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APA Mourns Passing of Raymond D. Fowler, PhD, Former Association President, CEO
 

March 18, 2015

WASHINGTON – The American Psychological Association expressed its deepest condolences today upon the death of its former leader Raymond D. Fowler, PhD. Fowler died Tuesday at age 84. Fowler was APA president in 1988 and served as APA’s executive vice president and chief executive officer from 1989 to 2003.

“I am deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Dr. Fowler. The field has lost a great leader, who was an inspiration and role model to psychologists around the world,” said Norman B. Anderson, PhD, who succeeded Fowler as APA’s CEO. “Ray’s lifelong dedication to psychology was deep, and his imprint on the American Psychological Association, and on the growth of the field internationally, are incomparable. The entire APA family extends its deepest sympathies to Ray’s wife, Sandy, their children and grandchildren, who are themselves forever members of the APA family.” 

“Ray Fowler was dedicated to the broad discipline of psychology, as a teacher, a researcher, a leader and good friend to those who knew him,” said APA President Barry S. Anton, PhD. “He was admired for his wit, his charm, his vision and his steadfast devotion to his friends and family. Greatly respected within our field, Ray will be deeply missed.”

Fowler received his PhD in psychology with a specialization in clinical psychology from the Pennsylvania State University in 1957 and joined the faculty of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where he remained until 1987, when he was appointed professor emeritus. From 1965 to 1983, he served as department chair. He was appointed professor and head of the psychology department at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in 1987, where he served until becoming APA’s CEO.

Fowler contributed to the research literature in psychology with more than 70 articles, books, chapters and other publications, especially in the areas of substance abuse, criminal behavior and personality assessment. He pioneered the development of programs to reduce juvenile delinquency and of classification systems for juvenile justice and prison programs. In recognition of his expertise in criminology, he was appointed in 1976 by U.S. District Judge Frank M. Johnson Jr. to direct a court-ordered prison reform program that involved evaluating every prisoner in the Alabama prison system and developing rehabilitation programs for them. That same year, Fowler was retained by the estate of Howard R. Hughes, who had died without a will, to determine his mental status at various periods of his life.

Fowler was recognized for his work in the area of personality assessment. In the early 1960s, he developed an innovative method of computer interpretation for the widely used Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. His system was translated into most major European languages, has been used to generate personality reports on almost 2 million individuals in the United States and abroad, and became the prototype for many other computer-based systems used in psychological testing in the United States and abroad.

Fowler served in a variety of leadership roles in professional psychology. He was president of the Alabama Psychological Association and of the Southeastern Psychological Association, and was a member of Alabama’s first psychology licensing board. He served four years as APA treasurer before becoming its 97th president.

Fowler served on the editorial board of the European Psychologist, sponsored by the European Federation of Psychological Associations. In 2000, he received the APA Division of International Psychology’s Distinguished International Psychologist Award for his significant contributions to global psychology. He was a lifetime honorary member of the Psychological Society of South Africa. In 1979, he became the first U.S. psychologist invited to visit the Institute of Psychology of the Chinese Academy of Science in Beijing, and returned to China many times to lecture and lead joint conferences between U.S. and Chinese psychologists.

APA established several awards in Fowler’s name. The annual Raymond D. Fowler Award for Outstanding Contributions to APA was established in 2004 — he was the first recipient — and recognizes an APA member who has had a significant and enduring impact on APA as an organization and who has shown a clear dedication to advancing APA's mission. In 1989, he was the first recipient of the Raymond D. Fowler Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Professional Development of Graduate Students, an annual award named in his honor by the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students. A third Raymond D. Fowler Award is presented annually to an APA staffer who has made outstanding contributions to APA’s work. A fitness enthusiast, Fowler established Ray’s Race, a 5K run-walk that takes place at every APA Annual Convention.

In addition to his service to psychology organizations, Fowler was a chapter president of the American Association of University Professors, chair of the Southern School of Alcohol Studies, and a director of the Alcohol and Drug Problems Association of North America. From 1965 to 1968, he was vice president of the Council on Human Relations, the first biracial human rights group in Alabama.

Fowler is survived by his wife, organizational psychologist Sandra Mumford Fowler, five children and four grandchildren.

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