorado State University. There, he served as Department Chair, in which capacity he initiated a progressive program to recruit and retain ethnic minority students at a time when there was still significant resistance to such efforts.
Dr. Suinn has had an impressive career in research. His work on a range of topics has helped us understand the complexities of human behavior. His books on anxiety and its management, psychotherapy, and assessment have been in wide use. He has created a series of assessment tools that have helped guide interventions in anxiety and performance. Perhaps most notable has been his work in sports psychology. His book, Seven Steps to Peak Performance (1986), was innovative and helped develop the field of sports psychology. Perhaps one index of its appeal is its translation into several other languages.
Long before Dr. Suinn became APA President, he was involved in APA governance. He was one of the first members of the Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs (1979). From that post, he has gone on to serve on many APA Boards and Committees, including, but not limited to, Board of Education and Training, Publications and Communications Board, the Board of Social and Ethical Responsibility, the Policy and Planning Board, Board of Ethnic Minority Affairs, Board of Directors, and Membership Committee, to name only a few. He is a Fellow of eight APA Divisions.
Dr. Suinn became involved in the leadership of the Asian American Psychological Association very early in its development. Along with leaders like Stanley Sue and Robert Chin, he helped shape the direction of the group and provided the kind of leadership that has helped it maintain its remarkable growth. He remains involved in the AAPA.
Richard Suinn, 1999 APA Annual Convention
A clip of Richard Suinn from the opening session of APA's 1999 convention in Hawaii. The full video is available from the APA archives.