Feature

If it weren't for the insights and financial know-how of psychologist Meredith P. Crawford, PhD, back in the 1960s, APA might not be housed in a 12-story office building and have a net worth of more than $33 million today.

Crawford--one of APA's oldest active members--is credited with orchestrating APA's first move into the commercial real estate market during his tenure as treasurer and member of APA's Board of Directors from 1957 to 1967.

"His tenure as treasurer was a time of great growth, stability and strength for the association," says Jack McKay, APA's CFO and vice president of finance and administration. "He put together the resources, planning and insight for APA to own its first office building."

Back in 1961, APA's offices were located in a five-story townhouse it owned at 1333 16th St., N.W., in Washington, D.C. As chair of the Committee for the Construction of the APA Headquarters, Crawford convinced APA to sell the townhouse and build an eight-story, 81,200-square-foot building in the heart of Washington's downtown at 17th and M streets, N.W.

"From a business point of view, Washington was growing and we needed the space," recalls Crawford from his home in Bethesda, Md. "Purchasing a building increased APA's net worth."

APA began construction on the $4.5-million office building in mid-1963, sold the townhouse to the Nigerian Embassy in 1964, then moved its 90 employees into the lower floors of the 17th St. building in October 1964. The rest of the building was leased to tenants. In 1987, APA sold the building for $17.4 million.

Crawford's plan laid the foundation for APA to build the 750 First St. and 10 G St. buildings by helping APA to realize the value of investing in real estate, says McKay.

"He has had a long history of service to APA that continues today," says McKay.

In recognition of his contributions, APA named its Management Information Systems (MIS) center for Crawford in December 1995. MIS staff maintains all of APA's computer equipment and telecommunications services and trains APA employees to use the equipment. Crawford's grandson, Andrew Meredith Crawford, and his wife, Amy Gall Crawford, toured the MIS center on June 8, two weeks before their marriage on June 24.

"I took a tour of the MIS center after it was first named for my grandfather," said Andrew Crawford, clearly proud of the role his grandfather has played in APA's success. "But I wanted to come back and see it again and show Amy."

Meredith Crawford, who will turn 90 on Oct.13, jokingly describes his current involvement at APA as "active in a passive way."

He still reads the journals in his area of interest and the Monitor. And he continues to receive copies of the agenda items and reports and pours over the finances with his magnifying glass.

"He's still a treasurer at heart," says Andrew Crawford.

In addition to his role as treasurer, Crawford served as president of the American Psychological Foundation and president of the APA's Div. 19 (Military). Although he officially retired in 1976, he served the association as administrative officer for the Office of Accreditation from 1978 to 1982.

"His research and managerial skills reestablished APA's accreditation program as a nationally recognized and respected service," says McKay.

Crawford was also a leader outside of APA. He was an academic dean at Vanderbilt University from 1945 to 1951, when he moved to the Washington metropolitan area as founding director of the Human Resources Research Organization, a federal contract research center, originally funded by the Department of the Army, that employed many psychologists. Crawford served as its president from 1969 until his retirement in 1976.