JULIAN B. ROTTER, PHD 1916-2014
As some of you know, Dr. Julian B. Rotter is the author of Social Learning Theory, upon which much of this Blog is based.
It was my great privilege to study and work with Dr. Rotter, starting at Ohio State University where I served as his student and research assistant, and later relocated to the University of Connecticut when Dr. Rotter joined the UCONN faculty.
It is with great respect I present the following Obituary:
Julian B. Rotter, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Connecticut, died in his home on January 6, 2014. He was 97 years old.
He is survived by his wife Doffie Hochreich Rotter, his daughter Jean Rotter, and his older brother Saul Rotter, M.D. Jules, as he was known to his family, friends and colleagues, was predeceased by his first wife Clara E. Barnes Rotter, his son Richard, and Jules' brother Norman Rotter. Jules was born on October 22, 1916 In Brooklyn, N.Y. to Abraham Rotter and Bessie Goldstein Rotter.
He attended primary and secondary school in that borough and received a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Brooklyn College. His formal education proceeded at the University of Iowa where he received a Master's degree in Psychology and culminated with a Ph.D. in Psychology from Indiana University.
He served in the U.S. Army during World War II and married Clara Rotter in 1941. His daughter Jean was born in 1947 and his son Richard was born in 1949. His academic career began at Ohio State University whose Psychology faculty he joined in1949. He rapidly rose to the rank of Full Professor and directed the Clinical Psychology graduate program for nine years.
In 1963 he joined the Psychology faculty of the University of Connecticut and directed it's Clinical program until his retirement in 1987. During his years at Connecticut Clara Rotter died in 1985 and he married his friend and colleague Doffie in 1997.
Professor Rotter's career was extraordinarily productive, so much so that he has been identified as one of the most influential psychologists of the twentieth century by the American Psychological Association and by the BBC which included him in a series they called the "Mind Changers".
He wrote many scholarly articles, produced three widely used measurement scales, and a ground-breaking book "Social Learning and Clinical Psychology." His works were widely cited and he mentored over 100 graduate students most of whom became highly competent academics or clinical practitioners. He taught those students the importance of grounding theory and practice in carefully controlled experimentation, a lesson which was sorely needed in the early and mid twentieth century, an era when speculation was often substituted for science.
Among his many honors were the APA's Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award and an Honorary Doctorate from the Ohio State University.
As impressive as was Jules' professional career, his qualities as a human being were even greater. He was insightful, empathetic, compassionate, and possessed an admirable social conscience. The word " mensh" has crept from Yiddish into the vernacular. Leo Rosten in his "Joys of Yiddish" offers three definitions: 1. human being, 2. an upright, honorable, decent person and, 3. someone of consequence; someone to admire; someone of noble character. Jules was all of these.
He was a Mensh.