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Memoir

Edward Lewis Walker
Regents' Proceedings 387

Edward L. Walker, Professor of Psychology, retired from active faculty status as of June 30, 1979, following thirty-two years of service to the University and his profession as a distinguished behavioral scientist and outstanding teacher of graduate students.

Born and educated through high school in Connersville, Indiana, Professor Walker worked as a newspaper reporter before becoming a teaching assistant and junior prison psychologist while achieving the A.B. and M.A., from Indiana University in 1938 and 1940. His graduate work at the University of Iowa was interrupted by service as an officer in the Medical Corps of the U.S. Navy (1943-46), which included visual research related to naval aviation.

Immediately after receiving his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1947, Professor Walker joined our faculty as an Instructor in Psychology. His dedicated efforts to that department during its period of rapid growth contributed to the graduate program attaining international respect. By 1956, Edward Walker reached the rank of full professor. The graduate students specializing in basic behavioral processes elected Professor Walker as the M. R. Westerberg outstanding graduate teacher; in fact, thirty-three graduate students chose him to supervise their doctoral dissertations during the first twenty-years of his academic career. The American Psychological Association has already honored one of Professor Walker’s students for excellence in scientific achievement.

Professor Walker's own research contribution and potential received national recognition when, in 1964, he became one of the few recipients of a lifetime Research Career Award from the United States Public Health Service. Always deeply involved in the educational curriculum, Professor Walker is widely known for his editorship of a series of twenty books by Michigan faculty members covering the basic concepts of psychology. The scope of his interest and expertise is expressed in six books authored or coauthored on such diverse topics as conformity, learning, perception, the teaching of psychology, and the prospect of a science of psychiatry, the latter written while a Fellow at The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in 1972-73.

Professor Walker is now completing a treatise on psychological complexity, which will present his "hedgehog theory of behavior," the culmination of research on basic determinants of intrinsic interest, aesthetic preference, and satisfaction reported in many articles and chapters over the years.

Tireless in his long years of service on important committees of his department, the graduate school, and his profession, Professor Walker was elected President of the Midwestern Psychological Association in 1968-69.

The Regents now salute this distinguished behavioral scientist by naming him Professor Emeritus of Psychology.