Over the years, I have written columns about many famous psychologists, including Fred Skinner, Neal Miller and Herb Simon. In this column, I would like to tell you about two psychologists who are less well-known, but whose unique contributions to psychology and to APA have won the respect and affection of thousands of psychologists whose lives they touched.
A life devoted to training
Stanley F. Schneider was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1922. In 1943, he was drafted into the army and soon put to work providing psychological services to military personnel. Like so many young veterans who had had similar experiences during World War II, Stan was drawn to graduate work in psychology after his discharge. He was admitted to the graduate program in clinical psychology at the University of Michigan as one of the first VA trainees.
During John F. Kennedy's presidency, when the sense of idealism in government service was at its peak, Stan decided that he wanted to be involved in public service. In 1963, he joined the Psychology Training Branch at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and soon became chief of the branch. It was through his work there that Stan came to be known and loved by psychologists across the country. He was a tireless advocate for increased funds to train psychologists and for quality training in both research and clinical work.
He was also among the first psychologists to push for more women and minorities in psychology, and he helped facilitate the development of new substantive areas of psychology, including community, health and environmental psychology. A hands-on leader, Stan came to personify NIMH to graduate students, faculty and directors of clinical training. Sometimes it seemed that he knew them all personally, and he was always available to counsel, encourage and inspire.
In his 33 years of NIMH service, Stan built a lasting legacy of quality, science-based clinical training that powerfully influenced the course of our profession. Stan died on May 9, at his home in Kensington, Md., one month before his 80th birthday.
A life devoted to research
Meredith P. Crawford was born in Sweetbriar, Va., in 1910. After receiving his PhD from Columbia, he spent five years at the Yale Laboratories of Primate Biology gaining experience in organized research, which proved to be valuable in later years.
During World War II, Meredith served as an officer in the Army Aviation Psychology Program, where he oversaw pioneering research for the Army. He became academic dean at Vanderbilt in 1945. In 1951, he became the founding director of the Human Resources Research Office (HumRRO), a nonprofit research organization. His important contributions to the nation's security were recognized by the presentation of the "Decoration for Distinguished Civilian Service" by the Secretary of the Army.
In 1958, Meredith was elected APA Treasurer and served on a Board of Directors that included such luminaries as Harry Harlow (president), Wolfgang Kohler, Lee Cronbach, Anne Anastasi and Neal Miller. Meredith persuaded the board to build APA's first building--a move that helped assure APA's financial stability in later years.
After his retirement from HumRRO, Meredith was persuaded to join the APA staff, where his superb administrative skills and his equally outstanding personal skills greatly improved the APA accreditation program. After his final retirement in 1982, he received APA's Distinguished Professional Contributions to Public Service Award. Meredith died on May 21, in Washington, D.C., at age 91.
These two men have more in common than the month of their deaths. Along with their professional skills and dedication to psychology, they had a personal charm and warmth that endeared them to everyone who knew them. Stan almost never missed an APA convention, and I never remember seeing him alone for a minute--he was always surrounded by faculty members and former students eager to tell him how much they appreciated his contributions to their training and professional careers, and I was often among those admirers.
I experienced Meredith's warmth and kindness on a very personal basis when I was a 17-year-old freshman at Vanderbilt and rapidly running out of money. Meredith, then dean, gave me a job in his office that allowed me to continue my education.
As much as I admire their enduring contributions to psychology and their intellects, I admire them even more for the quality of their characters.